The Annual Valentine’s Day List of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day all you heartbreakers!

I hope everyone indulges in some good company, unnecessary sugar, and a healthy dose of fantasy. Here’s some of mine:

The Top Men I would like to dance withand the top 10 dances I’d like to do with them:

1. ‘La Spectre De La Rose’– I will be the young girl and the current ABC BAchelor, Ben, will be the Dancing Rose. Basically, I will sit back and sleep while he flails about in a unitard and women’s bathing cap. Then he will make his ‘Jessica, I just can’t give you a rose this evening’ speech before jumping out the window. Don’t let it hit you on the way out my little flower basket.

2. This pas de deux from ‘Still Life at the Penguin Cafe’- I will be the lady with the lion head and will dance with the only person chipper and dapper enough to pull this off- the guy that plays Kenneth on 30 Rock. Rawr! – I would also pay every cent I own to have someone do the following variation for me. Now that’s a true Chippendale! ( I can really see my friend Nick Nolan doing this one)

3. I do not have footage of this- but the Dracula pas de deux between Mina and Dracula by Ballet Met Columbus is absolutely one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen- it’s eerie, dangerous, controlling, passionate…so I could only do this dance with someone who embraces all of those qualities: the one and only, Gollum. Or Stephen Colbert.

4. I loves a bad boy, a guy that can’t be tamed, can’t be caged, those slippery son-of-a-guns who end up doing things their own way. THat’s right, I want to do this dance of love with the snake that escaped from the Bronx Zoo. I’m a slave..for snakesin.Also the Bad Boys of Ballet, particularly Shame Ohmer are welcome. The ‘Mayhem’ actor from those all-state insurance ads can understudy (but only if he wears the ‘hot babe out jogging’ sweat band- ersatz  hot Britney from 10 years ago)

5. Now I know I said that Daniel Radcliffe, admittedly drunk Harry Potter, would not make the list this year but I found the perfect dance for us. Enter in Twyla Tharp and the drunken duet ,‘One for My Baby’ in Sinatra Songs. (I couldn’t find a clip of the whole pas so enjoy this little demo from Miami City Ballet. In all honesty, I could do any of these and be a happy chocolate-covered harlot)

6.I want to be the star of ‘Bolero’ (THIS  Maurice Bejart version, NOT the version with that Richard Simmons tranny) My entourage can be the New York occupy Wall Street Movers-and-shakers. If they look and dance anything like most of the fellars in this video, I want to be the solitary girl. That is a 1% I’m ok with being. (Do not watch if you are bothered by fit, sweaty people. Hot and bothered, by all means)

7. The letter scene pas de deux in Eugene Onegin– the lifts are absolutely amazing. I love how he just throws her around. Wow, this is what you get from writing a letter? Man, communication is a lot nicer in ballet. I clearly need to learn this with the master of eloquent exchanges from man to woman- Anthony Weiner.

8. Butterfly Ballet pas de deux– I have a friend/ fellow teacher at COCA who teaches many things including circus art. We were chit-chatting last week and somehow the conversation turned into ‘No, its not hard, just stand on my head Jess!’ And I tried. I got one foot on that big buzzed platform before I went tumbling 6 feet to the ground, in front of the parents of many of my students, curled up like a beetle moaning about a doctor bill. Therefore when I do this pas, I need the biggest, flattest head on any person in the universe: Channing Tatum, Eddie Murphy, and Tyra are all options. Also Jay Leno’s face. And I want Grape lady and Scarlette (takes a tumble) there to catch me if I look like I might fall. They know how it feels.

9. It would be blasphemy to include a dancing Vday list without mentioning ‘Petite Mort’. The name itself means ‘little death’ aka- orgasm. And this choreography is nothing short of one. Especially if I could learn it with any of my favorite dancing partners from real life; Kevin Wiltz, Tim June, Toby (tubby!),

me and Kevin Wiltz- my dear friend and true love

or imaginary partners, Roberto Bolle (ABT), richard Armitage, Sean Bean (back off Emily!) or Ricky Gervais.

10. And this one- the pas de deux from ‘An American in Paris’ done by Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Who would I want to dance this with? Well, some people don’t kiss and tell. Or in this case, dance and tell. 😉

Free People Spokesmodel Critique

I am back from six wonderous, gluttonous, awe-inspiring, tiresome days in New York City. Hence begins Summertime week of reviews including:

IMG_9280 IMG_9281 IMG_9282

  • ABT La Bayadere
  • ABT Manon
  • Drama Desk Winning musical ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’- an expose of physical comedy
  • Drama Desk Best Actor Winning (Hooray Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston!) ‘All the Way- inhabiting a character
  • Review of my sometimes-beloved (I would still keep him in this #5 spot on the classic V-day list) Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe as the title character of Tony nominated ‘The Cripple of Inishman’Handicaps and other such troubles
  • and Tony Award winning ‘Matilda’- ten points if you can guess which character I have shared a stage with at some point
  • And I will give a little ‘Steps on Broadway’ rundown. Guess whose class I DID NOT TAKE this year..

