Just wanted to share that since I ended my New York semester, I’ve started up a new blog!
If you liked reading me here, you should check it out over at: MMWords.
Just wanted to share that since I ended my New York semester, I’ve started up a new blog!
If you liked reading me here, you should check it out over at: MMWords.
Broadway Dance Center has several super programs. The training program, the summer intern program, international student visa program and the professional semester are just a few. In my four months at BDC I’ve met a lot of the students in programs and they always have amazing things to say about their experience. I take class with students in these programs daily and they’re all stunningly talented. I’ve also gotten to know a few of the students in the programs and I can say that they are not only dedicated dancers, but really kind people as well.
Tonight was the holiday showcase for BDC’s Professional Semester (ProSem) students. Their program ends this month and the showcase is an opportunity for them to perform both their work and the choreography of faculty at BDC. I wasn’t planning on going to the showcase, even though I wanted to, because I’d heard it was sold out. I was informed however, that because I was staff (look at me, part of the staff) I didn’t need a ticket and could just come!
So after class, I ran out to get some white paint (of course I ran out mid-project), then made my way back to 42nd Street Studios where the showcase was being held.
I managed to get one of the last seats in the audience and eagerly awaited the start of the show.
From start to finish, I was absolutely blown away. The eighteen students in BDC’s first semester of the Professional Semester were beautifully trained and wonderfully talented. I loved that the showcase allowed the students to perform their own choreography and it was so exciting to see the students I dance with every day performing their own work for the sold-out audience.
I would get into my favorite pieces but then I’d have to describe the entire program. The dancers showed such versatility; so many styles of dance were represented. It was clear that everyone in the program was going to go on the have a very successful dancing career, and some of them have already begun!
At the end of the program, one of the students took the mic to thank the director of educational programming for all her work. It was so touching to see how strong of a bond all the dancers had formed with the staff and with each other during their semester. I’m hanging on to my program so that I can remember all the names of the dancers…I’m positive they’ve only just begun to take the dance world by storm.
It’s just another example of what an unreal opportunity this semester has been for me. Even though I wasn’t in one of these programs, I still was able to take classes with the dancers in them. I am honored to have spent so much time surrounded by the high level of professionalism, dedication, and passion in the dancers at BDC.
Congratulations to all the ProSem students graduating, you were all wonderful tonight!
As promised, here’s the post about the rest of my Saturday after the Rockette Experience in the morning!
After the workshop, I called up my friend Matt who was coming in to the city for the day with a few of his friends! Matt took the bus down from our school in MA and I was eager to see some familiar faces! We met up at Burger Heaven on Madison and 42nd where we caught up over some deliciously greasy food. When my stomach was no longer growling, we made our way down 5th avenue, admiring the decorated buildings and groaning over how ridiculous the crowds were on the weekend.
Of course, we saw the tree, but I told him he had to go back later when it was dark and he could really appreciate it! As we made our way towards Central Park we stopped to see some amazing street performers! They were obviously well rehearsed and very funny! They had a lot of great tricks, but I managed to get my phone out to tape their grand finale!
When they asked for donations, I happily whipped out my wallet and dropped in what I could. I explained to Matt, “Got to support the fellow performers!”
When the crowd had dispersed, we continued down fifth ave and into Central Park. We all agreed that it was nice to be in the park but still see the skyscrapers of the city. We went to the skating rink, but only to watch as there was a huge line!
Behind us you can sort of see how packed the ice was!
After a long walk through the park with Matt and his friends, I had to get some shopping done! I left the boys at Columbus Circle and hopped on the train to head back to Bryant Park. The park was so fun, filled with vendors surrounding the rink and a Christmas tree decorated in blue and white. While I watched the skaters on the rink, I heard a group of girls asking someone whether that was the New York tree. As he explained that, no, this was Bryant Park, not Rockefeller, I imagined how amazed the girls would be when they finally saw the real tree if they thought this one was impressive!
