September 30, 2010

More Rain Dancing

In recent years I have become very well acclimated with this phrase:

"When it rains it pours."

Literally that should be my mantra, or at least the working title of the made for TV movie about my life. It seems that I am so rarely in any kind of in-between place. I go back and forth from feeling complacent, and tired, and useless to over worked, over booked and frantic in a matter of seconds. When I am feeling overwhelmed it is never a slight itch of a feeling. It is one of those moods when you think the world is going to end, the tears will not stop flowing, and nothing you do is right. When I am feeling great I want to shout it from the rooftops, start a dance party and have everyone join in. Maybe I'm bipolar, or maybe this is a part of getting older? Maybe having so much alone time suddenly forces you to discover the multidimensional, and slightly psychotic person you've always been? Who knows. Two weeks ago I was averaging one or two auditions per week. I was spending a lot of time reading and watching netflix, going to yoga, of course searching for a day job and cooking with all my fresh farmer's market finds. At that point it was pouring normalcy all over my big girl life. I had time to kill during the day which until recently was a complete rarity in my life.
This week however I have been on 5 auditions spanning from mainstream commercials to reality shows, to theater and student films. Suddenly it's raining cats and dogs all over my potentially professional performer life. I have another audition tomorrow, my dad's coming into town AND I have a concert to perform in on Saturday night. Oye! Did I mention there's a female chorus piece from Verdi's Macbeth in the concert sung entirely in ITALIAN? Yah, that's real and not easy. Also I am singing the soprano part which unfortunately for my neighbors sounds like a strangled cat when I am trying to learn it off of my old school tape recorder in the middle of the day. For my wonderfully grumpy neighbor who yelled at me to shut up; I'll stop singing at 2 in the afternoon when you stop yelling and laughing with your roommate as loud as possible at 2am. Thanks.
In other news, UCLA started school last week. I was surprised when I made the personal realization that I am so beyond happy NOT to be in school. I thought that come September I would be sad and nostalgic about everyone else starting their classes, and my friends and the comfort of knowing what I would be doing just about every hour of every day. But, I've realized quite the opposite is true. Sure, not knowing what I'll be doing day to day can be terrifying. Not having a day job stresses me out, and of course as a 20-something, single female, I'm looking for a boy. But when it comes down to it I know I am so lucky to be where I am. So this week was crazy, next week may be the opposite, but at least I can find solace in things like yoga and cooking to pass the time between these days of panic and madness. I really can't even believe this is the life I live.
I am beyond excited for my dad to come down this weekend. Although I feel bad for dragging him to all my obligations this weekend it will be nice to have a driving buddy, not to mention some one to make me mickey mouse pancakes in the morning. I thought I had more to write but I guess this is it for now.

As always there will be more soon and hopefully fun stories to follow.

September 17, 2010

Panic Be Gone!

Okay been a while since I've written on this piece. Fail.

The last week has been quite a whirlwind. I can't believe it's already Friday again. Living life on a day to day schedule that never looks the same makes the days flow remarkably fast. Since last writing I've gone from feeling incredibly high, to insanely low and back up to my happy balanced self.

I've pulled myself out of the production of Pippin. (Cue gasps of shock here). In school we're constantly taught that we should take every opportunity to perform no matter what it is. Experience is experience...right? After spending a lot of hours stressing over the decision I woke up yesterday with some sort of clarity, thank you to whoever sent that my way, and realized I could not commit the time and money to the project that it warranted. Although I didn't get the dance teaching job (sad face) I feel that there are more things in store for me, not to mention even without that job I'm still working in Malibu once and week, Playa Del Rey 1-2 days a week, and auditioning all over town. It adds up to A LOT of gas, time, and money therefore I decided I couldn't afford to be driving an hour EVERY NIGHT to rehearsals out in the Valley. It's just too much.

I couldn't help but feel an insane amount of relief after officially sending the email about having to depart from the production. By nature I worry a lot about every one else and how my actions will make them feel and often forget to take my own well being, sanity, or feelings. For the first time I made a decision based on what I felt I really needed, without being selfish, and it felt damn good. Not to mention this weekend without being tied to those rehearsals still brings me a full load of commitments.

