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Art

Recently, I wrote about how I was inspired by Garance Doré’s post on the New York City Ballet.

Last week I checked out IALS (Istituto Addestramento Lavoratori dello Spettacolo) aka the Fame school in Rome. It was a straight-up disaster.

I had signed up for a Beginner’s class.  There were three other women in my class who looked like ballerinas.  The teacher, an older gentleman from Eastern Europe, quickly shouted out some choreography.  I was overwhelmed within sixty seconds.

I thought I was doing this:

 

But it was more like this:

Not a good look.

The teacher stated, “You’ve never done ballet before.”   No, that is why I’m taking a Beginner’s class!  The other women had excellent turnouts. It was obvious they had experience. There are three different levels for Beginner’s and I was in the first one.  What the heck was going on?

During one routine, we had to put our legs on the barre.  I’m short and my leg could barely reach it.  The only time the teacher walked over to me was when I was struggling to reach the barre.  He pushed my torso closer to it and I thought my body would split in two.

When the three ladies started pirouetting across the floor, I had to pull over to the side.

I felt very discouraged after the ninety minute class was over. Clearly, I was too short and too old to take ballet lessons. I walked home (of course it started to rain) in a funk.

I spoke to my friend Courtney who studied ballet as a child and to this day still does the warm-up exercises she learned.  She told me not to give up and to try another teacher’s class.

I already had a monthly pass, so why not?  I did and it was a revelation.

The teacher, a svelte Italian man who could probably lift three times his body weight, introduced himself and asked me if I understood Italian. There were ten of us in the class and it was co-ed.  He showed us the choreography, calling out the different positions while drawing our attention to his hand movements.  As we danced, he would correct our form.

He had two assistants and they also demonstrated the moves.  If a sequence was too difficult for some of us in the class, he told us to watch the assistants, the more advanced dancers, and to do our best, “tranquilla!”

During my first lesson, I felt clumsy.  In his class, I felt graceful.  I appreciated how he would walk over and show us where our hands, feet, and/or head should be.  When we executed a move well, or corrected mistakes on our own, he would say, “bravo/brava!”

At one point, while he was changing our music, I could hear the music from the Advanced class in the studio across the hall.  It was “Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in D Minor”by Johann Sebastian Bach.

This is one of my favorite pieces of music. I was so moved, I had to choke back tears.

Once the class ended, we thanked Il maestro and his assistants.  The ninety minutes had flown by.  The next group of dancers and their teacher rushed in as we put on our street clothes in the hallway.

I know my turnout will improve and it’s okay that I didn’t start lessons when I was four. I’m starting ballet now and I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always loved ballet but have never taken a class.  I thought I was too short. The only dance class I’ve taken was modern dance in college.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about signing up for classes.  So what if I’m only 5.2″?  I have several friends who are taking adult ballet classes and they rave about them.

I play tennis and have played sports all my life.  I need to mix things up a bit, especially as I get older.  I’ve tried yoga and ripped a tendon in my wrist probably because I was incapable of focusing on the task at hand. It was a very painful injury.  During yoga classes my mind was always racing, thinking about all the things I had to to do.  I could never relax.  I had the same issues when I tried Pilates.

Perhaps ballet is the way to go.  It combines athleticism with art, balance, agility, endurance, and mental focus.  We’ll see what happens.

When I woke up this morning and saw Garance’s latest post, I had to send it to my ballet-loving friends immediately.  The Studio was invited to visit the New York City Ballet as they prepared for the opening night of their winter season.

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These intimate photos are so beautiful and inspiring.  To see more, click on to Garance’s blog HERE.

Buon weekend!

The one-two punch of the SONY hack from a few weeks ago and the terrorist attack in Paris on Wednesday, is a clear reminder that the right to express oneself is very important in a modern society.  This is a bigger issue than a comedy or a cartoon.

Without freedom of expression, democracy cannot exist.

Last night, on my way home, I walked through Piazza Farnese where the French Embassy is located in Rome.   I have been in this building several times, mostly to vote.  I saw many employees, neighbors, and French expatriates gathered in the square holding candles.  The entire square was packed.  It was somber but moving.

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Buon weekend a tutti.

There has been great deal of press about the new Design Director of Tiffany & Co., Francesca Amfitheatrof.  She is the first woman to have this position at the storied American jewelry company.  The job had been vacant for five years. Ms. Amfitheatrof had some big shoes to fill.

Ms. Amfitheatrof, who trained with a master silversmith in Padua after college, has created pieces for Chanel, Alessi, and Fendi.  She was born in Japan to an Italian mother and a Russian-American father, who was a TIME bureau chief, and grew up in New York, Rome, London, and Moscow.

I love her new collection for Tiffany.  This bracelet is so simple and so chic.

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18 karat rose gold bracelet

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Narrow Wire 18 karat white gold bracelet

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18 Karat gold braclet

I have read some comments claiming that this collection is not all that.  It’s TOO simple, “Hello it’s just a T. My kid could do that.”   I cringe when I hear people make those kind of statements about any kind of creative endeavor.

