This City is No Fairy Tale

New York City is a place that thousands flock to throughout the year.  It is a melting pot city, the home of all things Broadway, hosts one of the largest most prestigious marathons in the country, has history and memories on every street, and a beautifully lit iconic skyline at night.  But it’s still a city.  And no growing functioning city is beautiful, perfect, and some dream come true… Not once you get up close and personal with it- like in bed together up close and personal- that’s for sure.

Let’s preface this post with a big old heartfelt “I’m sorry”!  Cause I am sorry if what I’m writing bursts anyone’s bubble, but it will come out sooner or later.  I’m not sayin’ you should visit if it’s something you want to do… or that you shouldn’t move here if it’s the place you are supposed to be.  All I’m saying here, is don’t come with pre-conceived fairy tale ideas of the city, cause you will most likely be disappointed.

What exactly am I talking about?  A lot of the day to day things.  The little things that only exist in this way in New York– that give this city a uniqueness, but that also get down right annoying at times.

Some examples?  Sure why not…

The homeless taking up, stinking up, and yelling through the train cars.

Doggy doo along the sidewalks waiting for your unsuspecting shoe.

A great and diverse array of smells around every corner.  Some you with you could enjoy always or get a bite of whatever it is that has gotten your attention, others that you wish to NEVER smell again.

Trash… basically everywhere.  Along the sidewalks, often escaped from it’s bag.  Blowing in the wind.

Train delays.  You did everything right- got up on time, had everything ready, left your apartment with time to spare walking to the station, got on the train– so far so good, right?!  You are moving right along from station to station until you feel the breaks bring the train to a screeching halt and your conductor come over saying there is “train traffic ahead of you”.  And would you like to know why there is train traffic ahead?  Most likely cause some dumb-ass won’t “stand clear of the closing doors” so they have to ding ding-ding ding several times before they finally close.  And if someone has pulled the emergency break, or the track signals are malfunctioning, or goodness forbid someone has decided to jump on the tracks.  Well, you can kiss being to work on time goodbye.  (this is one I deal with on an almost daily basis… so it hits close to home).

Waiting in ridiculously long lines for just about everything you do- from going to a show (ok, there should be a legit line here), to grocery shopping… where most times I stand in a line longer then it took me to get the items I’m trying to buy!

Paying way to much for everything… like just the cost of living, and I’m not talking fun expenses.

You never really see this side of the city when you are getting VIP transportation in your tour bus, seeing everything from atop the Empire State Building, and only hitting up the manicured parts of town when you are on your feet on the street.  Getting into the city, down and dirty with it… way uptown, on side streets, during all hours of the day and night.  Thats when the real life side shows itself.

Of course, if I didn’t love some of that… or find that the beauty and opportunities far outweigh the frustrations  I wouldn’t still be here.  Maybe it’s not that bad.

Share, comment, like, follow, visit, etc!

lovealways,  christiane

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors: NYC Subway Culture

Happy Sunday everyone!  My New York people, are you out enjoying the weather? To quote the New York Times,   “unseasonably warm”– but I’m totally OK with it!

If you’ve even lived in or been to New York City and traveled by subway, I’m sure you will be able to relate to this post. Underground is a whole different culture, playing by it’s own set of rules, with it’s own set of problems and frustrations.

As someone who lives here and travels by train several times a day, I’ve seen a lot of strange and annoying things… and I’ve smelled even stranger. I thought a piece on “train culture” would be interesting and would give me a chance to share some of my top favorite train experiences.

Mostly, it’s all about the people. Sure, sometimes the MTA system screws you over and never tells you your train will be out of service or running local when it should be express. Or you get stuck in a tunnel without cell service- so you can’t tell your boss you are gonna be late for that important meeting… but some of that wouldn’t be so bad if you were just able to sit in piece and deal with it alone. Instead, you are surrounded by people, tons of strangers… all trying to get to someplace.

The weather, the time of day, the temperature outside and inside the car, all of these affect the commute and the people on the train. I’ve seen full out fights start because people won’t move into the center of a car and someone else can’t get in, so they push and shove and piss someone off.

