Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: The Restore to Factory Settings Button

January 1 is like fresh snow, like a clean sheet of paper.  So much hope, so much promise, so much beauty, just lying there, waiting!

Inspired, we take a deep breath and begin our journey. 

Things go okay for a while. Proceed with caution, our inner voice says. Be mindful. We stamp evenly spaced footprints in the snow.  Our words start to flow.  We continue, gaining confidence, relying upon the skills, habits and experiences in our personal arsenal.  $#@%! We've made an “n” instead of an “m” and in trying to correct it wind up with an ugly lump of tar on our paper.  Some disgusting misfit of humanity has left his dog’s mess right there for decent people to step in and ruin our new shoes.

Forget it!  Crumple up the paper and toss it in the trash. Turn around and stomp on home. Self-medicate by over doing something that will only make us feel worse.  

What we really want on January 1 is a “RESTORE TO FACTORY SETTINGS” button for humans.    

And why not?  Wouldn’t it be fun if we could start from scratch every January 1, and every September too, which some of us regard as New Year’s lite?  If we could erase all the misinformed crap that has gotten us to our “mistakes?”  If at least to some extent we could reprogram the genes that might predestine certain behaviors or flaws?

But then we wouldn't be who we are.  Mistakes are what make us unique.  Perfection is overrated.  Some “mistakes” are part and parcel with gifts.  Think of the the messy person who is always improvising and thinking of new approaches to a problem.  The perfectionist on whom you can count to do things right.  

So with that in mind, here are the bugs I’d get rid on myself of if I had a factory reset button. Some things are reasonably easy fixes. Some are doable with a lot of focus and forgiveness.  Some would be tough, but worth it.  Some might make a better me, while also making me an insufferable, unrecognizable Stepford wife Pollyanna nightmare -- the type of person EVERYONE would wanna give a bitch slap.

Anyhoo, here's my list:

  1. Eat better  - both more regularly and healthy food consistently, i.e., not be a kale, quinoa, sweet potato salad kinda gal one day, and a gummy bears and popcorn gal  the next.  Yes, I am a severely bipolar eater.
  2. Go to bed at a decent hour.
  3. Organize my time better so I am not always rushing, or late, and making my family crazy.
  4. Become less volatile.
  5. Live more in the present.
  6. Take more dance classes (Pirouettes, I’m comin’ to getcha!)
  7. Not beat myself up like crazy in dance classes!
  8. Get this blog to take off.
  9. Have a clean house.
  10. Stop seeing my checkbook as a bottomless pit/mystery machine. 
  11. Remember that though I may blog, my life offline is what matters.
  12. Read more.  Offline.  Actual books.
  13. Stop caring so much what people think.  Both negative comments on the blog and from assholes in the flesh.
  14. Realize that being polite doesn't mean being uncomfortable or taking crap.  
  15. Giving myself a break and accepting who I am.  (Hmmmm. Does that negate some of this list?)
  16. Drink more water.
  17. Be more of a roll-with-the-punches kind of gal.
  18. Taking back the power from assholes, whether that means keeping my mouth shut or speaking up.  
  19. Remember (thank you Sheryl Crow) that it's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you want.  Stop being an expert at "Compare and Despair."
  20. Be a more consistent disciplinarian.  Take a deep breath. Count to 10. No more yelling.
  21. Volunteering
  22.  Spend more time planning classes.
  23.  Better meal planning - avoid daily forays to HP Produce and Trader Joes
  24.  Sit down more at home to read or even watch TV – without any Apple device near me.
  25. Did I say I would have a clean house?  You'll agree that I need work in this department!  Check the post-playdate carnage at my friend Anna's blog, My Life and Kids!

I know I can't do all of these. But, I can do some of these at least some of the time.

And that might have to do.  

Mom’s New Stage wishes you abounding success in your quest to better yourself whether that means New Year's resolutions or not!  Celebrate small victories.  And remember this word. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

How to be a Mom Hottie on New Year's Eve 2013

New Year's Eve Fashion for Moms on

Momsanity and Momsanity holiday edition were the workouts that got you that killer bod you are now rockin'.  None of that 2 hours minimum per day of Pilates for you.  After all, you are a middle-class mother of small children. The only way you could swing the child care for that kind of time commitment would be to set a Sesame Street DVD to repeat and duct tape your kids to the sofa.

