Sunday, February 28, 2010

First Dream Ballet Rehearsal

So tonight was my first time being "Dream Laurey" (look back a few posts to learn what that is, if you are sitting there confused). The times I have watched the ballet on youtube (even the Hugh Jackman version, with Josefina Gabrielle) I have been impressed with how floaty, easy and free the dancing looks. I guess I didn't think about the fact that the whole dream sequence is upwards of ten minutes long. And I am dancing for a good chunk of that, onstage the whole time. Even being a dancer, I was fooled by the good acting of the dancers thinking "oh, this looks fun and maybe even easy."

Not really.

The easy part, that is.

Most of it is that I need to build up the stamina for that long of a piece, which will happen easily enough. A short description of what I do: There is a lot of partnering in it (which is my personal favorite) a sizeable solo for me, a trio with two other girls, and a couple other dances involving cowboys and then the scary Jud at the end (who throws me around and generally abuses me). All of the choreography is challenging and quite delightful. In one particular lift my partner basically flings me up to his shoulder, with me ending up balancing on my stomach, with my ankles crossed behind me and my back arched up in a nice swan-like pose. It could have been a scary experience, but I was prepped for that after learning one VERY terrifying lift with the ballet company (DTDT) last week. Everything happens for a reason, right, even terror???

All I'm saying is, I am having a blast and working with such encouraging, fun people. It's good to be in the world of musical theater once again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Imaginary Glance

It's been a not so good week already. My grandpa passed away, which is pretty much like losing a father. I got sick after I got home from California. At work, we jumped straight into rehearsal with a guest choreographer who I can tell does not like me, and my ankle is acting up again. I have drama in my life that I would like not to be there. I don't know where my career in dance is going at all, and if it will continue past these next three weeks. Is it possible to have peace in all this?
I think so. But it takes focus on a certain thing.
Today I had a bad moment. A really bad one. So, I decided to take an imaginary glance into my future in ballet. It looked dismal, dreary, dark, empty. I felt totally useless. But you know what? God trumped the imaginary glance and dropped a tiny, beautifully wrapped present into my heart. Suddenly, in that moment, I had peace even though I felt like everything I've worked for was falling apart. Despite the fact that I have not been too great at including God in my life lately, he just gave me that moment of peace, unearned and undeserved. I saw who it is in my life that really matters and who is taking care of me. Himself, for one. My husband, my friends, my cute little mama.

Not to mention the opportunities that have dropped into my life lately, opportunities to perform several different places in the next few months. These also feel like little gifts. Just when I think I have failed at what I moved out here to do, God says, as if he is holding out that exquisitely wrapped box to me: "Look what I brought you. No, not there.... HERE. It is in my hands."

Thursday, February 18, 2010


At around 2:30 am this morning, Anthony Lano passed on. He was my Grampa and the rock of our family, loyal, faithful, and steadfast. When anyone in our family needed a place to stay, he and Grams always opened up their house. They also never imposed a time limit on how long we could stay. He was a selfless giver, a patient grandfather (he taught me to drive!), and had the best dry sense of humor. If you weren't paying attention you might just miss one of his zingers.
He wasn't a loud man but his love for us was. I felt it in every one of his hugs and kisses (of which I got at least two everytime I saw him). I saw it in his eyes as he listened to us talk (and talk, and talk, and talk-- we're Italian, all right?).
I felt it everytime they helped me, or anyone in our family. We are connected like that, eventually we heard about how they stopped by/wrote yet another check/took someone out to lunch-- it's called "Tele-Lano." I felt his love every time he picked me up from ballet lessons when I didn't have a ride. I heard the love and pride in his voice in the background when he videotaped almost every one of my dance performances. There were so many of them-- but I literally can't think of one that he missed. He told me once that he noticed how graceful and beautiful my hands were when I danced. I will never forget that compliment.
I will miss Grampa everyday from here on out. His absence leaves a hole no one else can fill. I am so grateful for the love he poured into me, the years I got to spend with him, and the fact God gave him to ME for a Grampa. He didn't have to do that. What a special gift and relationship. I am forever changed because Anthony Lano was in my life for almost 32 years, and I will forever feel his love living on in my heart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Late rehearsals

So far I've had three rehearsals for Oklahoma (all singing/music related) and I can proudly say I think my sight reading/vocal skills are coming back. Slowly. I sight read and blended my voice with at least 20 others everyday for two years back in college (not to mention in high school when I got to do "Little Shop of Horrors"-- so much fun!) and am remembering now all the challenges that came with that. Especially when you're the alto. If you are blessed with the range that allows you to be a soprano (wow those notes are high), the melody is often all yours. Rarely as an alto do you get the melody, but that's life, and once I get the notes by heart it'll seem like the harmony is the melody. In my own little world that is.
Last night we went till 9:30 pm rehearsing, first learning "Oklahoma" and "The Farmer and the Cowman"with the full cast, then "Out of My Dreams" with the women only. I was feeling really under the weather, but it is amazing what a fun theater experience ("yippy-yi", anyone??) will do for the stomach. Everyone's personality and energy is so dynamic and interesting. Not only that, but I am just blown away by the sheer amount of talent in that cast. Every one of the women could sing the lead (Laurey) and do it well. These are professionals, people. It is going to be a great show, get your tickets now, because it is likely to sell out (google "Oklahoma" at Lakewood Cultural Center if you are interested).

