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Lauren Lovette Is Flying High, And She’s Not Afraid Of Falling

WASHINGTON ― Lauren Lovette has taken thousands of ballet classes in her life. The New York City Ballet principal dancer, 25, started ballet at age 10, and has for years started almost every day with the same routine: plié, tendu, port de bras. Left hand on the bar, then right. At this point, the days on which she’s gone to ballet class vastly outnumber the ones on which she hasn’t. But today, she’s teaching ballet class, something she’s only done a couple of times in her life, and she’s nervous.

So are the kids waiting outside the studio. Out in the lobby of The Washington School of Ballet, some 30 girls aged 8, 9 and 10 in leotards and pink tights (and one boy in a white t-shirt and black tights) are stretching and jumping and spritzing last-minute hairspray on their sleek high buns. They were nervous last night, too, at the meet-and-greet that followed Lovette’s performance at The Kennedy Center on June 10. After watching Lovette sparkle and spin to the strains of George Gershwin’sRhapsody in Blue,” a dozen baby ballerinas stood with their parents under the giant bronze head of former President John F. Kennedy, waiting for Lovette to materialize from backstage. “I hope I don’t say something stupid in front of her,” one girl fretted to her mother, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. “What if I say something stupid?”

The young dancers in the lobby don’t know, and probably wouldn’t care, that Lovette has barely taught ballet before; they’re here to spend a few hours learning from — and hopefully impressing — their idol. Lovette doesn’t hesitate to tell them the truth, though. After they’ve all taken their places at the barres that line and dissect the large, bright studio, as they’re all looking at her expectantly, anxiously, she says, “I haven’t really done this before. So it could go really wrong. But I think it’s going to be OK.”

And so it is. The class proceeds without incident. For 90 minutes, she puts the ballet students through their paces, correcting their arm placement (“No chicken arms,” she warns, when outstretched elbows begin to droop) and urging them to remember that even their standard, repetitive daily exercises are, in fact, dancing, and should be performed, not simply completed.

At one point, she’s talking the students through the port de bras arm-stretching exercise she’s set for them; it’s a languorous, luxurious reach toward the barre, and then away from it. The second part requires taking their supporting hand off the barre and floating it over their heads, bending sideways at the waist as far as they can. “Don’t be afraid to fall over,” Lovette says, stretching her head far past the midline of her body. “What’s the worst that can happen, you fall on the floor?”

The girls around her giggle, but Lovette is serious. As it turns out, her little pre-class warning is something of a motto for her. “It could go really wrong, but I think it’s going to be OK” is the kind of thing you could see her stitching onto a throw pillow. (She loves crafting, she tells the students in a post-class Q&A session.) The same goes for what she tells the students about the port de bras, a phrase she’ll repeat several times throughout the class: “Be brave.”

Jessica Wallis, the executive director of Ballet in the City, which organized the weekend of masterclasses, said she wanted to work with Lovette because she is a positive role model for young dancers. Wallis particularly admires how Lovette uses social media ― one major way in which dancers across the country get to “know” their favorite ballet stars. “Dancers feel compelled to put themselves out there and a lot of it is all about me and how great I am,” Wallis told HuffPost. “Every day it’s another image of them with an arabesque and whatever. But when Lauren shares herself on social media it’s very much her thoughts about her self as a dancer, as a person, as member of society, and that translates on stage and in her teaching.” 

Lovette grew up 40 miles outside of Los Angeles, the daughter of a conservative Christian pastor; she and her three siblings were all home-schooled. One day, when she was 10, Lovette was visiting the dance-wear store owned by her aunt when the owner of a local dance school saw her playing around among the leotards and wrap skirts. Kim Maselli, the Artistic Director of the nearby California Dance Theatre, noticed Lovette’s feet, and suspected the young girl might have the right body, or at least the right feet, for ballet. She offered Lovette a week of classes for free. Then a month, then a year, and on it went, until Lovette was 14 years old and moving away to Manhattan to board and take intensive classes at the School of American Ballet, the feeder school for New York City Ballet.

“It was a gift,” Lovette says of Maselli’s offer. “I owe her a lot.”

