Five Things

Hello all!

It feels like the last few days have stretched on for weeks, not because they’ve been so laborious or tedious, quite the opposite! I have many life updates to get to, and while they’re all (for the most part) very exciting things, today calls for a relaxed Five Things. Before we get into all the craziness that has been my life lately (birthday celebrations, travels, job changes), I wanted to take a quick look back at the less-than crazy (even inspirational) things as of late.

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Photo: Mary Lee Shalvoy

Why is the photo so naugahyde-esque, you may ask? I recently did a photoshoot with the lovely Mary Lee Shalvoy (whose photos of my legs you can see here), and this was one of the photos I captured in the studio, moments after it was taken. It’s a sneak-peak for now, but I’m sure you’ll be seeing more official shots very soon!

Just last week I celebrated my friend’s mother’s birthday at Dante Robere Vineyards in Livermore, CA. While Livermore might be the last place that comes to mind when you think of wine, I was so pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed a tacos and live music on the lawn as the sun set—it was such a nice evening!


I’ve been to my fair share of festivals, flea markets, and fairs as of late. I’ve really been enjoying the art and the hodgepodge of antiques, and this wood painting (I believe the technique of wood-burning is referred to as pyrography) really caught my eye.


I recently took a quick flight down to LA for a friend’s baby shower, that ended up serving as a mini college reunion of sorts. Following the shower, we spent some time in Santa Monica at The Misfit catching up over cocktails. If you’re ever there, dear readers, ask them for a cookie. You won’t regret it!


My friend Stephanie is what I would call a plant fanatic. Point to any succulent you see and she would have it’s scientific name ready to go. It’s quite impressive, really, and has made me appreciate them so much more. Too bad I have a bit of a brown thumb.

Happy Wednesday!



Hello all!

It’s no secret that a huge part of my love for performing arts revolves around,well…performing. My school doesn’t have too many performances yearly, just one day’s worth, to be exact, so this one day a year tends to be extra special. This year, we presented Neverland, an original continuation of  J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

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With my 4 year-old class: the pixie dust faeries.

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When I wasn’t doing someone’s hair, pinning crowns on dancers’ heads, or helping with a quick change in the wings, I managed to snap a few shots backstage. It’s the culmination of almost a year’s worth of steady work; this year, I was able to test out my story-telling abilities a bit more, which turned out to be quite fun! When it comes to creating, I’ve discovered that the music and the dancers can make or break the whole process. Things that seemed initially daunting tended to fall into place with these two well-matched ingredients. We also often say that the process of producing a show is quite a bit like a train, consistently gathering momentum. At a certain point, there’s not much you can do aside from stepping back to admire the end result. Sure, there are always things I wish I could tweak and adjust, but it’s strangely refreshing to be able to let things be once we get into the theater. After all, if someone isn’t pointing their feet/looking up/straightening their knees by now, chances are that stopping a dress rehearsal to discuss minutiae isn’t going to help.

Despite being incredibly proud and relieved after a successful show, I tend to experience a huge let down afterwards. Going from daily rehearsals and being constantly occupied with the details of a show to…nothing, can be challenging. Part of the beauty of dance is that it’s entirely ephemeral- each performance, each moment in rehearsal is unique and can’t quite ever be recaptured. This being said, I’m sure you can see why the end of a performance could bring a bit of melancholy along with it. Luckily, it doesn’t tend to last long.

Next year will mark my studio’s 25th anniversary, and I’m certain we’ll have something extra special planned. I’m not quite sure what that will be yet, but I think it’s important to have a new project, a new adventure to look forward to! It certainly helps take some of those post-show blues away. I’m so proud of my students, and know the next year holds something exciting.

As for now… I’m going to the beach!


On Why Dancers are the Smartest

Hello all!

There’s an interesting phenomenon I’ve observed as of late. (Granted that I like to use the word “phenomenon” to mean anything from the latest clothing trends to actual, legitimate phenomena, like the discovery of a ninth planet, you’ll have to bear with me here.) Most of us are well-aware of the common images that a ballet dancer invokes: tutus, pointe shoes, the Sugar Plum Fairy. It’s all soft, and pretty, and that lovely misnomer: adorable.

When viewing these images from the other side, things tend to become less simple.


Erin Yarbrough-Powell & Joshua Reynolds. Photographer: Keith Sutter

 Dancers are some of the hardest working people I know, but, it’s widely circulated that they’re somehow unlike the rest of society… in a distinctly negative way. I’ve been told that ballet, and dance in general, is somehow not a “real job.” As in: when are you going to get “a real job”? My goals and way of life were, and are, still questioned frequently. Many dancers are subjected to the cliché of being less intelligent than the rest of the “practically employed”(read: desk job) work force. I’ll be the first to admit to the self-deprecating cracks from time to time. When confronted by the engineers, financial analysts, and medical students of the world with the question: “What do you do?” I’ll frequently joke that “I work in the arts/I teach dance….I can count to eight!” Because, if I make that joke first, there’s no way you can use it against me.

