Beauty in Simplicity- Sunset

Seldom do I write a post on a whim. Is just the sort of blogger I’ve become. Usually because a post requires photo and video editing, or content collection and editing, but most often simply because I don’t have time to sit, write, and publish a decent post all in one go!

This evening however, I’m out on a walk and extremely compelled to sit with the sunset and write a post. (So please excise typos and such- I’m writing from my phone).

IMG_1736.JPG

That’s what’s in front of my right now. And I realize I feel completely at ease. With the wind the sun the water and me, I feel content. I feel small and humbled but I feel beautiful and thankful to be right here, right now… Living in the moment.

IMG_1747.JPG

Living in New York I’ve discovered how much I, we as a city, rush around and seldom remember to stop and smell the metaphorical roses. To take a moment and realize where we are and what we have. We go non-stop and even in the thing we do to “relax” ourselves (like yoga for example) we rush to class, with it would go faster, and never stop thinking about what we have to do next.
Walking through the park to my current landing spot, I actually heard geese honking overhead. If your in NYC you know nature sounds are often few and far between, if we are ever even outside long enough to listen. But I did- heard them before I saw them- changing their “V” formation as they flew South for winter. Into the sunset.

IMG_1732.JPG

IMG_1735.JPG

All to sudden I feel like it’s dark, the sun has set and the day is over. We always ask for just a little longer, but maybe what we have is just enough. Take every moment as it comes and for what it is. Else you just might miss one that’s beautiful and amazing.

IMG_1748-0.JPG

IMG_1751.JPG

IMG_1754.JPG

Now, as the sun says goodnight, so do I. Till another day and another post (sooner than later) brings us together again!

IMG_1757.JPG

IMG_1743.JPG

IMG_1754-0.JPG

Love always, christiane

We Say “Goodbye” to out Girls

“We all have the opportunity to leave our footprint in the sand”

Often we say goodbye and really mean, I’ll see you later. But there is always the looming goodbye that you know is really the last one. I don’t mean to sound harsh or negative or depressing or mean… It’s the circle of life and I’ve experienced my share of it… So I speak from my experience.
The physical being may be gone but the memory lives on in photos and those of us left behind. Sometimes the later in I’ll see you later, may be a long way off but memories are forever. I’m always a fan of “remember the good times”, the times before you fought, got sick, moved on, left. It’s easier said then done though, I know. So here’s to a post about memories and goodbyes.
I just found out my mom had to put her dog to sleep. Scamp, or little dog as I always called her, had lost most of her senses and her organs were failing internally. While we all called her our puppy dog, she was well over 10 years old. She had a great life full of long walks, popcorn, groomers, and food. But that doss not make it any less hard to say that last goodbye.20140915-145618-53778687.jpg

20140915-145618-53778519.jpg

About 5 years ago, we put our other dog, Kate or big dog, down. She to was about 13 and her body was starting to fail her. Even though she always wager her tail when she saw the treats come out or the harness go on, I the end she could hardly stand. It was better for her and for us, to end the pain and remember the good times. Because those are what matters…. While both good and bad build us up, break us down, and make us individuals.

20140915-150114-54074187.jpg

And senses I’m already crying, I will make this a full “in memory” post and white about my dad. We are just 1 month shy of the 3 year date of his passing from an aggressive form of kidney cancer… If you didn’t know that happened, well, now you do. In a whirlwind of a 10 month downhill spirally world changed and I was saying a goodbye that would never be I’ll see you again. What can you do? The body fails but the spirit and Emory lives on… If we dwell on that goodbye we never move forward. It becomes a ball and chain, weighing us down and holding us back. However, if we remember their spirit and channel that in our daily lives, we grow and move onward… Living with their memory and guidance.

20140915-151809-55089530.jpg

20140915-150831-54511266.jpg
We are shadows.

Alright, that’s enough emotions for me today… But it saves me from writing a blabbering unreadable post on October 19th.
The take away, love the moment and live it to the fullest. Love those around you and love yourself… even when it seems impossible. I like to believe that goodbye doesn’t mean goodbye, just I’ll see you later… And depending on what you believe, maybe that’s true… But it’s never any easier.