Oh-so-wisely you used the trials and tribulations of motherhood to get yourself a bounce-quarters-up-to-heaven ass!

But still, you have a problem.

HOW TO ADORN ALL THIS FABULOUSITY?!!! (asked while running your fingers down your sides and striking a fierce pose.)

You simply CANNOT do New Year's Eve with a body to die for, but looking like a prime example of the no-style lifestyle.  You've trolled (pun fully intended!) Pinterest boards seeking new looks, but God, they're so effing complicated and intimidating.   

"For the love of vodka, I just want to be a trendy mom!" you scream aloud.

Fortunately, Kim, the blogger behind Let Me Start By Saying has answered your prayers! In a lushly rich spread entitled New Years Eve Fashion for Moms, she has assembled 14 of the hottest mom bloggers (Including me!) out there to demonstrate the go-to trends of New Years 2013!  The stunning photography will inspire you to experiment not only with new looks, but with a new way of BEING.  

You'll be the trendy mom of your dreams, daring to rock a style like none other.  

You'll be a rare goddess who can coax unparalleled beauty and elegance from her four year old's craft box.  For realz, check me out!  I look like I just finished a make out session with a Big Bird's drag queen cousin.

Don't endure another New Year's Eve looking like a refugee from the planet Ugly!  Visit New Years Eve Fashion for Moms!

We're waiting for you...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Angel Boobies and Other Christmas-Induced Lies

"Mommy, do angels have boobies?"  Mr. R asked.

Just shy of a spit take on my coffee, I glanced at the ambiguously bosomed figurine atop our Christmas tree.  "Not unless they're from Victoria's Secret," I said. I thought I’d scored a trifecta -- clever, cryptic and putting the kibosh on this awkwardness.

Only temporarily. It continued at dinner. "Can we see Victoria's Secret?"  

Now, ain't that some s#^%?  The child forgets the socks I asked him to bring ten seconds before, but remembers the name of a soft porn empire throughout an entire day. 

"Um, not unless she's on TV."  Phew!  Luckily, we never got Vicky’s Secret catalogs anymore.  High waisted camel-toe highlighting jeans gave me hives, and anyone looking through my underwear drawer would think I was a zaftig and slovenly 67 year old.  

"Well, can she come to our house?"

"I don't think she has time for that.  She is very busy."  Not a lie, really. They are supermodels after all.  They have supermodelly things to do. Like not eat and go clubbing and beat away the men that flock to them like pigeons to a dropped hot dog bun.

"Would she talk to us?"  

Oh, dear God!  "Only if she's a nice angel.  Some of them are not so nice." Wha?!! Maybe someone like Heidi Klum actually would talk to us? I mean she and I are the same age, our kids are mixed race, although my clothes would only meet the runway if they somehow fell out of a plane during take-off…

"Well, when can we meet her?"

"You've got plenty of time for that. I don't want to talk about this any more, okay?" An image of my son as an adolescent getting an eyeful of angel boobies flashed into my head.  Yep. Plenty of time.  

While that was the most titillating, tee-hee, of this season's quagmire of lies, there was also Santa Claus. Here I was, a mother trying to preserve her child's innocence, and I was making an inside trader look like a preschool teacher.  How does Santa get through the chimney? He turns into angel dust and drifts on down.   How does he go so fast? Warp speed. Don’t you remember The Polar ExpressDoes he really get to all the children in the world?  Um, NO, of course not, silly!  Only the good ones. 

A Christmas Fantasy Parade: Santa Claus
Photo: Armadillo444, courtesy of Flickr

The child is four. Back in 1976 I believed it all.  The chimney, even though we lived in an apartment sans fireplace (Maybe he just used the window?), the cookies, EVERYTHING!!!! Was I just a super trusting little girl who loved myth and magic, or was I totally uninquistive with the critical thinking skills of a ketchup bottle?  

And third is the elf on the shelf thing.  Lady A remains hahribble about bedtime.  If not for that EOTS, I'd have to make her a Shirley Temple so we could be drinking buddies, watching The Colbert Report together.

