Friday, July 10, 2009

60 Years Old

So a certain father that I know and have grown to love has turned 60 today. Rob doesn't look 60, probably because he has developed an addiction to his pedometer and seems hell bent on walking every street in Ithaca. I wonder if any of the Cornell student up there have begun to take notice of him and sit up in their dorm rooms at night after smoking the good stuff and create nicknames for him. If they are, here are some suggestions...The Walking Stick, Lockheed Walkin', Hip Moses, Senior White-Ass, Speedy McWanderer.
But I doubt that they are.
In any case, Rob is a wonderful pre-father-in-law and I feel extremely lucky to have him in my life. I always hear about dreadful in-laws, but I seem to have landed myself in a wonderful divided family and I get to love them all as my own.
So with that I suggest that we all raise a glass or bottle, regardless of what time you're reading this, and salute Rob Krohn, for being a great man, great father, and one kick ass walker. May the trails never end. Happy Birthday. -A

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What happened in Spoleto.

Okay. Here's what went down.
We all arrived to the theatre in the pouring rain. If it rains in Saratoga everything is fine, there's a roof, but at the Theatro Roma, you are out in the elements. So we all bunkered down in our metal sheds (our dressing room were literally metal shipping containers. You have yet to experience the true fear of a lightning storm until you spend one sitting in a metal box.) and waited to see what was going to happen. 
Even though the crew covered the stage with plastic to keep it dry, it got soaked as they carlessly removed it, dumping the water right back on to the stage. We all watched as the crew tried to dry the stage with wads of paper towels wrapped around poles, not a very effective tool. 
At around 9:30, before our 10pm performance, the promoter's assistant came and told us that the show was 100% cancelled, but that we would have to wait until 10:15 to leave, so that they could tell the audience to go home without seeing us skipping off to an early dinner.
We were all elated. Not only did we get the night off, but we would still be getting paid. Take that 'Act of god' clause. Oh, but that's when the shit went down...
Our promoter, let's call her Alessandra F. (I know people Google themselves, and I'd love to get a giant stack of cash again some day) finally arrives on the scene and is not thrilled that her assistant has cancelled without her.
"Wendy! Why aren't you in make-up?"
"We were told the show's off. The stage is wet."
"No,No. I once danced Romeo and Juliet with a puddle on the stage. If you stepped in it, you could get splashed."
Well that stage she wanted us to dance on was soaked. I mean SOAKED.
Things got weird as the leaders of each dancing group tried to decide how dangerous it would be to actually dance. The head of the Wayne McGregor group basically said "Fuck off, We're out of here."
I guess we came up short in the balls department, because we were forced to got out in front of the audience and test out how bad the stage was. As if we could go out there and say "Nope, Sorry that your tickets aren't refundable. Smell ya later." So it was said, You WILL dance.
To the credit of the crew, they were able to get the stage rather dry, but since most of the night was spent trying to figure out weather or not we would dance, none of us had warmed up and we were pretty emotionally drained.
On went our costumes, the ladies refused to wear point shoes and fussed about trying to find flat shoes. We all figured that we should just take it easy. Well, by the time the lights came up, so did the humidity. What started out as a freshly dried stage became a sopping wet skating rink. You could see the pools forming before your very eyes. And then, the falling began.
You could not for the life of you keep you feet beneath you. It was impossible. Normally you wish people "merde" before they leave the wings, but now we were all saying "be careful", "look out for the giant lake that is forming out near quarter", "Quick! Go get some mother-fucking sandbags!" 
I've never seen so many people fall in one ballet. And it would just come out of no where. Usually you can see a fall coming seconds before gravity take it sweet revenge, but this was mother nature with a snipper riffle. Step step BAM. You're down bitch. How does it feel? I could see people in the audience wincing as we bobbled about. This was the NASCAR of the art world. A brilliantly performed snuff film. 
I was feeling pretty lucky towards the end of the ballet, I had only a minor slip, but my ass had yet to touch the stage. Then the finale began. All of the men enter in giant circle around the ladies, we do a couple of jumps and the run to our partners, and WHAM! Right in front of me, Sean is on his face. I reach down and pick him up to his feet, check that he's okay, he is, and we continued. Sean was the icing on our cake. Enough falling. Sean and I smile at each other as we start our little dance together, and Oh Shit, my turn to bite it. I can't remember the last time I've fallen on stage, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't followed by an audience of Italians cheering. They cheered and cheered. They too had seen enough falling. They finally realized what we were risking for their pleasure. We had given them more than they had purchased. We fucking gave them dance to the highest degree. We could have pulled diva and walked off, but we were more committed to that performance and to each other that we ever had in the past. Did the rain make us better dancers, I doubt it, but the amount of extra care that I required took us to a higher plane.
We all came away mostly unhurt, and with an amazing story that we are sure no one will be able to truly grasp. Oh, and Rebecca didn't fall.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Should have posted this days ago.

