Photo Credit: Phil Wayes

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

100 Posts, 100 Totally Random facts about Butterfly

1. I started dancing when I was four years old in a class at the Easton, Pennsylvania YMCA called “Tiny Dancers.”

2. By the way, about fifteen years after my mother’s Saturday- morning aerobics-class-that-somehow- launched-my-life-of-dance, Mama Butterfly found her old aerobics leotards and gave them to me. They fit, but I just couldn’t comprehend (let alone tolerate) the incredibly high-cut legs. If I wanted to dance with my hipbones and half of my bedonkadonk hanging out for all the world to see, I’d dance in my underwear.

3. I kept those leos, though. We all need a stack of “emergency leotards” for those weeks when laundry just doesn’t happen.

4. In case you couldn’t tell, I was never a fan of 1980’s fashion.

5. I was a fan of 1980's comedy, though. In my mind, it makes up for the big hair and spandex.

6. My father passed away shortly after I turned four. My mother raised me, with some extra help from her mom and her sisters.

7. I will always give Mama Butterfly major props, credit, and respect for how she raised me. Being a single parent is hard enough if you have a nice, normal, vanilla kid—she had an “artistically- minded creative child” (translation: “Crazy Artist-Type In- The- Making”). She had a hard job but she did it well.

8. I grew up in East Jesus Nowhere, Pennsylvania and will always be a [Lehigh] Valley Girl at heart.

9. Everyone thinks that since I'm a Yankee, I would be appalled at the "Texas Rednecks" here in the south. Puh-leez. I'm from a town that values football, beer, and fire-hall weddings.

10. The first summer I spent in New York City (Ailey School Summer Intensive); I lived one block from a four-story Barnes & Noble. That’s right, kids: Four floors of bookstore, and a top floor that had a Starbucks overlooking the Upper West Side. Now you see why The Books-A-Million at Katy Mills doesn’t do it for me. You also know where my personal idea of Heaven is.

11. When I was in public high school, I was part of a group I called “The Posse” that consisted of myself and four other girls: Jen, Melissa, Liz, and Kristen. And I want you four Posse girls to know that I still miss you a fucking bunch.

12.In high school, I LOVED writing short stories, poetry, and prose.

13. I even went through a Tanka phase when I was about seventeen. When was the last time you met a seventeen-year-old with a Tanka-writing hobby?

14. Oh Dear God, what a nerd I am.

15. I may be a nerd, but it's a fact I accepted and embraced long ago. Long live geek pride!

16. This list of “100 Random Facts About Me” is pretty much turning into “100 Reasons I’m a Total Weirdo.” I’m okay with that.

17. I went to a public high school for three years, and you know what? I loved it. I expected to graduate from there.

18. But I didn’t. And here’s why:A performing arts high school (the only in our area) was announced to open for my senior year. After spending 11 years in the public school system, I did the only logical thing: I transferred out and went to the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts for my senior year.

19. My senior year at LVPA was an amazing experience, and I don’t care what anyone else from my graduating class has to say-- I had a damn good time there and I’m proud to call LVPA my alma mater.

20. At LVPA, I could mainly be found in the company of Garrett, Carly, and Dara, or Donna, or Drew and Colin. In retrospect, we had us a LOT of good times ( “This one time, we went to Dempsey’s, and….” Nothing further, your honor).

21. The Great American Suburban Teenager Pastime: Dinering

22. Though my friend G and I frequented the Coopersburg Diner, I enjoyed going to the Bethlehem Diner alone so I could drink black coffee and write.

23.Three months before graduation, in March of my senior year, I auditioned for and got an apprenticeship to my first company. I was in my bedroom at my home in Bethlehem, PA when I got the news, and Garrett was with me. It was a Thursday.

24. I remember little details like that, but don’t ask me where I put the car keys that were in my hand five minutes ago.

25. My first real dance company (apprenticeship) was the PA Dance Vision Repertory Ensemble in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; and that company will forever hold a special place in my heart.

26. I spent the summer after my senior year in New York City at the Paul Taylor East Coast Intensive.

27. I remember that summer for four reasons: 1) I left for the intensive mere hours after my first performance with my first professional dance company; 2) I lived by myself in Greenwich Village and a did a helluva lot of soul-searching; and 3) I fell head over heels in love with Taylor’s choreography and style of movement and decided it was requisite to my existence.4) During those 4 weeks I was more creatively proflic than I’d ever been. I never did think it was a coincidence, either.

