ballet

Photo Finish: December

I’m closing out December the same way I close out every month– by posting my favorite instagram shots!

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[1] A December favorite: Fresh Sugar lip balm in cherry.  How cute is the packaging?! [2] The Boston Opera House for the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker. [3] I don’t like parties, but I do like costumes.  Clad in an ugly sweater with my Christmas tree. [4] Julia & I at our company holiday party, dressed to freakin’ impress. [5] My Christmas Julep manicure: Roc Solid + Mary Lee. [6] Emerson College’s Paramount Theatre & neighborhood on a rainy night. [7] Opening presents at Mom & Dad’s!  [8] My 7-year-old cousin told me I take too many selfies.  I’m okay with that. [9] Hangin’ out with Edgar Allan Poe & being a tourist in my own city.

 

Have a safe, fun, and Happy New Year!

I’ll see you in 2015!

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Everybody has their own holiday traditions to make the season merry.  Many of you might be in all-Christmas-music-all-the-time mode.  My seasonal music is a bit different…

I’ve always loved The Nutcracker.  I remember seeing it as a child– the first ballet this then young ballerina ever saw!  I remember having a cassette tape as a child (okay, NOW I’m dating myself!) which told the story as stated in an accompanying picture book.  In that version, which I can still hear parts of in my head, called the young protagonist Marie.  You may know her as Clara.

The Nutcracker tells the story of young Clara’s Christmas gift, a nutcracker, as he battles the mouse king, and as a prince takes her to the land of sweets.  It’s a dreamlike ballet of colors, sounds, and lovely dancing.

Thanks to my friend Elissa of Style-Wire, I got the opportunity to see Boston Ballet’s production this season.  This particular production is under the artistic direction of Mikko Nissinen.  I saw Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker last year under his artistic direction, and was pleasantly surprised that this year’s held some more surprises for me!  The sets and costumes are even lovelier than I remember.  They definitely make modifications and improvements each year.  The production is full of comedic moments like the adorable toy bear and the arrival of the mice– as the clock tolls the stage is like to focus on each mouse comically posing making me laugh every time!

L to R: obsessed with chandeliers like these at the Boston Opera House | beautiful backdrop before the show begins! | Elissa & I snuck a quick selfie before the show.  Stole this photo from her!

obsessed with chandeliers like these at the Boston Opera House | beautiful backdrop before the show begins! | Elissa & I snuck a quick selfie before the show. Stole this photo from her!

Boston Ballet's The Nutracker promotional photo by Rosalie O'Connor

Boston Ballet’s The Nutracker promotional photo by Rosalie O’Connor

The Boston Opera House is gorgeous too!

The Boston Opera House is gorgeous too!  This is maybe my favorite photo I’ve ever taken.

I highly recommend you see this production at the beautiful Boston Opera House!  After two years in a row, I’m committed to going back year after year knowing there are more surprises and Christmas magic around the corner!

For tickets, and more information, visit bostonballet.org!

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

[Full disclosure: my ticket was complimentary, but all opinions are my own!]

Links For A New World [05]

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I’m not going to lie, guys; I’m tired!  It was a full, busy week in the office and I am counting down the workdays until holiday fun.  (That would be 10!)  Hopefully you’re all enjoying the season and not getting caught up in the present-purchasing stress.  Enjoy your weekends!  Here’s your reading list of things of note:

  • Pantone has selected the color of the year for 2015 and it’s Marsala.  I guess I’m psychic, because Wednesday night I painted my nails this color only to wake up to the announcement on Thursday!
  • Also announced on Thursday, Bond 24 aka Spectre!  Daniel Craig returns as James Bond.  We’ll have to wait until November of next year for the new 007 movie, though!
  • Restaurant Wars was this week’s Top Chef Boston challenge!  (But you already knew that!)  The real fun is this slideshow recapping all the Restaurant Wars we’ve seen!
  • ‘Tis the season for Christmas TV.  BostInno rounded up the 15 best Christmas TV episodes on Netflix right now.  Um, that’s a post I would’ve written.
  • I’m super behind on Bones, but I love the show.  This fan-made infographic is so impressive, I had to share!
  • DJ Earworm’s United States of Pop mashup for 2014 is finally here.  Because I live under a rock, this is the first time I’ve heard “Do What U Want” and I think I hate it.  What do you guys think of this year’s mashup?
  • Once a ballerina, always a ballerina sure rings true with me.  That’s why I love these photos of Bridgette Bardot on a roof in 1952.

And hey!  Did you know you can follow me on bloglovin?  Just look for nikkisee!  Almost anywhere on the internet.

xo,

n☾

Foreign Friday: Dance Academy

Foreign Friday is back! This time, something from far away, but in a language that is familiar! Dance Academy is an Australia teen drama that I watched entirely over the weekend when I was sick.

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Because it’s a teen drama, a guy can date two best friends one after the other and the girls can still be best friends. The first part of this can definitely happen, but I can tell you from experience, do not count on the latter! Because it’s a teen drama, I don’t think I made it through a single episode without crying. Sometimes a lot. But! This is a dance show. There is so much ballet and beautiful dancing. As a former dancer, I’m obsessed.

It takes place in Sydney with students are accepted to the National Academy of Dance. Here, they will train for three years in hopes of earning a contract with the National Ballet Company.

Here are the character break-downs:

Tara

Tara is the star of the show and often the lead of productions. I have a love-hate relationship with her. At times, I think she’s far too plain and ordinary to get everything she does. At other times, I think she’s quite lovely. Even though she is pretty more times than not, I still don’t see her as the ultimate dancer the show portrays her as. She came in a naïve girl and by the second series she’s already had 3 boyfriends and more special treatment than any other dancer. Still, I cheer her on. She’s believes in love, the magic of dance, and her dreams.