For Lovette, who was a shy and self-conscious child, the prospect of performing in tights and a leotard, of being lifted in the air, of failing in front of people, was daunting. Her family was tightknit and nurturing, and she was encouraged to play outside and use her imagination ― a necessity in a family with little money that largely shunned television ― but Lovette was an anxious kid. “I was afraid of the water, I was afraid of heights, I was afraid of any game I didn’t know how to play, afraid I would be bad at it,” she recalls.

She’d skip pool parties, because she was afraid of swimming. She’d miss out on sleepovers because she was afraid of being around so many kids. “Taking my first ballet class was the first really brave thing I did. I didn’t know what I was doing and everybody else did, and I felt very overwhelmed,” Lovette recalls.

But she felt a desire to push through it, because she knew that her teachers saw potential. When she was one of the few people in the nation selected for the School of American Ballet, she was terrified. “I was going to move away from my family, I never went to school in my life, and now I was going to live in New York City with all these other kids and go to a boarding school?” It was, she says, “this really big moment when I knew I had to brave.”

Lovette says she gets her outlook on life — the imperative to seize opportunities, to better herself continuously — from her father, who was an avid reader of self-help books when she was a child. “He’d read them to us, and I started reading books like that around 14, and one of the things I read was that you should do something scary every day.”

The tone of her Instagram feed, which Wallis praised, has noticeable “self-help” feel. A post this month about deciding to start running again reads, “Sometimes you don’t feel like it… Sometimes you are sore, tired, uninspired, or any number of different excuses. The only way to silence that negative pattern is to look your mountain square on and shout the time is now! Then start climbing.” It’s accompanied by a photo of a grinning Lovette in a black bra and panties and pink pointe shoes, hair down and flying around her as she leaps in the air.

When Lovette left home to study ballet full-time, she made a personal rule for herself: whenever there was a sign-up sheet, no matter what it was for, no matter if she thought she stood a chance of being picked, she’d put her name on it. “Even if you didn’t know if you could do it, just go for it, and kind of leave it up to the universe,” she says. “So I forced myself to sign up for things.”

That was how she ended up emceeing a school fashion show, even though she was scared of public speaking. And it’s how she ended up choreographing for the first time.

In the post-class Q&A, she tells the class that she’d never really intended to choreograph; she’d just followed the rule and put her name on a sign-up sheet once, as a student at the School of American Ballet. To her surprise, she was chosen to make a piece for her classmates.

Certain she was going to fail, she went to the school principal and explained that she wanted to bow out. But the principal told her that she’d made a commitment, and she had to follow through on it. She had to pick her dancers last, and was left with a group of people she didn’t think she could work with.

“I had this random group of dancers of all different heights,” she recalls, but they ended up having fun together. Now, she’s once again choreographing on her peers, but her peers aren’t students anymore: they’re dancers in one of the highest profile ballet companies on the planet.

The dearth of women choreographers in ballet is a longstanding problem, and ballet companies’ failure to solve it has drawn complaints in recent years.

In the 2016 spring season, in major companies in the US and around the world, works by women were a tiny fraction of the dances permitted on stage. But when people in the ballet world argue that the overrepresentation of men is waning, they often point to New York City Ballet’s 2016 fall season, which featured works by two women choreographers. Lovette was one of them; her first ballet “For Clara,” made on City Ballet dancers, premiered at Lincoln Center. The New York Times dance critic was unimpressed, calling the staging “cluttered,” the partnering “sexist,” the music unsuitable for dancing and concluding that Lovette’s work “showed talent without looking ready for presentation by one of the world’s foremost companies.” Still, she’ll premiere her second ballet at the company’s high-profile fall gala later this year.

The stakes are high when Lovette choreographs. There are lots of eyes on her, and she’s been unwillingly turned into something of a poster child, or at least, one of the few data points in the case that things really are getting better. “It’s a lot of pressure,” she says. Making “For Clara” was especially hard, because she hadn’t choreographed since her school days.

“Not only did I have to choreograph after not practicing for six years, I had to make it on the big stage, with lights and costumes and everything, stuff that I hadn’t been practicing,” Lovette explains.

The critics were watching, and so was the Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, who decides which ballets the company performs. “I tried to ignore it as much as I could and just get the job done, but now looking at it I feel like it is a lot of pressure,” she says. Lovette’s cheered, though, to see more young women expressing interest in choreographing. “It’s hard, and it shouldn’t be that way. I don’t think it’s going to be like that forever.”

