…a new day…

(The following post was written earlier…)

My daughter’s middle name…Kehaulani  is Hawaiian for “morning dew.” Like drops of water clinging softly to a flower…my days begin with thoughts of my beloved daughter. 

Dew Drops

Today was no different, except for the fact that it was unlike any other…for both the Royal Family…and our family.

Delicate tutus will no longer grace my daughter’s lithe body. With pointe shoes in hand she is exiting stage right…a ballerina, and re-entering stage left…a contemporary dancer

While ballet companies are updating their repertoire to include non-classical pieces, they continue to make the bulk of their earnings from the likes of Romeo and Juliette, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Cinderella.

What ballerina doesn’t dream of dancing the lead in these epic tales of romance and drama? But as we all know the fairy tale ending is that only one lucky princess gets the prince. The company’s remaining women dance supporting roles.

While never the leading lady, my daughter has done her share of awesome dancing. She was especially honored to dance wonderful parts in pieces by guesting choreographers who hand-picked their dancers from among the company members. It became increasingly apparent to her, and others, that she was a natural in contemporary dance

Dancer Abby Silva Gavezzoli leads a master cla...

I had the rare opportunity to watch my daughter in dance classes while visiting NYC recently. She spent 6 weeks taking master classes at STEPS ON BROADWAY this summer.

Master classes are not for the novice…or the faint of heart or mind. They are normally taught by dance notables. As an added bonus, my daughter’s instructors were directors of small and large contemporary dance companies. She experienced their high expectations first hand, while sizing up the competition. 

Naturally I’m prejudiced, but my daughter was among the handful of dancers who stood out in each class.

Cheshire Cat

Among my daughter’s fans were a couple of moms who also observed classes in which their daughters were dancing. One remarked to the other “That girl in the purple tank top is an amazing dancer.” To which her companion replied “I know. I’ve been watching her all week.” Smiling like the Cheshire cat in “Alice in Wonderland,” I didn’t let on that it was my daughter about whom they were speaking.

The Russian woman who taught the daily ballet class my daughter took, praised and complimented her. The instructor loved having such a beautiful dancer in her class. Instructors in other classes made similar observations. Four were company directors who asked my daughter to keep in touch, a couple even asking that she send her resume and invited her to take class with their companies.

The future looks bright and promising.

My daughter is finalizing a Fall gig with a choreographer she greatly admires. In August she will audition to dance in a Broadway remake of “An American in Paris,” set to run during 2014-2015. And then, of course, she will be pursuing a dialogue with those artistic directors who thought she might be a good addition to their companies.

At 27 with 11 years of professional ballet experience to her credit, my daughter is confidently heading toward a new horizon in her career as a dancer. 

I wish Catherine and William and their royal son…all the love with which my husband, daughter and me have been blest.

babies are like dew drops…welcomimg the dawn of a bright, new day…

A drop of dew cupped in the leaf of the common...

………hugmamma. 

Advertisements

365 photo challenge: luckiest

My daughter feels like one of the luckiest girls in the world right now. She’s been cast as the Dew Drop Fairy in her ballet company‘s upcoming Nutcracker. One of the treasured roles, it signals a dancer’s “arrival.” She is considered capable of taking on the challenge of a lead role in a performance. My daughter is “over the moon,” and feels up to the task.

…a little luck…and a lot of hard work…and dreams can come true…

………hugmamma.  😉

life lessons…from a ballerina

I’m always amazed by the wisdom of my ballerina daughter. Not that I should be, but she is after all, still a young ‘un at 25. I’ve no doubt that her personality and her chosen career have proven a winning combination.

For a long time I’ve maintained that my daughter is well-suited to her profession as a dancer. She’s selfless, always has been. Envy isn’t something that sits well with her. She battles the green-eyed monster every chance she gets. Granted, it’s not always easy. But my daughter chooses to like, rather than dislike, people. And that goes a long way in keeping her out of the clutches of “Mr. Green.”

Moms always want the best for their children. I’m no different. I’m worlds away from being a stage mom, but that doesn’t make me invulnerable to wanting everything for my daughter. She’s taught me that not every great dance role should belong to her. That’s not to say she wouldn’t love to grace the stage as the lead now and then…Juliet to her Romeo…Cinderella to her Prince Charming…Maria to her Nutcracker…or even the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Miyako Yoshida and Steven McRae as the Sugar P...

