my story…

I’m never without a book when I crawl under the covers at night. And it’s usually a biography of someone famous. There’ve been a few infamous folks as well. Mrs. Wallace Simpson comes to mind.

Folks living in the glare of the spotlight captivate me. I wonder if what we see or hear or read about them is real. Or is much of it fabricated for public consumption? I grew up under the spell of Ingrid Bergman and Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Cary Grant. Theirs was a Hollywood where movie stars were celluloid creations. What we saw wasn’t always who they were off-screen.

Historical figures also interest me. I’ve read the life stories of several presidents, including FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon and Obama. What propels these men to choose the extraordinary instead of the ordinary path is a lesson in advanced psychology.

The common denominator in all of these biographies is parental influence. Most often it’s the lack of, or overabundance of…parental involvement. As a young boy, Cary Grant suffered the loss of his mother when his father had her committed to an institution. Grant didn’t learn of her existence until he was well on his way to becoming a Hollywood icon. Forever after, he sought her approval which he felt he never got.

Rose Kennedy left much of the parenting duties to nannies and staff. John was a sickly child who never received the doting care and concern of his mother. As an adult, he was not overly affectionate toward her. In fact, it was his father whose approval the son desperately wanted, and whose loyalty and love meant the most to the president.

Nixon’s Quaker mother instilled in him the ambition to always do well…no matter the odds. And Sarah Roosevelt made it impossible for Eleanor to follow in her mother-in-law’s footsteps. She whose very life revolved solely around her beloved Franklin.

So what’s different between these lives…and mine? Mostly the trappings. Articles about their comings and goings are devoured by millions of adoring fans; I have a few loyal readers following hugmamma.com. They dine at 21 in NYC; I’ve been there a handful of times as the guest of one of my husband’s clients. They fly hither and yon in first class accommodations; I’ve been fortunate to ride up front a time or two. The world is their oyster; I’ve traveled enough to know contentment…sitting on my deck, watching the world go by.

More importantly the death of my father, which left my siblings and me in the care of an uneducated, impoverished 30-year-old mother, left invisible scars that no amount of time will ever erase.

When we delve beneath the surface of our lives, what we find is a commonality to our human story. No matter what we go on to make of ourselves, we are the product of how we were raised…by whom…and how they were affected by their own life stories.

The only difference between one story and another is what we each bring to it. Do we improve upon what came before? Or do we let the story play out according to script. I prefer to think we can tweak a line here and there, maybe even rewriting a chapter or two. The ending can resemble a happily-ever-after, even if it’s not the one in An Affair to Remember, or Sleepless in Seattle.

Life is not a done deal…until it’s done. There’s time…minutes, hours, days, months, years…to do some rewriting. All it takes is a bit of imagination…

…and a whole lot of guts.

………hugmamma.

 

 

Advertisements

kanye west…for president???

OMG!!! Just heard on CNN that Kanye West might be considering a run for the presidency in 2020??? Reality TV in the White House??? The Kardashians taking over Washington D.C.???

That is even more bizarre than Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Just because we can…all run for president…does it mean we should? 

Tea Party conservatism has dragged in all manner of folks thinking they know what our country needs. Forget the need for wisdom and self-control and experience.

For Heaven’s sake! If I had the energy…I could be President!

Not!!! I know my limitations and strengths. Managing the President’s “to do” list sure as heck isn’t something I’m up for.

What makes Kanye West think he can…interface with our military hierarchy?…world leaders twice or three times his age?…Wall Street financiers?…white constituents who hate black rappers?…and most of all, Tea-Party congressional reps who’d just as soon impeach him, as recognize that he is the executive branch.

Talk about a political stalemate!!!

And who, besides the Kardashian fans…many in other countries, would want to see those women parading around half-naked in the White House? Moreover, it doesn’t seem likely they’d give up their millions as reality TV stars to sit around twiddling their thumbs. I can’t see them volunteering to mingle with the underprivileged at homeless shelters. The sisters would stand out in their stilettos and bouffant hairdos.

The fact that sex is a huge part of the Kardashian brand won’t sit well with conservative evangelists, either.  Come to think of it, neither would liberals with good, old-fashioned values. 

Between Kanye West’s ego and Kris Jenner’s managerial skills, I’ve no doubt they’re thinking seriously about the presidency. After all, Donald Trump is just as qualified. 

Reality TV and real life…

…are they really one and the same???

………hugmamma.

living her best life #47: counting down…

…until I’m home again. That’s what’s foremost in Pat’s mind, having touched down in Rochester, Minnesota only 48 hours or so ago.