A post shared by Lauren Lovette (@laurenlovette) on

Wendy Whelan, who danced for City Ballet for 30 years, and whom Lovette names as a role model, has concerns about women like Lovette being thrown into the glaring spotlight with relatively little choreographic experience.

“Of course it’s wonderful to develop young female choreographers,” Whelan told HuffPost. “But I don’t know if they’re necessarily ready for making something for New York City Ballet.”

Whelan places the responsibility of fixing the gender imbalance in programming at the feet of artistic directors (Martins has indeed been a longtime supporter of Lovette’s choreographic efforts), and says that the choice to bypass more seasoned choreographers could be to the detriment of the company and the choreographers themselves ― the older ones and the newer ones. “They’re awfully young,” Whelan says of some of the women being granted a chance at ballet immortality, “and less experienced than the ones who are out there. So that’s my question: Why aren’t you bringing in ones who’ve had lots of experience already? Rather than somebody who’s making their first ballet?”

Lovette acknowledges that not all her ballets will be successful, just as not all her performances are flawless. One of the things she’s been practicing since her early teen years is “casting the line out, before you’re really ready to fish.” And sometimes, it doesn’t work out. She told the class about how, once, she fell onstage while she was dancing the role of the Sugarplum Fairy in the company’s flagship production, “The Nutcracker.” The Lincoln Center house was full; a dozen little girls in angel costumes were gathered around her, and she ate it, tearing a ligament. “But at least I went for it,” she says, as the students laugh at the image of their suddenly humanized heroine splatting onto the stage. As for choreographing, “I know I’ll fail at that too, if I keep going. You’re going to lose some fish on the line.”

She still gets scared performing, she admits. “That hasn’t gone away. And I still have shows where that gets the best of me.” Stepping into the role of Aurora, the technically gruelling lead in “Sleeping Beauty,” was frightening, and upsetting. “I remember being in tears after my first dress rehearsal,” Lovette recalls. “And really broken up about my first show [of “Sleeping Beauty”], because I watched the tape of it and I thought it was so terrible.”

Lovette finds roles that involve plenty of acting to be the most freeing, because being someone else helps with the fear. “Lauren is afraid of heights, but Juliet isn’t,” she told the class in Washington, D.C. Lauren might balk at the big lifts in the balcony scene pas de deux, but Juliet throws herself into them.

For a former anxious kid who’s now an anxious adult, flawlessness isn’t always the point: trying is. In an artform that prizes perfection, Lovette tries to remember that the victory can be in the attempt. “I feel good when I put myself out there and I make the attempt,” she says. “Because when you’re somebody who’s filled with a lot of fear and anxiety, even putting your neck out there is a success. If I turn down an opportunity because I’m afraid, that feels like more of a failure than getting a bad review or falling on stage.” 

Back in the studio in D.C., Lovette tells the students that choreographing requires courage. It can be a little “unusual and uncomfortable,” not being told what the steps are ― especially for ballet dancers, who are used to following instructions to the letter. It was odd “to not be told what to do, like, uh, what do I do with my arms?” In the second half of the class, she runs some choreography exercises with the students, encouraging them to make up their own steps and instructing them teach the moves to each other. “I want you to do what the music makes you feel,” she says, “even if that’s ballet, steps you know.”

When she turns the music on, switching from one song to another after 30 or so seconds, a lot of the girls play it safe, repeating phrases of dances they clearly already know. “This is not being graded,” Lovette reminds them. “I want you guys to practice being brave.”

It’s something she’s been practicing since she took Maselli up on the offer of a free ballet class at age 11, but she admits that her bravery is still very much a work in progress. “I don’t know if you ever really know when you get brave,” she explains. And while she’s still afraid of heights, and still nervous about teaching a ballet class, she’s no longer afraid of falling in class, or on stage. “I get over falling very easily now,” she says. “I’m like, that’s OK: I went for it.”

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This Real Housewives of New York City Trailer Has Everything: Luann Falling, Incoherent Dorinda, No Nonsense Bethenny & More

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Priyanka Chopra Rushed To Hospital After Falling On ‘Quantico’ Set

Priyanka Chopra was hospitalized after experiencing a minor injury on the set of her hit ABC show “Quantico” late Thursday night. The actress reportedly slipped and fell on her head while performing a stunt, and suffered a concussion, according to TMZ

“We can confirm that there was a minor incident on the New York set of ‘Quantico’ last night,” a representative for the actress told ABC News. “It would be premature to comment further until we have all the information.”

