nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 1

IMG_1711I continue to learn from my 28-year-old daughter, the dancer.

As I write…she’s off living life…her best life.

This last year away from the sheltered environs of a ballet company, my daughter discovered, much to her delight and mine, that the dance world is bigger and more exciting than she ever imagined.

Auditioning for a few companies known for their contemporary repertoire, she met dancers from around the world as well as the United States. While competing for single digit job openings, there was not the subtle and not-so-subtle rivalry that can often accompany “cattle call” auditions for ballet companies. Yes, there were 95 auditioning for one or two jobs with a German company, but my daughter spoke highly of the amazing three dancers who were asked to remain, while she and the others were thanked and let go. Having made it to the last group of 12 was enough of an ego boost for her.

Earlier in the spring, my daughter again broadened her dance experience when she returned to Houston to work with the Grand Opera’s CARMEN. The director and a seasoned cast of NYC dancers were brought in for the production. For the first time my daughter was in the company of dancers whose careers ran the gamut from Broadway shows, to TV dance competitions and commercials,  to feature films, to videos, to award shows. She felt giddy knowing she was among an elite group of professionals, but she loved them even more for how down-to-earth they were off stage.  And they loved her as much it seems, for they encouraged my daughter to move to New York to join their ranks. 

Already committed to train with a former mentor and coach, my daughter returned to Nashville several weeks ago. Working with the woman’s small, fledgling contemporary dance company my daughter will decide whether or not she will remain after the summer. Meanwhile she is having the time of her life.

My daughter thrives when challenged. She yearns to learn continually; she never wants to settle…to plateau. During these last few weeks, she’s taken…pointe-counterpointe and aerial classes.

Isn’t it interesting how opportunity knocks when you least expect it? A couple of folks who have seen my daughter in these classes have asked her to work with their companies as well, should she return to Nashville on a more permanent basis. One offer in particular caught her attention…to learn a Balinese-type dance. Currently, only one woman knows the solo and the director of the modern dance company feels certain my daughter would learn the piece in no time, and to perfection. 

Talk about coming into her own. 

Ballet companies tend to be hierarchical. Only a select few are designated the leads or the soloists. Dancers can wait years for their break-through moment. For some the opportunity never comes. 

Happy to work where talent and hard work are the only criteria for being noticed, my daughter is loving the directors and dancers she has had the pleasure of being with as she grows ever more comfortable in her new skin as a contemporary dancer. 

It’s true what someone recently told me…

…i’m only as happy as my least happiest child…

………hugmamma.

(Stay tune for “nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 2)

 

“a sweetie,” but

I totally agree with the author of the following article, Taylor Swift is a sweetheart, but I think her time has passed. And she really can’t sing, especially in person, without the help of technology, without backup. I applaud all the accolades she has garnered at such a young age. She was surely in the right place, at the right time, when all the stars in heaven were perfectly aligned. Again, good for her, her song-writing ability, her fashion style, her self-confidence, her down-home personality. But fantastic songstress, she is not. I like her, but…

In Awe of Taylor Swift–But Enough! by Joe Queenan

Like everybody else in America, I am in awe of Taylor Swift. Complete and utter awe. Even when she sings off-key with Stevie Nicks. She writes catchy tunes, makes clever, self-deprecating videos, and has an elegance rarely found among country & western artists. I really admire the way she handled that nasty incident with Kanye West at the 2009 MTV Music Video awards, and I love the way she uses her songs to turn her ever-growing pile of ex-boyfriends into chum.

