Gala Going

Hi all!

One of the perks of working in the arts (aside from the very obvious- working in an industry I’m passionate about), I do occasionally get to attend and/or help plan fabulously fancy events. While I’ll readily admit that I have absolutely zero frame of reference, I’ve heard that planning for an event as big as our ballet company’s gala on Sunday night is not unlike planning for a wedding. And while there are always countless things to juggle, last-minute changes, and unforeseen complications (Hi there, buckets of rain!), things always seem to come together to make something lovely and memorable.

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While I always seem to get disproportionately nervous before big events, things always work out wonderfully. I’ll still say that there are few things more nonsensically nerve-wracking than stabbing oneself in the eye with an eyeliner pen and having to start your makeup over with limited time to spare. I’m happy to say that things went more smoothly after that. This being my third Smuin Ballet gala, I think that this year went perhaps the most seamlessly- the cocktail hour, performance, dinner, and auction all made the event a success. More importantly, the official word is that we managed to raise over $380,000 in one evening! Not too shabby. Seeing so many people generously give (often unconditionally), makes me hope that one day I’ll be able to give back to the arts myself. For now, I’ll have to make do with working behind the scenes, and supporting in the capacity I can. Something tells me I’ll have plenty of fancy parties in my future.


From Studio to Studio- an Interview

Hi everyone!

I’ve been here, over-sharing my personal and professional life on Watch Me Juggle for quite a while now. I’ll admit that I’ve dabbled with applying to the occasional freelance writing gig here and there, but not much ever came of it.

Well… I was somehow able to talk my way into letting the ballet company I work for write for their blog. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Oh, I love writing! I have a little blog where I talk about ballet, teaching, and all the things that I do/eat on a weekly basis.”

Them: “Well, if you ever want to write things for our blog you can.”

Me: *falls over*


That’s the very glamorous story of how my writing ended up not just on my little corner of the internet. Needless to say I was very excited about it. As the title of my blog suggests, not only did a submit my writing for a post, it happened to be a post containing my very first interview ever. I decided to sit down with one of my favorite people, dancer Erin Yarbrough, who made such a huge impression on me as my teacher years ago. She’s one of the main reasons I still dance today. Turns out, all you really need is one or two people to really believe in you. Lucky me, I ended up working alongside her in the very same studio I grew up dancing in. And I still learn from her! Pretty cool, right?

You can read my interview with her hereon the Smuin Ballet website. If you ever find yourself in San Francisco Bay Area, make sure you check them out! (I’m not shamelessly promoting my own company here, or anything.)

In other, incredibly exciting new, I got to take company class with the dancers of Smuin just the other day. Had you told my young self that I would be doing this one day, I would have frankly told you you were full of crap.


Look! It’s a picture of Erin & I. 

 Since my transition to teaching almost daily ballet classes, I haven’t gotten much of a chance to take class as much as I would like. To put it bluntly, I felt totally out of shape. I was just glad I didn’t fall on my face in front of everyone. It made what promised to be just an average day an amazing day. Often I forget just how lucky I am to work in a field I’m so wholeheartedly passionate about. Just the other day, one of my students asked me if I get paid to teach them ballet. I told her I do, but sometimes I forget that it’s my job. I couldn’t ask for better.


Decoding Ballet

Hello all!

 So, as many of you know, aside from teaching dance five days a week, I also work for a lovely little company in San Francisco: Smuin Ballet. This last Wednesday, SF software magnate GitHub hosted us for our first ever Decoding Ballet seminar. Seeing as how, over the last few years, my lovely city has experienced a boom of successful young people in the tech industry, I thought it was an intriguing way to develop a connection between the arts and technology.

The presentation was primarily on the process and nuances of creating dance, both classical and contemporary. I love that Smuin Ballet is so not what people typically think of as ballet. Yes, they’re a group of brilliant, classically trained technicians, but the company’s ability to adapt to a variety of styles and genres of dance is uniquely impressive. Founder, Michael Smuin, had a strong presence on Broadway, in addition to the ballet world, and it shows in many of his works that are still performed today. It’s ballet but totally accessible- entertaining as well as beautiful.

Heard enough good things about Smuin? Ok! Let’s get to my inside look of the GitHub offices!

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Oh, hey, look! It’s a replica of the oval office. This is the very first thing you see when entering their office space. I’m still wondering if it’s a functional office, or just a great photo opportunity.


Aside from the dancers performing, we also made the GitHub employees get up and dance with us. I though it was so great that they were so willing to get up and dance with the pros!


Product placement anyone? After the presentation, we all headed over to the GitHub bar for a quick happy hour. They ordered pizza for all of us, and promised that they had cut it small because it wasn’t technically part of a “dancer’s diet.” Adorably thoughtful group, those GitHub people.


Here’s the view opposite of the bar. They pretty much have an entirely functioning bar/restaurant embedded in their office. Necessary? I think so!



We all enjoyed chatting and mixing all our happy hour cocktails ourselves! I was quite proud of this concoction: Bulleit bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice. Yum! I’m hoping we have more of these events in the future- ballet has always been packaged as an almost elitist, hyper-dignified art form, but certainly doesn’t have to be. It’s incredibly encouraging to see all the ongoing progress, while still managing to preserve the classics. Who says tech and performing arts can’t go together? Heck, even if your only involvement is attending performances, it’s never a waste. It’s an uplifting life experience, and there’s always champagne!

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend everyone!