The last week of January, I returned to San Francisco for the first time in two years. The main reason for my visit was a GYROTONIC® certification update course, but I had many other things and people to attend to while I was in town. After living in the city for about 4 years, I have a number of friends there that I have slightly neglected since joining ships. It was amazing to have time to reconnect with them!
Upon my arrival at SFO, my friend, Steph, and her adorable baby boy greeted me. Steph and I went to high school together, and she moved to San Francisco one year after me. She and her husband graciously let me stay with them during my trip!
My course, GYROTONIC® Application for Dancers, started the next morning at 10am. Most of the other trainers taking the course were dancers, including two friends/peers from my time in San Francisco, and a Master Trainer that I worked for during my initial training. It was a friendly and talented group of 13, led by an incredible Master Trainer. We covered a lot of useful information in three long days. In that time, I noticed changes in my movement quality, strength, and balance. A footwork series helped me to work out some scar tissue that is still built up in my ankle. By the end of the course, my brain was full, but my body felt restored!
Any time not spent in training was spent catching up with friends. Thursday night, I met a friend from my 2-year training program for wine and dinner at 20 Spot. Neither of us had been there before, but we both enjoyed the ambience, lentil soup, and a German white wine. The following night, I had salmon and a whiskey cocktail at 15 Romolo with another friend that I performed with. Both girls have had major life changes in the time I’ve been away. They’ve gone back to school, started new jobs, and gotten into new relationships. Although they are busy, both are enjoying having more mental stimulation, and seem generally more content. It was really exciting to hear about what they’ve been doing and what they are working towards.
The next evening, I met two other girls from the training program at Sightglass for a late coffee date. Sightglass is a few blocks from the dance studio I used to train at. It has great coffee, and also offers a really unique space. We continued our reunion at Bloodhound, where we had a quick round of drinks and shared lots of laughs. From there, I met my friend/mentor/therapist/cheerleader, Ann, for dinner at her lovely home. Ann and I used to have pretty frequent dinners and museum dates. My trip to San Francisco would’ve been incomplete without visiting her! We had a wonderful conversation over a delicious home-cooked meal, just like old times.
Sunday was reserved for catching up with Steph. We started by taking her sweet little boy to the Golden Gate Dog Show. We were able to watch dogs competing in the 6 rings, as well as walk through the holding areas for the dogs. Owners decorated their dogs’ stalls, and vendors filled in the rest of the hall. I was confused by a vendor advertising, “Dogs like coffee too.” I was disturbed initially, thinking they were selling coffee for dogs, but soon learned it was for dog owners!
In the afternoon, we went to see my former roommate perform with San Francisco Ballet. The program included “Rubies” by George Balanchine, Drink to Only Me With Thine Eyes by Mark Morris, and Fearful Symmetries, a world premiere piece by Liam Scarlett. I have heard a lot about “Rubies”, and have seen many pictures from it in advertising, so I had high expectations. Although the dancers were clean and performed Balanchine’s choreography skillfully, I did not like the choreography. I thought quirky moments were awkwardly tossed in, and the costumes did not match the movement. The Mark Morris piece pleasantly surprised me. There were modern aspects—contractions, parallel legs, and geometric forms— carried with a lightness unique to ballet dancers. The dancers and on-stage pianist seemed to be enjoying themselves. My roommate really shone with beautiful transitions and soaring jumps. Fearful Symmetries was the piece I would have most liked to perform. The movement was contemporary, dark, and sexy. The dancers handled the style well, and performed with great intensity. A few lifts were out of sync, and spacing wasn’t as neat as I would have liked, but I was still impressed. It ended with a pas de duex, which, while beautiful, did not match the rest of the ballet. I’m curious to know why it was tacked on.
After the show, my friends and I stopped for a bite to eat so we could talk, and then Steph and I walked to LuxSF for mani/pedis. The service, complete with mimosas and shoulder massages, was excellent. I was so comfortable and relaxed I didn’t want to leave! We returned to her house for a quick dinner before she left for a work trip. I ended the evening early, after an informative conversation with her husband about whiskey.
The following day I went to brunch with two good friends at Rocco’s. The three of us danced together the last year I lived in the city, and got along very well. It was great to sit down all together and talk about our lives. After brunch, I went to Sightglass again. This time, I met my former roommate so we could talk more one-on-one. I’m so proud of how well he’s doing professionally, and how much he’s grown personally. We met when I was 17 and he was 14, so we’ve seen each other through a lot of changes. We aren’t in very frequent contact, but he’s still a special friend. After saying goodbye to him, I went straight to the airport.
In a word, my time in San Francisco was “amazing”. Learning new things at my course, having fun with old friends, and conversing honestly and openly left me feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually rejuvenated!