After spending a couple of days with my husband and me sightseeing in and around Seattle and its environs, Pat and Brad headed to The Mayo Clinic where they will now spend the next month-and-a-half. To get them off on the right foot, so to speak, we were intent upon wining and dining them and making them smile and laugh until they were exhausted, falling into bed…happy as clams tucked snugly into their shells for the night. And I mean snugly since they insisted on sharing the vintage double bed in our former master bedroom suite-turned- guest suite. They opted not to share our daughter’s queen-size bed, probably because they knew she’d be enroute home the day they left.

Arriving from Honolulu where they reside Sunday evening, we drove to a casual waterfront restaurant where I’d made reservations for us to celebrate Father’s Day. Dining outdoors on the deck was like being in Hawaii, the sun beating down without letup. While the others weren’t bothered by the heat, I almost followed through on the server’s suggestion to check out their souvenir shop for visors. Instead I decided that if Pat could withstand the sun’s rays, so could I. If there’s one thing I’ve since learned from her it’s not to be a wuss.

On Monday we traveled into Seattle from where we live in the suburbs to visit the Chihuly Museum. Pat had asked to see it, and like her fairy godparents, my husband and I wanted to grant her wish. Even though we’d been there before, we did not need to be asked twice to return to the museum again. For those unfamiliar with master glass blower Chihuly, he has become a global phenomenon because of the glass structures he has created to mimic the beauty found in nature. His museum is not to be missed. In fact, seeing it again my husband and I were once more awed by how the outdoor gardens had matured around Chihuly’s glass creations.

Following our tour of the glass museum, we lunched in the Sky Cafe high atop Seattle’s  landmark Space Needle. When asked if she’d prefer…a great view and good food…or great food and a good view…Pat said she wasn’t aware there was a restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. I’m sure she’d agree, the view AND the food were awesome. While dining, the restaurant did 2-3 revolutions showing us all of Seattle a couple of times over as we sat enjoying our meal. Afterwards, we stepped out onto the Observation Deck one level above to enjoy the gentle breezes of the outdoors while gazing down at the rooftops of the myriad buildings below.

Before leaving the city, we headed to Seattle Center’s huge fountain, an attraction for old and young alike…adults chilling while children frolic in the water cascading down from on high after being shot into the air as though from a cannon. Again, Pat remained in the scorching heat with the men as wimpy me sought comfort under the canopy of trees offering shelter from the afternoon sun. Oh well. I am a decade older than my sister-in-law so maybe I can claim old age as an excuse.

To round out a wonderful day, we enjoyed a casual meal at a Japanese restaurant closer to home. It’s always nice to visit with our nephew Kanoa and his wife Erica. The evening was made even more special by their beguiling 6-month-old, Luca. He literally charmed the pants off of all of us…well, at least mine.

When we sent Pat and Brad on their way the next day, it was with armfuls of love and prayers. And I know they’ll continue to need as much from all of us as they prepare for what lies ahead.

…love and prayers, pat and brad.

………hugmamma

i’m a huge fan…

…of Michael Jackson’s talent. 

Once upon a time I would have done what I could to nurture my dream of becoming an entertainer.

I can remember as a child sharing a passion for music with my mom. Among my cherished memories are the occasions when she would play the ukulele while we sang her favorite Hawaiian songs. Among them, Ke kali neau, The Hawaiian Wedding Song.

My love for dance was initiated by an older sister who taught me…the fox trot and the cha, cha, cha. Later, in my teens, I went on to master and instruct others in…the mashed potatoes, the twist, and the jerk.

In college I entered a talent show. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a competition because I don’t remember any prizes being awarded. However, the next day I got a call which made me feel as though I’d won.

A guy called inviting me to be the vocalist for his band, explaining they did gigs at the local hangout for university kids. Thrilled to be asked, I nevertheless decided against a singing career. For a girl like me, born on Maui in the late 40’s, entertaining was too much of a dream to ever become reality.

The rest is history. At 65 I’m very contented with my lot in life…a housewife for 44 years with a loving husband and daughter who cherish me.

Michael Jackson, on the other hand, died a lonely man most of his life. If he’d lived longer he more than likely would have enjoyed some of what I have…in the love of his three children.

I have probably read all that’s been printed about Jackson, before and after his death. Not having kept abreast of his life and career once he separated from his brothers, I wanted to know all that there was about him after he died.