I think I've said this before but I think I am the busiest unemployed person ever. I guess technically I'm teaching my dance classes and working at Pepperdine, but still, those don't quite add up to a full day job. Tomorrow I will be driving down to Vista (near San Diego) to audition to assist in choreography for the Miss California USA pageant. I'm actually super stoked. I already made up my minute of super girlie, 'stancer' choreography to Katy Perry's California Girls (their song choice not mine, but quite fitting for the project). Then on Sunday I'll be heading back to UCLA to help put some numbers from Cabaret back together with whoever is in town to be presented at Orientation on Monday morning. Talk about insta-choreo. Hopefully I still have everyone's spacing written down in my original binder from the show, we shall see. After that rehearsal I head all the way down to Fullerton for a vocal rehearsal for a concert I've been cast in. I'm excited for the rehearsal but I just downloaded all the group songs they wanted us to learn and it's A LOT. Gotta find time to learn those before Sunday afternoon.

Phew, I'm tired just thinking about the next few days. But I'm approaching it with an open mind and with a smile. I've learned from yoga that no matter how difficult things get physically, if you keep your mind light and a slight smile on your face, everything just gets easier. Something my yoga teacher often says at the end of class is "no matter how difficult warrior 3, or the crow pose can be, it's a thousand times easier that what you'll encounter in your day to day life." But if we keep breathing and releasing eventually things will get easier. I had my share of panic moments this week, but I've learned from the practice that these moments never last long. It's your life, and it's too short to remain in a state of fear, stress, anger, and tension. I guess it's easy for my to say this now that my panic has passed. But I know it will be back sometime trying to pull me into the darkness of self doubt. Force me to ask the questions like "what the hell am I doing with my life?!...who are you kidding, you'll never make call yourself an artist?!" Thankfully I can lay in savasana and push all of those thoughts away from my mind and make room for the universe to fill me with wisdom and guidance.

Good things are coming my way, even if I have to wait for a little while. I'll be here, trying to make the most of this life. Cooking good food, enjoying the company of friends and trying to make sense of this real life I've only begun to enter.

September 6, 2010

Dancing Off Beat and In The Rain

Happy Labor Day Weekend Friends!

I must say mine has been relaxing and fun for the most part. I spent today at my roommates house with her family soaking up some rays and eating delicious bbq. I spent yesterday walking to the farmers market, impulsively buying canvas and paints to play with outdoors in the sunshine, and sharing a delicious meal of eggplant/tomato stir fry over rice (made from scratch by yours truly) with a dear friend. You should be jealous of the scrumptiousness that has entered my tummy over the last 48 hours. Oh yah, and my roommate made homemade banana bread with her mom Saturday which I've been eating for breakfast all weekend. Like I said, be jealous.

Things in general have begun to pick up. Although I am still lacking the official day job I'm hoping to get a hook up at a dance studio from a new friend, I've been cast in some random one day singing concert, I've been cast in what seems to be a low-budget potentially okay production of Pippin (details to follow), I've got a reading at the end of the month and may be choreographing a theatrical dance piece at Pepperdine for a former teacher of mine. Oh yah, plus random auditions, yoga with my favorite teacher whenever possible, and teaching ballet at a high school once or twice a week starting relatively soon. Now this is the schedule I'm used to juggling!

