Thursday, May 21, 2015

NBC, it's NBD

(NB: NBD = No Big Deal)

Today I tapped for the Red Nose Day USA Danceathon with Nick Cannon livestreamed on!

Let me explain some of those terms:

Red Nose Day - they finally cottoned on to what a good idea that is over here
Danceathon - extended period of dancing in order solicit donations and sponsors, this was a 24-hour one for the host
Nick Cannon - American personality, has been a rapper, actor?, married to Mariah Carey and TV presenter - I think now he mostly presents America's Got Talent.
NBC - the biggest US tv network (I think) (it's where all the better American programs are anyway)

Here's what happened:
A week and a half ago, the head of dance at AMDA Michele Hart Haviland sent me a message asking if I'd like to tap for a Red Nose Day thing for NBC, they were looking for strong tappers, Oren Korenblum is choreographing.  Of course I immediately said yes and thank you for thinking of me.
I never even had Michele as a teacher so big gratitude to her faith in me.  I know Oren, he's an AMDA alum and prolific choreographer so I signed on without a second thought.

We had some rehearsals - technically there were three but I could only be at 1.5 because, hey five jobs over here.
Oren had a few numbers going into this thing.  The one I was a part of was to Fascinating Rhythm from Nice Work If You Can Get It, Gershwin all the way.
I danced with Oren himself, plus

Karli Dinardo, recently finished starring in US tour of Flashdance, she's kind of a big deal.  This is my...fourth time dancing with her! Dance workshop 2nd semester, dance workshop 3rd semester and Foreign Exchange concert in Jan 2014.

Stephanie Parker, third time dancing with her, dance workshop at AMDA 2nd and 3rd semesters.

Alicia Kee, one of the first people I met at AMDA and my second time dancing with her directly though I was in dance workshop with her my second semester just not the same number.  The first time was when we were both dancers and vocalists for a performance of Lady Marmalade, in my first semester of AMDA!

So, lucky me I got to reunite with these three awesome ladies who I've enjoyed dancing with in the past so much.

Very little rehearsal with the crew meant that I spent the last week feeling frantic and trying to rehearse in my subway seat every morning and evening with headphones in.  I also had to hunt down, with four days notice, neutral colour tap heels (as opposed to black) and a royal blue dress, both kindly provided to me by one Lauren Downie and one Rayna Hirt, another lovely tap dancing lady who let me borrow her LaDucas - these are some of the best dance shoes in the World, this is what the Rockettes wear, Rayna just handed me hers without thinking about it.  True generosity.

We have a number, we have a dress, we have some shoes.  Now all we need is to do the thing!
I arrived at the NBC experience store where it was all going down.  Rockefeller Centre, a big famous building in midtown, is home to NBC and it comprises all the TV studios, Radio City Music Hall, the Rainbow Room, Top of the Rock and the Experience Store.  I was given my clearance for entering the building and a lanyard

When I went to enter the building the security guy asked 'are you an entertainer?' and I had to think about it for a moment.  Duuuuuhhhh

Upstairs in the holding space we did our final getting ready stuff, we all warmed up a little, we hung out and we took pictures!

Getting ready with Karli and Cheyenne

The almighty Lizz Furtado, head of production at AMDA, she's been my boss on several occasions and fully embraces my complete lack of grace and finesse.  She and Stefani Miller my other AMDA boss were on hand to cheer, represent, make us laugh and in Stefani's case crash the stage while Nick Cannon was talking to the camera.  Outstanding work.

Steph and I getting in a final run
Of course my girl Downie was on hand to support as was fellow Scot John Dempsey and my favourite tap buddy of all Carlos

My face in this picture...oops, not too cool
Before the cameras rolled

Look who showed up.  I caught Lauren's eye when this happened and laughed a lot.
I'm in the back right behind Karli.  This was after the numbers were over and Nick Cannon returned to the stage to do his dancing bit and encourage people to donate.  So we ended up all trying to hip hip in our tap heels and dresses...err.....not easy

The Blue Girl Group, pre-performance
The whole thing was a blast, I was only there about two hours in total.  Also we went on after the cast of Stomp which is pretty much gold, as far as I'm concerned.

AND we were provided with pizza and doughnuts.  I scarfed down a slice and two jam doughnuts, because I am a dancer and must be well nourished.

Then I went to babysit like nothing happened! 

I had fun, I have a great resume credit and I have a huge weight lifted from my shoulders because although I was just in one number I am not known for taking things in a relaxed manner so I've been obsessing over that one number all week and it's been stressing me out! I can tell because my skin has suddenly become really dry around my eyes! Bah.  I just celebrated with Indian food and a beer and I'm getting to bed soon because it never stops so, work at 9am tomorrow.  

Also my roommate David got a new bike and he's letting me have his old bike so now I guess I have a bike!  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Style file

And they have! It's been beautiful in NYC the past few weeks! I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Sun means bright mornings, light evenings, outdoor seating at bars and restaurants, the park and SUMMER CLOTHES

It's my most superficial reason for loving summer but I really am ecstatic to be back in spring summer wardrobe.  Clothes are an important creative outlet for me, yes I said it yes it's true.  

NB barefaced in a taxi over the Brooklyn Bridge - a year ago I never would have a picture like this with such clear skin.  Congratulations to me!

Skirts and dresses and flares oh my!
The challenge is dressing to feel like myself and be able to get through a long, multi-job, two-borough day in one outfit.  Like, can I wear it for babysitting and for an FTP meeting and for frozen margaritas? 
Yes yes I can!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In gratitude

Interrupting my attempts to deal with the blog give a quick shout out to a fantastic pal of mine Ms Lauren Downie.
The obvious things are that she's the most fun to be around, everybody loves her, she's not afraid to be silly and just enjoy herself, she is always there for a chat, a drink, an ice cream party or whatever you need to cheer up and many more besides.
But her stand out friend qualities are

1) She pushes me to ask for more.  Where I will be retiring, apologetic and non-confrontational, she will be forthright and say exactly what she wants, and she encourages me to do the same, free from fear or guilt.  I'm still no good at it but she won't give up on telling me to be brave and ask for what I want instead of just pretending I'm ok with what I have.  A gazillion friend points for Lauren.