I browsed through the vendors looking for gifts for my mom and my sister…but I couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind. I knew to get my sister what she really wanted, I’d have to head down to Canal Street, so I made my way there.
After a very long and complicated process, I found a great gift for my sister…but seeing as she might read this, I’m not giving anything away!
At this point, I was really getting wiped out. Battling through weekend holiday crowds in the city is exhausting! I was getting really tired of being pushed and shoved around and decided it was time to get some food before going to meet the other interns at 47th and 7th to see West Side Story!
I stopped for dinner Europa Cafe, ordered chicken soup and some cheesecake, and took a seat at the only open table, which was a table for four. It was wicked crowded in there, and sure enough, two women asked if I minded if they sat with me. I of course didn’t mind, and invited them to sit down. One of the women had on elaborate makeup, false lashes, huge hair, and rings on every finger. I should have guessed where she was from before I asked: Vegas.
I actually had a really nice time sitting and chatting with two strangers over dinner. They were both from Vegas visiting for a few days and they were happy to tell me about what they’d done in the city, as well as hear about what I do in the city.
“Is it always this crazy?” The woman with the huge hair asked.
“It’s a lot worse on the weekends, and since the tree was lit it’s just been mass chaos,” I explained.
At 7 I had to bid my new friends goodbye. They wished me luck with my dancing and waved goodbye.
Full of warm soup, I happily made my way to Times Square, a little more tolerant of the pushing and shoving. I met the other interns at the theater and we followed the usher’s direction to our seats way up in the third mezzanine. I was almost dizzy as we took our seats, we were so high up!
The play was, of course, really amazing. From way up there I could really appreciate the formations and the intricacy of the choreography. There were some really amazing dancers in the cast, and the actress who played Maria had a spectacular voice. Now I really understand what my teachers mean when they say you have to perform for the entire theater, even the audience up in the mezzanine. When the actors were looking straight out at the orchestra level, I felt like I was just observing from above a play that I wasn’t really invested in. It was when the actors projected their characters all the way up to us (which is very difficult) that I felt included in the story.
I had seen West Side Story back when my high school did it one year, but it was a whole different experience to see it on Broadway. The entire cast was extremely talented…obviously…they’re on Broadway! I forgot how sadly the play ended. When the curtain fell I was definitely left feeling the heavy message the play was trying to send.
The whole way home the interns couldn’t stop humming I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and briiiiiightttt!
When I finally fell into bed it was 18 hours after I had left it that morning. After a long day of dancing, walking around Manhattan, shopping, and battling the crowds, I spent today in my pajamas, eating Oreos, and getting odd jobs done in preparation for my last week in the city! I can’t believe it!
Yesterday was such a long day, I’m breaking it into two posts. So stay tuned for another post later today!
But I’ll start off with my second weekend working as a Rockette Assistant at Radio City!
After last weekend, Barbara (who works as BDC’s liaison to the Rockettes) came in on Monday and stopped by my desk. She came over to say that she was so proud of how well we all did last weekend. I was so excited! She went on and on about how impressed she was and how she thought she was seeing things when she saw us up front assisting with the mock audition! It was so great to hear good things from Barbara, and it made me more confidant going into this weekend!
This week, I did not wake up late. Thanks to my alarm (that I triple checked the night before) and my boyfriend, who was up working on projects until 5:45am (he’s becoming nocturnal), and texted me making sure I had woken up. Thanks, Joey 🙂
I donned my leotard and tights and made my way down our deserted street at quarter to seven. Seriously, if you ever want to see the Bronx when it’s quiet…any time before seven it’s like a ghost town. I got to Radio City a little bit early, but still went up to the rehearsal space with one of the other assistants who was there as well. As we set up the room and arranged the chairs neatly, I asked her about her audition experience. She’s auditioned several times and always gets all the way to the end, it’s just a matter of time now.