28. My first place “on my own” was a rented room in a gorgeous house in East Stroudsburg—Minisink Hills on US-209, if you want to be specific about it. I moved there on September 10th, 2004 to be closer to the company.

29. In April of 2005 I moved in with my bosses’ cousin (who was also my at-the-time boyfriend’s sister), T, in Mount Pocono. To this day T is one of my best friends.

30. There’s a part of me that –still- misses living in the Poconos. Sometimes.

31. I don’t miss the lack of opportunities for artists to work, make a living, and be artistically fulfilled, however; that’s the lone reason that I live here instead of there. That, and I despise cold weather.

32. I spent an entire summer commuting between Mount Pocono, New York City, and Center Valley (which is near Quakertown, a Philly suburb). IT SUCKED.

33. The summer of 2006 was my last summer in Pennsylvania before I moved, and I still say it was one of the best summers of my life.

34. During my two years into the Poconos, I learned to drive on those skinny, twisty, curvy backroads like a pro-- and had a GREAT time doing so-- very fast, I might add-- when I had my Toyota Celica.

35. The weekend before I moved to Texas I spent with friends and family in the Pocono Mountains AND in the Lehigh Valley AND in New York City. I danced, I ate, I drank, I wrote, I lived like a Roman, I had the time of my life.

36. “You’re from Pennsylvania, huh? What brings you to Houston?” is a question I hate answering because, like all things related to M.Butterfly, the answer is lengthy and complicated. so after two years of begrudgingly telling the big lengthy story over and over again I now answer that question with one word: “Dance.”

37. I moved to Houston on August 1st, 2006 on a puddle-jumper plane with two suitcases and a hangover.

38. My mother cried in Newark airport when I was about to go down the jetway. We found ourselves reciting to each other the parting prayer from the church I grew up in: “May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent, one from the other.” Since then, we’ve concluded every visit to each other with that same parting prayer.

39. That same morning, my mother wrote me a card and snuck it into my ABT backpack. It was my turn to cry when I dug it out and read it during the first leg of my journey to Houston. I still have that card.

40. As of today, I have been living in Houston for two years, three months and twenty- five days.

41. September 11th, 2006- I teach an audition class for a teaching job at a dance studio. My livejournal entry for that night reads “…I drove out to [Houston suburb] to teach a ballet class, and after I taught the class I felt a million times better….” (from a long walk off a short pier, September 2006)

42.I’m now in my third season at that particular studio, and three years in teaching there still has the same effect on me.

43. September 17th, 2006- I audition for a multi-media modern dance company; which I stayed with for a year and a half. To date, it’s the company I’ve danced with the longest out of any company on my resume.

44. My first real performance on the Houston dance scene was Psophonia Dance Company’s Unplugged, October 5th-7th of 2006.

45. On October 18th, 2006 I sustained a bad ankle sprain and chipped a bone in my right ankle.

46. My right anklebone will always be bigger than my left thanks to that injury.

47. December 10th, 2006- A friend and I go to see Suchu Dance perform I love mumoo ba* (not affiliated with mumoo ba) at Barnevelder.

48. I was sitting in the back row of Barnevelder theater when, somewhere in the middle of mumoo ba, it hit me: “Dude, I should start my own dance ensemble.”

49. September 17th, 2007- I audition for a contemporary ballet company thinking the best that I could hope for would be a spot in the back row of the corps de ballet. Not three months later is my first performance with them—as the lead in their holiday ballet.

50. I’ve been with that company for more than a year now, and I honestly think it’s the perfect fit for me as far as companies go. I love it there, and wouldn’t trade dancing in that group for anything.

51. In the last twenty-two-point- five years of my life, I have lived in: Easton, Bethlehem, New York City, East Stroudsburg, Mount Pocono, Wind Gap, and Houston.

52. I have also done some time in Philadelphia (PA), Hampton Beach (NH) and Davis (CA) for school, if you really want to get into specifics here.

53. August 2008—I go to my first summer intensive in FOUR YEARS (since the PT NYC Intensive in ’04): The Paul Taylor West Coast Intensive at UC Davis.