Kat

Kat is charismatic as they come. Her mother is a famous ballerina and her father is a famous choreographer. Kat is more about fun than a commitment to hard work. She doesn’t take ballet seriously, which gets her kicked out of the academy, but she misses it when it’s gone. Once she realizes that dance is a fundamental part of her life, she gets herself back into the academy, but a year behind her classmates. Kat looks to find a place for herself knowing her friends will be finishing before her. With each shadow she finds cast upon herself, Kat’s talents come shining through. She is Tara’s best friend.

Sammy

Sam comes into the academy without the support of his father, who wants him to be a doctor instead of a dancer. Sammy struggles through first year as Tara does. He struggles further second year when his father withdraws financial support. More interesting struggles come to Sammy relationship wise. He goes from a girlfriend he truly cares about, to questioning his sexuality, to overcompensating, to a boyfriend. I’m not sure if Sammy considers himself to be gay or not, but I love this about him. It’s not something we see in TV often. Sammy is the glue that holds the group together.

Abigail

Abigail goes from completely unlikeable to my favorite character by the second series. Abigail is the original mean girl, until Grace comes in to take over the role. (More on her later.) Abigail is conniving, ruthless, and will do absolutely anything to get ahead, including sabotage. Eventually, she lets her walls down and lets Sammy and friends break through her tough exterior. Abigail is more dedicated to ballet than anything. She’s criticized initially for not being intelligent, but the show reveals that she’s extraordinarily talented. Her vulnerabilities win out in the end, and I see Abby as the most deserving dancer in the group.

Christian

Christian is a scholarship kid who’s using his place in the academy to prove he’s useful to society after getting in trouble with the law. He deals with abandonment issues from his father leaving, and with his mother recently deceased he is always lost. He is withdrawn, and runs away from everything. He does grow, and keeps coming back to dance. Christian is naturally gifted, excels at hip hop, and finds passion for giving kids the opportunity to dance.

Ben

Self-proclaimed “Benster” comes in second series as a first year bumped up to second year because of his level of talent. He is constantly upbeat and trying to make others around him happy. We learn that this is because of a past struggle with leukemia. He is often manipulated because of this happy-go-lucky attitude, but his heart is as big as can be.

Grace

The goddaughter of Miss Raine, principal of the academy, Grace comes in second year. As bad as Abigail ever was, Grace is worse. Grace is a master manipulator. Unlike Abigail, Grace’s motives are not to get ahead. She already is ahead. She dances perfectly, effortlessly. She steals spotlights because she can: because she’s bored. She’s never had a proper home and is clearly emotionally damaged. That’s why she acts like a sociopath most of the time. We see shades of Grace’s humanity here and there. Eventually, Grace realizes she doesn’t like the person she is and sets out to remedy that. She’s adorable, so I’m glad she gets likeable(ish).

Ollie

Originally joining in the second series, Ollie was a third year with the most potential and briefly, Sammy’s boyfriend. After he does not get a contract with the company, Ollie repeats third year. He takes make detours exploring many dreams. Even though his other dreams start to pan out, we see what he still wants more than anything is a contract with the company.

 

I really, really enjoyed this show! If you’re into dramas or dance, you will too! All three series (because remember, it’s Australian) are on Netflix. It should take you a while to get through these 60+ episodes, unless you have three days to lay in bed like I did!

Bingeworthy: Bunheads

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My friend Chelsea says that Gilmore Girls isn’t a show, it’s a lifestyle, and I have to agree. My vast TV on DVD collection does not include Gilmore Girls, sadly. I vaguely remember it being on Netflix for a while, but it disappeared long ago. Chelsea recommended Bunheads to me, “it’s not Gilmore Girls, but it’ll do.” As a former ballerina, there’s a lot about Bunheads that appeals to me on a level Gilmore Girls did not. Chels was a ballerina too, so I’m not sure where this doesn’t connect with her… but again, she’s living that Gilmore Girls lifestyle and it’s hard to stack up to that!

Bunheads, like Gilmore Girls, was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. You’ll find a lot of the similar fast-paced and witty dialogue and the same small town setting filled with crazy characters. Watching the first episode, you might find yourself thinking it’s too Gilmore-esque. This is worsened by the fact that many of the same actors are used. Kelly Bishop, the fabulous Emily Gilmore, plays Fanny Flowers, owner of the dance studio. An actor who I only know by his Gilmore Girls character’s name, Kirk, plays hipster coffee-shop owner Bash. Lisa Weil, or Paris Geller from the Gilmore world, shows up as Milly later too. Eventually, though, the show finds its own rhythm and for this former ballerina, the dance numbers really set it apart and make it something special.

Broadway sensation Sutton Foster stars as Michelle, a former ballerina-turned-Vegas-showgirl. Michelle had such potential, but followed whims to a life of depressing Vegas numbers. She has a kind of stalker, Hubble, who sees her show in Vegas over and over again, and one night asks her to marry him. Sick of her life, she agrees and follows Hubble to Paradise, the small California town. She finds out he lives with his mother, Fanny, who runs a dance studio. When he suddenly dies, Michelle and Fanny are left to forge a relationship and a business in the studio.

The storylines also revolve around four ballet students: Sasha, Boo, Ginny, and Mel. Their family and relationship experiences cause them to grow throughout the series. Sasha’s storyline in particular gets most air time in the first and only season. This complicated girl is the studio’s star pupil, but a rebel.

If you’re a Gilmore fan, you’ll like this show. If you’re a dance fan, you’ll like this show. I’m super sad that there’s only one season, but I think these 18 episodes are definitely worth a watch!

Bunheads is available on Hulu through certain cable providers.
It is also available on Comcast Xfinity’s app through April 1.

Check out this dance clip that I could watch over and over again, featuring the fabulous Sasha!