Living in NYC is pricey, and finding work in dance in the NYC area and staying in good 'ballet shape' in between gigs (at the wonderful price of $17 bucks per open class, which you should be taking at least 5 times a week to be ready to audition for a job) is pretty much impossible on a dancer's salary alone, at least for most people who are on our own and handling all the expenses of living in the big apple.
While scholarships are available to some of us, they still usually require you to be there for anywhere between 4-6 hours per day, interfering with any possibility to have a full time job, which you probably need in order to pay for the unforgiving rents, transportation, and $4 coffees. Even for the lucky ones working for ourselves, there are still the questions of having to take class in a 'school environment' that you may not necessarily want to be in anymore, or even taking classes from teachers whose class you don't enjoy which could very well be required to. So, considering the fact that Manhattan is the most expensive city to live in in the US, saving $17 a day may put you in a position where you could consider potentially simply not continuing to dance.
In my case, a combination of all those factors, as well as being lucky enough to work on other things that pay better than the few dance gigs available in the city, drove me to the decision to quit dancing. But then after just five months of absolutely no dance, I decided to go back. Which brings me to suggest from my own experience: DO NOT JUST STOP!
Before 'quitting for good' or even taking a long break without dance class, you'd better be damn
sure you're not planning to come back, or else you may face the awful consequences.
After just five months, the padding on the bottom of my feet went flat, my flexibility disappeared, I built muscles that totally got in the way of turning out, and gained ten glorious pounds-- that since I was too out of shape to get through more than two classes a week, although I had been going to the gym and lifting weights consistently-- it seemed like I would never be able to get rid of them.
So if you are facing the decision --or the need-- not to take class, I suggest you try to discipline yourself to do a few quick things that would save you from turning into a total mess in no time, and you can do it by doing these 5 Simple Ways to Stay in Dancing Shape While you're on break.
Do a barre on your own
If you make yourself a simple 'set barre' that incorporates every exercise in plie, flat, and releve, you can stay in pretty decent shape without having to go to a full class. You can get through this in about 15-20 minutes.
You can multi-task while watching tv, doing computer work, or planning out your daily schedule.
Keep eating sensibly
Dancing burns roughly 500-800 calories per ballet class so you can figure out how much you need to adjust your eating when you aren't taking class.
Incorporating jumps in your cardio training
Jumps are one of the first things to go when you aren't using them, on 'cardio' days -or daily if possible- make sure to do at least two sets of 'warm up jumps' which should help minimize losing power.
If you go to the gym, work out on things that can still help with dance
Working out at the gym is mostly designed to 'look good' for -non dancer- standards, but not for being speedy, and flexible or move very fast, so if you follow 'normal' gym workouts, you might not only lose some of you ballet ability, but you can potentially build muscles that make it event harder to get back into the studio and just rely on your muscle memory and natural ability. Doing exercises using turn out, and lengthening may save you from having this issue, as well as help you stay strong.
Following these simple steps require less than an hour per day, cost barely anything -since gym memberships are extremely affordable nowadays- and will give you the freedom to get back into class at a moments notice, and allow you to go to an audition to book your next job or scholarship, not to mention it will save you from learning the hard way, like I did!
is a NYC based multi-disciplinary artist in the visual and performing arts,
creating expressive works through dance, painting, photography, film & design.
First the story, then the tips.
We are going to start this blog with a fun exercise. Read this word: Triskelion. Now keep reading and I'll get back to that in a bit.
So, this last Sunday night I ventured into the distance with one sole purpose: to support some fellow artists.
Let's face it, although I hate to say it, I'm absolutely a 'manhattan guy'. I have lived here for almost seven years now, and I can count how many times I've been to brooklyn on one hand, and I have a finger or two left. I'm one of those people that gets nervous two hours after leaving town, and usually want to be back in NY at latest three days after I've left on vacation.
Needless to say, for me to venture out of the island is a big deal.
So, when I heard a former teacher of mine had started her own school, and I would be able to see some old classmates of mine dancing in her show, I figured this was a special enough event.
So I headed out to the unknown.
I figured BK is similar enough to Manhattan that I wouldn't have any issues, but still I did prepare a bit, read the simple directions from the theater's website, however unfortunately I did this at home on my computer and not on my phone. Boy, was that a mistake?!