20140915-151918-55158105.jpg

20140915-151918-55158227.jpg

Reflect, share, comment, like, follow, enjoy.

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 

 

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!

Tippin’ the Scales, Pullin Away: Finding Balance

Happy Friday beautiful blog readers! I hope you all have had a good week and are looking forward tothe weekend! I’ve had a great, but busy week- which has inspired this post… All about finding balance. In every sense of the word. These are some personal accounts and observations about finding (and sometimes struggling with) balance in my life. I hope something in here speaks to each one of you or causes you to look at the balance (lack of it) in your lives.

Physically

Balance in the most literal sense. Like, if you stand on one foot can you stay there still and peaceful or are you wiggle-wobbling all over? After many years of dance and many many twisted ankles (my right ankle has been twisted at least 6 times), this was a sticking point for me for many years… and still is on rainy days ;-/ I didn’t know what really to do to “have better balance”. Usually in trying to achieve it, I would get more stressed and frustrated… and only become more unbalanced.

Now as a (more) physically active and away young adult, I’ve learned that there are many things that can to worked on to achieve better physical balance. One would be working on core strength and centering. Having a strong center (the powerhouse for the rest of the body and limbs) helps you transfer weight smoothly and evenly from one foot to the other. Working consistently on my core strength has also help me to overcome a 6 year old back injury- that only until recently did not flair up every time I did true pushups or heavy lifting!

Balance is something that needs to be practiced and revisited many times. It’s worked on in many dance or Pilates class you will go to. In fact, we did a single leg balancing series in my Pilates class today and I didn’t hardly waiver at all.  It felt really good to see and feel my personal progress.

Fitness

This really goes closely with physical balance, but in a different way.  Sometimes when I look at how much I run, hit the gym, or throw myself into a class, I’m surprised I’m still standing.  My stress relief is working out… a LOT. But there is such a thing as to much!  Balancing time in the gym and time to recover is important.  That recovery time give your body a chance to rebuild muscle and become stronger.  But when my head is spinning and the only relief is to be on the running trail, it’s important to be careful… overdoing it could be a lot worse then some tears.

I’ve found a nice balance… for now at least!  Trying to run 3+ miles every other day, and biking or walking on the off days.  Always stretching and doing core strengthening.  Then on days off, not even thinking about it!

I would be the one to push myself to far.  Last week i was in the gym for 3 hours.  Felt great and did some of everything and did it well… but then took the next 2 days off from high impact workouts.  The next time I went for a run, I felt better and was looking forward to it, rather then dragging myself through it.  Your body will thank you for this sense of balance.

Sleep vs. Awake

Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time finding a good balance between sleep and getting everything I need done in a day.  We all know some of the reasons sleep is so important- it’s a time for your body to rest and recover (either from the daily stress of life or from an injury or illness), sleep aids in memorization and productivity, it gives your body systems time to recharge, etc.  However, we all know that the demands of daily life in 2014 (especially in New York) don’t always understand or lend themselves to everyone getting those 8+/- uninterrupted hours of sleep.  I discovered on my trip to Illinois how tired I was.  The first few days there I literally fell asleep every 3 hours, for at least 1 hour, and finally felt like I was “caught up” on sleep.

I’m still struggling with this aspect of balance.  Even on days off, when I technically could sleep in and not be late for anything, I make myself rise at a relatively early hour.  If I stay in bed to long i end up feeling like I’ve waisted the day.  I will get up and go to the gym even when I want to stay in and rest.  Part of it is guilt, “waisted the day”. Part of it is knowing how much I want to get done in a day.  Part of it is fear, that if I stay inside and to myself I’ll get lonely and sad.

But there must be a good middle ground.  Turning in right after getting home at night to wake early the next morning and not feel exhausted all day at work.  Allowing some sleeping in, and being perfectly alright if everything on that To-Do list doesn’t get checked off that day.  It’s a process, finding that balance.

Emotionally

I seem to have a hard time finding and maintaining balance in this category.  It’s perfectly normal to have emotional reactions to various events- good, bad, happy, or sad, however sometimes I feel like my emotions are the ones calling the shots and not at all checking in ith the rest of me!  But emotions are not something we can actually see or touch… we can’t put a brace on them for stability.  So what can one do?