It’s not always bad, thank goodness. When men stand and offer their seat to women, when someone holds the door cause they see you running to the train, those that you share a moment with when there is a crazy homeless person on a screaming rant and the train has stalled out in the tunnels. Remember that post a few weeks ago, “OH the 1 Train”? While I seriously disliked having to stand and have that guy hit on me the whole commute, the girl I ended up chatting with later and the other passengers who shared in a laugh at my facial expression was very fun.

Usually though, as soon as you descend down those stairs underground, the rules all change. We fight for seats, we push and shove to get into a crowded car, and we all deal with annoying things. Here are some of my favorite subway irritating moments… at least to date. Pictures and “definitions” are all mine… as are the titles themselves for that matter.

The Poll Hog:

Definition: Leaning a large portion of one’s body on the center polls that are meant to over a place for multiple people to hold onto when standing on a moving train and offer stability so one does not fall and the train lurches down the tunnels.

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I only understand this one when the train is nearly empty or you are the only one standing. But when you are one of many on a crowded train—DON’T LEAN!! Suddenly there is so many fewer options for everyone else to find a place to hold onto. I’ve been one of 10 people holding onto one poll before, but in the blink of an eye, one person can hog a whole spot and the rest of us might just be outta luck. I don’t know what makes some people feel so entitled as to do this!

The Leg Spreader/ The seat Hog

Definition: Taking up more then one seat per-person. For men, most often accomplished by sitting with legs spread. For women, most often accomplished by allowing ones purse to have a seat of it’s own.

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I’m sorry if it’s uncomfortable, or you really don’t fit in the seat, or you don’t want to keep your personal belongings in your personal space… but you don’t need 2 seats on the train. What? You don’t want someone sitting next to you… or you think you are better then everyone else and you need more space? Oh GET OVER YOURSELF!! It’s rude, it’s also unslightly. And then glare when someone brave enough comes over and squeezes in. In a city where everyone thinks they are entitled either because of who they are wearing, what they do, what they Don’t do, how old they are, and on and on… it’s almost expected, but totally annoying. And I know, it the spots were reverse and I were taking up 2 seats… well, it wouldn’t last long!

The Chicken Wing

Definition: Someone who holds onto the bars and totally forgets where their elbow is… or that they have one at all? Or that it MAY be in someone else’s face! So it reminds me of something like a chicken wing, just flappin’ around wherever.

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I experienced this one for the first time last week. It’s early on a Tuesday morning on a packed train, and I’m sitting in my seat (totally minding my own business) maybe falling asleep every few minutes… when I open my eyes and just a meer 4 inches away from my noise is some mans hairy elbow! Like it’s RIGHT THERE! And shift of my head, his body, or the train will send it smack right in my face! What got me was that the whole trip, he never seemed to notice how close his arm was to me or that I couldn’t move. This could have been remedied if he chose to pull his arm closer to himself, hold the bar a little higher, or angle himself another direction. As it was, I get this great picture and stayed awake the rest of the trip!

At Crotch Level

Definition: I think the name really says it all.

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These are the people who stand right in front of your seat (if you are sitting) and don’t bother to angle their bodies or hold on the to bar with one hand and turn sideways… NO, they stand square in front of you and we… if you are sitting your eyes usually fall right at crotch level. Then of course, as the train rocks and rolls down the tracks, they may swing closer or further from your face. Mostly it’s just awkward and uncomfortable. I understand, you have to stand, I’ve been there. It’s totally cool (but I’m glad to be sitting) just, like, I don’t want to be looking there for the next hour of my commute!

The Screamers… and all those Loud Talkers

Definition: People who treat the train car like their own personal living room. They talk, fight, laugh (cackle), scream, cry… or don’t stop their bratty children from screaming and crying… and don’t for one moment seem to care if it’s bothering every single other person stuck on the train with them.

I have had to look away or close my eyes and restrain myself from glaring at so many people, or worse- from saying anything. Especially mothers with screaming children who act like it’s totally fine that their child is crying at the top of it’s lungs and make no effort to silence them. This is about as bad as the adults who carry on for the whole world to hear. Don’t you care about your privacy at all? I mean, even if you don’t… just shut up! Or use your indoor voices! It’s not that hard and it makes the whole time on the train so much better for everyone.

