YAGP - The Finals' Experience

I just returned from a week in NYC accompanying my dancer, Bella Northburg, on her first YAGP Finals competition.  The week was so overwhelming and I'm too tired to write about it just yet, but here are the FB posts I wrote.  Enjoy.

Saturday: Bella, Sue and I arrived yesterday in New York City on a warm and pleasant humid day.  We then spent close to three hours in the whirling dervish of the New York's cab system.  From the airport to the theater and back to hotel, we grab a quick meal and a little Pilates.  We promptly fall into bed by 8:30.   But this morning on the opposite side of the Brooklyn Bridge we are ensconced in a quiet and appropriately New York dance studio. I'm watching a boys class – 12 to 14 maybe. The level of training in these young dancers is frankly astounding. The fact that CCB has a dancer here is truly an accomplishment and speaks to the level of training there. I hear myself echoed as their teacher corrects and encourages, but seeing the pristineness of the instructor is also a reminder of the never-ending responsibility of the teacher to continue her own education!

Sunday: It's Sunday early afternoon. It's the most gorgeous day in NY I've ever experienced...and a local said the same. We walked along the New York Bay this morning, spotting the distant silhouette of the Statue of Liberty. It was a good walk, a calming walk.  Now we are sitting in the sunlit lobby of the utilitarian but large Mark Morris Dance Center.  All the dancers sit and stretch mutely, surreptitiously glancing at one another. Bella is her normal calm self but yesterday in class and a bit on stage she was tense. This is if course totally understandable. But I am hoping that with one solo under her belt and with that perfect walk by the water, she lets go some.

Tuesday: It's amazing how much of the week has been spent just waiting. We wait for our taxi, we wait in the taxi, we sit in the lobby waiting to be called up to class and wait in the theater waiting to be called to dance. Bella's variation is only one minute 37 seconds, yet the morning in preparation will take six hours.  I wonder how fulfilling the time can be onstage for these smart dancers, dancers who have undoubtedly already had large rolls. I think it telling that we have spent little time watching the other performances at the theater. It's a competition and these variations are unnaturally detach from their stories. Everything outside of that has been so much more enriching.  Yesterday, for example, we took a class at Steps on Broadway and watched a professional dancer who took alongside us. We were fascinated by her quick, quirky technique. Bella couldn't pull her eyes away, mesmerized by the dancer's spinning style pirouettes with over crossed arms.  That's a Balanchine dancer I told her. Today at about 1 PM, Bella will take the stage and the waiting will be over.  It's a blessing to be such a small part of all this.