Image via Wikipedia

What my daughter has learned is that each dancer has her strengths and weaknesses. My daughter also understands that the artistic director is looking at the broader picture when he casts roles. She gets that he’s the boss and that what he says…goes. She knows she’s free to leave if she desires.

The greatest lesson my daughter seems to have learned is…balance. Keeping the scales of life evenly weighted. No obsessions…about roles…weight…what others think…or say…or do. What keeps her so grounded? Her unbreakable love of people. Her desire to be a good friend…colleague…and member of society.

Religion is still a mainstay of my daughter’s life. She attends church as best she can. Kneeling in God’s presence provides her solace…a reprieve from life’s rat race…time to be thankful…the opportunity to shed any negativity that has attempted to undermine. I’m sure my daughter gets to church more often than my husband and me. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone educated in public schools, while her parents were born, raised, and educated as Catholics.

My beloved daughter is living proof that depression is manageable, that it need not sideline her from living life to its fullest. Perhaps the disease in itself is a lesson. Perfection is an illusion…not to be touted…and not something for which she should strive. Being the best she can be, given the gifts with which she was born and those she’s acquired, is my daughter’s life-long goal.

Having been allowed to travel with my daughter as she’s journeyed toward a career in dance, I too have wised up to life’s lessons. Along the way…

…the teacher became the student…and i’m still learning…from my lead ballerina…

Eadweard Muybridge's phenakistoscope

Image via Wikipedia

………hugmamma.

coincidence…or extra sensory perception?

Among the birthday greetings I recently received were a couple from 2 long-time best friends, Katy with whom I worked almost a decade ago at the Performing Arts Conservatory High School my daughter attended, and Becky with whom I had coffee (she had tea), when I lived with my daughter for 2 1/2 years in Atlanta while she trained towards a career in ballet.

Three ballet dancers performing a grand jeté jump

Image via Wikipedia

Moms whose children venture down career paths less traveled usually become comrades in arms. Only they know what challenges their offspring face, and what accolades possibly await them. The dance world, especially as it pertains to ballet, is like a world apart. If it weren’t for our daughter being a professional ballerina, my husband and I would be aliens to that art form. It would be as foreign to us as the French that is the basis of all ballet positions. In fact we often tell others that dancers, choreographers, company artistic directors and staff, experience two worlds, ours and theirs. And unless you know someone in their world, gaining entree into theirs is improbable…if not impossible.

So while Katy, Becky and I may not be in touch with regularity since we all live in different states, busy still with families, we are still linked through the common experiences of our children, past and present. And we continue to support one another… as moms who continue to support our children in their uncommon lives.

What prompted this post was the uncanny coincidence of receiving the same birthday card from both…Katy and Becky. And they’ve never met…living on opposite coasts of the U.S. So since I’m the common denominator in our trio…do I look exactly the same to my two friends? And what exactly are they trying to tell me?

Am I the cat’s meow?…queen of the felines?…queen mamma?…or maybe…just one of the girls who like to think…

i’m “queen for the day!”………hugmamma.

🙂  Both Becky and Katy have been readers of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul since its days as a “seedling.” They’ve encouraged me to write my stories, both being fine writers themselves. When my prolific posts have slowed to a trickle, or ceased altogether, my friends have let me know my stories are missed. In her birthday card to me Katy wrote:

I love your blog and read it every day; so many times your opinions echo my own. Keep writing!!
          Love…Katy

Both cards were inscribed:

Everyday you sparkle,
but today you rule!
Happy Birthday

friends…moms…forever entwined………hugmamma.

 

 

tears…of joy

When my husband recounted a conversation he’d had with our daughter this morning, it brought tears to my eyes and laughter to my lips. I couldn’t stop myself from doing either, so I gave in to both.

To celebrate one of the dancer‘s birthdays, her friends, fellow dancers, staged a scavenger hunt throughout town. My daughter and 2 others came up with the list of clues, shared them with Kelsey’s boyfriend, and passed them along to the other dancers who were involved in the hunt.