These are some of my favorites… that are funny, worthy of a definition, and that I can get a pretty good picture of. The list of annoying, frustrating, and unique things on the trains also include, but is not limited too: the incredibly smelly, the drunk, the good the bad and the ugly musicians, the dancers (yes, like the kids who blast music and take up the whole isle to dance and usually hit someone in the face), the starers, and the napping (those lovely people who fall asleep and tip onto their neighboring passenger).

There is always something interesting

What have you encountered on a NYC train?  Anything fun that you’d like to share, please comment!  As always- follow, share, like, comment, etc!  and Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @NYChristiane

love always,  Christiane

This Bed is SO Damn Big- Need More Pillows!

I’ll let you all in on a little secret, for 70% of my posts I’ve already decided on the title then I have to come up with the body content. So, when this phrase showed up in my head, I wrote it down to save until I was ready to write the corresponding post, figuring it would be some sob-story, nostalgic post about missing by (ex)boyfriend, and how sleeping alone is so… well, lonely, and yadda yadda yadda.  (especially considering where it’s from)

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But laying in bed last night, forcing myself to fall asleep in the middle of my huge queen size, pillow top bed and not being able to get the title song (of this post) out of my head- I decided what I really needs were more pillows!!! Ya know, decorative throw pillows, to fill up the extra space, to look pretty, to lay on, to set stuff on, and just to be… there. Something to make it feel not so empty…. Make this bed feel a little less big.
Ok, maybe I’ve been spending to much time at Pier 1, but I’ve always loved throw pillows!

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Of course waking up the next morning. The previous nights decisions sound totally ridiculous… And expensive. This made me rethink, or think about at all, how much importance I… or we as a society… Place in material things. I am totally guilty of this. “Oh, if I get that lamp, pair of shoes, necklace, bottle of wine, glass figurine… I’ll be happy”!  But once that thing has become yesterday’s news, are we ever any happier? In the long run, probably not… And if you are budget conscious, you are probably even more disappointed. At least, that’s the story of my life.

Yet somehow, I can’t seem to find or maintain those non-tangible things.  AND here’s where it gets sappy.  We all knew it was coming eventually.  I truly miss sharing a bed with the person I lov(ed).  I would never want things to “go back” to the way they were, cause clearly that wasn’t good for any part involved… but did it have to be that way?  We may never know.  And I may never be able to sleep through the night without making my way over to the right side of the bed and waiting for cuddles…. at least until I get lots more pillows!

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love always,  christiane

Sharing is Scary Part 2: “Solo” in Progress

Happy Friday fabulous readers!

As promised, I’m continuing to work on and share dance performance and choreography. In this post I’m featuring the first rehearsal footage of a brand new piece I’m working on. This solo, untitled to date, is being performed by yours truly at the moment. I have always feared sharing a piece when is it still very much in progress, because things will change, be added or taken away, and people don’t always take well to seeing mistakes. However, I want to keep working on this piece and I feel like I will be more motivated if I have an audience to share it with. This is also helping me overcome my reservations and hesitations of sharing my original work.  (the link is at the bottom of the post… in hopes that you will read the post then watch the piece!)

 

With this piece being in progress, I thought I would talk a little about the many aspects and pieces that come together to begin work on a piece of choreography, at least as it applies to me. Each dancer and choreographer has their own process and method of working, so do not define the “choreographers way” as what I’m about to talk about… this is just my way.

 

MUSIC

Music is an important, but not totally crucial aspect for dance performance. Many pieces are done with and without music, sometimes the dancers know the track before getting onstage, other times it may be a game of chance. Some choreographers prefer not to use music with lyrics, not wanting the movement or the audience’s perception of the movement to be affected by the preexisting tone of the music.

Personally, I like to choreograph with my music already chosen. I don’t mind pieces with lyrics, but I’ll usually look for one that will compliment the style, movement and “story” of my dance. Often, when I hear a piece of music, I can already start to see the movement come to life in my head… this is how I know it’s something I want to work with. However, it’s not always the first piece of music that ends up fitting for a piece of dance. For this solo, I had chosen a very different piece of music, one that was very personal to me, and would fir well with the track for “Shaded Blue”… but at this time I was not motivated as I should be, to choreograph to it.   The piece I ended up choosing, “Elements” by Lindsay Stirling (check out her site and music!), found me. It came on a co-workers Pandora Radio station on day and I was hooked.  I could feel the creative juices starting to flow and I wanted to start creating right there in the middle of work… I know this was a piece I had to work with.