The second I lay Lady A down and tuck her in, she bolts upright, claiming to need a book, a doll, some water, to pee, a hug, to kiss her brother whom she's been biting all day, you name it.  

Then Mama snaps.

Becoming both menacing and hysterical, I point to the endearing judge of an elfess sitting her bookshelf, and lay down the flipping law. "When you wake up on Christmas morning and find no baby doll whatsoever... when you find nothing, not a strand of hair or one impossibly long and thick eyelash, you'll know why! Because you were so naughty, and wouldn't sleep and the elf went right to Santa to PUNISH YOU!"  

I rush to grab my phone and "call" Santa on the elf's behalf. 

That puts her down almost instantly, and makes her stay there as if glued to the sheets.

Answer me this people, how will I get my girlchild in line when Christmas is over? Without the EOTS I am nothing.  I am a pathetic loser of a disciplinarian. 

I cannot let go of this lie magic.  I NEED leverage!  Screw it.  Bring on the whoppers! Right after Christmas, any bad behavior will be met with, “That’s it! The Lincoln's Birthday Fairy won't be bringing you ANYTHING!"

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Mom in the Spotlight: Dance Artist, Anna Azrieli

Photo: Marin Sander-Holzman

Anna Azrieli is a Russian born, NYC bred, dancer/ choreographer/dance artist/yoga teacher. She holds a BFA in Dance from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She has been active in the New York dance and contemporary performance world for fifteen years. She is a founding member of Miguel Gutierrez & the Powerful People, working with the group 2001-2011. She has performed in the work of Wendy Perron, Fred Darsow, Freefall, Erin Cornell, Donna Uchizono, Sam Kim, luciana achugar, Maya Ciarrocchi, and Clarinda Mac Low, among others. She has made collaborative work with Abby Crain & Samuael Topiary, Pascale Wettstein, and Marin Sander-Holzman. Her own work has been presented by Dixon Place, Danspace Project, Catch, Open Source Gallery, Aunts, Ulla’s Salon, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Roulette, Movement Research Festival Spring 2012, and Chez Bushwick. She was a Movement Research Artist in Residence 2010-2012. She is participating in The Kitchen's Dance and Process series in the Spring of 2013. 

How old are your children?

I have one child, aged 6.

Where were you in your career when your children were born?

I had danced with a few choreographers on a freelance basis for 10 years and had been working steadily with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People for 6 years. I had performed with one or another artist at most of the downtown NYC dance venues. With Miguel we were touring nationally and internationally. I’d say I was in the middle of my prime dancing years. I had not started to make my own work yet.

How did you plan to combine working and parenting?  How did the reality turn out?

In retrospect I didn’t have much of a plan, I didn’t know what I was getting into. And that’s pretty much how it turned out. I was completely thrown by the combination of parenting and working. It was difficult for a long time. Art making and parenting are opposites, parenting is responsibility to another, art making is responsibility to yourself.

I started to make my own work as a result of becoming a parent, both from a pragmatic sense where I could make my own schedule, and from an artistic sense where the need arose in me to create from my own perspective and desire. I didn’t have the time, or financial means, to be in others’ work, as I had for my entire career. When you have to pay a babysitter more than you get paid for rehearsal or on tour, its not feasible. Its starting to be more possible again though as my child gets older and has school and activities I don’t need to be present for.

You recently participated in a panel about motherhood and the professional dance world.  How did this come to be?  What were some of the findings?

There have been a few panels on the subject of parenthood and dance in the last few years in New York. I organized one and was on another. There are not many people left standing in the experimental dance and performance scene once they either get older or have kids, its easier for the young and unencumbered to do art for little money. 

When I had a kid I felt like I was in it alone within my subset of the dance scene and so I had an urge to reach out to find and build community. At first I’d go up to dance people whose kids are grown and grill them on their experience. I had a real thirst to know and feel a part of the history of doing dancing and parenting at the same time. I think more and more dance artists are feeling the need for this connection too and so these events and panels are getting organized around the subject.

Findings, hmm - that its hard! No, but ultimately, simply coming together around the subject has a both soothing and energizing effect on all of us I believe. Knowing others that are going through the same experience as you is a deeply human need.

