Monday, June 20, 2011

Swan Lake Reflections: 6-20-11

This past week I spent some time recovering from Swan Lake rehearsals and performances.  I did the hurry up and wait routine about 3 times per day during the tech rehearsal week and then went to 4 performances of Swan Lake on the (the 10th, 11th and 12th).  No art has been done for the past two weeks but I a beginning to get the itch again, gratefully.  Colin and Claire have had a down week this past week as well so I spent much of my time with them.  My 18 year old, who is really going on 30, was rarely home at all so I was grateful to spend some quality time with my 16 year old twins.  Claire and I did some shopping, her favorite past time, Colin and I did some movies, we all sat down to dinner together which is a rarity and I did a lot of home cooking.  We also hit our health club 4 of the 5 weekdays which is a perk as well.  

Each night before I fell asleep I put together some thoughts on my children's performances.  It is funny how it works but with each passing year I can see such great improvement in their technique and in their performance.  Thanks to the magic of professional videos, I can relive all those memories.  This particular performance found both Colin and Claire in solos. I am so proud of both of them!  Claire, recovering from mono, lit up the stage.  Regardless of how tired she was, you would never know she was ailing.  Her personality just totally came through.  Colin was absolutely incredible.  He was pure grace and power.  I was able to watch him perform as prince (he was the understudy) and I have to give him kudos.  His range of emotions were right there.  You could see just how in love he was with his Odette yet he was totally conflicted at the same time.  Bravo are destined for the big stage.  Enjoy the little slide show will see what I mean :)

Mrs Svalander, our studio's artistic director, invited some friends to attend the last performance.  These friends were former professional dancers from about 40 years ago.  They made sure to tell Colin how talented he was which just about sent him into tears.  I really don't think he wants to admit how talented he is.  I think that is a defense mechanism for him.  These ladies, some in their 60s and 70s, we never met before but you just sort of knew that they were former dances (with Stone and Camryn in Chicago) because of they way they moved.  I was also moved my their comments.  I mean really choked up.  I am always amazed at the range of emotions this performing art brings out in me.  The ballet is something extraordinary and I do hope, dear readers, you take the time to see one at least once. 


And so, here we are at another week.  Colin and Claire have started Mrs. Svalander's summer intensive which basically preoccupies ~8 hours a day (with lunch and dinner breaks) 3 days per week, and about 5 hours the other days (except Sunday).  Colin leaves for Austin Texas on July 10th to participate in the American Ballet Theaters summer intensive.  I do hope he posts daily on Facebook (feel free to friend him if you want to follow his exploits, Colin Ellis).  My husband and I will attend his final performances down in Austin.  I am so excited for him.  Claire will have a final summer intensive performance too and I do hope she is given some beautiful solo moments.  She is ready for them :)   I need to put my artist cap back on.  But that may have to wait for a while long...I have to gather all Colin's stuff, and there is a lot of it, to pack and send down before he leaves, and also pack him up for the actual trip.  Never a dull moment.  

Least I forget, all these photos are © Dan Swinson, whose talent is awesome.  Thank you Dan for allowing your faithful followers to use some of these photos :)


Friday, June 10, 2011

Swan Lake

Swan Lake 2010:  Photo by Dan Swinson
This photo is from last years production of one of the most beloved ballets, Swan Lake.  And this is what I have been up to all this week.  Tonight begins the marathon weekend of performances.  Coin and Claire are totally pumped and you can feel the adrenaline in the air.  So as alluded earlier, this week has been about getting the kids to and from rehearsals and waiting...  I am too involved with the excitement of it all so I have not been able to concentrate on much else.  I wonder if other parents of children who dance or perform on stage feel the same way as I do.  I can't buy tickets for just one show, I have to buy tickets for 4 shows.  I have long ago come to the conclusion that Colin and Claire will be 18 all too soon so I am going to enjoy every minute as a ballet Mom and a very proud one at that.  The house work will always be there, so will my art, so will the wash!!!  But my children have always come first no matter what the cost.  We've sacrificed a lot through the years so they could have the best training available and it is paying off in a big way.  Colin has chosen dance as his career path and will be studying at a summer intensive with the American Ballet Theater in July, Claire wants to go to college to pursue her dancing.  I'm smiling ear to ear.  So as I sit here and type this, I am eagerly awaiting the first performance tonight.  As soon as Mr. Swinson has some photos available I will post them.  He is a fantabulous photographer and has a knack for capturing dancers in their finest moments.  