An example of a Trader Joe's storefront

Image via Wikipedia

As a ruse, Kelsey and her boyfriend were to spend the evening alone. First he told her he wanted to stop at the coffee shop he manages, and where they first met. When they arrived, one of the dancers happened to be there and in conversation passed along the first of the clues. Kelsey was confused but cooperated, with a little nudge from her boyfriend. Driving to Trader Joe’s they were “surprised” to see Kim, another dancer, who dropped the second clue. At this point, Kelsey, a very savvy girl, caught on to the game, and was raring to continue. Along the way, they encountered my daughter, and on it went.

Much to the chagrin of the dancers and friend Heather who was hosting the party following the hunt, Kelsey was ahead of schedule by half-an-hour. Everyone was texting one another to hurry on over to party-central before the birthday girl arrived. Needless to say, she was enthralled with the entire evening’s fun, and her friends were pleased with themselves for having pulled it off.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

Image via Wikipedia

The evening was bitter-sweet for Kelsey and her friends, for she will not be returning next year. Instead she will be moving to another state to work with a modern dance company. She’s been a great friend of my daughter’s, but I know they’ll keep in touch for dancers are great that way.

The previous evening our daughter had accompanied another dancer friend, Kim, to a symphony concert. Having played the violin for many years, our daughter has never lost her love of it. Continuing to dance to classical music, keeps her relationship with the instrument a perpetual one. She was quite taken with the guest violinist who performed with the symphony.

Following the concert, our daughter drove to another friend’s home where a party was underway. The group had a great time playing a board game, with which I’m not familiar. Their fun lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. Like Kelsey, Robert, who hosted the game party, will be leaving the ballet to pursue a modern dance career elsewhere.

It amazes me how these young dancers dedicate themselves to their passion, sometimes working 2 or 3 jobs to live their dream. And when they come to a crossroads, as Kelsey and Robert have, they do what they must to continue their journey in pursuit of that dream. Because of their dedication, work ethic, discipline, and unwavering ability to hope, these dancers will be alright. Wherever their paths may lead, they’ve already accomplished more than some folks twice their age. They’ve figured out how to deal with life and its many pitfalls.

So while I’m sad they must part company with good friends, my daughter in particular, I’m happy for the joy they will spread as they make their way among others.

glad for knowing…and sharing hugs…with kelsey and robert…hugmamma.

just when you think…

 

Swan Lake ballet

Image via Wikipedia

My daughter’s had her share of frustrations these last 7 months or so, beginning with having to take a medical leave from her job as a dancer last Fall. That caused her to miss the first performance of the season, Swan Lake, as well as The Nutcracker. Resuming dance in January, she was able to perform in her company’s winter series, “Director‘s Choice,” where she had some nice parts, soloing in one piece, “Postcards from the Boys.” She was also able to dance small variations for the annual Ballet Ball fundraising event.

10.11.22 Carmina Burana fascinó al público en ...

Image by Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires via Flickr

After a 2-week break, she was happily back to work, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Carmina Burrana,” the last of the company’s season and a powerful work that includes an adult choir, and a children’s choir, singing along with a full orchestra. The music serves as an inspiring backdrop for the dancers. I’ve seen another company dance the piece, and came away emotionally spent. That’s how tremendous the effect is with the combined efforts of musicians, singers, and dancers flowing from the stage towards the audience. My daughter so looked forward to all the dancing she was prepared to do.

Multiple fractures of the metacarpals (aka bro...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I was shocked when my daughter called and said she had broken her right hand, below the ring finger, continuing down towards the middle of her palm. Falling from a stance on tiptoes, she, and the other dancers, were enacting a move that resembled their having been shot from a cannon. Evidently my daughter’s fall happened quicker than she expected, so her hand hit the floor to brace herself, and took the full weight of her body. She heard a “crunch,” and knew something was askew. Getting up, she immediately knew she’d broken something for she had no feeling in her hand. A visit to a walk-in clinic confirmed her suspicions when an xray was taken.

While she waits to see the orthopedist on Monday, my daughter has much to reflect upon, the physical pain being one. But for a dancer it doesn’t end there. She must now regroup mentally and emotionally. At 25, she’s better equipped to handle such occurrences without being devastated. In her younger years, especially as a student of dance, these setbacks were more difficult to rationalize. Now that my daughter is a professional, having proved herself, and being valued for her contributions to the company as a whole, she can deal with being sidelined better. Not that it’s easy; it’s never easy. Not being able to dance for 3 or more weeks is sheer torture for a dancer, especially one so passionate about it as my daughter.

