Once a year I can't help but share a bit from my teaching with the Rock School's Outreach program. Having the opportunity to reach out to children in Philadelphia's public and charter schools and sharing with them the joy of dance is extremely rewarding. Only working for forty-five minutes to an hour a week throughout the year we are able to cover basic technique, stretching, choreography, stage directions, and creative movement activities. I just got my hands on some rehearsal and performance footage of my 5th grade students last year at Gesu School and couldn't wait to share it. It was my second year working with this group of students. As you'll see they love dancing, even rehearsing on their own when I wasn't around. I hope you enjoy their talent and enthusiasm as much as I do!
Hello Philadelphia friends!
This Friday I will be heading over to the CEC to support my good friend Melissa Chisena who is producing the second annual Evening of Duets! I have been involved in many of her past productions including last year's Evening of Duets and let me tell you, this lady knows how to put a show together! With work from eight different companies and independent artists, this pre-Valentines day show has something for everyone. These sorts of performances can be excellent for new viewers of Modern Dance because it gives you a idea of the wide spectrum that the genre can cover. Come check out some of the best independent dance that Philadelphia has to offer and make sure to get your tickets because Ms. Chisena also knows how to sell out a show! I hope to see you there!
Hello All and Happy New Year!
As promised here are some photos from Ritual Cyclical with Mark Dendy Dance and Theater Projects. As I mentioned in my previous post, the 80 dancers involved were separated into different groups. The group I was a part of was representative of the Wall Street Folks in NYC. We were mainly stationed on the side of the Metropolitan Opera House with the cement walls symbolic of cubicles. There are many more incredible photographs that I am not able to share with you, but please check out these links! Both photographers did an amazing job capturing the energy of this work and they deserve to be seen!
917Photography Kevin Yatarola
I wanted to share another video from Mark Dendy's Ritual Cyclical, which I was a part of this summer. As you watch the video you will see that the dancers are sectioned off into different groups that include hipsters, tree people, water people, wall streeters, opera goers, homeless people, and more! We all had our designated areas throughout Lincoln Center Plaza so that even with the crowds of people that attended, everyone had something to watch no matter where they were! Enjoy!
For the first time in several years I saw a live full length performance of The Nutcracker. I have to say I am glad I waited awhile to see a performance. Despite the fact that many veteran dancers cringe when they hear the music playing while holiday shopping at their favorite department store, I have always found the ballet to be quite magical. As I moved away from ballet in my own performing career, I have to say this was probably one of the more difficult things for me to give up and hearing the music always gives me a feeling of nostalgia.
I remember my first Nutcracker quite clearly. Being too young to audition, another little dancer and I were asked to join the production when they were in need of a couple of extra children to come out from under the giant hooped skirt of Mother Ginger who towered over us on stilts. The part has a mere couple of minutes of stage time in the second act of a Ballet that takes a couple of hours. This gave my little friend and I time to explore and get lost in all of the nooks and crannies of the Civic Center in Salisbury, MD where the performance took place. It also left us plenty of time to watch the rest of the show with all of the older dancers who we admired in their beautiful costumes.
From then on, like for many dancers, performing in the Nutcracker became an annual tradition. It was always wonderful to finally get that part you had wanted for so many years and practically already knew from either understudying or watching it. Many a slumber party was spent with friends discussing who we thought would get what part the following year and certain parts became a right of passage.
Being passed up for the coveted roll of Clara as a younger dancer, I was thrilled to dance the roll my Senior year of high school in a version where Clara is magically transformed into the Sugar Plum Fairy in the second act. I remember taking the role very seriously and spent hours studying the version with Gelsey Kirkland for acting tips. For me the responsibility of Clara was to take the audience back to a time of childish wonder as they experience her magical journey. I had three more opportunities to dance the roll while dancing with the Ballet Theatre of Maryland and the picture above is from my final performance in 2006. With me is Bryan Skates who is probably one of the most skilled and knowledgeable partners I have ever had the privilege of working with.
I hope everyone finds a way to tap into their own childish wonder this Holiday Season!
This summer I had the great privilege of taking part in Ritual Cyclical, a large scale, site specific work by Bessie and OBIE award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy. Designed for Lincoln Center's Hearst Plaza, the work was commissioned to open the Lincoln Center out of Doors Festival, and to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the American Dance Festival and the 40th anniversary of the Kronos Quartet. I wanted to share this video of one of the opening sections of the work, where almost all of the 80 dancers involved are improving their way through the crowds. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for pictures of my group dancing on the side of the Met!........
