Help — What Do Real Dancers Do???

I took the day off from work Tuesday and made my annual trek out to the Winter Garden restaurant on the Brooklyn boardwalk to enjoy my little golden pot of red caviar with mounds of buttered bread and Russian white wine whilst taking in the alimentary ocean air and lovely sights of the charmingly vast cross-section of humanity found on Brighton Beach / Coney Island :) See photos beginning here. This has become an annual tradition of mine since reconnecting over the same “brunch” with a friend from college Russian classes a few years ago after recognizing each other at an alumni event in the city. Except now that she’s gone to Washington DC to do fancy State Department things, I just go out on my own now — kinda my little celebration of the beginning of the summer, which started way late for me this year since work was a total bitch all the way through mid July… Anyway, after my totally dehydrating meal of salt and alcohol, I decided to walk to the other end of the boardwalk and visit the Aquarium, so I could reconnect with my little friends — the happy smiling beluga whale, bashfully adorable sea horses, scary great whites, and my favorite, the leafy sea dragon — the most oddly beautiful little creature who looks like a cross between a fish, seahorse, and, as his name implies, leaf, which he maintains for camoflage. I’d forgotten that the beluga had passed away last year, they no longer had either the leafy or weedy sea dragons, and I missed the bloody shark feeding frenzy, but I did get to see the sea lion performance in the center tank, and plenty of cute wiskery otters and elephantine walruses seemingly trying to rub up against us humans via the glass of the underground tank separating us from them. And there were plenty of little seahorses, although it was really upsetting me that no one was obeying the PLETHORA of “please don’t take flash photos” signs. Sea horses in particular are very shy and easily frightened, poor things. Of course I don’t mind flashing away at a certain bravura ABT dancer doing a dangerous leap during curtain call, but no way will I harm a tiny defenseless fish!

Anyway, between dehydrating myself with food and wine, surrounding myself with sneezing coughing children, and getting caught in an actually quite chilly seabreeze, I woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible sore throat. Ended up coming down with the second of the two bouts of flu I’ve had in only six months. My doctor had offered to send me to get a vaccine this year since there was no shortage, but I said no bother, didn’t get vaccine or illness last year, I’ll be fine. I’m never, ever not getting it again! I was out cold for two weeks in February, and have been sick for five days now. I finally felt it beginning to degenerate into a cold yesterday, but last flu that cold turned into a flaming burning searing sinus infection. And, a few hours ago, I noticed a scratching sensation in my left eye, followed by intermittent bluriness. I changed contact lenses, but after it continued to hurt, I looked in the mirror to see the eye was completely red, swollen, and draining some kind of clear but steady substance. Doctor mom says it’s an infection. I’m gonna call the real doctor tomorrow, but if it is, I’m scared she’s going to tell me I have to wear glasses for a while. I can’t wear them at all, especially in dance. Not only will they fly off during a lift — forget a lift — a simple spin even — but I have no depth perception since I never wear them since I have a weirdly shaped face, which no pair can fit correctly. I’ve been wearing them for three hours now and have stubbed both toes twice on various apartment furniture that appeared much farther away than they actually were, slammed my right shoulder into the wall rounding the kitchen corner, and almost missed a stair on the way out of my building to the corner bodega. But even if I was used to them, they’d never stay put during any low-level trick. What do real dancers do when these things happen? I mean, I’m trying to take good care of my knees and hips now, doing my strengthening exercises regularly and taking Advil and epsom salt baths at the first sign of inflammation, and I’m TRYING to eat well. But I never thought of a flu / cold turning into an eye infection requiring me to wear glasses as a potential problem. And, although my performance is still a couple of months away, now is the time I really have to start getting serious. Luis warned me last lesson now that we’re done choreographing he’s going to start being a total hardass on me. I assured him I was ready; now I might have to cancel my next lesson? The key obviously is to stay healthy in the first place, which, for some reason, the last couple years I have not been able to do. Anyone sneezes within a half mile of me and my throat is on fire next morning. Are there super-vitamins? I was taking Centrum, but that didn’t seem to be doing anything for me. Professional dancers never seem to get sick??? Oooh, hopefully the doctor will give me two days of amoxicillan and it’ll be all over. If I can even call her; my voice is starting to give into laringytis. Could I be more of a mess?

Anyway, before coming down with the full-fledged flu, I managed to see a couple performances by the San Francisco Ballet, which just finished a week-long run at Lincoln Center. Tuesday, their opening night, I spotted two “celebrities” — dance writer and former ABT soloist Joseph Carman, and with him William Cubberly, the publisher of the book they put together with photographer Roy Round, Round About the Ballet. I’d met Cubberly before, in Barnes and Noble, but when he asked me, camped out on the floor perusing the glossy photos, what I thought, frustrated from having just been hit on by a very annoying guy, I was kind of rude to him, without of course realizing he was just the author wanting to know what I thought of his book! Now I’m not even sure he’s straight, so I’m laughing even more at myself for having thought he was trying to pick me up :) Anyway, they passed right by me, but I said nothing — I’m far too shy :( Then, Thursday, I saw Mark Morris‘s Sylvia (okay, I was a bit run-down by then, but I swear, I didn’t breathe on a single soul!), which was okay and better than the Ashton the ABT does (though no one but NO ONE makes a better Aminta than the splendid David Hallberg!) but I was hoping for something a bit more iconoclastic from Morris, even though Playbill warned not to… Speaking of Mr. Tall and Beautiful (Hallberg, of course), I saw his radiant blonde head up in the Fourth Ring. Wasn’t sure at first whether it was him, because he said on The Winger he was going to Mexico for a break and I didn’t know whether he was back yet, but his friend and fellow ABT dancer Matthew Murphy posted on his blog that they saw the ballet that night, so I was right :):) He was just sauntering around, in jeans and a t-shirt, like a normal person, not the STAR he is :):)

Okay, time for more nighttime Robitussin. I just wanna be well, dammit! Two days ago, I told myself to be glad the Cadbury 5 I’d gained at Blackpool was now gone; now, I just wanna crave a cheeseburger and fries, would give anything to have my appetite back. Even if my eye thing is nothing serious, I’m not going to have the energy to dance…

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