When girls audition for the Rockettes, there’s a lot of factors in play. Not only do you have to make it all the way to the end, through several cuts, but once you get there they take measurements. See, in order to join the Rockettes, you have to fit into a costume of a girl who is leaving. So if the only girls that are leaving are on the shorter side (5’6″ is the minimum height) and you’re 5’10” like me, your torso is probably going to be too long for their costumes. Even if you’re the best dancer there, if you don’t fit into the costume, someone else will the get the part. That’s why girls audition over and over…they’re just waiting for someone their size to leave!
The other assistant talked me through her audition process, which was very insightful and definitely something I’ll have to keep in mind before my audition in April (hopefully!!).
After our chat, it was time to get the day started. My job was to stand by the elevator and direct the dancers taking the workshop to the rehearsal space. In between groups of dancers, I peeked into the nearby rooms. There were real Rockette costumes all over the place! I couldn’t help but admire them up-close. I’d pick up one of the headpieces and pretend like I was wearing it, but put it down really quick as soon as I heard the elevator bell ring!
This week we had not one, but two Rockettes! The five assistants lined up in the front alongside the real pros. I couldn’t believe I was dancing next to two of Radio City’s Rockettes! After the warm-up we went into choreography.
I was surprised when we started learning a routine that was not what we learned last week. I figured the whole point of us standing in the back the first weekend was so that we’d know the choreography for this week when we were up front. I must have figured wrong because there we were learning three routines I’d never done. But this was a good thing! Now I had an even larger repertoire of Rockette choreography!
The jazz number was a lot slower this week which required an even higher attention to detail. The tap routine was a lot trickier as well, but I got it by the time I had to do it on my own! The kick routine had lots of the famous eye-high kicks, so you can bet I’m sore today.
Once we’d learned all the choreography, we arranged the 45 dancers into nine groups of five for the mock auditions. We took turns standing off to the side in pairs in front of the group of dancers “auditioning.” The Rockettes watched as they danced and it was our job to do the choreography so that if the dancers forgot, they could look at us, which, as I said last week, put the pressure on us! I think I was most nervous when we were doing tap, because the other assistant didn’t have time to put on her tap shoes (long story) so my taps were reverberating off the walls of the rehearsal space…they had to be perfect!
Once we were done with all nine groups doing all three routines, our duties were finished. Before I left though, I had a question to ask of one of our Rockette teachers. One of our teachers was busy doing the Q&A but the other was seated with the assistants. I sat down next to her.
“So, any advice for an aspiring Rockette?”
“Take a lot of classes,” she said. I nodded, knowing I’d taken the most classes I’d be taking for a while during my four months at BDC. “The hardest part for me was the strength required in every move.” She went on to talk about the precision, and how important attention to detail is. “In the audition, that’s what they’re looking for. How many details you can pick up on. So if their head is tilted like this, you tilt your head like that.” I listened really closely as she gave advice because she definitely knows what she’s talking about since she’s been a Rockette for nine years!
After my chat with the Rockette, it was time to go meet some Stonehill friends for a little time in the city! But more on the rest of my crazy Saturday later…
Christmas Countdown: 13 days!
Last night, the program that helped the interns find their internships took us all out to for dessert to celebrate the end (is it already that time!?) of the semester. Everyone was going and it was free dessert…I was obviously in.
The program chose Max Brenner’s as the location for dessert, which sounded vaguely familiar when I looked up directions. After my dance classes I met up with two of the other girls and we hopped on the Q train to Union Square (note I hadn’t actually had any dinner and was going straight to dessert…typical). We easily found the restaurant and after a little confusion, met up with all the representatives from the program as well as other students in the program from Australia!
From the moment we walked in, I knew I was going to like this place. It had a light, not overbearing, aroma of chocolate and a warm, cozy atmosphere which was a pleasant relief from the constant cold. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the chocolate pizza…that’s right…chocolate pizza, on display. While we waited to be seated I looked through the restaurant’s chocolate shop which only worsened my craving for chocolate.
