When Dancers Aren’t Graceful

As a dancer, it’s sorta my job to have control over my body, to be in command of every muscle and fiber so that I can move through space in a physical art form. I think that’s why most people assume that dancers are graceful people offstage as well.

But for me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

dancers aren't graceful

Recently, I had to attend a photo shoot for a dance company I’d only rehearsed with twice.  I didn’t really know anyone in the company well either, so I already felt a bit self-conscious.

Now, let me pause here and state that I am not in what I would say is my “fighting shape.” It’s been over two years since I have danced consistently, and I’ve lost a bit of strength and stability, which translates to “I’m not feeling as spry as I used to.”

Given all of that, yeah, why not get in front of a camera and try to look photogenic in a room full of strangers? Sounds like a great idea! What could possibly go wrong?

Because there was no set choreography yet to capture, the photographer crammed the three other dancers of the piece and me on a tiny square of dark grey background paper, and under very little direction, asked us to improvise a bit to get some photos taken.

If you’re thinking, “Man, that sounds awkward,” you’re completely correct.

It had about the same result you’d think it would: odd, ill-composed photos with perplexed looking dancers.

To change things up a bit, the choreographer decided to have us improvise one at a time.  We were directed to perform a few movements to get about four to five photos a piece, then exit so that the next person could run on in to the frame and start dancing.

I stood on the side, waiting my turn, and when it was time, I did what I was told.

I ran on.

And as soon as my foot hit the grey paper, I started to slide.

Like, in slow motion. Limbs flailing. Unable to prevent disaster.

Down I went, like an exaggerated banana-peel-on-the-sidewalk skit, all the while screeching like an opera singer.


In any other situation, like with my last company for example, once I hit the ground and assured folks I was physically okay, everyone would have gotten a good chuckle. Heck, I might have even peed my pants a teeny bit from laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of the situation.

But in this instance, no one was laughing. Well, I kind of was. But then I quickly stopped when I realized that everyone was just staring at me, stunned, mouths agape, not sure what to make of this aging lunatic that had just flung herself on the ground like a fish out of water.

After I lay there on the floor for what felt like 24 hours, the photographer finally ran over, and I thought, “Oh, thank God, someone is coming to my aid.”

But really?  He was just trying to frantically save his background paper, smoothing out the edges and re-taping the whole thing down so that we could get on with the shoot.

The choreographer and the other dancers eventually started to make sure I was all right, and I reassured them that the only thing hurt was my pride as I lurched myself upright.

But deep down? I was mortified. Humiliated. And I certainly did not want to get my picture taken anymore.

It was all I could do not to pack up my gear, dramatically sling my bag over my shoulder, and yell “that’s it, I’m outta here!” before storming out and slamming the door behind me.

But I didn’t.

See? I tried to take the high road. The mature route. The harder option. Even though it sucked balls.

One of the dancers tried to make me feel better and tell me that it wasn’t as bad as I imagined, and that I fell very gracefully. To which, I giggled politely while hiding my tears and thanked her for trying to make me feel better.

However, the crinkled marks on the background paper told a different story of disaster and defeat.

I couldn’t high tail it out of the studio fast enough once the photo shoot was over, and having a week where I didn’t have to face the same people helped heal my wounds. So, now? I’m almost over it. Almost.

Thankfully, the photographer swears he didn’t capture my embarrassing moment on film but I am waiting for some kind of GIF of me falling over and over on a loop to make it’s way on the Internet sometime soon.

When folks like Jennifer Lawrence fall in front of an audience of millions, it’s adorable and endearing.

But when I fall in a room full of people I barely know, in a situation where I’m supposed to, you know, move like I’ve been dancing forever, I just fall flat.


After a couple of days, I could tell the story and laugh about it. Because, c’mon, falling is pretty funny.

I guess it just goes to show that I’m never too old or too experienced to get humbled. That life will continue to knock me down, and it’s up to me to decide if I’m going to get up and storm out of the room, or stand up and get my picture taken, red-faced and all.

With grace, of course.


Do you have any embarrassing stories you can share to make me feel better? 

Why I Let My 8 Year Old Have an Email Account

My son had been pestering me for weeks.

“How old do I have to be to get email?” “When can I get an email account?” “Can I get an email account now?” “How about now? Am I old enough now?”

Every time he would ask for an email account, I would ask the same questions.

“Why do you want an email account?” “Who is so important to an 8 year-old to email?”

Why I Let My 8 Year Old Have Email

His logic wasn’t rational.  Like wanting to be able to email me to let me know where he was.  While in our house.  Or “texting” us from the bathroom while we’re in a store so that we know he’s okay.

Because knowing someone’s taking a dump is high on my priority list of information needs.

My son had recently been bequeathed my husband’s ancient iPod touch, which was nothing more than a glorified Minecraft machine. It has no 3G or 4G network, and the only access to anything cool is by the WiFi network in our home. In order for him to email us, he’d have to be in our house with us.  Which doesn’t make email the most efficient method of communication when he can’t find his baseball mitt.

After many, many, many requests, and some decent proposals and reasons why, my son’s questioning broke me down and I agreed to let him have an email account.  The persuasive arguments that won me over were the ones that appealed to my soft side. He wanted to be able to keep in touch with his cousin, his aunts and uncles, and his grandparents.

Having our family spread out all over the country, how can I say no to that?

I didn’t embark on this lightly.  My husband and I set down some very strict guidelines. I had to have access to his password.  I was going to monitor all of the emails coming in and going out from his email address. He wouldn’t be allowed to click on any link he received without asking. And he wasn’t allowed to email anyone that wasn’t in our family without asking permission.

Once the rules were put in place and agreed upon, we registered his email address and got it set up on his iPod and my retired laptop.