But before I dive headfirst into examining the Great White Way, let’s visit briefly a critique that EVERYBODY and their mamma seems to be making.. the choice of spokesmodel/ dance model for the new Free People Campaign.

free dailymail.co.uk free Bianca-Gittens-Free-People-Dance-Lookbook-03

I get why dancers are upset here. I mean, look LOOK at those feet. Look at those pointe shoes with the ribbons hanging out and how weak her poor ankles look. This is not promoting safety in going onto pointe, a major goal for many young dancers.

With so many incredible talents out there that would do justice to the beauty of dance and so few good-paying high-publicity jobs out there, the dance community at large probably wants it to go to someone worthy, like me or someone who I know so that I can boast about knowing said newfound celeb.

Here is what I think;

It is easy for me to look down upon this dancer because I believe that I am comparably better. But wait, if I got the job…I bet some of the beautiful dancers from Grand Rapids Ballet that I so-recently praised would sneer at my photos. And perhaps Julie Kent of ABT (who, yes I am reviewing!) might have a thing to say about it not being someone from her company. And perhaps there is some freakzoid ballet dancer on the moon that is better than Julie Kent. One can only imagine.

I suppose I wish that if they were going to hire someone of less than Moon-Julie status, they had gone really the opposite direction and just had some fun with it.

These are options of who they SHOULD HAVE CAST for the Free People Ad campaign:

Nicole "snookie' 'Polizzi. Here she is as classic icon, The White Swan Odette. (image via free virgin media)

Nicole “snookie’ ‘Polizzi. Here she is as classic icon, The White Swan Odette. (image via free virgin media)

Dance Moms teacher and judge of all things 'sparkle ballet'- Abby Lee Miller (image via dance connect)

Dance Moms teacher and judge of all things ‘sparkle ballet’- Abby Lee Miller (image via dance connect)

Speakin' of Free People- Christopher Walken. Who else actually loves this idea? (image via vimeo)

Speakin’ of Free People- Christopher Walken. Who else actually loves this idea? (image via vimeo)

Natalie Portman, faux dancer spokesmodel

Natalie Portman, faux dancer spokesmodel

Hey, it could be worse. They could have hired Natalie Portman for the ad…because she would do all of her own dancing. And by that I mean, Sarah Lane would do her dancing…which come to think of it, wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all

Bayadere is first up. Hope to see you again -jess.

 

Pointe shoe tips

The week of London obsession continues, as I had a run-in in class yesterday with a girl I took a workshop with in 2006 who is apparently now all-over-the-world but has most recently been dancing in..you guessed it, the Big City, The Big Smoke, London. (Lucky!)

London Calling! (Or my Dad in a phone booth booking theatre tickets in London- 2005 family trip)

If I were hosting a dinner party, it would definitely be London themed; I would have busboys dressed as the Queen’s guard, I would serve the classic fish and chips and mushy peas, and party favors would include fake sets of bad teeth and free healthcare. I would wear something like this (coupled with the crown jewels of course):

Red pants, gauzy blouse, faux fur cropped jacket, and fedora…don’t mind if I do!

Pinstripes and Plaid, and a graphic bag

Rounding out the guest list, I would invite Sir Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage , Eddie Redmayne, Victoria Beckham, and Wayne McGregor– artistic Director of ‘Wayne McGregor Random Dance’ housed at Sadler Wells, resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet, and if it can’t get more impressive movement director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (I guess he taught my darling Daniel Radcliffe how to waltz- dream job!)

Welcome to my house party! Correction, Welcome to my Flat Party!

Also he looks like a fab dinner guest- I’m a little obsessed with this show- CELEBRITY COME DINE WITH ME5 people host a dinner party and then are rated by their guests on a scale of 1 to 10 and the highest ranking gets a cash prize. I’m pretty sure my London-themed party would win.  (If you have a few minutes to spare, check it out. I think these people are hilarious. “She got me drunk so I’d eat anything…coulda been a pot noodle! Come on!” )

Finally, since I’m not hosting any dinner parties in the near future, here’s a blog party I’m hosting. I was contacted by the incredible Move Dancewear Company, one of the biggest dance retailers in Europe selling dancewear ranging from dance shoes that cover all types of dance and dancewear for ballet, ballroom, salsa, tap, character, street and jazz dance, to share an article on their behalf. They sent me the following article and link to their site.