Reading various biographies about Jackson helped me formulate a more balanced perspective of the man. I arrived at my own decisions as to who among all the players in his life were there for the right or wrong reasons. These included…the lawyers, the businessmen and women…the reporters and others in the media…and family and friends. 

Without thinking twice, I’m certain that Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe both loved their husband very much. That Michael Jackson used them to his own advantage is also undeniable. 

Jackson was a master manipulator, having learned from his family and all those who wanted a piece of him financially. Unfortunately, that included everyone who had anything to do with him. How could they resist? He was an irresistible man, personally and professionally, by all accounts. 

Blame for the mess his life became was shared by all, including Jackson himself. It didn’t help that poverty set the scene for the way it unfolded, his parents and siblings grabbing for whatever they could to keep the dream of wealth alive. And Michael spending his way through billions of dollars faster than he could earn it.

It was apparent Jackson was trying to fill the hole in his psyche with all the material things he could amass. That was the reason the number of concerts for This Is It quickly jumped from the initially agreed upon 10, to the staggering amount of 50. He was in hock up to his eyeballs…and some. 

The man was a magician when it came to getting in and out of trouble, personally and professionally. Unfortunately he had to pay up sooner or later. Hence the lawsuits that never seemed to stop, even after his death.

Untouchable, The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan, reveals the overwhelmingly muddled mania surrounding one of the most iconic celebrities ever to have been born. I could only repeat to myself as I read my way through the book’s nearly 600 pages that it was almost best that Jackson died when he did.

He was like the grey whale at the center of a sharks’ feeding frenzy that I’d seen on a television documentary. There would have been no shred of the man left, had his life continued to spiral downward as it was.

It was interesting to observe that among all the bad people in Jackson’s life, there was no differentiation as to race, creed, gender, age, or social and financial standing. Whites, blacks, Jews, Muslims, men, women, young, old, rich, poor…they all shared in the Sodom and Gommorrah that followed the star wherever he went.

The more I read of celebrities who succumbed to the trappings of fame and wealth, the more I’m thankful for having escaped going down that road. Even minor celebs have their share of unwanted drama, like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and the self-absorbed Kardashians.

Jackson was a smart man in many ways and determinedly naive in others. In the moment he could destroy all he’d built by shrewd business negotiating. More often than not, the little boy who didn’t have a normal childhood won out when struggling with the man Jackson was trying to become. 

As in all walks of life it seems, if our morals and values are not solidly grounded, we can easily be caught up in the confetti that swirls around us. If we could only remember that all those little pieces of paper eventually find their way…

…downward.

………hugmamma.

(Wikepedia photo)

 

 

just because we can…

…doesn’t mean we should.

Americans tend to assume that our right to freedom of speech is God-given and encompasses everything and anything our brains can imagine. No matter that some of us have brains made of silly putty. Which, in my opinion, is the case with Messrs. Rogen and Goldberg of The Interview fame.

I may be old-school believing that some thoughts should remain just that…thoughts. However capitalism being what it is…“show me the money!”…as exclaimed by Cuba Gooding’s character in the film Jerry Maguire…even hair-brained schemes can see the light of day.

As moms the world over will agree…sometimes the only way a child learns his lesson is the hard way. And it looks like corporate mogul Sony who backed the low budget $40 million dollar fiasco hoping to reap $30 million in the first weekend alone, got punked and pranked up the wahzoo!

Back-pedaling is something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the media these days. Politicians do it all the time, as do celebrities. And lately, even mega rich sports figures have had to defend their questionable habits.

Thankfully the majority of us still know how to filter what it is we would like to do, and what it is we should and shouldn’t do.

It’s no secret that the rest of the world views America as the land where the spoiled children live. And yet, many still make their way here hoping for a little of what most of us luxuriate in every day.

Fortunately there’s more that’s good about America than the few crazies who make the headlines…

………hugmamma.

 

thanks!…usher

You read it right.

I’m thanking Usher for bringing together…young and old…black, white and all colors in between…hip and not-so-hip…religious and aetheist…liberal and conservative…and of course, women and men…in celebration of our better angels.

In song and dance, we found common ground to set our differences aside for an evening. Squeezed into seats like those on an airplane, we were shoulder to shoulder with whomever it was that purchased the neighboring seat. We had no say in the matter. Ticket Master played Russian Roulette with our hard-earned cash.

Funny thing. No one turns up his nose at a much sought after ticket. Ask any football fan or tourist at a Broadway show.

When I bought the tickets during the summer I’d no idea what to expect.