Chopra was immediately rushed to the emergency room following the accident and examined by doctors who discharged her a few hours later. 

The actress is now at home “resting comfortably” and will resume shooting the action drama over the weekend. Production, however, will not be shut down, according to Variety, as the cast and crew will proceed without Chopra for the time being.

Chopra was noticeably absent from a press event for the show with showrunner Joshua Safran and the main ensemble cast in New York City on Friday, where reporters were informed that she was at home on doctor’s orders.  

“Quantico” returns on ABC Jan. 23 at 10 p.m.

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Britney Spears Is Falling in Puppy Love With Rumored Beau Sam Asghari! See Their Newest Pic Together

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In the Path of Falling Objects

In the Path of Falling Objects


In 1970, after their older brother is shipped off to Vietnam, Jonah and his younger brother Simon leave home to find their father, who is being released from prison, but soon find themselves hitching a ride with a violent killer.

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My First Time Sleeping — And Falling In Love — With Another Woman

Sometimes, the path to falling in love takes a beautiful, wholly unexpected turn.

In the Glamour magazine video above, a woman named Lindsey discusses how she slowly fell in love with another woman, even though she never expected to be in a same-sex relationship

As Lindsey explains it, her game plan as an 18-year-old new college student was simple: Hook up with boys ― lots of them. The one thing she hadn’t planned for? Falling in love with her “chipper,” almost annoyingly nice roommate, a girl also named Lindsay. 

“[We started] hooking up in secret, still totally convinced that we were both straight: we were just best friends, this is totally just what best friends did,” Lindsey says she told herself. “But long story short: We’re still roommates and best friends today ― we’re also in a relationship.”

Hear how the story unfolds in the video above.

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Apple reports falling sales

Apple reported a 13% drop in its second quarter revenue on Tuesday as sales of iPhones slipped.
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‘Fool for Love’: Falling Short

A tumultuous relationship sits before us in Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love. From the outset, you don’t know what’s in store for May (Nina Arianda) and Eddie (Sam Rockwell), who seem to love each other at times, but want to wring each other’s necks at other times. In many plays, this kind of tension and uncertainty can lead to a strong resolution. But this go-around, there’s explosiveness without the substance to justify it or reconsider at a greater length.

The lead actors do their parts, and director Daniel Aukin jams as much as he can into the 75-minute play. The script is the main problem — so many ups and downs, backs and forths, without a path forward.

Inside a sleazy motel room in the Mojave Desert, the stage is set with the heat turned way up. Intrigue and curiosity sits beside them on the stage, in the form of an old man, played by Gordon Joseph Weiss. He has several asides with the two lead characters. As more information and background details become available, the narrative is intended to lead to opinions changing and the focus moving. However, by the time these developments emerge, the audience will feel so restless they might no longer possess the capacity to change their feelings. A certain numbness sets in midway through the show once you accept that we’ll never see the outside of this cramped hotel room.

Some of the themes of the play stand out as striking and controversial. However, at that point, unfortunately, you can’t go back.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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When You’re Falling, Dive: Using Your Pain to Transform Your Life

When You’re Falling, Dive: Using Your Pain to Transform Your Life


Used – Do survivors of life’s greatest trials possess a secret knowledge? Why do some people blossom through adversity while others fall apart? What mysterious power gets us back on our feet after we’ve been knocked down? The answer: viriditas, the power of drawing passion, beauty and wisdom from the unlikeliest places. “In When You’re Falling Dive”, Mark Matousek examines this remarkable phenomenon. Seeking advice from philosophical experts such as Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Soyal Rinpoc

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Get Your Sh*# Together When Everything Is Falling Apart


“He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day… needs to reorganize his life.” ― George M. Adams


The other morning was a hilarious train wreck. I started my day with deliberate calm by getting myself completely up and in my workout clothes, applying a little makeup, and spending a good 40-minutes in meditation and prayer. It was going to be a day of flow and ease!

But then my four-year-old, Elena, threw a fit because she wanted her hair to look like Queen Elsa when she is at her coronation, not like Elsa in her ice castle. My girls started fighting about their respective hair-dos and other “important” issues from the movie Frozen, and my blood pressure started rising. To top that dramatic scene off, my little guy had then a stinky diaper to change. Suddenly the clock said 8:12 and my eldest starts school at 8:15. I started yelling, “Get your shoes on! Get in the car!” My mood was quickly shifting from a calm and peaceful to a wild and stormy.