I found I got a graet emotional break when I got out of NYC and into the still, quiet, calm of my summer cottage in the valley.  I was able to get some perspective on my life, my situation, and my future.  I wasn’t constantly around reminders of that previous relationship or the place i used to call home.  I was able to distance myself and in doing so, came to a balance emotionally.  Harkening back to my previous post, EX-Factor, I was able to see, accept, acknowledge, and move on from what happened.  Allowing for this freed up some space to care and worry about other things- like myself and my rolls at work.  Being balanced physically and emotionally compliment one another and personally a least, have made me feel better about myself and more confident.

In just about everything else!

Balancing time with friends and time to one’s self.

Balancing one’s finances.

Balancing the good old diet.  This one I have fun with… as a bored eater, it’s sometimes hard to balance the snacking with the meals.  When am I actually hungry and need to eat vs.  when am I just eating cause it’s something to do.  Not to mention what are you putting in your body???  Are you getting a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, carbs, protein, sugar, fiber… all that other stuff!  Especially when I leave home at 7AM and don’t come back till 11PM it gets hard to always eat healthy and on the go, without chewing a hole threw my wallet!

Who knew one word would pop up so much and in so many different places!?!  And get a whole post to itself!  haha.  I guess it’s just that important and because I does appear in so many different places, it’s something pretty much everyone has dealt with and can relate to.  Sometimes it’s easier to find and achieve then others, but balance is something that one can always work on.

I carry a little reminder to stay balanced on my person everyday.  The tattoo on my right ankle.  A traditional Yin-Yang symbolizing harmony and balance.  You can’t know black without knowing its opposite, white.  Nothing can exist without it’s opposite, but there are proportions that (when maintained) allow for calm and “balance”.  Why my right ankle?  Well not only because that is my weaker ankle, but I’m right side dominant- so reminding me to mix it up and lead with the left.  And to have a personal reminder, in general, all the time.  For balance in every sense of the word… idea… life style.  And it’s beautiful!

Well… I don’t think I have to much more to say on this subject at the moment.  What helps you find balance in your life?  What is a struggle for you to balance?  I know I’m not alone in this… sometimes though it’s hard to see where things are sliding one way or the other.  It’s not always an easy quick fix either.  thoughts?

AND bonus point to the reader/follower who can name the source I’m referencing in this entry title!!!!!

So on that note and till next time- follow, like, comment, share, etc!

love always,  christiane

IMG_0476.JPG

The EX-Factor

Sometimes, as much as we love to hate them, or hate to love them, or love that they hate us, or hate that they hate us, or love that they hate us (I could go on) we have to eventually admit that our Ex(s), as in someone you were in a significant relationship with and are no longer with, influence our lives and our feelings.

Do you ever find it strange how many feelings and memories can be evoked by a location, a song, a smell, a color, a food, or even a way of life? Sometimes bringing back fond memories of a different time, sometimes reminding of heartbreak, confusion, and even self doubt.

securedownload

Now that I’m back in NYC (and I’m sorry, but isn’t that the MOST AMAZING pic. of Midtown NYC– as I flew over Manhattan from STL!!! click to enlarge it!) I’m finding this may be something I struggle with. For example, a year ago today… or maybe it was yesterday, I reconnected with someone who I truly thought I would spend the rest of my life with, in Bryant Park. We talked, laughed and started to lay the ground work for a future. Fast forward to right now, and my life track looks like it’s just me… but I still have a hard time visiting Bryant Park. Just being there reminds me of that night that changed everything. So what do I do? -Go there everyday and wallow in my regret and sadness, wishing I could go back and change things so I’d still be happy? -Never set foot in that park again and avoid it at all costs, in so doing, miss out on all the events hosted there year round? No, that all sounds like it’s going a little over board and bordering on crazy. Instead, when I find myself chilling in Bryant Park, I acknowledge the memories and the feelings, but I let them go… and I enjoy my time.