Unfortunately finding the theater was IMPOSSIBLE. Even having a slight idea of what block the theater was on was completely useless, by the time I made it to the general vicinity, I tried to pull this information up once more, which proved to be impossible.
WHY, might you ask?
Without cheating, can you remember that word I had you read at the beginning of this post? I didn't think so.
I couldn't google search and/or map it because the theater's name is hard to remember, spell or even pronounce (to ask the neighboring businesses if they knew where it was).
I pulled up my ticket purchase receipt in my email, but in it there were no directions, no address, or links to the theater website. You could get to the theater name and address after following a few links, so i typed it into my google maps after a few minutes of walking around ans asking people who walked by if they knew about this place....
But even google couldn't find a feasible way to reach this location as it is smack dab in the CENTER of the block.
I asked a good 15 people in the area how to get there (the blue stars on the map represent where I asked some people and nearby businesses). Nobody knew. Not the businesses, the nail salon ladies, the passer by-ers, a restaurant manager at the corner. NOBODY, not even the neighbors, nobody knew about this place.
I found the theater info finally, in the event page the ticket selling service had. The only listed number was the school director -obviously unavailable at the moment- as she would be overseeing the show.
I called my friends who I was supposed to meet there for their assistance, but they had just gone through a similar experience and couldn't help me, since they themselves had no idea how they managed to get in (they came in through some backstage door).
Mind you its cold and rainy 3 degree weather, on a dark winter sunday evening (7pm)
So finally after 30 minutes of walking in circles around the block and after i had almost given up, lost my ticket money, and was completely furious, I found some people throwing out some garbage out of one of those industrial doors in the same block the theater was allegedly on, and they 'thought maybe' the door was just a few steps down but 'weren't quite sure' (mind you these are people who work in the same building).
So I carefully scan the dark, unlit, abandoned building looking wall to my right, and I see this dark metal door with a sad handpainted sign with absolutely no light on it, or ANYTHING that might indicate this was place of business, let alone one in working hours.
I had planned to get there 15 minutes early to have a chat with my friends before the show, but I ended up getting to the theater 3 minutes before the end of the first act. That's half the show I missed.
I said hi to the director briefly, and told her I had a lot of trouble finding the place, and she said "everyone had issues finding it".
Some signs your business need help standing out are:
I don't like to criticize something unless I have an actual idea of how to make it better, so here are my:
10 Ways To Make Your Business Stand Out
I know things cost money, and the economy is currently not the best for business owners, but if you have some drive, you can either do most of these yourself for under 50 dollars, or perhaps raise some funds from your current clientele. A minimal investment might bring you more business.
I hope these tips help a business owner who has no idea why people can't find their establishment, or why their neighbors have no idea their business exists.
D a e v i d M e n d i v i l
is a NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist in the visual and performing arts, creating expressive works through dance, photography, painting, film & design. www.Daevid.net
What ever happened to taking nice elegant photos?
I found this in my archives from like 4 years ago. I don't remember anyone else ever dressing up in an elegant gown or dress after besides this shoot. I don't even think most people own a dress like this, or have an event to attend that requires them to own one, which is a shame.
I took this photos at the subjects home. A beautiful loft with lots of light coming in and a private mini dance studio. As you can see in the back there is a barre behind her. I think only dancers have the good enough posture to carry a dress like this and look like royalty.
inspiration on demand
Courtesy of New York City's inclement weather, there are times that I'm compelled to staying put at my apartment and figure things to do. However, not always i want to paint, and not always I want to dance, and I definitely not always have a model to shoot with wardrobe at hand to choose from and create the images I might imagine.
That's when I go into my archives.
Through the years I have accumulated lots and lots of photos and videos. as well as paintings that are undone. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, and some of them are ugly, but they all hold one thing in common:
They all have potential.
Here, I took a picture I wasn't too crazy about, but it definitely had something special. I've blurred the face of the victim, to protect her identity.
I kind of did like the general concept of the photo, however as a finished item, I was not sold.
Luckily for me, from the comfort of my own home, and without even leaving my chair, I was able to transform the image from something simple, to something far more magical and inspiring.
So whenever I am bored, but need something to be inspired, I go through my own archives, and find something that speaks to me and inspires me on the spot. I might perhaps elaborate on this and turn it into a painting in the future.
D a e v i d M e n d i v i l
is a NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist in the visual and performing arts, creating expressive works through dance, music, photography, painting, film & design.