Tag Archives: arts

A subject that is dear to my heart

I still think culturally it’s a little easier for a boy who wants to dance than when I was a kid, but it is still outside the box

Drawing assignment part 1


In my drawing class, we had to pick an item from life, draw it and describe it, and write what it represents, what emotions and memories it brings.

We then have to revisit the item and redraw it from a different perspective a couple of days later. I haven’t reached that point yet.

My object is an old ballet shoe (it might look like a warped canoe).

It’s primarily a charcoal drawing with some graphite on the inside.

Here are my thoughts about the object: As an object, it’s dark on the outside, graying on the inside. It’s flimsy. It has wrinkles. It has holes. It’s a bit worn, but still capable of being used. It’s lightweight and somewhat flexible and best used on a somewhat slick floor.

When it is worn, it can bring joy to its wearer and those in an audience. It helps an artist express himself. It can be a symbol of gracefulness, beauty and strength. It can literally and figuratively help some leap … a great distance or for joy. It can help the wearer turn in movement or in emotion. Like it’s appearance, it can have a dark side. It can be a symbol of judgment, bullying or ridicule from someone who doesn’t understand the art form. It can make the wearer hide or hold back the artist within for fear of being labeled something they are not.

What’s your favorite ballet?


I have to admit, when I first returned to ballet, my love was purely on what went on in class.

I had no interest in performing. And while I loved watching ballets, it wasn’t really on my “to do list” a whole lot.

Being talked into doing The Nutcracker a couple of years after my return to class led to me getting bit by the performance bug. Being cast as Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet (the picture is from one of our rehearsals) led to me becoming a huge fan of ballet watching, period.

I have to credit Mr. O, our artistic director, for opening my eyes to what’s out there in the ballet world. Our company has done a variety of ballets since he arrived. And I’ve been thrilled to be part of some of them.

Nutcracker will always have a special place in my heart. It’s a classic, it’s magical. I love to perform in it. Performance week is my favorite week of the year.

But, believe it our not, it’s not my favorite ballet.

Romeo and Juliet is much more of a compelling, emotional ballet. It also has a special place in my heart because my first non-Nutcracker role was Friar Lawrence. And to be quite honest, it’s still probably the biggest role I’ve performed, even though it was a character, non-dancing role.

As a story ballet, it still ranks No. 1 in my book.

Dracula is probably the most intense ballet I’ve ever been in and love it, to. And the Firebird has a bit of a creepy, but fun monsters scene. And Stravinsky gives it an interesting feel with his music.

Although Romeo and Juliet is my No. 1 story ballet, I like the dancing better in Swan Lake. The cygnets, Black Swan CODA, Dying Swan, I don’t know if any other story ballet beats it for dancing intensity. And depending on your seating, the patters on stage will blow you away.

I’ve found that I like varied tastes when it comes to watching ballet. I like the classics. Paquita ranks up there with Romeo and Juliet. But I love contemporary pieces like Dracula and the pieces I saw Dance Theater of Harlem perform a couple of years ago.

And as much as I love the story ballets, my favorite ballets are the ones where dancing takes center stage. My favorite would have to be “Who Cares,” a George Balanchine piece to Gershwin. Pure, fun dancing. And love the “Man I Love” pas de deux.

One of the things I love about it? It’s not all tutus, tiaras and white tights.

It’s real, it’s cool. And I think it’s a piece that appeals to people who might be chased away by the stereotype of what they think ballet is really like.