Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Berlin: double take

It's been an amazing week in Berlin! The beautiful spring weather didn't exactly hold up, but otherwise it was full of new experiences, productive dancing, and a lot of fun. Here is why I had such a great time:

I took class with Statsballett Berlin every morning last week. Leslie the administrator was friendly and welcoming, even letting me dump my coat in her office while I took class. I also got to see a friend from the past. Weronika danced in the ballet I choreographed for the New York Chroeographic Institute at the School of American Ballet, spring of 2007. It was great to see her, all grown up now and flourishing as a soloist in the company.

I also made two new friends through neighbors of my mom in Manhattan. Piet is a member of Blue Man Group here in Berlin, and is currently working on a theatrical movement project through a distant collaboration with his old drama/movement teacher in the states. He asked me to be a part of the project, which will be presented in a studio setting in Berlin the last week of April (my european debut!!) I had a chance to get to work over the past few days, and before I knew it, I started feeling like I was contributing to something great. Since the piece is still in the early stages of exploring concept and movement vocabulary, it's really a perfect time to get to know everyone. We each bring something very different to the table, but I think that's what gives the project such great potential. It's too bad that I won't be back until the week before the shows, but I got the feeling when I left today that we're on to something pretty interesting. I hope I will not be forgotten over these next few weeks.

Piet also got me tickets to Blue Man Group last Sunday evening! I had been working with 2 of the 3 Blue Men all day, so it was hysterical to see them perform the show. I had really good seats so I could spot them right away, and I was cracking up the entire time. If you've never seen the show you've got to go; it's one of those things you think you know because you've seen all the posters and commercials, but the real thing will just blow you away.

The other friend I made was Bryce, an opera singer living in Berlin and performing in a show here. Bryce met me to talk about introducing myself to the opera world as a dancer, and had great suggestions and a huge list of contacts to get me started on my search for summer opera employment. We had a great time together, although ate some bad noodles at an Asian food stand at the train station, and were both sick the next day. I have since contacted my first opera company, and have begun to wrap my mind around how dancers are hired for operas, and which companies hire per production. I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

Probably the highlight of my trip to date was my afternoon spent at the Hamam, a womens Turkish bathhouse in Schönberg. This was three hours of bliss in heated marble steam rooms with large individual bowls of hot water and a gold metal bowl used to scoop the water onto your body. I got a body scrub down from a lady, and enjoyed the quiet of a lazy afternoon with nothing to do but lounge around feeling like Queen Sheba. I left feeling like I hadn't been staying in hostels for the last three months; this vagabond has found the remedy for transforming into a human again.

I would like to rate Grand Hostel Berlin as the #1 hostel visited on this trip, with comfortable and clean rooms, single beds with down comforters (no bunks!) friendly staff, and central location. There was no breakfast but the bakery around the corner sold the best latte and yogurt muesli I could have asked for.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I know it's lame. All I can say is that I was having too much of an excellent time to remember to take any :/.

On to a night train to Paris!!

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