Usher was one of my favorite coaches on TV’s The Voice. I admired his sincerity when handling those contestants he’d chosen to join his team. I was also mesmerized by his singing and accompanying dance moves. So I didn’t think twice about seeing him in concert.

Fortunately for me my husband is always game to see and do whatever catches my fancy. Our daughter agrees that it keeps her father youthful. He does too.

Needless to say we were surrounded by hoards of fans, mostly our daughter’s age. Yet no one looked askance at two old fogies looking like they’d mistaken Usher’s concert for some oldie but goodie like Neil Diamond. The man who checked handbags smilingly commented that we were somebody’s parents. We laughed along with him, although I assured him that we weren’t the parents of the couple who filed in ahead of us.

Were my daughter still living with us she would have been my concert companion. Instead, she’ll have to content herself with the video I text her. That is once I figure out how to do it.

As for the concert, the two acts hired to warm up the crowd for an hour or so were fine. I’d not heard of either, although that’s not saying a lot since I’ve no clue who the young folk are listening to these days.

What I do know is that using the colorful, four-letter word preceded by “mother” did not endear me to the second artist. Although I will say he had a splendid voice. The dancers accompanying him were amazing movers. However my husband and I agreed we were glad our daughter doesn’t do…that kind of dancing. A little too suggestive for our taste, what with all the bumping and grinding. Not to mention the skimpy costumes. What were they thinking? Actually it’s pretty obvious they’re not thinking.

Usher did not disappoint. His performance, as well as those of his dancers and musicians, was explosive. So was the production with its lights and smoke and technical wizardry. The staging platforms undulated upward and downward, forward and backward, even reconfiguring before our very eyes. How the female performers kept their footing on stiletto heels…and the male dancers bounced back into standing position from somersaults and floor splits…was mind blowing. It was like watching a three-ring circus. My eyes kept darting back and forth trying to catch every magical twist and turn before it faded from sight.

Nearing the end, the women seated beside me were up on their feet swaying and singing along with Usher. It was beautiful to see the entire arena of devoted fans on their feet joining him in song. Together it was as though the love between artist and fans was enough to change the world outside.

Audience applause brought Usher back for an encore. Before singing he asked for a moment of silence to remember the parents of Michael Brown, the shooting victim in a recent confrontation with a policeman in St. Louis, Missouri. As he sang a song of hope for brotherhood among humankind, tears welled up in my eyes.

Why don’t we invest more of ourselves in the arts where our spirits are allowed to engage with one another, rather than subjecting our better angels to grovel in the dust while our prehistoric instincts to kill or be killed be given full reign? What is our long-held fascination with gladiator-like activities…hunting for sport…or annihilation of those unlike ourselves?

Maybe we wouldn’t have to die in order to see Heaven, if only we would allow Heaven to exist…right here on earth. Something to think about when we give thanks on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks, Usher. For making my Thanksgiving…

…one for the ages…

………hugmamma.

 

 

nurturing thursdays: a simple ending…

There are moments…usually quiet ones…where I find myself contemplating life’s purpose.

While I may not practice my Catholic faith as religiously as I did in the past, I continue to believe in a benevolent God from whom I received the gift of my life. What I make of it will be to my credit or discredit. I will either return to His loving embrace, or turn my back on Him forever.

The talents with which I’ve been endowed don’t make the headlines. No one bears witness to them except those closest to me, and these I can count on one hand.

Having just returned from settling our daughter into her new home thousands of miles away, I’m comforted knowing that she is surrounded by furnishings that remind her of our cozy, little family. My husband and I poured our hearts into making every inch of our daughter’s apartment functional. She, meanwhile, went off to her new positions as a dancer with a small, contemporary company by day, and a teacher of energetic, young dancers by night. Returning to an apartment glowing with all the love two parents could instill in it, meant the world to our deeply appreciative daughter.

I admire and respect those whose talents bring them acclaim in their communities or throughout the world. How they manage to share themselves with so many is unfathomable to me. They deserve whatever accolades are sent their way, as well as our humble thanks and congratulations.

As we were en route back to our home, sitting side by side on a cramped airplane, I would intermittently reach for my husband’s hand. Attempting to slumber, I rubbed my thumb along the length of his, pleasantly contented in our synchronicity after all these years.

With eyes closed I reflected upon the end of life.

I thought of Robin Williams who had audiences in stitches with his genius for comedy.  Yet while his public adored him, Williams obviously didn’t think he was up to the task of continuing to live the life he’d carved out for himself. Learning that he had Parkinson’s Disease, as revealed by his girlfriend after Williams’ death,  probably brought down his “house of cards.”

