This evening, after work, I went out to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, to visit Latin / Ballroom costume-maker extraordinare, Valentina.
It’s so far out there for me and always seems like such a long way from Manhattan, but occasionally it’s a fun, sometimes even relaxing ride on the subway, which goes above-ground after Park Slope.
Here’s sweet little house kitty, Tosha, napping on a bed of fabrics.
Saw this hanging on Valentina’s wall: it’s a picture of my very first Latin teacher, Kelvin Roche, and his partner, Lori Ann Greenhouse, world Hustle champs for a few years in a row now. They had their costumes done by Valentina.
So, I gave Valentina this picture to show her what I was thinking of for my foxtrot costume:
She asked what color I was thinking and before I answered, she just started laughing. I’m so predictable… can’t help it; I just always want red. It’s just so happy and cheery and bright and rosy and … red…
So, we chose this fabric (she always gives me a swatch so I can show it to the teacher) for the main bodysuit, and then she’s gonna find matching chiffon for the skirt.
Before we started talking about the actual costume design, though, Valentina took one frowning up and down look at me and said, “Tonya, I think I need to do measurement again.” Geez, is it that frigging obvious??? In addition to the late-night fries and martinis with Alyssa, I think it may be my recent reversion to my childhood comfort food:
Mexican; can’t help it — I grew up on it and just love it, especially when I’m a bit nervous about stuff, which I have been lately… Okay, no more beans, no more tortillas, and no more french fries (don’t think I can say no more martinis and red wine ) until after early May…
Sorry I’m so photo-happy today; I think it’s because my brain hurts from working on a crazy hard brief all day… just don’t have the energy to make lots of words … so am making pictures instead…
Got home just in time for Dancing With the Stars. I was happy they had a re-cap tonight because I had to miss it last night for a late dance lesson. Karina’s Paso cracked me up, in a good way. I feel like she said to herself, “Okay, I’m tired of dancing with amateurs. I’m a pro and am going to dance like one, dammit. If I have to lift myself and carry myself all over the floor, I’m damn well going to do it!” And she did — she just flew; and he wasn’t doing a whole lot to help her! Go Karina! And I LOVE the way she does those upper-body isolations in Paso. She just simply rocks. She MAKES that show if you ask me.
And I was also happy that Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kruyshkova performed. I was complaining last week that they didn’t have the top couples demonstrating the moves, so am very happy they had the country’s top Latin couple give a sample Samba. Although… I kind of wish they’d have used Andrei and Elena to demonstrate something else, and had Max Kozhnevnikov and Yulia Zagorouitchenko do the sample Samba because those two are really the king and queen of that dance. Until my web guy can set up my blog so it can embed YouTube links, click here for Terpsichore’s posting of Max and Yulia’s butt-kicking Samba, performed at last year’s Ohio Star Ball / America’s Ballroom Challenge. I don’t really know that anyone does ballroom Samba like they do.
Also, while I think Andrei and Elena have near perfect technique, for some reason they just don’t have a lot of showmanship in their routines. I don’t know what it is; can’t put my finger on it, but they’re just not a couple that reaches out and grabs your attention. Andrei is a gorgeous dancer; has a long thin body that can move in Latin like no other, but you don’t really see it unless you see him dance alone, and, perhaps in person. He blew me away the first time I saw him do a very simple basic three chas step in Cha Cha; I couldn’t take my eyes off him dancing alone and in the studio, but I don’t see him so much when he’s out on the floor with all the others and on TV. Still, so bizarre to see someone you kind of know on TV — I mean on a big huge poppy show!
Speaking of which … one of my friends told me at the studio last night that a couple of our good friends there are trying out for the show So You Think You Can Dance. Apparently, they’ve made the first two cuts, which are underway right now. The show premieres at the end of May. I’m so excited! I hope so much they make it — these two are such fascinating, fun, sexy, charismatic dancers with excellent Latin technique; ideal representatives from the world of ballroom And, I just can’t imagine watching my friends on TV like that — so surreal!
Oh one more thing I was thinking about Dancing With the Stars: I also liked how the judges went into a bit of detail on what it is that makes a dancer good, both in terms of overall ballroom technique (and dance technique in general for that matter) and for each individual dance. I think it helps to direct viewers’ attention more toward the actual dancing and away from the popularity contest of it all…
Also, I went to Lincoln Center early this morning to get a few tickets for New York City Ballet’s upcoming season, which begins at the end of this month. It was pretty quiet out on the plaza so early… According to Oberon, yesterday, when the box office first opened for Spring season sales, there was a pretty long line. But today, the only other person there was this Santa Claus-y-looking guy waiting to get a standing-room ticket to tonight’s opera…
Anyway, I got tickets for the opening night on May 1st, when the premier of Peter Martins’ Romeo and Juliet will take place — premieres are ALWAYS exciting! , and one for the farewell performance of retiring ballerina Krya Nichols. I think both are selling out quickly, so if you’re thinking of going, buy now! Visit their website to buy tickets here.