We got in the car and my phone said it was 8:32. What the heck? There was no way it had taken over 15 minutes to get from the house to the garage. Turns out my stove clock had somehow been changed and my second-grader was late for school.

By the time I got one child to elementary school and the other to preschool across town, there wasn’t enough time to head to the gym before my meeting at 10:00 a.m. Resigned, I dropped my son off with my nanny and headed to work in my gym clothes to get myself prepped for my 10 o’ clock meeting. I hadn’t confirmed my 10 o’ clock so she didn’t know we were having it. But I had it in my calendar! Seriously?!

After a few deep breaths and restraining the desire to throw something across the room, I shed a few tears and reprimanded myself, “Why can’t I get my sh*t together?!”

I got myself a fresh cup of coffee and went to grab my mail. Much to my surprise, there was a most stunning gift from one of my clients who has become a dear friend. I had to implement my own teachings on mood shifting. I lit candles, played some beautiful soothing music, and reached out to a close friend. Then…I was feeling empowered and ready to rock my business.

Ever have a day like this? You mustn’t feel alone because we all have. For me, there’s a sense of camaraderie in knowing I’m not alone that I am so grateful for. I keep re-learning that the important thing to do in these moments of uncontrollable insanity is try everything in my power to turn the tide of frustration and regain control.

I’ve listed 6 tips for avoiding or rebounding from days like this (and always want to know what works for you!):

1) Review your calendar at night or early in the morning so you have a clear idea of what your day entails. Schedule in 20 minutes before meetings so you can deliberately focus on being prepared and in the right mindset. I like to block out five minutes for meditating and another five for catching up on notes from our last meeting.

2) Do everything in your power to make your mornings flow and start your day right. Prepare your kids clothes the night before and wake up early enough to have yourself ready before everyone else. You will start your day rocking! I like to play fun music in the kitchen to get everyone in a good mood (obviously didn’t work this morning but it usually does!)

3) Sleep! The crazy kinds of days are much more frequent when you’re exhausted. We had a few friends over for dinner last night and my kids were up a little later than usual, hence the morning meltdowns. I am more prone to meltdowns when I’m tired too. Aren’t you?

4) Lean on your friends. After my debacle this morning, I called my dear friend to vent. It felt like confession, just getting off my chest how ridiculous my morning had gone. She helped me see the situation as funny, shared a similar morning from her experiences, and we laughed together. Talk about the ultimate mood shifter! That, combined with the stunning surprise gift that arrived, made me incredibly grateful for my amazing friends and family who give me the strength to rebound after the tough moments.

5) Organize your life. Everything will flow better when our lives are organized. At work, keep your emails, files, and notes in order and under control. Research how the businesswomen you admire keep their businesses organized, and try out their tactics. I keep trying various techniques and technologies, but I’ve got a system down (another blog coming on that!). The same goes for my home. The only way I can manage my burgeoning business as a single mom is to keep every aspect of my life as orderly as possible. Do what you can, and remember that each day is a chance to start over.

6) Pull yourself together aesthetically. Sounds silly, but it’s true. The days when I look disheveled, I experience more internal chaos. The more I feel sharp and put together, the more I am able to become am effective businesswoman and powerful, happy mama. Some days it’s as simple as lipstick! Other days require a shower, hair fixing, AND lipstick.

Sometimes we just have days that are more challenging – especially when kids are involved – and we simply need to go with the flow, doing everything in our power to keep calm and in a cheerful mood.

How do you keep your life “put together” and organized? Please share your tips with me and other readers. We’re all in this together!
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Vines Of Runway Models Falling Might Make Your Day (VIDEO)

It’s pretty rare to catch a model who isn’t putting their best foot forward, but every now and then it happens.

Despite their usually flawlessness, these professionals make mistakes too — and occasionally, it’s caught on tape.

Thanks to Cosmopolitan, who put together this compilation of vines, we get to relive some of the best runway fails of all-time.

Whether it’s girls literally falling through floors or models slipping out of their heels, this video makes it clear that walking the runway might just be harder than it looks.

More models falling:

Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostStyle.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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