Sad when life gets so out of hand that we forget the first substantive moment from which all others evolved.

It matters that our lives make an imprint, large or small. Just as in the film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” our existence is attested to by those whose lives we touch.

When my life ends, I would simply like to be caressing the hands of those I love…who have loved me in return…warts and all. I have made a difference in their lives…

…my existence matters.

………hugmamma.

Enjoy more inspirational posts at
http://beccagivens.wordpress.com/

On Meeting Robin Williams, Twice in a Lifetime

A sweet story of Robin Williams in the part of…an ordinary man. Hugs to this generous soul for allowing us to see the humble side of a genius.
………hugmamma.

Obzervashunal

Robin Williams memories As a remembrance to one of the greatest comedic minds of our times… R.I.P., Robin W.

I only just learned he passed. I found the news on a blog post and instantly recalled the two times I met the incredibly gifted artist, named Robin Williams.

The first instance was a chance meeting, me walking down an unassuming sidewalk at dusk stuck in my thoughts when a puppy jumped on my leg. I didn’t do much thinking, I simply bend down and started playing with him. The voice offering an apology was one I knew also without the use of my thinking apparatus, Robin Williams was saying sorry for his puppy… who couldn’t talk (I think!).

We actually talked for a few minutes, mostly about the puppy. I remember having the feeling he needed not to be recognized, but to be treated like a regular guy walking a friendly, cool puppy. …

View original post 354 more words

“good morning america” interviews…my nephew and his 4 children…

A very proud moment for our extended family was broadcast to the world on Good Morning America this morning.

Our nephew was interviewed along with two other dads by George Stephanopoulos.

Loreto has been a military man for many years, having served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan through several tours of duty. Needless to say he has missed watching his 4 children grow up, being home intermittently throughout their young lives.

Our niece Danielle, Loreto’s wife, has supported her husband in his career and seen to the upbringing of their children while he ‘s away. They feel blest when he is home with them and knowing Danielle, I’m certain she assures Loreto that he is still very much head of their family.

I’m certain they have their share of problems to deal with, as any family does. However I’m just as certain that military families with loved ones fighting overseas suffer in ways most of us could not even imagine.

Loreto and Danielle have done brilliantly…together and apart. Upon returning from the Middle East, he spent a few years at West Point teaching. And while tending to the needs of her children, she managed to earn a nursing degree and became a pediatric nurse. No slouch, either of them.

I salute our nephew and niece in their determination to do right by themselves, their children, their families, and their community.

Hawaii Pictures Kelly's Wedding 010Danielle and Loreto carry on the legacy of my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Parents who, by their example, instilled in their 12 children the importance of education, hard work, and compassion for others. All of which continues to pass from one generation to the next with the same dedication to living exemplary lives.IMG_3363

If I sound like a proud aunt…

…i am!!!

………hugmamma.

(Click below to watch the interview with George Stephanopoulos on today’s segment of Good Morning America.)

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/fathers-day-dads-surprised-kids-fathers-day-message-24102898

…dancing acrobats…

Had a nice conversation with my daughter yesterday. We covered a lot of territory.

A niece on my husband’s side attends college and works part-time in Chicago. She and her cousin, my daughter, met for brunch, catching up on one another’s life. A little later, my daughter met a dancer friend who just recently moved to the Windy City to be with her boyfriend.

The young lady didn’t decide to audition for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago until the last minute. At first she had difficulty with the online pre-registration. When she finally figured it out, the online registration had closed. She was instructed to call a number and was told she could show up and register in person at 8 a.m., an hour-and-a-half before the first group of 50 was to take class. Upon showing up, my daughter’s friend grew nervous as she watched dancers arriving for their scheduled audition times. Deciding she’d made a mistake to wait until the last minute, she fled never to return. Smart move.

My daughter and I agreed that auditions are not to be taken lightly. Dancers must be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to compete. It’s even more imperative when the company is one of the top choices for hundreds of dancers looking to be hired.

During our conversation, I learned why it was my daughter was one of the thirty dancers cut after the first few seconds of the choreography portion of the audition. She couldn’t hold a handstand quite as long, and comfortably, as those who weren’t cut.

Imagine that! Dancers are now required to include acrobatics in their bag of tricks. Not something my daughter learned to perfect in ballet.

Today’s choreographers are probably incorporating such moves as are found in Cirque du Soleil and street dancing, to “push the envelope” and to thrill audiences.  

