I took my first dance class 25 years ago, and have been dancing professionally for 9 years. In that time, I’ve been very lucky. I suffered some aches and pains and had a couple bizarre health issues, but I never … Continue reading
My birthday this year fell in the middle of a marathon week of celebrations. We had 4 cast birthdays in 8 days! The night before my birthday, we performed our fairy tale themed show. The audiences were great, so I … Continue reading
The week before my birthday was very special. For the first time, both my parents were able to visit me! Sunday morning, I woke up early to get coffee and talk with my man before meeting Mom and Dad at … Continue reading
When we joined the ship, we hit the ground running… or should I say, we hit the water swimming! We were expected to open one show a week for 3 weeks, in addition to fulfilling other requirements onboard. The other … Continue reading
I’ve now completed my first cruise on the Adventure of the Seas. We’ve been working in the theater every day since we got onboard. During the cruise, we opened two of our three shows.
The ballroom show opened on day 6 of the cruise. Despite some technical malfunctions, the shows went well! A lot of fellow crewmembers came to support us, and the feedback was really positive. We’ll be performing it again the day after tomorrow!
Our rock themed show opened last night, the final night of the cruise. One of the dancers was confined to his cabin due to illness, so we had to re-block the show in the morning. Some of our spacing changed, and people were taken out of some numbers to balance the stage. After 5 straight days of rehearsing the original blocking, we had to work extra hard to make those changes. By the end of the second show, I was mentally and physically drained. Even so, I was pleased with our performances!
Tonight we have our first tech run of the third production show. We are scheduled to open it halfway through this cruise. We had a costume fitting a few days ago, and now that I’ve seen the costumes, I’m even more excited to get this show on the stage!
So far, I’m enjoying this ship! The crew is so nice, and what I’ve seen of the ports is lovely. I’m looking forward to having more time to explore in port this cruise.
Here are a few highlights from the past few months on board!
Emerald City Party
A Wizard of Oz and/or green themed birthday party for a fellow dancer.
Cast dinner in the Dining Room… a lovely treat organized by the Cruise Director.
Back to School Party
All crew party hosted by Facilities. Complete with beer pong and dance contests!
Free wine and cheese. Need I say more?
Modeling thousands of dollars worth of jewels? Fine by me!
Learn to make cocktails and drink them for free. Yes!
Celebrating Chinese National Day. With so many Chinese crewmembers, this was quite the party!
Another cast birthday celebration. Welcome to the Jungle!
Crew bingo night. Competition is fierce!
Cruise Division hosted an all crew party. Costume contest, dancing, and free drinks. It was frighteningly fun!
I’m looking forward to more fun in the next couple months!
I apologize again for my absence the past few weeks. We’ve been stopping in new ports on our way down to Australia, so finding wifi hasn’t been my priority! Since my last post, I’ve gone back to Nagasaki, spent a lovely day in Hong Kong, took a tour in Saigon, rod elephants in Pattaya, went shopping and to a bar in Singapore, and fed crocodiles in Darwin! I’ve also been enjoying various parties and events on the ship. More details about all of these adventures will come soon!
Today, I wanted to give you a glimpse of one of my production shows. I have a few photographer friends who have taken some wonderful photos for us. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
Be sure to check back soon!
On August 25th, I hit a different kind of landmark… a landmark on the road of life. I have now lived for a quarter of a century. I was a little stressed out in the days (actually, months) leading up to my birthday, because I started thinking about how drastically different my life actually is compared to what I thought it would be. As a child, I imagined that I would go to college, get married shortly after graduating, have babies around 26, and live out my days in marital bliss. Instead, I deferred college, joined a ballet company, moved to San Francisco alone, and am now on a ship. While I’ve had significant relationships, I’m nowhere near walking down the aisle. I started fretting about how quickly time passes, and how much more I want to do while I’m still young.
When the clock struck 12 on the eve of my birth, I was skating on the ice rink on board. I don’t remember the last time I went ice-skating, and I had certainly never skated in the middle of the ocean! I am shockingly clumsy for a dancer, and while I felt like Bambi on ice, I managed to stay on my feet the whole night! I was so proud!
The morning of the 25th I had a tech run, then promptly got off the ship. We were ported in Jeju, South Korea. I went with some friends to a café, where I enjoyed another cinnamon mocha and was able to Skype with my family and a few friends. After that, some cast mates and I wandered to find lunch. While we were searching, we came across a carnival, and ended up going to ride the Viking Ship. I laughed so hard I cried as we rocked back and forth on the ship, just the 3 of us. We then found a delicious Korean barbecue joint, ate ice cream cones, and got back on board in time to nap.
That evening, we performed Music in Pictures. I loved having the chance to be on stage on my special day. Since our show times fall in the middle of dinner, we always get food in the theater after our performances. My cast surprised me with a delicious chocolate cake along with our show food, and also gave me some really nice gifts. I got a hand-drawn “Ginger Ninja” card, a stuffed koala bear, and a bottle of bourbon. They know me so well! I also got 2 bars of dark chocolate from my roommate, and a box of Ferrero Roche chocolates from one of the singers. Yum!
I ended the night with a drink with friends in the staff bar. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my beverage of choice had finally been restocked! The timing could not have been better.