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Breathing 6-8-11

"Transformation"  completed 6-3-11
 I have been meaning to summarized my last week.  I really had good intentions to write on the weekend.  But as it always seems with me, time just gets away.  I'm back on a path again, not exactly the one I was on before this past week, but at least its a path.  My oldest has recovered from the shock of her car crash and is asking for a car that I say, fat chance.  We just found out her $16,000 car has $12,000 worth of damage. So now we wait for our insurance agency to decide if they total it or fix it.  My Claire has been cleared for dance.  Thank God.  Up until yesterday, I had a tight grip on her making sure she got plenty of rest, fluid, sustenance, etc... We allowed her to mark her part but no more than that.  Last night was the first rehearsal that she actually danced and she brought tears to my eyes.  She will remain fatigued for some time but as long as she knows when to rest, all is good.  My son had the opportunity to dance the prince part in Swan Lake last night (rehearsal).  He is the prince Sigfried understudy. So I was invited to watch him perform his actual part as well as the understudy Prince Sigfried.  I have seen his Benno (best friend of the prince) and have always been amazed at his athleticism, but his boy actually acted the part.  Its one thing to dance well, its another thing to embody the part.  And this he did.  I was in awe.  My 16 year old son, looked so love smitten. I wish I had pictures.  I can't wait to see the actual performances this weekend.  Right now, this is what is keeping me in the game :)  I'm  thinking that Mr. Dan Swinson will have some pictures of rehearsals up soon. 

Another bright spot these past couple of days was the completion of "Transformation."  Because this piece is so textured, I was at a loss at how to seal it (since it will not b3e under glass).  I settled on my go to sealer, Dorlands Wax.  Worked like a charm.  I was able to finish and seal by Thursday of last week.  The wax cured for 24 hours and then I buffed the finish.  Voila, I was ready to let her go on Friday.  I wanted the recipient, Mrs. Hirsch, to open it while I was standing there.  Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw the joy this piece brought to her.  She was almost speechless but not quite.  The hugs and the smiles spoke a thousand words.  I think I will offer prints of this one if ever I get time to get my ETSY shop up and running once again. 

Swan Lake is this Weekend.   The Black Swan photo below is by Mr. Dan Swinson and is of one of our beautiful dancers.  If you live in my area and want something completely cultural to do this weekend, head on over to the Opera House.  This is a fantastic ballet and danced so beautifully by The Judith Svalander Dance Theater.  Both my Colin and Claire have big parts :)  I am a proud Mom for sure.  My studio time will be non existent until after Swan Lake.                  
Presented by:

Judith Svalander Dance Theatre
June 10, 11 & 12, 2011
Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday at 2:00 PM
Tickets: $23.00 Adults & $16.00 Students

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Transformation Nearing Completion and thoughts on Motherhood.

Its been a hell of a day.  As I sit hear, in tears, I can't decide i I am feeling sorry for myself, filled to the brim with frustration, or grateful for all in my life. I've been reading, almost religiously, Kelly Rae Roberts blog for several years now.  She became a mother for the first time about 7 months ago.  Her posts, naturally, are filled with the wonders of motherhood and also the the real fears that come along with being a new mom.  As a Mom, I have relived, through her words, all my children's births, their firsts milestones, their first day of school....And yet, I say to you Kelly, nothing can prepare you for when you have to start letting go.  My Claire, at 16, was diagnosed with Mono.  While of course its not the end of the world, it feels like the end of her world to her.  Swan Lake is everything to her and with performances next weekend, we are hoping and praying she can perform.  The real back breaker though, was this afternoon.  My 18 year old was in a car accident, her fault, that pretty much totaled her new car. As I raced to the scene, nothing could prepare me for the look on her face nor the flood of relief when I saw that she was not injuredI wanted to strangle her but instead I grabbed her and held her tight as we both sobbed together.  So much went through my mind.  Every little giggle or smile or coo she made as an infant, her struggles all through school, her triumphant high school graduation, her happiness when we put a down payment on a new Honda Fit (which by the way has a high safety rating and I believe in any other small car the outcome may have been different) only 2 months ago, her first car accident last month.....  Kelly Rae enjoy those precious moments.......  So now on top of illness we all have this to deal with.  I know I could have lost her, I know I have so much to be thankful for, I know...I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself.  And I'm feeling scared.  How do I let her get back into this car?  I have worried every time she goes off on her own and it seems my fears were justified.  I always said if I could just get them through high school...  Sigh, tomorrow is another day and I'll spend it one the phone but I'll survive.

After the accident happened and after dealing with the insurance company, I headed to my sanctuary.  Here is where I am at on this mixed media collage.  It is nearly done.  Not only is it a work of love, it saved me tonight from a total melt down.  The photo is from the iPhone 3Gs which isn't the best quality but I'm saving the scanner bed for the finished work. I'm probably going to do another glaze over the entire piece and add some sparkle on the dress to emphasize the magic of the moment. Her bodice is adorned with gems. The dress is 3-D because I used white tissue paper. So I am pleased where this piece led me.  I totally worked intuitively having only a picture from a magazine of a dancer that I sketched.  The rest just sort of happened.  The background though, really set the mood and after the sketch, it just happened.  There is a good chance that I will finish it tomorrow.  Then I want to seal it, wire it and scan it (not necessarily in that order).  I can't wait to give it to my twins ballet teacher.  That will make my day, my week, my year.