Times-they-are-a-changing. And how! Like it or not…we’ve got to adjust…or wither on the vine and die.

I’m no quitter; neither is my daughter. Especially since life offers so much more than we could ever possibly sample. So while it might be trite, it’s nonetheless true…

…when one door closes…another door opens…

………hugmamma.

trickery over artistry…

Scott Hamill is undoubtedly correct in siding with the Olympic judges who awarded the 2014 gold medal to Russian ice skater Adelina Sotnikova. After all, he and they are the experts.

I’m no expert, however I’m entitled to my own opinion. And in my opinion, South Korea’s Yuna Kim was more deserving of the top prize. 

Sotnikova was, without a doubt, the more athletic of the two women. Aesthetics aside, for we all have our own preferences, the Russian competitor seemed to throw in as many jumps as she could muster beyond the two minute mark just to clinch Olympic gold. The beauty of ice skating went by the way side. All I saw were limbs flailing every which way as Sotnikova hurried  from one jump to the next. While I had been striving to apply some meaning to her movements, my efforts came to a sudden standstill when it became obvious that she was skating to beat the clock with all manner of trickery.

Kim, on the other hand, concluded a perfect free skate. Not only that but she was breathtakingly beautiful, exactly what one expects of a champion. She was not playing to the crowd, although she does that unintentionally. I’m certain the viewing audience on hand and at home held a collective breath, expelling it only minutes later in wondrous awe.

Watching the program with my daughter, we couldn’t help comparing the evolution of tricks as a mainstay for ice skaters and ballet dancers alike. The higher the jumps, the better. The more spins, the louder the applause. The standard of excellence has definitely undergone a transformation from the ice skating performances of Peggy Fleming to the current moves performed by Adelina Sotnikova.

In ballet we had Anna Pavlova…

For a very long time Anna believed that her technical proficiency was curtailed by her physical abilities until one of her teachers, Pavel Gerdt, told her, “Let others perform acrobatic tricks. The thing you consider to be a shortage in reality is a rare gift which singles you out from thousands.”

Anna graduated in 1899 at the age of 18, and her graduation performance in Pavel Gerdt’s Les Dryades prétendues (The False Dryads) was so successful that they were allowed to enter the Imperial Ballet Company. Anna Pavlova was accepted as a coryphée – a ballet dancer ranking above a member of the corps de ballet and below a soloist.

In the next several years she performed in such ballets as The Pharaoh’s Daughter, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer) and Giselle. The public at the time was used to academic ballet performances, and Pavlova’s different style which paid little heed to strict academic rules made a splash. She could dance with bent knees, bad turnout, misplaced port de bras and incorrectly placed tours, but her amazing physicality and the spirituality of the characters she created delighted the public and impressed critics.

Currently, ballet schools and companies are placing a great deal of emphasis on tricks. Gelsey Kirkland, an acclaimed ballerina who now coaches touched upon the subject in an interview.

K: Are there any specific areas of technique you like to focus on?
G: The explosion in bravura technique over the past several decades has been fantastic and I would certainly like to learn some of those tricks! But other, more subtle areas of technique have perhaps been neglected. What I try to do is to see where the need is, and one of the needs seems to be in exploring and respecting the boundaries of classical port de bras and explaining it with an artistic perspective. I like to help people find the beauty inside the restrictions.

 
K: Can we talk about the training system in America?
G: I believe the American training in general is not rooted enough in European tradition. There is no national system of training, as in Russia, to prepare people for the great classics. A training system needs to integrate technique, style, mime, acting, character dancing, and historical dance. These things are essential to putting the puzzle together. The focus of today’s ballet training is often primarily athletic. Beautiful port de bras and épaulement however do not appear out of the blue. They need to be built into the training.

(- See more at: http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/September-2005/Gelsey-Kirkland-Speaking-from-the-Heart#sthash.opj9htrA.dpuf)

Athleticism and artistry should be given equal consideration in both ice skating and ballet. To give one more weight over the other is to favor one type of skater or ballerina over another. In sports that set themselves apart from football, basketball, soccer, hockey and the like, there is an expectation of finesse and refinement. More than that, ice skating and ballet at their best should involve the audience in a story. We should journey with the individual from beginning to end, swept along in their own personal adventure of excitement and hope.

I rode the tide of Yuna Kim’s ecstasy basking in the glory that should have been hers. I wasn’t so moved by Adelina Sotnikova who left me flat and wondering.

…there’s truth in beauty…and beauty in truth…

………hugmamma.