To many, the question of raising children in NYC is answered with a big, fat, red “NO!”  Why is it a yes for you?  

Well, I grew up here, have close family here, made a dance career here, am making a choreographic career here. And we have a kid who is into performance and art just like both parents. We also hit the jackpot and got into a good public school. And I can barely drive! I don’t think I can make it anywhere else!

A parenting issue or event you would write an SNL sketch about?

This would be for one of those fake commercials SNL makes. Picture it, a kid,  around age 3, guests milling about the house, yells, “Ladies and Gentlemen! Announcing Poo Poo!”, and runs to the bathroom, the camera zooms in, the child is on the potty, reading a New Yorker. Yep this all happened, though in two separate incidents.

Your parenting style in 5 words or less.

Affection, Openness, Anxiety

Advice to women wondering how to be dance artist and mommy at the same time?  

You can do it! Its been done before. Talk about it to other dancers. Make some friends who are doing it too. You are an artist and you can create your own version/vision of what it is to be both artist and parent.

Photo: Marin Sander-Holzman

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Holiday Giveaway! Chad Lawson's A Solo Piano Christmas

Dear Readers,

The holidays mean love.
The holidays mean hope.
The holidays mean light.
The holidays mean joy.

The holidays mean family and friends.
The holidays mean living in the moment.
The holidays mean laughter.

We need to breathe, to remember, to renew, and to reconnect.
And we need peace.

And in that spirit, Gina at Full of It and I have something wonderful for you.

Wasn't that lovely?

Chad Lawson’s A Solo Piano Christmas is a perfect Christmas gift, either for yourself, or for a loved one.  It is a beautiful assortment of classic Christmas carols including What Child is This, Joy to the World and The Holly and the Ivy, all rearranged for solo piano. 

The purity and tenderness of the lone piano chords cleanse and soothe the spirit, inviting both escape and reflection.  It is an "end of the night, kids in bed, glass of wine by the fire and breathe" CD.  A Solo Piano Christmas is music for relaxing, for mellowing out and for taking a personal Calgon moment --no bathtub necessary—while rediscovering your favorite Christmas carols.

Chad Lawson was recently featured on Bob Edwards Weekend edition.  His album, The Piano, went to #19 on iTunes Classical.  The Piano as well as his Christmas release are hot sellers on Amazon.  His music has been critically acclaimed as "absolutely stunning for its delicate complexity and emotional depth."

In this giveaway, two readers will each have the opportunity to receive an autographed copy of Chad Lawson’s A Solo Piano Christmas free!  One person will win from Full of It, and one from Mom’s New Stage.  Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to residents of the Continental U.S. only. 

A Solo Piano Christmas is for you, whether you need to lose yourself, or to find yourself. Gina and I are so happy to be able to be able to give you the gift of music this season.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Come to Jesus about Guns

Enough is enough.

We all need to sit down talk about what’s going on with guns and violence in our country.

I understand that the right to keep and bear arms, against an oppressor or tyrant presumably, is a bedrock principle of this nation.

I understand that we are not Japan, or England, or Germany, or France.

Neither I, nor anyone in my social circle, is in favor of guns.  But I like people and I like to talk.  How else can we learn about and appreciate different perspectives? Recently my mother was on a trip. She became fast friends with a husband and wife pair from Arizona.  This couple lived in a rural area on the border, and had had several scary incidents with illegal immigrants on their property.  

I can see the idea of gun ownership in their case -- for protection in the middle of nowhere. I hate, hate, hate to admit this, because I know that in countries where people do not own guns gun violence is rare.  

But for better or worse, I do understand in their case. I know there are friends of mine who are shaking their heads in disbelief.  That is not to say I want a gun in my house or anything to do with one.  I do NOT.

