The Last Five Years – Relationships are Hard

Jamie sings, “Share your life with me for the next ten minutes.”  That is all relationships are, a series of ten minutes that can be full of joy, sadness, fear, and anger.  The film The Last Five Years takes you on a journey through a relationship that sees ups, downs, and sideway turns.  It brings you into the heads of the characters Cathy (Anna Kendricks) and Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) as they explore, savior, and experience love.  Cathy and Jamie’s relationship always seemed unbalance from the beginning.  Cathy, a struggling actress trying to hold on to the man that she fell in love with, and Jamie, a successful author at twenty-three always wanting more than what he had.  He watches his career soar as Cathy just follows behind.  Cathy sings, “…and then he smiles and nothing else makes sense…”  The song ends as you see her walking behind him, following his lead.  It was never a partnership.  In it together, side by side.  She always followed in his success instead of focusing on her career, her dream.

I question, can you have it all?  They were twenty-three.  Babies starting out on their career paths.  Trying to have it all – the successful relationship, the marriage, and the career.  The ability that a person has to turn your whole world upside down with one word, one letter, one song is a heartbreak everyone has been through.  You can start to question yourself worth when you are with someone who is more successful than you.  You can have feeling of neglect no matter how many times the successful person is supportive of your dreams and your aspirations.  You can live in your failures instead of taking your time to find the right path needed to get you to your goals.  Jamie gives Cathy a watch and at the end of the song he says “take your time.”  Can you take your time when everything else around you is moving fast?  When your husband is on a different page, a different chapter, or a different book?  Can you be supportive of his dreams when he stopped being supportive of yours?

The hour and thirty minute film bounced back and fourth between different parts of the last five years of their relationship.  Between the excitement and lust you have when you first connect with someone.  To the anger and bitterness you can have towards someone when they say something like “I will not lose because you can’t win.”  Those words are hurtful and were said out of anger, but then did Jamie ever really believe in Cathy?  Had he become so frustrated that he needed to cheat on her?  He said:

“Little more glue every time that it breaks
Perfectly balanced, and then I start making
Conscious, deliberate mistakes”

Mistakes.  Are they mistakes if you are doing them consciously or deliberately?  If they are mistakes wouldn’t you confess and try to work it out.  The blame for a relationship not working is not one person’s fault or the other.  It takes two people to have a relationship and you either want it or you don’t.  The Last Five Years shows how if it is always one sided it is never going to work.  It will fall apart like a flower losing its pedals.  In the words of Jason Robert Brown, if a successful relationship is to happen the thought process has to be:

“I will never be complete
I will never be alive
I will never change the world
Until I do”

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Tiler Peck – Destined to be a NYCB Ballerina

Tiler Peck’s story is like a movie. She is from Bakersfield, California and got her start dancing when she was young at her mother’s dance studio. Jazz technique was her favorite, but her mother encourage her to have a strong ballet base. At seven she began to take private classes with Bolshoi ballerina Alla Khaniashvili. Soon after, she began ballet classes in Santa Monica at Westside School of Ballet from former New York City Ballet (NYCB) principal Yvonne Mounsey and with other NYCB alum Colleen and Patricia Neary. She continued to do other performing arts activities such as acting and singing as a child, and with the help of her agent, Victoria Morris, Peck was also able to advance her career. Some of these career pushing activities included movies (I.e. Donny Darko, A Time for Dancing, and Geppetto), ballet performances such as Clara (en Pointe) in the the Radio City Spectacular at Universal Studios at ten, and Broadway in NYC at 11 in the revival of The Music Man. At thirteen her mentors, and NYCB alumni encouraged her to apply to the School of American Ballet. She was accepted and began her studies in NYC for two summers before moving to New York to study Ballet full-time. At New York City Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world, she moved up the ranks quickly. In 2004 she joined as an apprentice. In 2005 as apart of the corp. In 2006 she was promoted to soloist. Finally, in 2009 she was moved up to a principal where continues to be today.  (All date and background information found through Dance Magazine’s “The Magnetic Tiler Peck” by Astrida Woods)

Her artistry in her dancing is breathe taking. Peck loses herself on stage in a work and has developed a musicality that is revered. She makes every port de bra, every pirouette, and each arabesque look natural and unhurried. Her presence within pieces such as Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousal or the Romantic duet in Jerome Robbin’s Fancy Free is storytelling that can make any ballet hater want to go see another. Peck’s story isn’t all sunshine and roses. Just like any artist she has had successes as well as set backs. In 2007, at eighteen, she broke her back and was out for six months. That kind of injury, and that length of time being out can be career ending. The loss of technique, flexibility, and the competition of up and coming ballerinas can put many injured dancers at a crossroad where they need to retire. Peck persevered, healed, and became more flexible, a stronger dancer, and developed a thought process of potential plans after dancing.