2) And this one we are mutually good at - she looks out for my emotional well being.  We are both very careful about protecting each other from some of the roughest sides to the industry we're involved in and the city we live in.  For example, today when I talked about needing to get in shape because of a dance project in which I will dance alongside the star of the recent national US tour of Flashdance The Musical, Lauren was quick to jump in and say 'do it for you, not because you are comparing yourself to someone else'. And she was absolutely right.  We don't let each other get sucked into the dangerous world of body image obsession, and we're always ready to point out what's more important in our lives than looking like a fitness model.  Aka everything.

So a gazillion more friend points for Lauren! Not to mention the other things she's done for me like hook me up with jobs, buy me nice presents, share in her opportunities and.....ANOTHER gazillion points!

On a different but equally important note.

Yesterday and today I did something I haven't done in a long, long, LONG, since I was about 18.

I went out without any makeup on.  Ok I put the bare minimum of concealer to cover up my dark under eye circles (because it's nice to not look tired, ok!) BUT no foundation, no tinted moisturiser, no nothing.
A little disclaimer - I have gone out without makeup on before this, of course I'm only human.  But when I have, it's been in the context of, say, running to the supermarket in my trackies.  Or going to the gym.  Or popping round to a friend's house to eat pizza.  In the friend's house case I'd be ok not wearing makeup because I feel secure with my friends and I know they don't give a crap what I look like.  In the case of gym or supermarket, it's a situation where I deliberately want to be anonymous and invisible, I'll be hidden in exercise clothes and headbands and hoodies or whatever.

Yesterday and today, I went out without make up on and felt as much of a person as anyone else.  Like, I wasn't going out thinking 'I have no foundation on, ugh I look terrible but who cares I'm only going to the ................'.
I was going out thinking 'I'm going to work, then to tap rehearsal, then out for a drink with Lauren and I have no makeup on and I feel great about how my face looks'.
That's a first for me in abut 7 years so, share my joy! Weeeeeeee! Anyone who's ever dealth with some form of acne will know where I'm coming from, it's a good time.  Awwwww yeah.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Me and my gals

(This is the beginning of my addressing the backlog of undocumented events, bear with me)
As of yet unblogged but very important: last month, LOLA came to town!

She was here about 10 days and she had a mission to make use of the AMDA library to gather resources for her musical theatre students in Mexico City.  /a mission to eat brunch have drinks go to parks and see shows which she did with aplomb.  And some shopping.
It was wonderful seeing her a little under a year since we said our sad farewells.  When she left at the end of this trip it was weird because it felt like we'd only just done the whole thing very recently, though it's been since last May.  Anyway she's doing fabulously in Mexico City and I'm very proud of all she's achieving.  We were super lucky to get her back for a little while and it's a nice reminder that most things in life are impermanent.  Sometimes that's not a great thing but in the case of separated friends it's very good indeed.

There she is on the left unable to believe her good fortune in being surrounded by such fine people.

We enjoyed a variety of activities including going to bars (standard) and going to The Uncommons, one of the funnest places in the city.  It's a board game cafe with about 500 games.  We mostly go for things that will result in comedy.

Lola and I kickin it old school, doing what we did best as roommates - order Thai food,wear pyjamas, watch a movie.  Ahhh the good old days.

Lauren's parents also visited and I had a lovely brunch with them.  And they took this picture.  Thanks Gordon and Sheila! How did such great people end up with this muppet ^^^

Lola posted this picture on Facebook on my Birthday - it's an old picture but I didn't know it existed (that's her phone) and I wanted to share it because isn't it nice? Our hair game is pretty perfect here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Night food confessions

I'm very behind on my blogging.  When so much stuff happens I get overwhelmed and it just kind of passes by.  I'll get to the backlog eventually.

Meanwhile, sidebar

I've had a lot of weird schedule lately, odd combinations of late nights and not late nights which leave me kind of all over the place with sleeping and mealtimes.  Let's be real I gave up mealtimes years ago.
The erratic...ism? has led to some pretty weird food choices.  I'm ok with it...I still get my vegetables (mostly) and some decent carbs and probably not quite enough's not an amazing diet but it's not terrible and I can really step it up when I make a little effort.

Ok I'm definitely trying to make myself feel better, this past week or so it's been horrendous.  I can't lie to myself or anyone else.  Here are my weird and mostly night food confessions.

For breakfast, at approximately 1pm:
A huge bowl of sweet potato mash
Dairy Milk

Night food:
An entire avocado

Hungover, oops:
A fish sandwich (like, fried breaded fast food fish) and a fried chicken leg.  A lot of fizzy drinks.

Next day, never quite got over the first hangover then had cocktails the evening of the first hangover:
The rest of the fried chicken I couldn't deal with yesterday.  Cool Whip*

Throughout the week, as handy snacks/whatever meal it's closest too:
Chocolate chip cookies, Cool Whip, raspberry gelato.  Cool Whip cookie sandwiches.

Grilled cheese

Grilled cheese
A doughnut

Lunch AND dinner, same day:
Macaroni and cheese except it's not macaroni and cheese so I don't know where they get off calling it that it should be called fakeroni and what is this?

Late afternoon snack:
Two cheese empanadas from a food truck

In general:
Cool Whip


*dairy-based low fat whipped dessert sub-ice cream with a ton of crap in it.  Tastes so good but so wrong.