All posts tagged: dance


Okay Fine, I Like Balanchine

It’s Thursday night, about seven minutes before curtain. I know this because I’m on my way downtown to meet PIC at the Merriam Theater on Broad Street. He texts me, as we were supposed to meet at 7:15 and I’m just getting off the subway at 7:15, so I tell him I’m just 20 feet away (which is not quite true) and I pick up the pace. Not only do I have to still grab our tickets from the press table inside and introduce myself to the new PR lady but I also have to get chocolate from the CVS down the block. I review a lot of dance. Sometimes as many 8 or 9 shows a month. Some of them are great—some of them make me cry and wish my life had gone a different direction (i.e. that I hadn’t skipped so many ballet classes in college to go to the library and write poetry instead); some of them make me think, some of them are just plain beautiful. But some of them… well …


Betrayed… By My Feet

And now, for some-not-so happy new: last week, I found out that I have a stress fracture. Not one actually but two. And that’s only in my right foot. It started a year and a half ago around Thanksgiving: a little twinge in my right foot near my ankle. It hurt to wear high heels, and it especially hurt to dance in high heels, but I soldiered on. Why? Well, my company had our biggest performance of the year coming up. I knew that if I went to see a doctor, they would tell me I had to stop dancing and there was no way, with the musicians already lined up and the costumes already packed, that I was not going to perform. It’s part of being a dancer. We get injured. All of the time. And the daft amongst us (myself included) wear our injuries like little badges of honor, rattling them off: herniated discs, stress fractures, torn ACLs, and so on… Injuries, you see, come with the territory. Injuries are part of your …


Notes from the Dressing Room

I blame The Lady Hoofers.  Whenever I don’t post, it’s because of my tap company (or my anthropology students, or House of Cards, or Downton Abbey, but mainly it’s because of The Lady Hoofers).  Last weekend, you see, I co-produced (and co-directed and co-choreographed and co-danced, if there is such a thing) another show.  This means that I’ve spent the past few weeks flipping out and the past few days recovering. I’m glad to report that aside from one quiet and lonely moment in the dressing room, when I realized this was my first time producing a show without my personal Zen machine (aka my now ex-boyfriend) to keep me calm, I was fine. Better than fine, actually. Not in an obnoxious, f*ck you, Gloria Gaynor sense of the word (I’m more sorry than mad, and more nostalgic than sad at this point) but rather in the sense that all of the ridiculous self-help tricks I’ve been trying seem to be working. It probably didn’t hurt that there were fifteen dancers sharing one dressing room …


Three for the Price of One

I know, I know: I’m a terrible blogger.  I have nothing to say for myself except for this: This, And this: (Okay, admittedly, this last one wasn’t written by me: it was written by one of my students! So please take a minute to check it out and, if you’re feeling so inclined, to leave a comment because I am one very proud teacher right now.)

bad dance students

All This to Avoid the “F” Word

I like to think I’m a good teacher.  I’m encouraging.  I’m patient—at least most of the time.  I lead by example and I challenge my students to think on their own.  But every once in a while, I’ll find myself standing in the studio lecturing my students and wondering “what the f*ck am I saying right now?” Last Saturday was one of those times. I was at the studio with 16 of my students for the first rehearsal of this year’s production number.  (Technically it’s a “Large Group Routine” and not an official “Production” because the latter requires at least 20 kids and I’m such a stickler about technique that I only selected 16 students at this year’s auditions but “Large Group Routine” is just such a mouthful, don’t you think?) At any rate, we were plowing through the choreography: the intro, the first chorus, the horn solo; even the stop time section.  The girls were focused.  I only had to yell twice and by the end of the three-hour rehearsal, I was feeling pretty …

tap shoe supplies

A Dance Teacher’s Guide to Parenting

You might be wondering what happened to the fieldwork portion of Fieldwork in Stilettos (and by “fieldwork,” I of course mean dating).  Well don’t worry: even though I’m no longer scouring the internet for single men, I have a plan.  I’m going to become a Mommy Blogger. That’s right: me, Kat Richter, Parental Unit Extraordinaire, Supplier of band aids, moral support and tough, tough, love. Of course, in order to be a Mommy Blogger, one has to be a mommy, but I’m dating a man with kids and if that’s not good enough, I also happen to have approximately 200 students under my care so as far as I’m concerned, I qualify. On Monday night, for example, I drove over to my boyfriend’s house (that would be The Wedding Date to you long-time readers) and made dinner.  Not wanting to repeat the mistake of last month’s adventures in vegan cream cheese (which left his oldest scarred for life and forever skeptical of all things tofu) I made chili.  Thick, hearty, chock-full-of-meat chili.  And let me …

Bedazzled umbrella

You Can’t Stand Under My Umbrella, its BROKEN!

With just a few days till my final student recitals of the year, it’s time to put the finishing touches on all of their pieces before they hit the stage.  It’s time to practice without the mirror.  It’s time to get those extra accessories and rhinestones glued into place.  It’s time for every entrance to be polished, every exit to be spot on.  It is not—I repeat NOT—time for the props to start spontaneously combusting… And yet combusting they are. Admittedly, last week’s umbrella disaster wasn’t exactly spontaneous.  It happened when one of my graduating seniors realized she was spinning her umbrella in the wrong direction and tried to switch back too quickly. The main shaft cracked and when I tried to tape it back together again, it fell apart leaving me with half an umbrella in one hand and the handle, plus two or three inches of umbrella shaft, in the other. It would have been okay if this had been the first umbrella disaster of the season—or even the first umbrella disaster of …

There’s No Painting in Dance Class!

I find myself giving a lot of pep talks these days.  Whether it’s telling my high school students to stop obsessing over another dance team’s costumes/props/anorexic talent and start focusing instead on their own performance, reminding my middle school kids to breathe when they’re hurrying out of one costume and into the next, or telling my first graders to “get their wiggles out” so they can focus, I’m pretty much in perpetual encouragement mode this time of year. Which is why I can’t believe it when the following little scenario played out in one of my creative movement classes earlier this week. The School’s year-end concert is just around the corner, which means I’m responsible for putting together a “demonstration of tasks and gross motor skills” for each of my two classes and a “finale dance” for those beach balls who will be moving on to Kindergarten next year. Of course not all of the graduates are in the same class—that would be too easy—so this week we’ve been shuffling the schedule around to allow …