So today, I wanted to take some time and share the traits that dancers possess that make them so unlike the rest of the world in an amazing way. Despite being strong, dancers, as a whole, are a sharp bunch. They’re systematically trained to be that way, really.

 Dancers are expected to be able to pick up and retain complicated information in the form of many series of steps. Everything is taught at a remarkably fast pace, and dancers have to be able to execute these combinations backwards and forwards, at a moments notice. Let’s not forget that this is not an effortless art form, and that it requires years and years of physically molding one’s body into aesthetically pleasing shapes.


In a work environment, only intelligent and necessary questions are tolerated. Like many professions, once trained, there will be no one to hold your hand as you go about your daily responsibilities. If something isn’t working, it’s your job to figure it out. Once they’ve figured out their own choreography, it’s often expected of them to learn everyone else’s work as well.


Dancers are exceptionally perceptive. They must be fully aware of not only where their own body is in space, but exactly where everyone else is in the room as well. They must navigate these spaces gracefully, systematically, and with intention. I often take this for granted when walking down a street where people can’t seem to figure out which way to pass those walking in the opposite direction. I can only play so many games of chicken while simultaneously avoiding people who seem determined to run into me.


In addition to all this, dancers are incredibly resilient. It’s been said that it’s the only athletic endeavor in which you’re not allowed to show pain, or exactly how hard it is. Unfortunately, pain and discomfort are often unavoidable in ballet. I frequently tell my students that if ballet were easy, everyone would do it.
Everything-Hurts-and-Im-Dying-Parks-and-Recreation The resilience isn’t only physical, either. In fact, the majority of it is mental resilience. Critiques and corrections are to be accepted as gifts; there is never a moment when you stop attempting to make something better, jump higher, or turn faster. It’s hard work, 100% of the time, no matter what else might be going on i. And sometimes, you feel like you look like this:


 When you’re expected to look something like this:


 Dancers are very much aware that the potential for growth is limitless in their art form. It’s not for everyone, but those who do it love it in an exceptional way. In my humble opinion, anyone who makes their life their passion is incredibly smart and brave for pursuing it, for sticking with it when other people might look at them sideways. I’m very proud to consider myself a part of the dance community, and, yes, I  can make a living counting to eight. It’s amazing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 That is all.


Five Things

Hello everyone!

We’re officially half-way through the week and still alive, so give yourself a great big pat on the back! This week, I’ve developed the rather unhealthy bedtime habit of changing into sweats, turning on the tv, and subsequently watching Youtube beauty videos on my phone until I completely lose consciousness. My life is clearly very glamorous.  Remember the concept of  “blackout” that I once wrote about? I think now might be a good time to instate it. I promise one day I will, but for now, enjoy this week’s Five Things- courtesy of a few blackout free nights.

IMG_2404I enjoyed my beautiful birthday flowers so much this last week. These Stargazer lilies from Trader Joe’s made my apartment smell so amazing. Better than any candle I could have burned.


I’m rather a rare breed in that I’m a dancer who rejoices (maybe sometimes too frequently) in the occasional cheeseburger. Ok, make that a cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake. My absolute favorite as of late is Super Duper Burger in San Francisco. It’s comfort food at it’s finest, in my humble opinion. While it may not be the healthiest option, I do feel like I’m not eating anything overly processed or frighteningly manufactured. They’re house-made pickles are also some of the best I’ve ever had, and I often end up eating several of them as a makeshift appetizer while waiting for my meal.


I came across this amazing clip of the famous Nederlands Dans Theater while perusing Youtube the other day. While I had the privilege of seeing them perform live a few years ago, I have to say that I find the most beauty in the studio work that dancers do. I love how this video is essentially a collage of that work, showcasing the intensity and evolution of the pieces we come to enjoy on stage.


Along with a few birthday festivities came a Saturday night out on the town, complete with dancing of course. My favorite spot of the night had to be a relatively no frills bar in San Francisco, that is, of course, if you happened to miss the staggering amount of disco balls on the ceiling.

and, lastly…

How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk. 

A good friend of mine introduced me to this fantastic dialect quiz courtesy of the New York Times. Quite a few of us took it at the most recent family dinner, and had some fun comparing our results. Essentially, it analyzes your everyday idioms and pronunciation to predict where you’re initially from in the United States.  It’s incredibly accurate, for the most part. According to this quiz, I was either originally from Fremont, San Jose, or Corona, California. I  guess it picked up on my stint of living in Southern California!


Five Things

Happy Wednesday all!

We’re exactly halfway through the week, yet I remain convinced it’s Thursday. Don’t you hate those kinds of weeks? They just seem to drag on forever. Between all the work-related gigs, Taco Tuesdays, thrifting, and requisite summertime fun, I’ve been frantically searching for new content and topics to write about. Funnily enough, it’s always the minute I stop making a concerted effort that I have the most prolific ideas. Everyone has a different creative process, I guess. Enough chatter- on to the weekly Five Things!