If I can be understanding, if I can see the grey areas, the complexities, can you, gun advocate?  I’d love to talk. Just two people having a come to Jesus.  Here, I’ll start:

  • Do you believe that your individual right to have access to/carry a weapon trumps my child's right to feel safe at school?  Or my right to feel that my family is safe at a mall or other public place?  That it trumps the safety of the whole? 
  • Do you believe that the Founding Fathers would want us to sit idly by if they saw mass shootings happening almost monthly? To say nothing of the inner city violence that is a cancer in cities like Chicago?  
  • Do you find it at all absurd that we live in a country where we protect children from their pajamas, cribs, formula, food, strollers, high chairs, car seats and cribs via constant recalls, but refuse to ban assault rifles?
  • Do you think that having more armed people would solve our safety issue?  If more and more people are armed where does it stop?  What is the endgame?
  • You are proud of being an American, as am I.  But the fact that we have over 10,000 gun related homicides – almost 20 times that of most other G8 nations—is shameful.  Are you okay with this?  Is being so different from other countries a good thing when the stats are so undeniably appallingly negative?  Is there anything we can and should learn from these other countries?
  • You admit that it is the lunatics, the mentally unstable, who are committing these horrific crimes, not law-abiding gun-owning citizens.  But such crimes are happening more often, which means that more mentally unstable people are getting hold of guns somehow.  How do we change this? 
  • Given the increasing frequency of mass shooting committed by mentally ill people, do you think that medical care and treatment should be put forth as an urgent matter of public policy?  How can we figure out which models to follow? 
  • You say that people will still manage to be violent.  And that they still might gain access to guns.  Just look at what happened in Norway last year. It's not that these countries are without violence, just without so much of it.  Shouldn't we at least try something different?
  • Where should we start?

Please. Let’s just talk, okay?  I’m being civil and courteous.  I’m leaving my sarcasm and bitterness and anger outside.  I’d love it if you would do the same.  Maybe you don’t know anyone like me either.  If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer. 

I feel numb and raw today, and you probably do, too.  I have no more tears, just an unease.  I feel less safe and less able to protect my children.  I feel beyond sad and shaken when I imagine the empty beds and places at the dinner table that too many families in Newtown are coping with. 

Of course I know random violence and random freak accidents are always a possibility.  Like most parents, I wake up in a cold sweat envisioning all sorts of crazy catastrophes.

But this nightmare was real.

Let’s make sure no one shoots twenty small children, five and six year olds, souls who saw the light of day in 2006, again in our great country. Let’s honor the families by making sure no one loses a child in that way again.

Let’s resolve to do that.  The status quo isn’t working.  It is an abysmal failure. 

Let’s try to come together as human beings trying to solve a problem.  Let the fiscal cliff be a contentious political issue, but not the safety of our children. 

Saving our children from gun violence should be easy.  It is imperative.  We owe them, we owe each other, so much better than this. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finding the funny - Holiday Edition

Finding the Funny Holiday Edition It's a very special edition of Finding the Funny! Today I'm teaming up with My Life and Kids, Kelley's Break Room and 14 more bloggers to bring you a special Holiday edition of Finding the Funny!

How to Link Up

Link up as many posts as you want - old or new - as long as they're related to the holidays and will make us laugh! Your post will show up here and on 16 other blogs! It's easy to link up!
  • Click on the "Add Your Link" button at the bottom of the page.
  • URL: copy and paste the URL of your blog post (be sure to use the exact post URL).
  • Name: enter the TITLE of your blog post - this is what will appear below your post picture. (Limited to 30 characters)
  • Enter your email address (don't worry - this won't be shared.)
  • Click on NEXT and choose an image that will appear in the link up.
  • Stick around and read the other posts and get ready to laugh!

Meet the Bloggers

All 17 of us will be sharing your posts on our blogs!

Meet the Bloggers

All 17 of us will be sharing your posts on our blogs! My Life and Kids Kelley's Break Room The HillJean: Because My Life is Fascinating The Fordeville Diaries Frugalista Blog Hollow Tree Ventures Honest Mom House TalkN I'm Still Learning Let Me Start By Saying The Mom of the Year Mom's New Stage Motherhood WTF Ninja Mom There's More Where That Came From Random Handprints Toulouse and Tonic

Link up!

Holiday Card Hell!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Momsanity in Four Random Acts

1. Hello and Welcome! 

Maybe you are here because without your daily dose of Mom’s New Stage you’d be curled up speaking gibberish amidst the crumbs underneath your dining room table.  Maybe you’re here because we struck up a mom-based convo at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and I handed you a business card, pulling on the lapels of your coat as I tearfully begged you to read my blog.  Maybe you’re here because of one of my interviews, the "My Dance Mom" series or a link from another site. 