Because the break is a clean one, my daughter feels the healing time will be quicker. She’s glad it was her right-hand because she’s left-handed. She’s glad it was her hand, and not her foot. She’s glad she has a girlfriend living with her temporarily, having just moved in a few days ago. How timely was that? And when she realized something was amiss, that something was broken, her fellow dancers immediately went into action, getting her an ice-pack, pain-killers, and hovering, offering assistance, and support. And the artistic director, her boss, was at her side, sympathetic and concerned. After he viewed the xray of her broken hand, he asked if she had help at home. Replying that she had a friend with her, he still told my daughter to call him if she needed anything, as did many of the dancers.

Last night a number of people from work were at my daughter’s apartment, dining on pizza and sitting around chatting. As a mom, my heart is warmed knowing she has a family with whom to share her ups and downs. I can’t be everywhere, so I’m glad there are angels always hovering nearby.

Children grow up to assume lives as adults. How they do it is not a mystery, really. It’s just putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that every day presents new possibilities. There’ll always be challenges, but with them come new discoveries…about life…about themselves. We’ve all been there, done that, and continue to do so. That really is what life’s about, isn’t it?

another challenge…another possibility…hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: invite

This is a fun challenge, although it’s not always easy to come up with the perfect photo for the “word-du-jour.” But it’s great trying. So if you’d like to join the fun, check out the details on the blog, my life in photos: 365 challenge. She’s always got great stories to go with her pictures.

Teatro Zinzannia blend of Cirque du Soleil and Broadway, fulfills its promise of a night to remember. The fast-paced spectacle caters to adults because of its bawdy humor, but I find it no more objectionable than films that are rated PG-13. When we’ve gone, the master-of-ceremonies, different each time, has embarked on a classy, but definitely gay, modus operandi. God help the men in the audience! They’re easy pickings for some good, old-fashioned, tongue-in-cheek humor. Throughout the show those who have involuntarily “volunteered,” find themselves the center of attention. Women needn’t hold their breaths nor keep their eyes averted, for they’re rarely called upon to make a special appearance. While I’ve relaxed completely, my husband has tried to appear invisible, sitting back into the shadows of our booth. But it’s all in good fun, and nobody is maimed in the delivery of a great show.

Duffy Bishop belts out the music in "Radio Free Starlight" at Teatro ZinZanni. The costumes are gorgeous, colorful, whimsical, over-the-top! Audience members are welcome to dress up as well. In fact, the gift shop is equipped to accessorize those who want feather boas to drape around their necks, or glittering masks behind which to take refuge, or stylized hats to add the finishing touch to a woman’s “crowning glory.” Baubles glitter within glass cases, perhaps a ring for each finger, or bangles that swath the length of one’s forearm, or a tie awash in crystals to accent a simple, black dress.

The minute I step inside the front door of Teatro Zinzanni, I find myself whisked back to a time when an evening out included dark, velvet curtains, a glass of bubbly, an underlying excitement barely contained, eyes darting everywhere soaking up the circus-like atmosphere, women dressed for the occasion, men minding their p’s and q’s, performers mingling, heightening everyone’s expectations of a fantastic evening.

And by the way, a wonderful dinner of several courses is part of the act. The night’s entertainment unfolds around the appetizer, the soup, the salad, the entree and the dessert. What an imaginative way to help the digestive process. I’ve heard that laughter is good for the waistline. Believe me you’ll be skinnier at the end of the evening, what with all your belly-laughing.

So for an uproarious good time………………………………………..you’re invited      

and tell them………………………………………………………..hugmamma sent you!!! 

a trunk of “old memories”

If you had an old, long-forgotten trunk stored away in a cob-webbed corner of your attic, or a dark, shadowy corner of your basement, what would you find if you were to drag it out of its hiding place? What treasures would you uncover, hidden away these many years? What memories would escape, like moths taking flight once again?

Like me, I’m sure you’ve so many memories of bygone days, some further back, only fragments remaining. Sorting through them isn’t easy. Their essence is so ephemeral, after all. Is it one complete remembrance, or is it a collage of several? Where does one leave off, and another begin? Unwinding memories can be like pulling on a single thread, and watching a sweater unravel, until nothing remains but handfuls of yarn. But I think reminiscences are made of stronger stuff than articles of clothing that are eventually tossed out, or given away. Of your own free will, you could  never be rid of your memories.

