Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

I woke up today and for some reason I had this song stuck in my head. I could not stop singing that line “Have I told you lately that I love you” and then it really got me thinking. I began thinking of all the people I love. My parents, sister, brother, nephews, grandparents, the rest of my family, friends near and far, loves. I was wondering when the last time it was that I told them I loved them. I try to show my love everyday but as far as saying it, I think it could come out a bit more often. Β So I made a pact to say it. If I love someone, on any level of the word, I should start telling them more often.

Then, as I thought more and more about this phrase of the song, I thought “Wait a second! What about me?!” Do I love myself? Is it ok to love myself? Is there a way to fully love yourself without being narcissistic? I’m writing today to tell you that it is possible and needed. It is very much ok to love yourself. Most of us spend days upon days trying to impress others and please others and trying to make others love us, when really what is probably most important is loving ourselves first.

Every day both at ballet class and yoga, I am forced to look at myself in the mirror. In ballet, the mirror is a means to fix lines, movement qualities, and aid in placement. However, in yoga it is there to face yourself and begin accepting who you are. To become comfortable with who you are and then if there is something you would like to change, to be able to see yourself changing but because you want to, not because others want you to change or because that change will make someone else happy. I have been practicing for quite some time now and am just beginning to see it. I am accepting who I am and honestly, beginning to love it. Flaws we see in ourselves are just our bodies and minds being unique and we all need to love ourselves for them. When you begin to feel comfortable with who you are this amazing sense of freedom encompasses you.

I do believe that we can only begin loving others once we have a strong grasp on who we are and once we love the person we are. Because once that freedom in yourself is obtained you can begin to spread it to loved ones. Otherwise, if we are not yet in love with ourselves, we are only seeking it in others to feel accepted, not to actually love the person.

So I challenge you all. Spend a few minutes just looking at yourself in the mirror. Look in your eyes, look at our face, your body, you hair. Observe, absorb, critique, compliment and then end by saying “I love you”. Β Try it everyday until you begin to truly understand you and accept who you are. It may sound easy, but trust me, things will surprise you. Then, once you’ve got a handle on loving yourself, go out in the world and spread your love to others πŸ™‚

Now enjoy this tune:Β http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ4NAZPi2js

My performances as Cinderella in Tarrytown, NY on 12/15/2013

Many more updates and posts will be coming shortly, but I wanted to let everyone know I will be performing in Tarrytown, NY this coming weekend in Breaking Ground Dance Center’s production of Cinderella! The performances are this Sunday 12/15/2013 at 2:00pm and 5:30pm at Tarrytown Music Hall. Tickets can be purchased here:Β http://www.tarrytownmusichall.org/

This production has been a challenge for me and I have loved every second. I have 5 challenging variations and 3 pas de deux throughout the show. I’ve also had a great time working with Nate Hunt who will be dancing the role of my prince πŸ™‚

It is a milestone for me as it is my first performance in the NY area since 2009! I am thrilled to be back performing on the east coast and hope to see many friends and family at the shows!

Cinderella

Cinderella 12/15/2013 2&5:30pm Tarrytown Music Hall

Two Days till showtime!

In just two days, The Barak Ballet will present L.A. Moves. I am so honored to be a part of this performance and perform Lux Aeterna choreographed by Melissa Barak.

We have been working very hard the past few weeks getting performance ready. For me, the biggest difficulty with this piece was letting go and almost trying to make lines not so classical. I came right from Sleeping Beauty with Ballet West where I had to make sure every step I took was a classical line. Now I need to try and forget a bit about the technique and bring more of my soul and feeling into the dancing. In Lux Aeterna, I am representing someone who is facing death and I need to show resistance, fear, struggle, and finally give in. It has felt satisfying to be dancing more free and emotionally connected to the dance and am really looking forward to the the performance on Thursday. It is a bit stressful that all this work is for just one performance but I am sure that pressure will actually work in our favor and help us perform our best.

The performance is on Thursday October 24, 2013, 8pm at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. It consists of Β four unique pieces danced by beautiful, dedicated artists. Hope to see you there!

Here are a few links about the performance:

http://barakballet.org/

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-melissa-barak-ballet-20131020,0,5280714.story

http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2013/10/melissa_barak_ballet.php

What I Miss Most

I first left home when I was 13. At a young age, I was set on becoming a professional ballet dancer and wanted to do anything in order to achieve that dream. I was really attached to my family and they were all shocked when I decided to move away. (confession: I was also afraid of the dark and would not sleep in a room alone) Well, off I went. I spent three years at The Walnut Hill School for the arts in Natick, MA. Β After Walnut Hill, I returned home to dance in NYC for a few years before moving to Chicago. Now, I am spending this year partially in NY, partially in Salt Lake City with Ballet West, and some time in LA with The Barak Ballet.