Or maybe, because of my 50s Housewife post on Parent Society you clicked on over, hoping to get a glimpse of the anti-feminist chick who should share a pedestal with that shit-for-brains Todd Akin.

Everyone who knows me knows how utterly, unfathomably ridiculous that is.

I do not share pedestals with anyone!

2.  The Poles of Santa Claus
Last year's visit to Santa at Macy's State Street was the stuff of nightmares.  We waited in line for over 90 minutes with an 18 month old and 3 year old. The queue was in a long and winding hallway, and felt like wasting away in a holiday themed small intestine. We were parked at a meter on Wabash, which meant that right after our picture we were a family dashing out of the building like a family of thieves.

This year's photo taken yesterday, was a dream.  We got free parking at Navy Pier because of our Children's Museum membership.  We waited in line for 15 minutes. Both kids could go potty at one of the bathrooms located within 20 feet.

However, in comparison to last year's jolly old Santa, this Santa seemed staid and insufficiently padded.  He looked like the sort who was sitting on that big pine green velvet chair having an existential crisis, wondering where he had gone wrong to resort to earning money by having hordes of strange small children sit on his lap.

What's it like to be Santa for the holidays?  It's an enormous responsibility to be the embodiment of Christmas magic for so many young children and families.

I'd be a rather bipolar Santa myself.  At one minute trying to hold back tears looking at the joy and innocence in some child's eyes.

And the next, throwing off that hot, fluffy beard and running away screaming.

3.  The Gift of McDonalds
Maybe it's a rejection of my chubby childhood self from when I became a weight-obsessed teen.  Maybe it's from feeling essentially trapped inside a bag of Big Macs and fries one too many times on public transportation.  Perhaps it was the movie Super Size Me, among other exposés.

But I hate, hate, hate McDonalds.  And my husband knows it.

So when Hubsy had Mr. R ask me if we could eat there after meeting Santa, I was gobsmacked and annoyed.

I stood in stony silence.  Make a sacrifice for my son's happiness or take a stand?

When it came time for lunch, Mr. R was overjoyed to go to Mickey D's. It had been our trump card to get him out of the museum.  There was no turning back.

Hubsy asked what Mr. R should eat.

"I don't care, just get him something," I said, sneering up at the menu.

"You aren't making this fun for anyone," Hubsy scolded.

He ordered a grilled chicken and a coke for himself and a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal for the kids.  Mr. R was thrilled and ate every bite.  Picky Lady A ate some fries, her juice box and an apple squeezie I brought.  Oy. She hated the apples and the chicken.  And like the eating-disordered teen I once was, I sat sipping on a Diet Coke.

"Do you like McDonald's now, Mommy?" Mr. R asked, my approval so important to him.

"Yes." Not all a lie. I was happy because he was happy.

I know I have friends and readers who are incredulous that I enabled this lunch, and those who think I'm a snob, or worse, who should get over herself.  But it was a little trifecta of sorts: I gave my family something they all wanted.  I saw that the world wouldn't end because I compromised on something I had strong feelings about...

And since I gave in, who's got major leverage now, baby?

Momsanity was the hit post that was featured on this blog as well as on Bonbon Break and Mamapedia. The Insanity workout?  Honestly. We moms are mad crazy every single day!  

Momsanity is the demanding workout regimen that uses motherhood to give moms their body back – and gives them a f%@#-no-I-don’t-have-stretched-out-abs-and-a-lifestyle-rooted-in eating-cheddar-bunnies-by-the-boxful kind of confidence.

This week Mom’s New Stage has teamed up with writers from several popular blogs to present a killer workout to get you through the holidays.  NinjaMomBlog, The Frugalista Blog, Full of It, Toulouse and Tonic and Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom have put themselves in semi compromising postions ranging from strenuous to incongruous, from bootylicious to ridiculous.

And it is fabulous.

So where is this post?

Holiday Momsanity is all over BonbonBreak this week. Go. If you're like me, the only bonbon break you're getting is by going to visit this amazing site. 

