We are 4 months into The 20/20 Experience World Tour, and I LOVE MY LIFE! I see the world, I dance my ass off and I try to get rest when I can… which isn’t very often. That might explain why I look so… TIRED when I wake up. Well ladies and gentlemen, we ALL (except Beyonce apparently) look tired when we wake up, and THAT is why god/ man/ MAC Cosmetics made MAKE UP! What does your face go through before you get to the office? What do you think of my “Work Face”?
On December 31st 2012, at about 5pm, I went shopping for the last product I would buy that year. YES, it was a BRAND NEW (used) CAR, and on January 1st, I returned it because my incredible superhuman ultra-fantastic boyfriend* found these little water parts in with the oil parts which is BAD! *keep reading to find out how my “boyfriend” became NOT by “boyfriend” A few days later, I got my second new (used) car of the year, and I decided I needed a new commercial agent and new headshots to go with it! Good thing I did, because that is obviously why I got to work on a NEW Verizon commercial with these fine people! I had another very NEW experience dancing on the Grammys with the one and only Justin Timberlake! I left for NEW York to do more work for Mr. JT, and my incredible superhuman ultra-fantastic boyfriend guy and I decided to take pictures of our breakfast everyday so that we didnt lose touch… with what we eat for breakfast. I wonder how many scrambled eggs it took to power all of our performances on Jimmy Fallon and SNL… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0umrvtA_pNc I bet Katie Couric could find out! Meeting celebrities and performing on TV is pretty sweet, but my FAVORITE part of the process is rehearsal. Especially when rehearsal is for Marty Kudelka, Andy Blankenbuehler, or Cindy Welick-Salgado. Working 2,789.6 miles away from my love was more than “tough”, but we stuck it out with tons of breakfast pics, skype, and frequent visits like this one.
On this particular date, we traversed NYC and wound up at Arriba Arriba on 9th Ave. This is the margarita that convinced me to ask him to marry me…
He said “YES”. We are in love, with each other, and with these guys: Since you are now pondering delicious chocolatey things, I must warn you, the next photo is of my bloody damaged ear canal. This happened while I was being fitted for my new in ear monitors, but dont worry, I got some VIP treatment. You could say I now have 20/20 hearing. Perhaps it was this “near deaf experience” that convinced my fiance to propose back and make me HIS fiancee… perhaps not… either way, I am glad he did. I said “YES” I didn’t have a ton of time to bask in fiancedom, but love was never far away. My (beautiful and hysterical) world-traveling Mom came all the way from wherever she was to visit me… a lot. She even came to see our show in Ireland! It was HUGE. So was the iTunes Festival in London. Every day of my life, I put the “ART” into “PARTY”. ..My 27TH Birthday was an extra bubbly one at the Getty Center The year blazed on with music videos, and commercials. I even executed the quickest quick-change of my career at the Emmys! But one of the truely BIGGEST and BEST moments of my year, was creating a piece of floppy artistic fusion with a few of my best friends, the Seaweed Sisters (Jillian Meyers, and Megan Lawson) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo5lxO9Aypk I kept the fire going with my business cards (design by The Best Fiance to Ever Live). Hot business card carrying woman needs a HOT ride to pick up her HOTTT fiance from the airport. I loved driving that Roadster, but I REALLY loved seeing HUNDREDS of dancers supporting the movement to unionize tours. The solidarity of the dance community feeds my soul… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MUzJAMmb-A Unrelated, I am allergic to mosquitos. That lump cleared up just in time for the VMAs. JT and Miley both made history that night… I’m glad I got to wear pants. Just when I thought it couldnt get any better… DAMN. Audi had to chill in the car hospital the entire time that I was Rock in Rio. With this guy: And of course this guy: Our festifal shows were a hit, and after several more weeks of rehearsal, JT and the Tennessee Kids launched THE REAL “20/20 Ecperience” in Brooklyn. Tour is many things, and it is hard to be prepared for all of them. Thankfully, I have this: and this: which is full of this: All of them fit neatly into my luggage except for this holiday novelty: Speaking of holidays, this year, I got TWO! One with my family in Colorado (where it was cold) and one with my fiance’s family in Bismarck (where it was colder) Xmas shopping on the road is straining, so I decided to go with a theme: “Tis the Seasoning“. These are the “Poop & Pee” salt & pepper shakers I got my little (full grown adult) brother. The year was full of treasures like those gems. I found myself constantly asking “what more could a girl ask for?” Oh, a GROUNDBREAKING SAGAFTRA contract providing Health and Pension contributions while I’m on tour?…. YUP, got that too… I am wildly grateful for the breakthroughs and breakfasts, the spotlights and the seaweeds, and true love that carried me through 2013. I’m also grateful for my good friend Don (age 10), who so warmly introduced me to 2014. Happy Old Year, and Happy New Year indeed.
Isn’t it cool that in the same month that I mentioned Justin in a Dance Spirit Letter To My Teenage Self, I got to share the stage with him again… but this time at the 55th Grammy Awards? I’m super-proud of the performance, and also of my growth as an artist. Check out the article from Dance Spirit Magazine – you should definitely buy the magazine but the entire letter is online here.
Saturday, February 9th; the day before the Grammys. I spent the day picnicking in the park with some of my best friends. The idea was to celebrate a birthday by playing games (of the “catch the object flying through the air” variety), and sharing a meal (of the “not-so-healthy variety”). Internally, stressing out about catching scarves, and dead-set on avoiding the sugar and alcohol that surrounded me… After all, the next day I’d slip into a Tom Ford suit, perfectly tailored to every curve of my body (and not including any room for tres leches cake thighs or beer belly bulges).