If you happened to be anywhere near a beauty blog yesterday, you’ll have been made aware that it was #NationalLipstickDay. In a nod to many people’s (myself included) love of lipstick, I recommend that you check out a piece on the lovely Joanna’s blog, A Cup of Jo, where her new editorial assistant executed a “Lipstick Challenge.”  Digging in to the depths of her lipstick drawer, she wore a new shade every work day over several weeks. I might just be a huge beauty junkie, but I found this weirdly fascinating. And also now want to own blue lipstick. Yes, it sounds strange, but just check out her look on week two! So pretty.


Yes, here’s a gratuitous sunset shot for the week. We’ve been having the most spectacular sunsets in the Bay Area as of late, so I naturally have to document them as soon as I get a chance.


If you’ve ever been to Starbuck’s, you are totally familiar with the baristas propensities to utterly screw up the most basic names in existence. I get a lot of Ava and April, but never before have I seen a “Hayva.” Extra points for creativity to that one. For more funny misspells, check out Buzzfeed’s 27 Times Starbucks Failed So Hard It Almost Won.

early morning dance

Photo c/o Daybreak & The Bold Italic

Did everyone know that the early morning dance party is now a thing in San Francisco? I happened upon this latest trend while perusing the Bold Italic this morning. For those people who genuinely enjoy dancing, but don’t always have the energy to go out-and-about every Saturday night, you can attend this dance party on a random Tuesday, right before work. Lasting from 7:30-9:30am, next week’s fun offers atypical fare- no cocktails, but coffee, tea, and breakfast treats in abundance. This is way better than running on the elliptical at the gym for an hour. Just saying.

With the big birthday fast approaching, I’ve been frequenting Sosh, an app that I can best describe as a more personal Yelp that’s strictly for social events and activities. While only available for certain US cities at the moment, Sosh allows you to search by the activity you’re interested in- be it happy hours, fitness classes, concerts, or restaurants, within your neighborhood of choice. You can also write reviews and bookmark activities and events you hope to attend in the future. I have 33 events bookmarked currently,inlcuding Dim Sum at Yank Sing, cocktails at the “Vegas inspired” Drake lounge, and an outdoor movie screening in Washington Park. I’m looking forward to chipping away at them very soon!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Wednesday!


A Dancer’s Guide to Youtube

Hello everyone!

For a while, I’ve wanted to put together a compilation of my favorite dance-related pieces for my readers to enjoy. Now, this isn’t just any old rehearsal footage that you have to be a dancer to appreciate. The following videos are, to me, some of the must-see moments of dance. They’re the pieces I’ve shown to my friends who have, in some cases, zero interest/experience in dance. They’re the pieces that “ring my bell,” a little bit cutting edge, and also a little bit classical.

Watch and enjoy!

In the Middle Somewhat Elevated- William Forsythe

I’ve unfortunately never had the opportunity to see this ballet live. Originally choreographed for powerhouse Sylvie Guillem, I love the post-modern, glitch-filled music accompanied by the sharp lines of the dancers. The dancing, while thrillingly aggressive, is also juxtaposed by moments of pedestrian movement. It’s so incredibly dynamic, and my kind of ballet.

Petite Mort- Jiri Kylian

Undeniably sensual, this piece has been danced by ballet and modern companies alike. It’s beautiful and iconic, the kind of choreography that makes you experience the music in an entirely new way. It’s both beautiful and athletic, elegant and human- showcasing the wide range of the dancers’ skills.

Max- Ohad Naharin

I had the privilege of not only seeing Batsheva Dance Company perform this during my years spent in Santa Barbara, but also attended a Gaga master class led by the company members. Gaga, Naharin’s own movement language, was created after the Graham trained choreographer suffered a debilitating back injury and sought to integrate dance as a form of therapy. Thorugh Gaga, he emphasizes the importance of listening to one’s body and nurturing it’s sense of connectivity and awareness. Long story short, I have never seen anyone move like the dancers onstage in “Max.”  Filled with gesture and ritual, I felt like I was witnessing something sacred or perhaps a parody thereof.

Oh, Inverted World- Trey McIntyre 

Of course, I had to do a bit of a shout-out to one of my favorite companies ever, Smuin Ballet, and the wonderful piece renowned choreographer Trey McIntyre created for them to music from The Shins. Bridging the gaps between pop culture and the classics, I dare you not to enjoy this clip. (Because we can no longer be friends if you don’t, just saying.)

and…just for fun:

A-Z of Dance. 

There’s an unending supply of videos out there, and I honestly could make this an entire series on its own. I got so wrapped up in searching for my favorite videos, this post took entirely too long to comprise, as I, of course, had to stop and watch all of them on Youtube. Let me know what some of your own favorites are- I’m always looking to broaden my horizons!

Happy Monday,