On that note, I hope you are finding some peace and happiness amidst all the bustle and pressure, and that your holiday season is MOMSANELY wonderful!

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Dance Mom: Christopher Perricelli

There has been no one on this planet who has given more to me than this remarkable, incredible, phenomenal woman...referred to by my niece and pup as, "Nonni Barbara!"  She is without a doubt my most precious gift, and if it was not for her loving, caring, and generous heart I would not have been able to pursue this career path.  

It could not have been easy for her to see me gravitate toward the arts, especially after she spent all that money for private school!  While my friends were going off to become lawyers and doctors she was taking me to Wal-Mart looking for tights…in the woman's section (being a male dancer is not a popular hobby among boys - when's the last time YOU saw a dance belt at Target?)

She is an angel, my mom.  With no extra money for anything luxurious, she always made sure I had nice clothes for school and would drive an hour every week, exhausted I am sure, just so I could have the most delicious Italian bread in western New York for sandwiches every week.  

Witnessing my mom's journey from a part-time department store clerk to a full-time sales director of a major grocery brand helped me to see with my own two eyes that hard work and talent can lead to success.  She is an accomplished businesswoman today, but had to forfeit her dreams of being a teacher to be a mom. . . although she has been my most influential teacher.  

She taught me how to squeeze a dollar, clean, cook, and most importantly to love. 

She was the one who picked me up and drove me to rehearsals for the spring musical in high school - my first introduction to the arts.  When I was old enough to have my own wheels she was always there to help me put gas in the car, and made sure I never went hungry on many long days.  She would come to all the shows and concerts she could, and after every performance she would meet me in the lobby afterwards and say how great I was…actually her words were always the same. . ."You were the best."  

She saw Niagara Falls, my hometown, as a limiting space for my sister and me, and encouraged us to study out of town.  Dancewise, I was a late bloomer, so on my breaks from college I would go to NYC.  

Mom made sure I didn't arrive empty-handed. 

Not only would she pay or use her miles to get me there, but there was always extra for food and some more to treat myself.  She made sure to remind me to be a great houseguest for my friends who were already in the Big Apple fighting for their chance at the Broadway pie. I always washed the dishes, stocked the fridge, and left a little something when I left.  Good manners are very difficult to come by this day and age.  I'm glad my momma gave me some class, and practical smarts too, like putting double toilet paper barriers down in public restrooms!

Over the past several years I have taken a break from performing to see more action from the other side of the table.  My mom was there to guide me as I created a dance talent agency, and began marketing myself as a teacher, judge, and choreographer.  She has passed on her grace and sense of humor. She has a natural quality that makes everyone comfortable around her, and at the same time gets the job done with absolute integrity and professionalism.  

Recently, my creative passion has turned to choreographing pixels instead of bodies.  Being my biggest fan, my mom is happy to send my work out to potential clients. And because she has an incredible eye for design, she has great critiques and ideas.  Is she a mom or momager, teacher or mentor? 

If you ask me, there are no limits when love is your religion.

Christopher Perricelli has been teaching all levels of multiple dance disciplines and fitness classes since 1997, and is an accomplished performing artist and choreographer.  He has presented master classes around the world at conventions, universities, and schools for dance, and has assisted in choreographing, staging, and casting various dance-related projects.  He has been sought after by Chicago’s premier dance and fitness centers to create and implement dance and fitness programs for his expertise in jazz, musical theater dance, male dancer, and dance fitness.  Some highlights include: curriculum development for Columbia College Chicago, Joffrey Academy of Dance, Giordano Dance Center and dance fitness formats for Chicago Sports Clubs, Equinox Fitness, Crunch, and Lakeshore Athletic Club. He represented the Midwest to launch Nike Rockstar Workout, “Hip Hop, Latin, and Sol” under direction of Jaimie King (Madonna, Britney Spears). He was principal dancer for Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago under choreographer Mia Michaels (Celine, So You Think You Can Dance).  Mr Perricelli was the dance captain and swing while creating the staging “bible” for National Tour of Footloose, The Musical, and pre-Broadway International tour of West Side Story

Christopher currently produces video, visual effects, and computer graphics, and is collaborating with artists and production companies to elevate the performance experience by combining innovative technology and live

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