Sunday, February 10th: show day. I spent the morning anxious and in anticipation. Our show run-through went smoothly, and watching the other performances got me all up in love with music and stuff. Then, I spent the afternoon wound up tight in a hair and make up chair, and when it was finally time to put on my suit and tie I felt frazzled/excited/not-quite warm enough… and stunning. After a few good rehearsals in Justin’s dressing room, I felt solid – and after Jack White told me I looked nice… I felt VERY nice. 🙂
Some technical issues put us all on edge, but we (and especially Justin) are professionals. The performance went brilliantly – I think – I don’t remember much about the performance itself except every scarf pass was completed as choreographed and every move came off smooth like buttah on a hot pancake. I DO remember Justin’s glance after our last complete pass, and I remember the sound people made when Jay-Z got out his seat “HOV”… OH, I also remember jumping up and down like schoolgirl boys with Nick Bass and Lyle Beniga. That night I celebrated hard with the love of my life. I drank wine; I had a peanut butter and bacon cheeseburger (yes, it EXISTS), and Yogurtland for desert. I watched the performance at Lyle’s house. I even put on a pair of his Nike boots. The day was a dream from beginning to end… I woke up looking like this…
If you are like me, you decided to kick 2013 off with about eleventy new years resolutions. One of those is to blog more often (good luck with that). Another is to slay dragons. My first dragon is named CHOREOGRAFEAR, and he has impenetrable scales, sharp talons, and breathes fire. He has been living in a dark cave in my heart for awhile now, and I don’t want to fear him any more.
To slay this dragon I decided to use my favorite weapon: acting class.
Lucky for me, last night was a “fantasy night” where each student gets the time and space to nurture a part of their creative self that doesn’t get enough love… or… to slay their dragons. In front of 20 actors, writers, and directors, I chose… to tackle my fear of choreographing.
First, on a big blue pasteboard, I made a list of things that keep me from choreographing.
1.) I don’t know what to say.
2.) I am afraid it has already been said or done.
3.) It is HARD.
Then, I negated those points with the following responses:
1.) Say ANYTHING!
2.) No. It hasn’t been said BY ME… (yet)
3.) (this is a tough one) So is life, GET OVER IT!
Once I had abolished my fears and insecurities on paper, I had no choice but to open up iTunes and DO IT.
I walked around the space with both middle fingers up in frustration. I started and re-started the music repeatedly to find the exact sound that inspired me. I settled into that sound, that rhythm… and then, it happened. I lifted my right leg, swung it around and dropped my weight on my heel. I shifted my weight to my toe. I swung my arms at my sides and they carried me to the wall. I was surprised to find it so close to my face, so I looked at it for a while before I pushed myself away. I repeated that phrase several times, embellishing it differently each time. One time, after I pushed myself away from the wall, I didn’t stop going… I danced for the rest of the song. Then I looked up at my classmates, and asked if any of them remembered the steps I had just done.
That’s when I learned that actors don’t make great choreographers assistants.
I also learned that I have plenty to say, I must say it, and starting is the hardest part about choreographing (and most things).
Today, I started 4 new combinations. They are short. I might not use them. I don’t even know if I like them. But because I practiced starting, today, I am that much closer to slaying my dragon.
What keeps you from slaying your dragon?
Mahatma Ghandi said, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
On the morning of June 1st 2012, SAG AFTRA and major record labels, (Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co.) reached an agreement on a contract to cover performers in Music Videos and proved that statement to be true.
I had the distinguished honor of serving on the negotiating committee. It was my privilege to work with some remarkable SAG AFTRA staff members, Lawyers, and many talented dancers and choreographers from New York, L.A. and Florida. I was not particularly inspired by the conference room that we sat in for approximately 17 hours a day for two days (or the lack of dinner on day two), but with Ghandi as my witness, I must say that I have never been so full of passion for my craft and my community.
Over the course of those 33 odd hours, discussion covered but was not limited to: minimum daily rates, re-use fees, health & retirement contributions, production conditions, audition conditions, overtime, turn around time, grievance and arbitration (along with many other fancy words that I had to learn), and my favorite- compensation and language for “hazardous” performances. From caucus to caucus, and proposal to proposal, our team worked tirelessly and my head filled with numbers and legal jargon (some of which may or may not begin to trickle into my daily vocabulary). I experienced the entire spectrum of human emotion from rage to elation all behind a “pa pa pa poker face”.
When everything was said and done, seven pages of a tentative agreement were initialed, and hand-shakes were exchange. I had been a part of HISTORY, made by a small body of determined *dancers*, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission to attain a FAIR CONTRACT FOR MUSIC VIDEOS.
All in favor… say “Aye”
One of my favorite things about art, and dance in particular, is that it is completely open to interpretation.
Beauty (or lack of) is in the eye of the beholder…
Behold: SSS, a film by Henry Hills featuring Sally Silvers, Pooh Kaye, Harry Shepperd, Lee Katz, Kumiko Kimoto, David Zambrano, Ginger Gillespie, Mark Dendy, and others. The film was shot in the streets of New York’s East Village, and is synched to music previously improvised for the project at Noise New York by Tom Cora (cello), Christian Marclay (turntables), and Zeena Parkins (harp).
What is YOUR take? Is it brilliant? Is it bogus? Is it more than moves to YOU???