Monday, February 15, 2010


Mmmmmm coffee. Or, in my case, mmmmm espresso (or as we say in Italia, mmmm buono, caffe). I lived in Florence for around two years (not consecutively but in total) and during my time there I found myself drinking at least three shots of caffe per day. For Italians, it is a lifestyle-- get up, go to the corner cafe, have a pastry and cappuccino for breakfast. After lunch? Straight shot of espresso. After dinner? Straight shot of espresso. And no, it does not keep them up. It does not even make them hyperactive buzzing little people that can't sit still. It didn't me either when I lived there, strangely. I just felt normal.
Here's my issue. Yesterday I had two lattes. Just two, mind you, with the caffe all diluted in milk even. My reward: My body staged a revolt (tummyache, etc) that rivaled the best laid attacks of the last three centuries. I thought, "What has changed in my life that I can't even handle two coffees a day? What is so different that allowed me to function normally on at least three there but not more than one here in the states?"
Is it cultural? Just a simple fact of my body adjusting to the amount of caffeine? How much coffee do you drink a day?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Looking at this picture makes me feel calm, weightless, at peace. Just wanted to share it with you today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Terrible, No Good, Horrible, Poopy Day.

Today was a bad day.
It started out normal, with the usual difficulty getting up and making of coffee. Eventually I got in the car and jumped right into my "broadway" songlist on my ipod, which catapulted me into a better-than-normal mood. Chicago and Oklahoma songs always do that to me. I took a ballet class that pushed my technique to the limit in a good way, in the way that I feel I accomplished something and moved forward in my abilities. All good so far.
And then, work happened.
I won't go into details because they don't matter. Let's just say I bought into the lie that my abilities and talents were not good enough, not useful, even worthless. I am not even sure when I started the downhill slide, but all of a sudden I was deep in a pit of sadness, anger, and generalized poopy-ness.
Ever felt like nothing you do matters, that you'll always be at the "bottom"?
You know what I mean.
I continued in the poopy-ness as I left work (angrily). I turned on the stereo and searched for the angriest music I could find (angrily), to match my state of mind. I drove (angrily) down I-25 to a coffee date with a friend (poor friend, right?). It was only after a while talking with my VERY patient and kind friend that my heart began to unwind from its clenched state of anger and disappointment. God was totally working through her kind words and demeaner to massage my heart into a more malleable one, one that would listen to reason. And truth, and grace.
I am so grateful for my friend who reminded me of my worth. I don't have a deep message or memorable lesson to share with you. Just that my life would be so much less beautiful without the friends (more like angels) God puts in my life. Thanks God. I know that you see me differently than the world does, and your opinion of me is truth. Thank you that this is not something anyone can take away.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I have some news!!!

Here it comes...

Wait for it...


Or something like that.

Recently I auditioned for a local production of the musical "Oklahoma!" and am SO INSANELY EXCITED to tell you that I got the part I auditioned for, the dance lead, "Dream Laurey." (I haven't started rehearsals yet so I will let you know what the actual lyrics are when I find out...) I will basically be the stunt/ballet double of the female lead "Laurey." The musical requires a person able to perform a fairly advanced level of ballet, and waltz around with "Dream Curly," the stunt/dance double for her love interest.
My part exists because at some point in the story she becomes very interested in finding out what the future held for her as far as who her "true love" would be. So she, of course, sniffs something in a nondescript bottle which causes her to fall asleep and dream of who that might be. Like anyone else would. Makes total sense.
Regardless of that, I am happy the writers, Rodgers and Hammerstien, decided to have our curious little Laurey sniff her way into a drug induced dream. Because now I get to flit about onstage doing what I am trained to do-- ballet! What a concept! Some directors look for a "Laurey" who can act, sing, AND dance well enough to pull off the dream ballet sequence (instead of casting "Dream Laurey" and "Dream Curly" as separate people), but happily my director wanted a Dream Laurey that could do an advanced ballet solo. The shows are the last weekend of April and the first two weekends of May and I can't wait to start the rehearsal process. The fact I was chosen for this featured part is extra sweet for me, because last year I auditioned for the same role for a different theater company (I was actually asked to audition by the director specifically for this role because she knew I had ballet training). The outcome of that audition was that she didn't cast me in the show at all. It was a huge letdown. So landing this part is a pretty amazing thing for me.
Here's another bonus-- I have also been cast in the ensemble. This means I also get to sing and act again! It has been awhile since I was lucky enough to do this (I used to do quite a bit of theater/musical theater in college) and am excited to be able to branch out in the theater world once again!