If I were rating them on COME BLOG WITH ME I would have to rate them a 9- I took out their pointe shoe picture because the model had biscuit feet. So I put in one of my own pictures. Enjoy looking at my shapely ankles. Hey, we all have our fetishes. Silly TV shows, Far-off countries, and a nice shapely arch include some of mine ( I guess there’s a LITTLE St. Louis love in me- somewhere in my Sole…and you thought I couldn’t get worse than all the ‘counting’ puns from yesterday. I never cease to amaze, I know)

Top 5 Tips to Make Pointe Shoes last

Dancing is a popular career and hobby taken up by many people in all parts of the world. One of the most popular dances is the ancient dance known as ballet. It is an enjoyable dance that incorporates different skills. If you want to succeed in this dance it is important to wear the right dance wear and the appropriate shoes.

The pointe shoes are the most recent development in the range of ballet shoes. These shoes are specially designed to make the feet of the dancer more comfortable when on stage. They are ideal for dancers who wish to specialize on dancing using the tips of the toes. Dancers who use them can dance in this way for a longer time. They also help dancers to improve their dancing and to appear weightless and also sylph-like.
The quality of pointe shoes varies depending on the manufacturer and materials used. There are various tips on how to make the pointe shoes last longer.

 Keep them dry

Firstly, they should be kept dry as much as possible. Even though the dancer cannot prevent sweating during performances the shoes should be kept in a position that allows them to dry once the performance is over. This is done to prevent the sweat from breaking down the toe box.

Avoid dance bags

In addition, one should avoid keeping these shoes in the dance bag. This allows them to lose any moisture in them more quickly. Removing them from the bag also allows them to have enough aeration to get rid of the odour of sweat. It is thus advisable to put them in a drying rack instead of keeping them in the bag

Rotate

It is also important to rotate these shoes. This means that the dancer should have more than one pair of shoes. Interchanging the shoes gives them time to dry and time to rest. This prevents overuse of one pair of shoes and tremendously reduces the tear and wear.

 

Shoe hardener
Applying a shoe hardener, especially the pointe shoe hardener, is also advisable. The hardener is applied inside and outside the toe box. Doing this greatly reduces the time required to dry the shoes and also makes them more durable.

Take good care

Pointe shoes can be quite fragile and it is thus important to take good care of them. This can be done by ensuring that they are always in a good condition. This calls for proper cleaning, drying and proper storage at all times.

– Cheers for that, Move Dancewear!

Black Friday, Black Swan

I hope that you all had as grand of a Thanksgiving as I did. It was a ladies night at casa Jess with my Mom and my Grandma and it was fabulous.

This is from a few years ago- You better believe I didn’t wear a cute dress this year. I came to the table in my sweats. Sad? Yes. Comfortable? Also yes!

I don’t know how it’s possible after the feeding frenzy of last night but I woke up hungry this morning. And you know what I wanted for breakfast? The leftover pumpkin pie that was sitting on the counter. My Mom makes the best pie crust. In fact, my favorite cookie in the world is her ‘pie-crust’ cookies that is just leftover dough that she rolls in cinnamon sugar. Yum. Another selling factor is that she only makes them when there’s also a pie in the oven. I love a dessert that just foreshadows more dessert.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am NOT getting involved in any black friday madness, especially anything involving a crowded mall. (Not when you can find deals online in a state of total relaxation.) Between the ages of 11 and 17 I used to have to get up suuuuper early on black friday and head over to the busiest shopping center in St. Louis..but not to shop. My ballet company used to do a mini Nutcracker IN THE MALL right in front of the entrance to Macy’s in between the escalators. It was always a little embarrassing being decked out in costume with tons of people pausing to laugh at watch the little dancers. The best part was always when the day was done and we’d all head to Marble Slab and get huge ice cream cones.

That’s me with the not-so-great foot in front. At least my arm is not either covering my face, completely straight, or…geez, I dont even know what’s going on with the girl in the back

Finally not Clara! That’s me, age 14, in the pink tutu as the Sugar Plum Fairy

The only reason I would go to the mall or don a costume is if I had in fact eaten pie for breakfast, and then the mall santa  went ‘Miracle on 34th street’ and got drunk and or arrested, and they needed a fill-in. I could probably fill the costume. I would be great.

Kids: For christmas, I would like….

Jess Claus: You know what, I don’t care. I would like an antacid and some self-control.  Now get of my lap.

Actually, speaking of wish lists, my Mom asked me the dreaded ‘what’s on the list’ question. I’m tempted to request these:

Clown suit and pogo stick…or a disco stick (Thanks Lady Gaga)

Every season of ‘the Bachelor’ on DVD

A puppy

Korean recipe book (to go with the new puppy)

Weird Al discography

Rogaine

 Jonas Brothers Concert tickets

 Lifesize Warwick Davis poster

  Another full set of Hard-bound Harry Potter books (one isn’t enough)

 A lawyer

What I would reeeeeeeeeeeeeally like is any or all of these Miu Miu designer shoes. They’re only like, $900 a pair. If anyone would like to get them for me that’d be nice. You can forget the gift reciept but please include the acceptance that it’s ok to spend that on any single item. And I’d like it gift wrapped please.