54. In New York, I stayed at a cushy residence in Greenwhich Village. In Davis, I stayed in a UC Davis Dorm.

55. It turns out that part of “Not Attending Traditional College” is “Not Being Used to Dorm Life.” It had been over six years since I’d stayed in a dorm that wasn’t on Forham’s Linclon Center-- meaning I was spoiled by houses in the country, town homes, midtown apartments, and uptown condos (and Fordham Dorms). During the first few days in the Davis dorms I felt like Nicole Richie in The Simple Life.

56. Even though I snark about the UC Davis dorms, the truth is that I had the time of my life there and would happily sell my Lexus to re-live those two weeks. No joke, folks.

57. I watched 'Arrested Development' obsessively in California.

58. The only other show I've watched obsessively is 'Weeds,' which I still believe is the best show on TV

59. Also, I think Jenji Kohan is awesome.

60. UFOs and aliens fascinate me.

61. I’m always seeking new influences for my choreography. If I see a way of movement that engages me I explore it; pillaging for something that will spark my inspiration and result in new material.

62. The main reason for that: I’m very easily bored with myself and my work.

63. At least there’s an upside to that-- I’m often told I’m a “versatile choreographer” with a “wide range of styles.”

64. I really do love choreographing dances, self-doubt aside.

Now for the more random things:

65. I was so excited to choreograph my own Le Sacre du Printemps; and then I learned that counting Stravinsky's score is as simple as building a nuclear reactor out of wristwatch parts with your teeth.

66. I probably owe Dave Barry a royalty check-- I was 13 when I started reading his books, and I've been quoting him for the last almost-ten years.

67. I love spicy mustard.

68. I like movies that are scary, but I hate excessive gore.

69. My left eye seems to be bigger than my right.

70. I'm right-handed but thanks to teaching, I tend to favor things on the left.

71. I also vote to the left (but you knew that).

72. My hair was white-blonde as a child, but now it's mouse-brown unless I highlight it.

73. For someone who talktalktalks as much as I do, I’m surprised to find that writing 100 Random Facts about myself isn’t as easy as I expected it to be.

74. As of next month, I’ll have been vegetarian for a full year.

75. I passionately loathe washing dishes and vacuuming.

76. Also, I avoid laundry until the situation becomes dire.

77. I find a tacky sort of delight in cheap wine.

78. The last dance I made for my ensemble was inspired from a scene on a TV show...

79. ....which happened to be the end of the Season- Three 'Weeds' Finale.

80. In other words, my ensemble's last piece was inspired by Mary- Louise Parker burning down a house with a tank of gasoline.

81. I think that sums up a LARGE majority of my life during the last six months. Unfortunately.

82. I'm a long-time insomniac.

83. When I was in high school, I would spend many hours of the night cleaning/organizing/re-arranging our house on the nights that I couldn't sleep. My mom spent the better part of my high- school career thinking I was on drugs.

84. I have a signature "happy bounce" that I will whip out when someone tells me something exciting.

85. I lose things. A LOT.

86. I’ve always loved animals: I currently have two cats and two rats at home.

87. My rats are awesome. I've trained them to walk out of their cage, take food from my hand, and go directly back inside their cage. My cats refuse to be trained.

88. I'm a tad eccentric.

89. I hold a Master's degree in Useless Movie Trivia from the University of Wikipedia, College of Insomniacs.

90. There’s a part of me that always wanted to be a filmmaker, and there’s a part of me that always wanted to be a writer.

90. My heritage is Half-Irish and Half-German.

91. And grew up in a town that was predominately Italian. And Catholic.

92. I was raised Methodist...but I have a Jewish Mother and the rest of our family is Catholic.

93. Figure THAT one out.

94. In all reality, Mama Butterfly isn’t actually Jewish and neither am I, but we could convince you otherwise.

95. My family is hilarious and awesome.

96. I have a really embarrassing habit of playing air piano to Stravinsky.

97. My “Personal Fashion Style” is that I’m always wearing at least one of the following: Something pink, something sparkly, something from Coach, or dance clothes.

98. I love Minkus' score to 'Don Quixote' like, a LOT.

99. I read 'White, Swan, Black Swan' by Adrienne Sharp approximately three jillion times in high school.

100. I'm really glad this list is over.

1 comment:

dance said...

This is how my wife talks when she wants me to pay attention. "Whether you're playing golf or dancing, you need to pay attention to core strength, stability and flexibility." Since she was wearing alluring Leotards, I could only sit spellbound and listen. "You need to do strength training to tighten up your abs (could that be hint?) Since all your power comes from your center"