 

MOVEMENT

I like to create and set movement that is comfortable in my body. If I’m working on a piece for myself, or without a particular performer in mind, I will create using movement that highlight my strengths and show my body the way I want. On the other hand, if I’m setting movement on a particular dancer(s) or working with someone specific in mind, I will choreograph to highlight their strengths, while staying true to my form and style. For example, the opening solo to “Shaded Blue” which was specifically designed for Emily! I’m not at all adverse to making choreographic adjustments in the future, to make any piece a better fit for the dancer.

I have a tendency to pull from the variety of styles 

 

STRUCTURE, FORM, FUTURE

Some choreographers have a piece already mostly set, either in theirs heads or on paper, then the rehearsal process is just getting that out onto actual dancers. Others prefer to create as they go… maybe having definite points or movements that will happen as a given time, but the rest come together like a puzzle as they work. I am a little of both I think, depending on the piece. “Shaded Blue” was 90% written out on paper before I ever set foot in the studio with it and dancers. While changes and adjustments were made throughout the process, most of it is as I originally set. This new solo, on the other hand, is very much coming together each time I get in the studio to work.  While I have some ideas for the overall look and direction of the piece, I don’t always know what’s coming next… so much of my rehearsal time, right now, is playing and seeing what comes out.  The rehearsal process will be for another post… Yay, something to look forward too!!

In my head, this piece is a sister piece to “Shaded Blue” (premiered in the last Sharing is Scary post). watch it again! While “Shaded Blue” was more so movement for movement’s sake, this solo is a little more aggressive and the character is troubled. There is more tension on the stage and she is always looking off to something else… something just off stage… something she can’t have. The movement is more angular and sharp and I actually love the silhouette look I got in the studio! The music adds to the driving element, while being light and easy to listen to… and believe me, I listen to it a LOT!  the first week of working on this piece, I listened to the track every day on my 45 minute train commute, just to get it in my body and lear the music, phrasing, and character.  

When this piece will be finished… performed… with or without “Shaded Blue” is beyond me.  Right now I’m working on it so I can keep creating and to have something special to share with you all!  I would LOVE to reset Blue with this piece when it’s done… but I also don’t want to rush myself so I truly create something I’m proud of and enjoy.  (“Shaded Blue” is by far my favorite piece of Modern/Contemporary dance I’ve done… so this new one has a big sister to live up to)!!

And on that note… I should fork over the link to the new piece and let y’all see it for yourselves!  Here it is “Solo” 2014.  Please feel free to share, like, comment, etc!!  I love your feedback and support!  

 

Love always,  Christiane 

 

Infatuated: Blue Skies, Wide Open Spaces, and Me

I really think this title says it all. So let this be a photo entry accompanied by some words, instead of the other way around.

I’m not sure when my love and interest in bright blue skies first came about, but I know I first noticed this infatuation on top of Elk Mt. in Oklahoma.IMG_0030.PNG
You could see for miles in all directions. It was breathtakingly beautiful, the water reflecting the intense blue of the sky, and that sky meeting the land far off in the distance. Up there was the first time I realized I would have been very happy to sit for hours just bring under that sky, looking at it’s beauty and power… Feeling small and humbled, but also beautiful.

For years I took for granted the majesty and beauty of Southern Illinois, where I used to spend my summers and now where I run to in an attempt to escape New York City and regain… Or maintain… Some of my sanity. There, un-impeded by sky scrapers and city lights, you can see sky, trees, water.

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I have come to realize that I could happily be under and look at a blue sky, really anywhere, and by so happy. Now I don’t just mean any blue, I mean that piercing, intense, clear, powerful blue sky that says “yes, look up from your phones, get up form your office chairs, and come outside. Look up at me and bask there, totally unchained from all other daily problems. Just be”.

I’m not saying you can’t see a phenomenal sky in New York City, because you can in fact.

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You just have to be in the right place, but even then there is usually a building standing in the open blue. And all to often, you may only get a small glimpse as you move through the dark underground of the city.