And even if some of her songs seem a tad derivative–“You Belong With Me” sounds like Liz Phair channeling Suzanne Vega reworking the Bangles songbook–what’s the big deal? All New Country sounds like that Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The only thing I don’t like about Taylor Swift is that she has now become remorselessly ubiquitous. In the past few months, Ms. Swift has achieved the sort of global media saturation that was once associated with Madonna and, more recently, Lady Gaga. If you turn on the television, Taylor Swift is there, receiving yet another award. If you turn on the radio, she is there, crooning about yet another fallen swain. If you open a tabloid, she is there, the gorgeous ingenue, posing disingenuously for the paparazzi. If you pass a newsstand, she is beaming out at you from the cover of People, US Weekly, OK, Seventeen. As Entertainment Weekly, whose cover she currently graces, puts it: “Congratulations, Taylor Swift on achieving total world domination…in just 12 short months.”

When a star achieves this kind of overnight intergalactic suzerainty, the rest of us end up knowing things about them that we do not really need to know. This occurs through the process of supernoval osmosis, whereby people who haven’t the slightest interest in a famous person, and who only watch PBS and the Sundance Channel, nevertheless know that Danny Bonaduce just got married for the third time. I myself only watch sports and TV shows where people get shot or stabbed, and I only listen to radio stations that play Bela Bartok or Miles Davis, yet by paging through magazines in checkout lines and reading tabloids strewn around the diner and just generally being a sentient human being on this planet in the year 2010, I have come into possession of all sorts of minutiae regarding Taylor Swift’s daily life.

I know that she has moved out of her parents’ Nashville home. I know that her fling with Taylor Lautner ended amicably. I know that she plays Taylor guitars. I know that not everyone is crazy about her new hair style. I know that she sometimes changes outfits four times a day.

I know that the breakup call she received from one of the Jonas Brothers only lasted 27 seconds, even though I can never remember which of the Jonas Brothers made it, or why she timed it. And while I have no idea where most of my friends spent Thanksgiving, I know that Ms. Swift flew to Brooklyn to be with her new boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal. And I have it on the highest authority that while visiting Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope, Ms. Swift giggled while sipping a maple latte. Jake’s maple latte.

I do not begrudge Ms. Swift her wealth, her fame, her utter hegemony over every medium known to man, her maple latte. I simply wish that she would occasionally give the rest of us a day off.

Apparently that is not going to happen. Last week I locked myself away to see if I could get through a single day without having Taylor Swift infiltrate my consciousness. I didn’t read the papers, or watch TV, or turn on the radio, or log onto the Internet. By nine o’clock I seemed to have this thing pretty well under control. Then I called a close friend and asked if his daughter-in-law had delivered her baby, and he replied: “Yes. They named her Ashlee Taylor. They picked ‘Taylor’ because…”

Don’t tell me. I know.

Wall Street Journal, Saturday-Sunday,December 11-12, 2010

I actually feel similarly about the Kardashian sisters. They’re beautiful, but…

in small doses, maybe…hugmamma.

break out the champagne!

Make it an arctic cosmo for me, from Coho in the East Lake Sammamish Shopping Plaza, or a lemon drop martini from Old Hickory Steakhouse in the Grand Ole’ Opry Hotel in Nashville or a blue martini that tastes like a margarita from Ellendale’s in Donelson. And you, my friends, grab your favorite drinks and lift your glasses, or beer bottles, in a  toast to our awesome collaboration thus far. Some time today our blog hit the 1,001 viewing mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday there were 72 views and today there are 36, and counting. It’s taken a month and four days, from 7/13 – 8/17, to arrive at the start of our journey over a rainbow of new memories going forward. Thanks to all of you for extending “a hand-up” by reading what I write about, giving credence to my thoughts, ideas and values. You and I may exist on the periphery of mainstream media but our lives are no less meaningful, for their effect on others are like ripples on the water when a stone is tossed. Change can, and does, happen one person at a time. Such a person was Gandhi, who said “Everything you do in life will be insignificant. But it’s important you do it anyway, because no one else will.” 

And so, I raise my “full cup” to toast you in thanks for allowing HUGMAMMA’S ATTENTION TO DETAIL to be a part of your daily lives. As we say in Hawaiian, “Okole Maluna!!!” …..”Bottom’s Up!!!”

and so I blog, with great appreciation…hugmamma.