The next day, I was able to sleep in, and after 2 Farewell performances and a parade, got dressed up for my party! One of my cast-mates was celebrating his half birthday on the 24th, so the 2 of us had a joint celebration. We had a white party, complete with black lights loaned to us by one of the light techs. Our clothes glowed, as did our smiles. It was a fun night, full of shenanigans.
Now that I have passed this landmark, I see that I was worrying for nothing. Although my life is different than I thought it would be, it is full of love. Instead of spiraling into a deeper state of panic, I have become more aware of what I have already accomplished and experienced. I am excited to see what the future will hold!
Sorry for my absence lately! I’ve been returning to the same ports every week, so I don’t have much new information to share. The nice thing about the repetitive route is that I can spend port days relaxing with a nice cup of coffee and Skype with friends and family back home. It’s been necessary for my sanity.
To reassure you that I am not gone forever, here are a few photos of my fabulous costumes. Enjoy!
Next week: Japan!
Yesterday, my friend Kat sent a series of questions about life on the ship. I’ve been less adventurous at ports this week, so I decided this was a great time to answer those questions and give you all a glimpse of ship life. If you’re wondering about anything else, feel free to send me more questions!
Have you had any storms yet?
We’ve gone around most of the bad weather, but have still had some rocky nights. You get used to the motion pretty quickly, and it normally doesn’t last too long. I have not yet had an issue with seasickness (knock on wood!).
Do you ever get scared?
Yes, but not for the reasons you would think. I feel safe on the ship, and intrigued, not intimidated, at the ports.
I get scared that the conditions on the ship (rough water, etc) may prevent me from performing to the best of my ability. I worry about being pegged as a clueless new hire. I am uncertain what I am doing with my life after this contract, and wonder if this period of time will make future work more difficult. I am unsettled by the fact that everyone I love is on the other side of the world. Honestly, I feel scared a lot, but with that fear comes excitement.
Do you eat in a special cafeteria or do you get to eat at the lavish buffets?
I eat in a staff cafeteria. It is a large buffet, but isn’t as lavish as the guest food. We also get crew discounts at the restaurants on board, so I’ve also gone to Johnny Rockets (mmmm onion rings) and Portofino’s for a delicious 3-course meal with the cast.
Have you gained weight form all the ship food? Or lost weight dancing so much?
This is a complicated question. I lost weight during rehearsals in Florida, but gained quite a bit, if not all, of it back the first two weeks on the ship. The free buffet was very exciting at first, but has now lost it’s luster. I’ve started eating a normal amount of food again, and have been going to the gym everyday. I have no idea what I actually weigh at this point, but I’m at a healthy size/shape.
How is life living in a cabin with a roommate?
I was very concerned about having a roommate. I lived alone for 4 years, and while I had a roommate for the past 2 years, we both had our own rooms and ample space. Living with my current roommate has been shockingly easy! Laura is really friendly, we like to wake up around the same time, and we are both clean and organized, but not too meticulous. We got to know each other well when we were sharing a room in Florida, so the transition to the cabin has been pretty simple. Our cabin is very small, so we do frequently have to dance around each other to get out the door or into the bathroom, but we haven’t had any real problems.
Who does your laundry?
I do my own laundry. There are machines backstage and right around the corner from my cabin! I’m still trying to find the best time to use the machines, but they are at least conveniently located.
What do you think of your costumes?
The costumes are fun. They’re colorful and sparkly, and often include wigs. They look great on stage, and make me feel like an entirely different person for every number.
What do you think of the choreography?
The choreography is so different from what I did in San Francisco! I really enjoy it though. I get to do a lot of different styles, and really have fun with the movement. I like some pieces more than others, but they all are entertaining. The amount of shimmies I do has made my unintentional shimmying habit get a little out of control!
Do you get a day off from dancing?
Yes. The longer the cruise, the less dancing I do. We will perform both shows during each cruise. On show days, we do a tech run and two performances. We also have a welcome number, a farewell number, and 2 parades. 4 and 5 day cruises I will only get one day off, but when we get to 14 day cruises, I’ll have quite a bit of free time.
Do you have to understudy other parts?
I understudy 3 numbers.
Do passengers follow you around or want to hang out with you after the show?
Passengers don’t want to hang out after the show, but they do want pictures! Any time I’m in guest areas, I am blinded my camera flashes. Being in Asia, my blonde cast mates and I stand out a lot. I never know if they want a photo because I’m a dancer or just because I’m a redhead.
Do the dancers teach technique class to each other?
Yes. The cast does 2 technique classes a week. On off days, I either do yoga or a Sparticus workout routine with some friends. I do barre by myself before each rehearsal and performance.
Have you ever worried that you don’t make it back to the ship after your land adventures?
No, I always head back early!
Do you get to call/Skype your family?
Not as often as I’d like! Normally I have internet access when everyone at home is sleeping. I was able to talk with my parents on FaceTime yesterday, and Skyped with a couple friends last week. I’ve been emailing as much as possible, and trying to keep Facebook updated. This is one of the hardest things for me, since I usually talk with my family every day or two.
I’ll be stopping in Jeju and Incheon/Seoul again next week. Check back for details!