A painting of Wailuku and the Iao Valley, Maui...

Image via Wikipedia

One of my fondest memories is of a time in high school, when I was recognized by the nuns as a budding choreographer. The St. Anthony Girl’s High School  Logothat I attended in Wailuku, Maui in the 60s, was a relic from another era. There was a Boy’s School as well, but it sat across the parking lot, on the other side of the campus. There were very few occasions, very few, when the student bodies would interact. Teenage boys and girls could only strain their necks, trying to ogle each other from a long distance away. Binoculars would’ve been handy. I should have had a concession. No. Too capitalistic for Catholic nuns.

I can’t remember if anything I staged for school assemblies, held in the cafeteria, was performed for a gathering of both student bodies. It wouldn’t have mattered to me, except that the butterflies in my stomach would have multiplied sizeably in number. After all, how often did I have more than a hundred guys staring at me all at once? Never! I repeat. Never! Still don’t.

I can recollect 3 particular instances when I entertained my fellow students. I did a modern interpretation of a popular Peter, Paul and Mary folk song at the time, “Blowin in the Wind.” 

 
Peter, Paul and Mary onstage at the Westbury M...

Image via Wikipedia

 I vaguely remember starting the piece lying prone on the floor, and eventually dragging myself into an upright position. Slaves were my inspiration, what they had to endure to survive, another day, another month, another year. I delivered my performance with great anguish, felt in every moral fiber of my spirit, every muscle of my body. The nuns hailed it as my entre into the professional world of choreography. I took their acclamations in stride. At the time, and considering my mom’s personal financial straits, New York and Broadway were as far  away as the moon.

But I went on to bigger and better productions. I choreographed a number from West Side  Story, which one I can’t recall. Perhaps it was “I Want To Be In America.” Setting the piece on my best friend, Lee, and myself, we had a blast dancing it. She was also my romantic lead in an Asian fairytale  that I wrote, at least I think I wrote it. The title of the play escapes me, although it contained the word “runner.” And no, it wasn’t “The Road Runner.” Besides Lee as a princess, me as the poor peasant pining for her, and her disapproving father, there was a green dragon. Of papier-mache and medium height, it was also one of my artsy concoctions. I’ve an old, black-and-white photo of the 4 of us buried somewhere in an antique blanket-chest. But don’t look for it in this post. It’d take me days, if not longer, to unearth.

Cover of "Flower Drum Song"

Cover of Flower Drum Song

A final memory, not a favorite, is of a solo I choreographed to “Happy Talk” from the  movie “Flower Drum Song.” I imagined myself as the beautiful, Eurasian actress Nancy Kwan.

Nancy Kwan Looks Back on an All-Asian ‘Groundbreaking’ Film

January 25, 2002

Nancy Kwan recalls that the 1961 film version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “Flower Drum Song” was such a big hit with audiences, “I used to go to Chinese restaurants and get Chinese for free all the time! It was very well-received. We were very proud because it was an all-Asian cast and it made money.”

Kwan, a vivacious 62, played Linda Low, a beautiful and ambitious performer in a Chinatown nightclub in San Francisco. Although her singing was dubbed, Kwan had several memorable dance numbers including “I Enjoy Being a Girl” and “Grant Avenue.”

Gosh, wasn’t she gorgeous? For this number, I sat upon my haunches, using only my hands to gesture the lyrics. I was appropriately attired in a sleeveless, Chinese top, with a cooly’s hat perched on my head. Why I performed the piece in an outdoor assembly of both the girls and boys student bodies, I’ll never know, but I did.

Standing very close to where I performed, were my boyfriend and his friends. Of course I was in my “element,” or so I thought. As I began to move my arms, the strapless bra I decided to wear so that straps wouldn’t slip down my arm as I danced, began inching its way down my chest, almost nonexistent at the time. I literally sweat through that number, constantly trying to maneuver my bra back into place. It was the longest 4 or 5 minutes of my life, and a memory that I’ve not relished telling. But at my age, there are so many others that far surpass that one in remaining buried at the very, very bottom…of my trunk of old memories.

remember some of yours?…hugmamma.