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I believe there is something very deeply rooted in us, that draws us to nature in some form. For me, the blue sky… Being able to watch it go on and on. Yes it can make me feel small and vulnerable, but it also gives me a view of endless possibilities with plenty of space and time to try them all. When I’m distracted by a perfect, uninterrupted blue sky, I never feel lonely or lost. I’m reminded there’s so much more out there.

Ever had a dream where you fly? Well, I can tell you- it’s the best way to see the sky!!

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For more fun pictures, check out my Instagram @nychristiane ❤️. And follow, share, like, comment! I always love to get feedback and support.

Love always, Christiane

Remember to check out my original choreography “Shaded Blue” posted in Sharing is Scary Part 1

Sharing is Scary: Part 1 “Shaded Blue”

As some of you probably know and others may not, I’m a dancer.  I’ve been dancing sense age 4 and have built up quite an impressive resume over the years.  I love performing, being on stage, directing, choreographing, etc.  However, I’ve always had a hard time sharing my work while it’s in progress… or really sharing my work any other way but live.  I’ve decided that is something I want to work on- to overcome.  While I think dance, and most live performing arts are better live I know there is a huge outlet for it via video, online, etc.  I’ve decided, that to overcome this fear and to get my work seen by a few more eyes, I will work on releasing various performances, pieces, and clips of work here on the blog!

 I’m starting with a piece I did a few years ago that is truly one of my favorites and one that I would love to put on the stage again.  “Shaded Blue” was choreographed in 2012 at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA as an assignment for my Choreo. 2 class.  The semester before in Choreo. 1, I set a piece about my father and our struggle with his cancer and the aftermath of losing him.  That work, “Holding On/ Chasing Dreams” was an emotionally charged piece that above anything else was a way for me to express what I had been through.  After working on a piece so deep and personal, I wanted to create a piece that was just movement for the heck of it!  Phrases that felt really good in the dancers bodies and didn’t tell a deeper story.  Something that moved and was happy and beautiful, creative and flowing.  I actually wrote out all the choreography on an airplane.  I could just see the piece in my head, I didn’t need to feel it in my body, I already knew what was coming next.  This quartet is set to an original piece of music by Kyle Lacy, titled “Iceberg Shade of Blue”.  In a way, we collaborated on creating the perfect track for the final performance, editing sound levels, length, vocals, etc. It was exciting to create a new dance to a new piece of music, I was able to pull inspiration from the raw music and share the work of another artist.  The performers are all friends and fellow dance majors from Agnes.  Setting this work on them was fun and in many ways, easy, because we could all communicate and just play in the early stages of choreography to create some movement that was personal and individualized for each dancer.

And now I have to share!!   Click here, here, or HERE to see the Promo short for “Shaded Blue”.  This is a 1 minute clip that should spark your interest and make you want to see the whole dance…  Then you can click This, that, or the other for the full length video!!!   I hope you enjoy 🙂   (yes- everything in orange is a hyperlilnk to my youtube channel and the indicated performance video.  You have plenty of options on where to click…. and hopefully you will watch more then once!)

I was constantly inspired and loved working on this piece of choreography.  But I know it does not stand alone.  I have begun work on a new solo which is a sister piece to “Shaded Blue” and may be one of three in total!  Exciting things are happening and I plan to keep sharing, so keep an eye out for more “Sharing is Scary” entries that will contain snippets of new work and progress as well as (hopefully) thoughts and insight on my process.  

Please do continue to read, share, follow, like, and comment!

love always,  Christiane

And if you read this far, you get a bonus- here is a special release 15 second clip of the new solo http://instagram.com/p/sEIFF2m4EL/

Enjoy and know there is more to come!

Wine and Star Trek

This is not intended to be a long train of thought post or tell about some funny story from the day. Ok just writing to say:

Don’t take for granted the little things
the special moments
the small personal quirks that make you love someone
the inside jokes
the similar interests
the quiet time together.

Because you never know… In the blink of an eye, everything you thought was strong and true can vanish and you are leave you sitting alone in a quiet apartment with a glass of wine and a
Star Trek movie wishing you had one more moment, one chance to be yourself instead of a false manicured version of yourself that even you don’t love.

Love those who love you.

Goodnight all

❤ always. Christiane