Our free day is over and work has begun. Our theatre is an ancient Roman amphitheatre with numerous old column pieces scattered about the backstage area. It is hard not to picture gladiators fighting off lions and tigers. We were gladiators in our own respect, fighting off the wear of a trans-Atlantic flight and the pains and weakness incurred from a week without performing. In most cases we were not the victors. If the old theater proverb of ‘bad rehearsal, great show’ stands true, we will return home a few days late due to mass encores and numerous curtain calls.
Yeah, rehearsal was one big cluster-fuck of dance. I think we have all applied and extra amount of pressure on ourselves. Having Alexei  (the choreographer) here with us is making us extra nervous. Many of us have never worked for someone that we respects so much. There almost seems to be a father figure feeling with him. We all want his praise and want to please him. I’m pretty sure that he is happy with all of us regardless of how shitty a rehearsal can be.
There also is an overwhelming feeling of responsibility to represent our art and history here. We are dancing an amazing ballet by one of today’s most sought out choreographers, in his presence no less, while paying homage to life’s most prolithic choreographers. I personally find this trip especially meaningful since I myself am in the process of switching from dancer to choreographer, and to have this experience at this stage of change is overwhelmingly influential.
But enough about me lets talk Spoleto. This town is amazing. It’s a permanent museum. Every inch has something special. Gorgeous archway, ancient water fountains, huge aqueducts are everywhere. They streets are filled with little Italian grandmothers, all wearing aprons in anticipation of rolling out pasta dough at any moment. Oh and what pasta it will be.
 On our first night, Rebecca and I went to a cute little restaurant that we had passed by earlier in the day. We sat down in a room filled with years worth of knick-knacks including what I would imagine is the world’s largest collection of Pinocchio marionettes. We sat waiting for our menus as our hostess insisted on speaking to us in Italian as we politely nodded our heads in fake agreement. Still no menus.
Then she returns with a book on cooking in the Umbria region, and who is on the cover, just the little old lady in an apron that we just watched back to the kitchen. I give the book a quick skim and realize that there will be no menu. We will eat what is brought out. And sweet jesus did the food ever come out. First cured meats and zucchini covered in breadcrumbs, then raw mushrooms stuffed with garlic and olive oil. Next came the most amazing brushetta that we will ever have, along with fried zucchini flowers. All of this was followed by something that I’m not sure of, but loved. All of this was washed down with local wine that never stopped flowing. At this point we were stuffed to the gills and had to tell our host that we had to stop. Seriously, we never made it past the starters. He wasn’t too happy to see us call it quits, but we didn’t want to waste their food. Take a guess where we ate the following night?

Monday, July 6, 2009

This is our hotel. I thought I should point out the name to prove that it's real.
Along the way from Rome, we past many fields of sunflowers. Sadly as you will see, Rebecca slept through them.

I hate to say that I was only able to post once from Spoleto, but believe it or not, the internet crashed for the whole town while we were there. At some point I will write about our adventures, and believe me, there were plenty. But for now you will just have to settle for some photos.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Well, we have arrived in Spoleto Italy. After a long days worth of traveling, we have found our new home. How do I begin to narrate a day like today? Since I haven’t written anything in a while, maybe I’ll just start this new post with an outline of the day’s events…
  1. We arrive at the airport to discover a new and less efficient check in procedure.
    1. Self check in at computer kiosk.
    2. Take boarding pass and stand in line with luggage and wait to see a ticket counter person, where you normally get you boarding pass. Weigh luggage.
    3. Take weighed luggage to another location where a mean woman takes your luggage and puts it into a pile of other suitcases all bound for different locations.
    4. Walk to security with little hope that your suitcase will find its way out of said pile and find its way on to your plane.
       2. Get on board an Air France plane and pretend to forget about the recent crash in to     
           The Atlantic Ocean.
A.   Have loving girlfriend apply “Magical Healing Oils” to my injured back.
B.    Take a Vicodin with a Heineken. It rhymes and it works.
C.    Arrive in Paris (late) and race to catch connecting flight,
D.   For some reason France makes us go through Passport inspection even though we will never step foot outside of the airport doors.
E.    Run through Charles Du Gall Airport like a bunch of crazed Americans.
        3.We land in Rome. I would love to see Rome. (we don’t see much of Rome..)
                  A. A little Italian man picks our group up at the airport. We all grab a little     
     snack before our drive to Spoleto.
B. We pile in to the bus and most of us pass out. I rarely get jet lagged so I
      stay awake for the first part of the drive.
C. We all wake up to the sound of a very unhappy engine and a very unhappy  
     driver who is talking very loudly into his cell phone. I have noticed that
     Italian is a language that must be spoken at an extremely high volume.
4. So now we are in Spoleto. It is exactly how I had imagined that it would be. Part small town charm with a heavy dose of archaeological dig. Our theatre is a true ruin. Every inch of this town drips with elements of the past. Old rock walls seem to be bursting out from within it newly plastered surfaces. Tiny winding roads beg for us to explore what's around their bends. 
A. Food Food Food.
B. We are in truffle region. Everything has truffles in it. Rebecca is in her heaven, and I am thankful to get to watch her in all of her glory.
C. As one can imagine, our hotel is not the most internet friendly, but as a testament of my love to all of you who sit and decode the jumbles of words I poop out while traveling, I will seek out connections, and keep you all connected to us. Much Love. A&R