We were finally seated when everyone arrived and were handed dessert menus. Page by page, my stomach growled and my eyes got bigger and bigger. How was I ever going to decide between the Melting Chocolate Truffle Heart Cake & Shake and the Chocolate Creamiest Cheesecake & Shake? Not to mention the Banana Tempura Fondue and the The 100% Pure Chocolate Chocolate Experience Ice Cream “Max-Wich.” Obviously I also had to get some hot chocolate which meant choosing between their fourteen variations on the winter-y classic.
What’s a girl to do!?
“What are you getting?” I asked Brian, who was seated next to me.
“Just a fruit smoothie I think.”
“So, you’re going to get the cheesecake and let me have it.”
Brian sportingly agreed to my plan…after all, he wasn’t paying for it. So when it came time to order, I got the Swiss Whipped Cream Chocolate and the Truffle Heart Cake mentioned before and Brian got the cheesecake.
Soon after, these beautiful masterpieces arrived at the table (taken on my phone because I wasn’t anticipating desserts that necessitated a camera…I underestimated Max Brenner’s).
The chocolate cake came with ice cream and a chocolate shot topped with whipped cream. The cheesecake also got a chocolate shot and came with a mandarin and mint salad that I let Brian have. And what’s in those mini shakers? Why, melted chocolate of course, which I used to douse both the cake and the cheesecake.
It wasn’t until Brian and I tried surreptitiously switching plates that any of the other interns noticed I planned on having two desserts. I gave everyone a bit of cheesecake which still left a very sizable amount for me, and though everyone else barely finished their desserts…yes…I finished two.
No one was really surprised.
Needless to say, I didn’t need dinner…that was my dinner and it was delicious. 5 stars for you Max Brenner. Or 4 stars…whatever…the best rating you can give a restaurant, Max Brenner’s gets it. We already made plans to go back this weekend for brunch…waffles with strawberries and chocolate sauce? Yes, please!
After thoroughly stuffing ourselves full of chocolate-y goodness, we agreed to stop by the tree at Rockefeller (this would be my fourth time seeing the tree…it just doesn’t get old!). Joey had never seen the tree before, and he’s from China so we naturally had to make sure he had this classic American experience before our semester was up!
After a late night with the interns it was back to work today, where April surprised me by asking if I wanted to see the David Letterman show with her! I said yes, obviously, and in 5 minutes we were bundled up and booking it down 45th towards the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Once we’d checked in, we had a while to wait, so we walked to Columbus Circle and browsed through the Christmas market where dozens of vendors set up booths selling everything from purses, to jewelery to food! April generously treated me to some Glühwein which was so warm and tasty! I’d never had anything like it before, but it had a great taste and definitely warmed up the hands.
We also took a detour and stopped by the old BDC location.
The sign was still there and everything, but the guy who bought the building is going to tear it down eventually, which stinks 😦 BDC has had to move several times before finding its current home on 45th street, but we like it there 🙂
When it was time, we made our way back to the theater. After the run-down on the rules, we were brought into the theater where the band was playing and the staff was enthusiastically clapping along.
The taping of the show was really fun. Dave was hysterical and we were told to laugh as heartily as possible because “you guys are our soundtrack!” My favorite part was when Dave asked who was from out of town…most people cheered. Who was from out of the country…a few raised hands. Who was a New Yorker? Me! Me! Me! I got to raise my hand and cheer along with April and the rest of our group, who, by the sounds of it, were the only natives in the theater.
The guest was Bill O’Reilly who was there promoting his new book, as well as Phosphorescent, the musical guest! I get to do the coolest things because of my internship! Lucky me 🙂
Look for me in the audience tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman because the guy behind me asked a question, so I’m pretty sure when the camera showed him, I got in on the shot as well! So famous, hahaha!
Christmas Countdown: 16 Days!