Throughout your career as a professional dancer it is inevitable that at some point you will acquire an ailment that will need attending to by a medical professional. Having been through this process a few times I am reminded of some important things to look out for while taking care of your instrument.
Oh yeah....and the pics are from a magazine for Saratoga Hospital which was celebrating it's new Performing Arts Rehabilitation Program. I was delighted to pose with my friend/Physical Therapist, Sarah DiPasquale, who was a former dancer with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and played a huge roll in pioneering the program!
Tip 1: Knowledge is power
If you have breezed through your early training with little to no injuries, then even a minor injury can seem overwhelming and even career ending. For some, myself included, the first instinct is avoidance. This is not the best solution. Whatever your issue is, avoiding answers is in no way helpful. If anything, your injury will progress and then will take longer to heal or even worse, in the process of compensating for your injury you may get another one.
Tip 2: Find Doctors you like working with
From your PCP to your Physical Therapist, make sure you find someone you like and are comfortable with. Not always being the most outspoken person, I am a stickler for this. Make sure you have someone who understands what you do as a dancer, or at least wants to learn. I have had some wonderful doctors who have known the importance of getting back to work safely and in a timely fashion. If you end up with someone who does not understand this, or wants to dismiss you with no solution, I recommend finding someone else.
Tip 3: Your PCP or Orthopedic is not the end of the road
If you are a novice in navigating the medical field, know that your doctors are specialist in THEIR fields. Orthopedics are masters of surgery. If your x-ray comes up clear (aka you don't need surgery), but you know something is wrong, don't be afraid to ask for a script for Physical Therapy.
Tip 4: You may have to lie
As dancers we are use to being tough and pride ourselves on our high pain tolerance. We are use to pushing our pain aside and have the ability to ignore it's existence. When you are sitting across from your doctor it is NOT the time to do this. If anything, when they ask you your pain level on a scale from 1-10 it doesn't hurt to exaggerate, just a little...shhhhhh. It is best to be as descriptive as possible. Prior to an appointment it's a good idea to be extra observant and maybe even write down what you notice so that you don't forget once you are in the office.
Photo by Gary Gold
A wonderful night of live music and dance awaits you! On May 4th the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company is bringing Synesthesia to the Troy Music Hall in upstate New York. Musicians Cornelius Dufallo, Brian Melick, Monica Wilson-Roach, and Maria Zemantauski will be joining us in this venue, known for it's exceptional acoustics. I am very excited to be a part of this show! If you'd like to catch a sneak peak of the performance, you have two opportunities. We will be performing excerpts of the dances with live music this Thursday April 25th at Hudson Valley Community College and again on Friday April 26th during Troy Night Out. If you like what you see and hear (I know you will!) make sure to check out the rest of the show with full costumes, lights, and atmosphere! As an added bonus, we will be giving away free digital download cards at these preview events, good for a free download of excerpts from Maria Zemantauski's music for the dance Compas, which is on the program for May 4th. These cards can ALSO be used to get $5 off your May 4th ticket! Click here to RSVP to these preview events on FB and keep up with any changes or updates!
I am very excited to be a part of Philadelphia Reads, a free community night at Penn Museum that will kick off a month-long children's book drive! In addition to the museum's usual offerings there will be various hands on activities and workshops in Middle Eastern drumming and Egyptian Hieroglyphics as well as performances in storytelling, poetry, and of course, dancing. Make sure to bring any unused children's books cluttering up your house, and come experience this fantastic community event! Books will be collected through Mother's Day. For more information on this event Click Here!
Philadelphia Reads! Community Night
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street
Event runs 5pm-8pm
dance performances will be at 6pm and 7pm
This is a FREE event!For more information Click Here!
Once again, four companies will come together on the Proctors Stage, to bring you two evenings of modern dance! The Next Move Dance Festival, curated by Ellen Sinopoli, will feature the Caitlin Trainor Dance Company, Melanie Maar, Lucky Plush Productions, as well as Ellen's own Company. I am happy to be joining ESDC for this festival, where I will be performing work that was often done my first year with the company....ah memories. I am very excited to once again perform Becoming, a solo to the exotic music of Zoe B. Zak. Below you can find the poem that was used as inspiration for the piece. Enjoy!
Saturday April 6th at 7pm
Next Move Dance Festival
Proctors Theater, Schenectady, NY
Click here for more information!