Speaking of auditions though I have some truly wonderful stories to share from my auditions over the last week or so. The best story comes from my Pippin dance call, so once I become friends with people in the cast (or the creative team) I may have to delete this portion of my post but here it goes for now:
Anyone who knows ANYTHING about Pippin will have to agree with me that it has little to nothing in common with Andrew Lippa's Wild Party, specifically the song "Raise The Roof," which is what our dance call was choreographed to. But "why?" you may ask...the answer? I have no idea. Although I'm sure Bob Fosse loved himself some samba steps I can state with confidence that he did not include it in his original Pippin choreography, just a hunch. SO I'm at the dance call which is not being taught by the choreographer (she was not present) but instead by the associate producer who not only couldn't count the music, but managed to demonstrate a chasse frankenstein-style using the same arm as leg. Oh yes, at this very official (sarcasm) dance call he gave us two chasse's on no particular count using the same arm as leg. It was fantastic. What really put the cherry on the sundae that was this dance combo was that he also decided to belt out Queenie's lyrics while we danced over the track, it helped us dance and hear the non-existent counts better, duh!
There ended up being another dance call back with the actual choreographer who was a girl no older than me which was also not to a song from the show and also started with a Samba step. Again, not sure where the logic was on that one. BUT I apparently had what they were looking for and got cast! Rehearsals start tomorrow. I'm mildly terrified but also just excited to be working on a show again, regardless of the production value.
Another fun story comes from an audition out in Hollywood for a tiny theater I had never really known existed. The play had to do with the major sins and would feature vignettes about each one. By the time the owner and director of the theater had finished describing the theater and the show I knew it wasn't something I had any desire to do, but the guy had my headshot already and I felt it bad juju to just bail. SO the audition went as such. Lots of awkward people in a holding room waiting to go in 3 at a time. When it's our turn to audition here are our instructions: You will come through the door and see a box, the lights will be blue and you will be drawn to the box. You're not sure what it is but you're intrigued by it. You can do this however you want, as yourself, as Indiana Jones, doesn't matter. Then when the lights turn red (here's the best part) you have suddenly become possessed by whatever evil you have chosen is in the box. Now GO!
Dear director man, I am not going to go crazy and turn into the chick from the exorcism for you. And what's best? The whole thing lasted less than 20 seconds. Oye it was awful. Note to self, be more wary of what you submit yourself for, specifically small scale theater in Hollywood, it's scary.
All this aside though I have been having a lot of fun over the past week. I made a new friend at the Pippin dance call who is fantastic, and like I said have felt things picking up speed. It's exciting. I had mentioned to my mom that August might have been the calm before the storm, and if things keep progressing as they have been the past few days I may have been right. We shall see. I'm excited to get my creative juices flowing. I was literally thinking on my drive home today that I really wanted an outlet for my choreography and only a few hours later I got a offer to come choreograph at Pepperdine. Ask and you shall receieve? I think so. Thank you for that universe.

Since this post has become much longer than intended I will leave you with another nugget that stuck with me from my yoga teacher last week. He said "wouldn't it be great if instead of learning to just weather the storm we learned to dance in the rain?" I'm dancin all right and I hope to keep dancing straight through the storm and to the rainbow on the other side.

More soon.

September 2, 2010


I read an article recently about the current twenty-something age group. This collection of young people that I am a part of that are in the limbo phase between adulthood and adolescence; or perhaps the phase of diving head first into the real world while still longing for our parents to make us Mickey Mouse pancakes on Saturday mornings. It's a strange place to live in. This particular article argued that my generation is putting off growing up, so to speak, or rather just taking their sweet time in doing so. People are moving back in with their parents, getting married later in life, living in multiple apartments with multiple roommates before ever thinking about buying a house.

In our teen years we are aching to be free of our parents control. But now, post college, having my mom visit brightens up my week and brings some much needed order to my chaotic and unscheduled new life. It is officially September and for the first time since I was 5 I am not going out to buy the newest and coolest back pack, pencil box, or school gadget. WEIRD. This can' be real. Going through what needs to get accomplished in the next few days I have no homework, no summer reading to catch up on, in reality very few things with any kind of due date other than a short bio for a concert I will be singing in next month. I have traded in papers and textbooks to write emails to various people regarding job opportunities, rehearsal conflicts, auditions and headshots. I have to schedule in my yoga and dance classes, run basic errands such as grocery shopping and CVS trips because I am out of shampoo and running low on my favorite cereal. And while all this sounds easy and mundane I am somehow busy and mildly overwhelmed by the newness of it all.

In school the priorities are clear, black and white. 'I cannot go to that audition because I have class and if I miss class I get in trouble'. Simple, annoying at times, but nonetheless easy to understand and abide by. Now it is not so easy. I must make up the rules on my own. It's all of a sudden not so clear as to what projects, jobs, etc are the wisest choices. Priorities and scheduling changes at the drop of a hat and I have to be ready to do anything at anytime. Talk about living in the present and taking it one day and one breath at a time!

My yoga teacher at the beginning of this week said something which has stuck with me. He was talking about the practice of yoga and how, although it is a physical workout, it is also a spiritual and mental process. Learning to calm the mind, focus on breathing and leave everything that may be causing stress or worry outside while committing to the practice for however long it is. He said that finding a calmness in your daily life is essential; citing that in a natural disaster it is often those who are able to stay calm that survive. And this particular phrase has survived with me all week: "Sometimes life can feel like a natural disaster, but if we can stay calm and breathe through it, we will be okay."

Pretty groovy if you ask me. I'm becoming a more of a yogi everyday. :-)