I have a dear friend who very recently went through something very similar to my recent events. She retreated home in order to get ahold of her feelings and make a plan to take her life in a new direction. The other day she was headed to a wedding with family. Once at the venue, it hit her that she and her significant other had been there just weeks earlier and had enjoyed a wonderful evening. Now being back and alone, all those emotions hit her… hit her hard. Tears began as she tried to make her way into the reception room and join her family, but the memories won out- she turned and high tailed it out of there.

Can you blame her? I know those feelings all to well. All we can do is hope that time will make it easier to cope and that eventually these places will hold new and better memories for us.

However, not all Factors are something as easy as a location. This is where my current struggle kicks in. My now-Ex and I had begun a very strict vegetarian diet and lifestyle together… and now that I’m on my own I’m having trouble deciding if I should (or want to) remain vegetarian or, if in attempting to “purge” myself of all reminders of him (ya right, not!), I should let it go and eat whatever I want.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I have found I naturally tend to lean towards a vegetarian diet regardless (I really don’t like to handle raw meat, so I don’t cook it often) and I have come to truly LOVE many of the vegetarian meals I have been introduced too. Am I holding onto something by continue with this lifestyle choice? I know that I do feel better when I eat less heavy meats and I’m enjoying trying new foods that otherwise I may never try. But it does remind me of him… and as we have to eat somewhat consistently… it’s almost a consistent reminder. Eventually I know it won’t be, but for the present moment… sigh.

This whole experience and how I’ve managed to (somewhat) overcome it and continue to live, has been a true eye opener. You may never realize how closely tied your life is with someone else until they are no longer a part of it, for better or worse. Then it’s a healing and growing process… which, as much as we wish it would just happen over night… actually takes a lot of time (whether we admit it to ourselves and others or not).  Sometimes it seems like the easiest answer is to delete all reminders of that other person (I don’t do this but I know someone who does) and pretend like it’s not something that keeps us up at night, or surfaces after a few to many drinks, or seems like it would be a comfort when things are hard and no one is there for you.  (more on this concept in a post coming soon).

So, what’s your Ex-Factor? What things stir up memories that you struggle with? 

Feel free to Share, Comment, Like, Follow, ETC!

There are some great posts on the way, including some travel stories with great pictures, the importance of balance and how I find that, and my newest post work-out treat! So I know you will want to stay tuned 😉

Love always, Christiane

Take Off, Hey Let’s Go Flying: Airport Adventures!

How many airports have you been through? For someone who did very little air travel until being a young adult, my list is growing quickly… Roughly 7 different ones to date… And I am always surprised at how different they all are.

Being from Atlanta GA, I am used to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (the worlds busiest airport- beat that!!) so needless to say, anything else seems very small and quiet. When I fly to New York, I prefer to go through LaGuardia verses JFK, it’s just cozier. And Will Rodgers Airport on OKC- with it’s one terminal and 24 gates- is by far the smallest I’ve ever been in.
While sitting in the St. Louis Lambert Airport, I noticed how much each airport reflects the culture and people of its location, while serving as international hubs for people from all over the world.
At LGA people are cold and things move fast, and JFK is just flat out confusing… just like NYC. In Atlanta it’s a friendly but strictly business attitude- especially when going through security, and in the Mid-West there’s a more cozy friendly slow paced vibe. Here people are more inclined to chat and wish you safe travels and a good day. I’ve come to love flying and passing through these various ports because I get to see the people and experience a taste if different cultures.

What do I not enjoy about air travel? The TSA security. I know it’s important but boy-oh-boy is it stressful. I’m always worried I forgot to remove my bail clippers or eye drops from my bag and they will be confiscated. Or that the one time I’m running late for a flight will be the time the security line is crazy long and I get stopped to have my bag checked. Hence, I’m always very early! To date, as I’ve yet to have a major problem while traveling, I still enjoy it. The exhilaration of taking off and getting to look out the window still thrills me. I spoil myself by always flying Delta direct to my final destination. The mobile app, which lets me check and adjust my seat is the best thing ever- I now always go for a window seat. The more I fly the more little tricks I learn to make the flight more enjoyable.

What are your favorite flying moments? How many airports have you traveled through? I’ve yet to do overseas or cross country… But I’m sure it’s not far off. Comment below, share with friends, like just because you can, and follow the blog if you like reading personal stories and observations.

Carpe diem!

Love always, Christiane