The whole time I am away, it is my family that I miss the most. Time differences and busy schedules have proven difficult to be able to communicate as much as I would like. Β I am so fortunate to have a large, loving, supportive, honest, and caring family and being away from them all is hard. It becomes most apparent after returning home. I notice every little change that occurs during my absence. For example, how my nephews grow at what appears to be hyper speed. I feel like I am missing so much. I would love to settle closer to home however traveling so much has allowed me to develop my true nature and the person I am. Β I have discovered how independent I am and how much I crave adventure, meeting new people, absorbing my surroundings, and learning new things.

I look forward to this coming Friday when I get to see my family again and share love, stories, Β and photos from our time apart πŸ™‚

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/daily-prompt-home/

Hello Chicago! Wonderful to see you again!

Hello Chicago! Wonderful to see you again!

Here is a link for the blog I wrote for the Auditorium Theatre. Within it, I talk about returning to the stage that I have called home for the last couple years of my life. I am back in Chicago and this time performing with Ballet West. It has made me nostalgic to be in a place where I made so many memories. I am really looking forward to having another career milestone on that stage. Opening night of Sleeping Beauty is tomorrow! πŸ™‚

New Company, New Place, New Beginnings

I have been in Utah dancing with Ballet West for exactly one week now. It feels great to be in a new environment with all new faces, personalities, choreography, and geography. Putting yourself in a completely new setting is always challenging and stressful, so I am trying to handle it the best I can and remain calm while focusing on the work I need to do here.

Salt Lake City, as many of you may know, is at a fairly high elevation. Some people warned me that it might be hard to adjust to the altitude but I didn’t realize just how much my body would react. When I first got here, I was getting tired a lot faster than back home in Chicago and NY and I felt like I couldn’t really connect with the floor during class and rehearsals. Staying hydrated and drinking enough water was hard even for me! (many of my friends refer to me as a camel) Β I thought to myself, you practice Bikram, you should be able to handle this, but this adjustment was hard. Toward the end of the week, I began getting headaches. Finally, after a weekend of a lot of rest (I don’t think I have ever slept that much in my life) and a lot of hydration, I began to feel normal again.

Another major adjustment for me is being surrounded by mountains and more nature than usual. I love being outside and I love the outdoors, but I grew up near the ocean and big cities so this is definitely a change. Something I love about the east coast and Chicago is that I get to wake up every morning, walk out my front door and enjoy a view of water. Water for me is so calming to see and represents infinity, constant change, health, and living. At first when I moved here and saw all of the mountains, it felt enclosed. However, I do see the beauty in them as well. Β A few of the dancers have said they will take me hiking. I think this will help me grow to love this new place I am in but I can’t guarantee I am going to be a great hiker or outdoorsman. πŸ˜‰

On my first day of work at Ballet West, most of the dancers were very welcoming and introduced themselves to me. I was quite nervous because I didn’t really know anyone and had no clue what to expect and how things were run here. I had gotten so comfortable in my previous work environment and now have to learn a whole new system while at the same time learn a lot of new choreography and meet new people. Overall, it was a pretty stressful week. When you move to a new place, you want to make a good impression and at the same time be completely yourself and relaxed. I guess the best impression you can make is by just being yourself. Well, that is what I did and have been doing. I am focused on learning the choreography and getting ready for my first performances with Ballet West which will coincidentally be on tour in Chicago! πŸ™‚

I feel happy and so thankful to be here. It is refreshing to be doing different choreography in a different environment with different artists. Ballet West is a great company with talented artists who truly care about their work. I am grateful for this time in My Year of New Beginnings πŸ™‚

IMG_8168 IMG_4582 IMG_6771

Technology, I need you

I recently came across a daily prompt asking, “What’s the one luxury you can’t live without?”

Well, I tend to travel and move a lot and I made many friends and have loved ones all over the world, so my answer today would have to be technology and the internet. I simply cannot live without it. My family and friends mean a lot to me and I feel it is extremely important to remain connected and in contact with them quite often. Throughout my life I have lived in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinios, and now Utah. I have also spent long amounts of time touring around the US and Europe with the ballet companies I have danced with. While I am away, I use the internet to talk with the people I love and to also stay up to date on news, weather, and events. I also use the internet as a tool to share my experiences with everyone I know. I really value the ability to go on Skype and talk with my family, and friends. Often times, when people travel, they lose contact with so many people in their lives. However, when I care for someone, I never want to lose contact with them and I use the internet and technology as a tool for keeping my connections alive.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/daily-prompt-luxury/