The simpler something is, the easier it is to mess it up.  Look at Cacio e Pepe, not many ingredients but a difficult dish to execute well.  There are no bells and whistles to hide imperfections.  Every single ingredient has to be of excellent quality.

It’s is the same thing with these bracelets (yes, I just compared high-end jewelry to a simple Roman pasta dish).

You can wear these bracelet with many different styles of clothing.  I think they are destined to become classics like some of Elsa Peretti’s pieces.   The Tiffany T bracelet is the very definition of Stylish Simplicity.

Photos: Tiffany

Why do I miss Sicily?   There are Sicilian restaurants in Rome.

Perhaps this is only an infatuation.  My first trip to Sicily was just last year, which I wrote about in FATHOM.  Maybe the island will lose its hold on me after a few more trips, or years.  We’ll see.

Like the cuisine, the art and architecture of Sicily has been influenced by the diverse cultures of its various rulers.

Every day I stopped by to see the Burial of Santa Lucia, painted by Caravaggio in 1608, located in the Santa Lucia alla Badia church. There is something very special about seeing art in the context that it was created for.

In the early 2000’s many architects and interior designers started to buy and renovate houses in the area.  I kept getting lost in little courtyards and side streets.  There was inspiration all around me and design elements that gave me some ideas for my Caribbean beach house project.

Below are a few of my favorite things:

How pretty is this packaging? I received a gift from this store on my birthday.  Erica’s daughter picked it out.  That five year-old has excellent taste.

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Photo: ortigiasicily.com

As someone who was raised Methodist, I’m still thrown by some of the more intense art in Catholic churches.  My childhood church had stained glass with images of things like Jesus chilling with some shepherds.

Here is the patron saint of Siracusa, Santa Lucia.

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Clever use of a satellite dish.

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Spiderman on the side of the Municipal Building representing the heroic spirit of the people. I’m trying to find out who the artist is and when the work was installed.

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Cool planter outside a house that faces the sea.

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Rome-based artist UNO and his latest installation.

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Also from Rome, Alice Pasquini.  Erica and I went to see her and UNO work on their murals. This is a school in Siracusa.

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The new and the old.

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I saw these fishing baskets all over my neighborhood.

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Love the door.

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And this gate.

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This alley showing a sliver of the sea was up the street.

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I’m thinking about my next trip. Maybe I should go to Palermo or Cefalù, or both.

Photos, unless noted otherwise, are by me and my iPhone.

There’s a very vibrant street art scene in Rome, which surprises quite a few people.  One of best areas to see some of this art, is the San Lorenzo district.

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Photo: Alice Pasquini

San Lorenzo is home to La Sapienza, one of the largest universities in the world and the biggest in Europe.

This area of Rome was also the most heavily bombed during WW II.   Most of the buildings were destroyed and you can still see some of the damage today.  As with many neighborhoods located near large universities, there’s a large population of artists and other creative types mixed in with older residents.

If you’re in Rome this Sunday, there is a Street Art Instameetup in San Lorenzo starting at 5:00 p.m.

Join the organizers Erica Firpo @moscerina, Jessica Stewart @romephotoblog, Darius Arya @saverome, and Matteo @mattego as they roam in Rome.

If you cannot be with us in person, you can follow via Instagram.

Buon weekend a tutti!

I chuckle when I read articles telling tourists they can see Rome in a day.

I have lived here for six years and visited regularly for three years prior and I still haven’t seen everything this city has to offer.

One of the places on my list was the Galleria Doria Pamphilj .      Note:  Sometimes the name is spelled with a “i”.

I have been to the café several times but never to the museum.  Last week I finally went.

Bellissimo.  It’s the largest palazzo in Rome that is still owned by the family.  There are free audio guides (subject to availability).  Prince Jonathan Pamphilj’s narration is fantastic.  He really makes the rooms come alive and it’s very interesting to hear his stories about growing up in the palazzo.  Jonathan and his family live in one of the apartments on the upper level of the palazzo, as does his sister Gesine and her family.

There are over 550 works of art.   The Doria Pamphilj family has one of the biggest private art collections in Rome.   Fortunately for art lovers, the collection is opened to the public.

For me the highlights were the Caravaggios, the ballroom, and the Velázquez.

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Photos: Doria Pamphilj

DETAILS

Open every day from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Last entry 6.00 p.m.
Closed: 25th December, 1st January, Easter.
We inform our visitors that the Palazzo Doria Pamphili is open to the public November 1st, April 25th, May 1st.

TICKETS

Full price: €11,00 (audio guide included – subject to availability)
Concessions or Groups, children and young adults between 6 and 26 years old: €7.50
Schools/ University: 5,00 €
Concessions for school groups with prior reservation by fax or e-mail : info@dopart.it ; biglietteria@dopart.it
All cards are accepted except Am.Ex & Diners

CONTACTS

Entrance: Via del Corso, 305 – Rome
Tel: +39 06 / 6797323
Fax: +39 06 / 6780939
E-mail: info@dopart.it
Website: http://www.dopart.it

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