And then the emailing began.

At first, he just emailed me and my husband. They were simple one word emails, like “hi!” and “awesome!” and grew to short sentences like “i love you!”

But once he really got the hang of things, his emails became an extension of himself.

I began to see his humor.  To see his wickedly fast wit, getting all the jokes we’d reply with and volleying equally funny ones back to us. To see his knowledge of when it’s most effective to use ALL CAPS.

And then he started taking photos of all of us and sending them to our inbox.

Quick little snapshots that I thought he was taking for the fun of hearing the shutter. But he quickly became adept at tweaking those head shots in whatever app he could find on his phone.

The day he sent me this photo from his iPod was the day that I fully embraced him having an email address:

8 year old email

That’s me. Smiling at him. And my son adding his own artistic flair to what would otherwise be a pretty boring photo. He could have typed “Gina” or “Mommy” or “Loser.” But he chose “She…” And I love it.

Pictures like this give me added insight in to what’s going on in that small but mighty brain my son has. It sheds a little light on how he sees me. And that is always more warm and pleasant than how I see myself.

Months later, the novelty has worn off a little, and the volume of emails being sent and received has trickled off a bit, but my son still enjoys telling folks he has his own email account.

More importantly, he loves being able keep in touch with family on his own.  Grandparents are sending him short emails about things they think are interesting. His cousin sends book recommendations that she thinks he should read, like their own private book club. My son gets to establish his own relationship with family independent of his parents, and he loves how that makes him feel.

I know there will come a day where we will have to more closely worry about what he’s using his email address for. But for the time being, I’m just going to enjoy getting pinged by my son, telling me that he thinks I’m awesome.

Click Click! Elska on Kid Tune Tuesday….

I’ve been spending an enormous amount of time lately trying to shed some weight.

From my laptop’s hardware.

storage alt

It appears that I’m dangerously close to maxing out my poor little MacBook Pro’s hard drive space. And since I’m not privy to plunking down a couple g’s for a new laptop, I’ve taken on the painstaking task of purging my data.

Starting with the 15,000+ photos I have stored on iPhoto.  Yes, you read that right.  15,000.  It’s insane.  Some are duplicates, having been transferred a few times with a new hard drive or new phone. And there’s a vast collection of blurry, accidental photos of the inside of my purse, my palms and the kitchen floor.

The only thing saving my sanity (and my computer from being chucked in to the fireplace) whilst doing this project is the reminiscing I get to do while scouring the archives. Photos of my babies all fresh and mushed.  Our garage being demolished. Way too many bad haircuts.

But, I’ve also noticed, very few photos of me.  Even fewer of me with my kids.  One thing I’m resolving to change this year.  How grateful I am to Apple by putting an awesome camera on their products!  It makes it super easy to grab my phone and snag photos of my kids doing things I couldn’t have begun to form the words to describe. Or better yet, photo bombing them with my hammy face while capturing it.

ElskaClick Click” is one of those songs we like to sing out loud in our family, as it’s gotten a lot of airplay on .  Part techno, part pop, it’s catchy and bubbly, but not so much you want to claw your way out of the car about 20 seconds in.

It seems like the Mom iPhone Theme Song.  Who hasn’t pawed their way through the lock screen to get their camera up and running to catch the ones they love doing something amazing?  As the lyrics tout, “cause when you smile, it makes me smile.”  Ever notice how you have far fewer photos of your kids in a meltdown then you do of them in a giddy, euphoric state?

Children’s music artist Elska is one of those projects you’re either going to love for its quirkiness, or get queasy from it’s youthful vibrance.

Singer/actress Shelley Wollert and producer Allen Farmelo have created this identity of Icelandic singer Elska, who wears some pretty bizarre outfits.  Think Bjork spawning a child with DJ Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba.  And you’ve got Elska.

I’m not sure I’ve swallowed all of Elska’s super sweet Kool-Aid, but I AM a fan of “Click Click.”  My son?  Not a fan.  But Miss P?  Man, you should see how large her mouth opens up when she throws her head back and sings along.  And that?

That’s something I need to take a picture of.

Elska’s album Middle of Nowhere is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Someone has graciously nominated my blog for Circle of Moms’ Top 25 Funny Moms! But I need YOUR VOTES to help me finish in the Top 25! I’m lumped in with some big Titans of Funny, so my chances are slim, but YOUR vote can help me get there. Just click on that nifty badge below and vote. You can vote once a day, every day until February 13th at 4pm PST. I’d appreciate it!

Say cheese…

For some time, I’ve been thinking I need a career change.  Perhaps what I really need is a hobby?  Writing in here has definitely been helpful.  But I’m craving the creativity of something else.

Back when we lived in NYC, I started taking a photography class using my husband’s grandfather’s old Minolta 35mm.  I loved how similar photography was to choreography:  composition, choosing where I want someone’s eye to focus, capturing and specifying a mood, energy or line.  A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to get a D-SLR for Christmas from Jon, and while I’ve taken thousands of pictures with it, they are mostly family snapshots.  Fun pictures of things the kids are doing, or a visit from a relative.  But I haven’t used it to do much else.  Maybe I should…

Lately I’ve been drooling over the idea of getting a macro lens so that I can get those shallow depth of field shots that I adore.  But maybe I just need to acquire better knowledge of photography and what my current lenses are capable of.  Learning about lighting might help too.  I’m looking in to taking some classes somewhere.  In the mean time, I’ve been looking back at some of the photos I’ve taken in the past that I really like for inspiration.  I know they’re not ground breaking or breathtaking, but it got me thinking.

And this website, What Katie Ate, albeit a food site, makes me wish I could be a photographer.  Such beautiful shots!