In the performing arts world there has been exploration among artists who continue to push boundaries as not only an artist, but continue to develop new ways to increase revenue streams and become more of a public face. In music you see artists crossing genres like Taylor Swift going from Country to Pop or even switching performing art styles like Kiesza going from being a professional dancer to a singer. In dance, it’s becoming more prevalent for professional ballet dancers to do other activities outside of their company contract. In Peck’s case she recently had the lead role in a new musical performed at the Kennedy Center called Little Dancer as well as did a six week run on Broadway with On The Town. Peck isn’t the only one in the ballet world doing cross over work. Other artists such as Robert Fairchild (led of Wheeldon’s Broadway Musical An American in Paris) and Megan Fairchild (On The Town). It doesn’t stop there either. Just like musical acts, they are starting to cash in on branding, like Peck with Body Wrappers Apparel, Misty Copland with under armor, and Lauren Froderman with Gatorade.  These crossovers are exciting because Ballet and dance in general is becoming more popular in society and not just looked as an elite art form.

If you look at Peck story it seemed that she was destined to be at NYCB. Her story also gives you insight on how a successful Ballerina gets to the top and understanding that sacrifice as a child is where it starts. Peck didn’t have a normal life. She pushed boundaries by being involved in all walks of the performing arts, left home at a young age, and had developed an understanding that she is not going to be a ballerina forever. For now, I look forward to continuing to see her breath taking performances around the world, as well as being a role model for mini ballerinas to look to for strength, guidance, and an understanding of the dance world.

Below you will find Tiler Peck’s insight and dancing on Balanchine’s TSCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX

Cinderella – The Musical is the Best Version

Dear future husband, if you want me to say yes to your marriage proposal don’t buy me a big diamond ring because jewelry is not my thing.  The way to my heart is a glass slipper and if you spontaneously bust into a dance, even better.  Recently, I saw Disney’s live action version Cinderella which explained a lot of things like, why the step sisters and stepmother didn’t recognize her at the ball?  Why Cinderella stayed with that horrible family after her father died?  As well as what happened to her mother and why her father married the horrible stepmother.

Let’s be real, the best Cinderella is the 1965 made for television musical version with Lesley Ann Warren, Stuart Damon, and Ginger Rogers.  Granted the set design is a little cheesy, but Rodgers and Hammerstein music is perfect and Lesley Ann Warren was an excellent lead.  Her first song, “In My Own Little Corner” helps her deal with her awful home life by bringing her to imaginative places and a better life.  I mean who doesn’t dance around with kitchen ware and duck around furniture while vocally singing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about fairy tales in general lately and how they relate to real life.  Cinderella is really about oppression, treating others how you want to be treated, and that karma always comes around.  The song “Impossible” that Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother sings touches on how anything is possible.  The lyrics say, “But the world is full of zanies and fools, Who don’t believe in sensible rules, And won’t believe what sensible people say…Impossible things are happening every day.”  This song gives Cinderella the confidence she needs to go to the ball.

The one thing I don’t’ understand that is in every Cinderella story is how can you fall in love with someone in ten minutes?  Granted, I am not a believer of love at first sight, and I don’t think the prince and Cinderella talked about their values, morals, children, or careers either.  Every fairy tale has its positives as well as its flaws and we can’t take everything in these stories literally.  Being a girl and being swept off your feet by the love of your life is something that we all dream about, plus I love getting lost in fairy tale movies.  An escape from reality is never a bad thing, and what a movie to get lost in like Cinderella.  For those of you who haven’t seen the 1965 version, come out from under your rock and get educated because it’s the best version out there, and we can all use a little 10 minutes ago…