|This year FLEW by!!!|
|In costume for Company C's gala performance|
2. After spending a week with Company C in Walnut Creek and another week in San Francisco, I found myself traveling quite a bit. Between January and December, I spent at least 24 hours (and up to 3 1/2 months) in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, New Orleans, Baltimore, Oakland, Los Angeles, Irvine, New York City, Anchorage, and am now flying as I write on my way to Seattle to close out the year. It has been a crazy year to say the least. When I look through my Instagram page, I'm still amazed at the multitude of places I visited this year.
3. One of the most rewarding performances I had this year was dancing the role of Romeo with Fort Wayne Ballet. I only had a week to learn the entire three act ballet, which at times felt like an impossibility. Luckily, I had a great partner that I instantly connected with and we turned out a miracle of a performance in an extremely short period of time. I also found a new level of emotion in my dancing, as I was able to tap into places that I didn't even know I had. I never thought I would have the ability to genuinely cry onstage.
|Fort Wayne Ballet's Romeo and Juliet w/ Lucia Rogers (Photo: Jeffrey Crane)|
|Swamp tour w/friend and former colleague William Lin-Yee|
5. One of my favorite gigs this year was dancing with Lafayette Ballet Theatre in Louisiana. While I have reconnected with a great many past friends since I began freelancing, I haven't had the opportunity to dance with any of my former colleagues from Pacific Northwest Ballet. Through the kindness of my friend Lindsi Dec, PNB Principal, I was connected and given the opportunity to dance besides three friends that I haven't seen since leaving Seattle.
|Touring a New Orleans cemetery|
|At Company C gala w/former SAB peer, Chantelle Pianetta|
8. While I didn't get to perform in the final performances with Oakland Ballet (I did get to dance in the Bay Area Dance Week and Oakland Art Murmur), I did have the wonderful opportunity to work with Robert Moses. Robert really threw me out of my comfort zone during the 5 weeks I got to work with him. He taught choreography in a style that was very challenging for me and at a lightning fast pace (I tend to start learning slow and catch up halfway through). The first few days, I felt very let down, as I was left out of much of the creative process. Then, all of a sudden, Robert had me perform my own interpretation (with improv) of a solo he had taught me. From there, I had a duet that opened the ballet, a few solos, and closed the ballet. Throughout the nearly 20 minutes of his new work, I only left the stage for about 2 minutes and was featured throughout. This was an amazing accomplishment for me, as I felt that I was struggling so greatly that he wouldn't end up using me at all. This was my greatest disappointment in suffering my injury.
|One of the houses I stayed in (on left) while couch surfing in San Francisco|
10. Sometimes, I feel like California is beckoning me to move to the state. I spent a total of three months in the Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, and Walnut Creek) and Los Angeles this year. I love these cities so much and am so happy that my career brought me to these communities for such extended periods of time this year.
|I missed him, especially.|
12. Perhaps, the biggest highlight of my year was being selected as one of the four choreographers for the National Choreographers Initiative. I had applied to NCI two times prior to being accepted into this prestigious workshop experience. It was a very humbling honor to be selected besides three amazing choreographers; Philip Neal - former New York City Ballet Principal dancer, Gabrielle Lamb - 2014 Princess Grace Award winner for choreography, and Garrett Smith - a young, prodigious choreographer currently dancing with Norwegian National Ballet. After three weeks of work with some amazing dancers that were hired from ballet companies across the country, I got to present my first nearly full work (I'm waiting for a commission to create the final movement) since I left Seattle in 2011.
|Dylan Keane, Jackie McConnell, & Evan Swenson rehearsing my ballet @ NCI|
14. This year, I achieved a handful of goals that I have been working towards for many years. All the way at the beginning of the year I was featured in an article for Dance Magazine. Twice after that, I was featured in Dance Informa Magazine. I also found myself featured on a major blog with over 60,000 subscribers as one of 49 Creative Geniuses Who Use Blogging to Promote Their Art. It was an honor to be listed besides names like Daymond John (Shark Tank) and Will Wheaton, among others. I also scored an agent to represent me for choreography after showing at the National Choreographers Initiative.
|Sunset along the Seward Highway outside Anchorage|
16. Lastly, I feel like this is a highlight of every year for me. I got to reconnect with so many friends that I haven't seen since my training days. As a national freelancer, moving from company to company, it is amazing to see so many friends that I trained beside who have become incredible, talented artists. This dance world is so small and it is so rewarding to revisit past memories and create new ones through art. Beyond this, getting to meet and dance with so many new artists is equally gratifying. Now, I can add them to my tight knit network and continue this cyclical ballet pattern.
|Going away party at Alaska Dance Theatre|