consider faith officially…restored.

I lumbered up the stairs of my 4th floor walk-up after a 14-hour day to be greeted by a torn up package sitting at my door. I sprung forward to get a closer look at the mangled trash, discovering it was a delivery of cabaret costumes. The package was supposed to contain 4 black derby hats, and now only contained 3.

Allow me to walk you thru the course of events following the theft:

A) I felt every shade of anger pass thru me.  Pissed.  Enraged.  Livid.  Disappointed.  Yeah the thing cost all of $5, but it was spent using hard earned money from the cabaret my friends and I produce and direct. Sometimes when things get stolen you think to yourself, “well maybe they needed it more.”  Nope.  Not this time, pretty sure we need our costume pieces.  We intentionally don’t pay ourselves from our earnings so we can invest the money back into the company and pay for things like $5 derby hats. The act had, in a way, let down everyone who invested their precious time, sweat, and jazz hands into the company.

B) Now what? There’s no evidence as to who committed the crime. Do I just stomp and mope around my apartment? Well yes, but not for too long.  Like, do I write a note?  Surely an anonymous note won’t reap justice on this act.  The idea could be, just, crazy, enough.  Take action Andrea. Go deliver a morally charged message, guilting their klepto actions. So I did just that. Please reference below and please excuse my poorly structured sentences. Remember…I was riled up.


C) Now I wait. I checked on the note periodically, even catching one gal through my peep hole reading my embittered prose.

D) Long live karma and faith in humankind…¡¡¡THE HAT WAS RETURNED!!!  I was shocked* on two accounts: that someone actually took heed AND took action.  Karma poked at their conscience, persuading them back to the scene of the crime, only this time doing the neighborly thing.

*reference below for expressions of shock

andrea palesh, faith in humans restored, dancer, choreographer

E)  I could have just given up and said, “screw it, it’s just a little $5 hat.”  But speaking up and letting my emotions take action, seemed like more fun, more adventurous.  And the moral to this story?  People are good, even if they sometimes do bad things.  And don’t be afraid to speak up, even if you think your voice won’t be heard.  Someone might listen.

Here’s to saying something.

xx

-A

8 ways Hamilton is changing the game 

andrea palesh, hamilton, read between the lanes ,

1) It’s bringing the cool factor to Broadway (and history class).  “Hamilton” took two subjects that tend to exclude all except the vehemently obsessed, and made them undeniably cool.  From the smart lyricism, to the color blind casting, and the layered symbolism within everything from the set design to the choreography, the show boosts a certain “IT” factor – sought by many, achieved by few. But most importantly it doesn’t self-proclaim its coolness, it just…is.

2) The show creates a sense of mystery.  It boils down to simple economics…supply and demand.  You can’t see it because tickets are $2 million dollars and sold out until 2025?  I WANNA SEE IT MORE NOW!!!!!  I hyperbolize, but you know what I mean.  And #ham4ham is a genius marketing tactic, teasing the masses with the hope that they too may have the privilege of being exposed to this auspicious work – while also capitalizing on social media and UGC (user generated content) to give their campaign the legs it needs to run all over the trending topics in social media.

3)  It shows that living in NYC is awesome.  The pilgrimage of artists headed to LA with hopes of actually making a living out of dance (and many arts) is nothing new.  It’s hard to live here, especially as an artist.  But there’s still plenty of opportunity here, there are tons of artists making it here, and “Hamilton” is happening HERE…”history is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be, in the greatest city in the world!”

4) The show taps directly into the current political, cultural, and personal conversations we’re having.  Immigration, racism, women’s rights, state vs. federal power, national debt, personal legacy, marriage, fighting other people’s wars, love.  These topics were hot items in the late 18th century, and they’re still hot.   Still conversations we need to have with each other.  “Immigrants: we get the job done.”

5) Story, Story, Story.   At the end of the day…it’s an epic ass story.  And a story that many people can relate to (please reference #4).  It’s love, it’s war, it’s history, it’s the American dream.  When a strong and layered story is at the core, the rest can fall into place.

6) The buzz, oh the buzz.  Of course all my friends in musical theater are talking about it.  Ok, they don’t count.  But my modern dance friends?  My friends in folk bands?  My friends in fashion and advertising?  My mom’s quilt group in Colorado!?!?!  That’s some damn buzz.

7) It makes you question what you’re doing with your life.  “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”  Lin-Manual Miranda is 36 and writing groundbreaking works of art, winning the 2015 MacArthur Fellowship.  Alexander Hamilton was a Major General of the US Army, First Secretary of Treasury – establishing our financial system and the country’s first national bank, started the Coast Guard, and was George Washington’s right-hand man during a pivotal point in American history…all before he was 49.  Not comparing anyone’s achievements, but it makes you think.  What am I trying to do with my life?  Am I taking the risks I need to take in order to succeed?

8) There’s finally a character in which I can connect.  Hamilton himself.  I’ve always felt like a musical theater outcast.  I have trouble seeing myself in a majority of musicals, because I simple don’t connect with the leading characters.  But “Hamilton” changed that game for me, and for many other performers who don’t normally fit into the musical theater mold.  Ok, yeah it’s a male role but who cares?  It’s about the character.  He’s imperfect, a writer, he’s misunderstood, a risk taker, and incessant go-getter.  Qualities  and attributes I equate to my own character. “Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time? Ev’ry day you fight, like you’re running out of time.”  Who knows, maybe they’d open the role up to females one day?  I mean, up until “Hamilton”, this wouldn’t have even been a thought.

Here’s to history having its eyes on you.

xx

-A

andrea palesh, hamilton, read between the lanes

new york or nowhere


New York pulls you in with its buzz, there’s always something to notice…then let go.
A group of tourists grinning after seeing a show.
2 more blocks to go.
Star crossed lovers whisper with foreign accents into each other’s ears.
A taxi honks.
Keeps you present. Keeps you here.
Sensations beg to be noticed at every corner.
Hustle-n-bustle.
Grind.
Vibrating with excitement to get attention.
It’s easy to let the intensity of the city and its sensations overwhelm you, but when regarded with a meditative mind, it becomes peaceful and somehow interconnected. To me, this is that unspoken energy people mention when they talk about the city.
A pulse, a connectivity, a heart.

Here’s to loving where you are, even if it’s manic…and buried in snow.

xx

-A

7 things professional artists are tired of hearing

7 things you shouldn't say to an artist

I’m coming up on my 3-year anniversary as a professional artist and it’s been a rewarding and fulfilling journey to say the least.  99.9% of my friends and family have been extremely proud and encouraging with my professional choices, but you know what they say, “Haters gonna hate.”  Here’s a concise list of things I’ve heard over the years, or I’ve heard fellow artists get asked, that I’m simply going to clarify for you right here and now so you can stop buggin’. 

  1. When are you going to get a REAL job?  Well just because my job is different doesn’t make it any less real.  You don’t have to understand what I do or do what I do, but trust me, it’s very real. 
  2. Are you ever going to settle down?  Of course!  Like most humans I have the desire for a family, and a home, and a spouse.  But my timeline is very different than most.  My career goals take a lot of time, focus, and financial struggle to get where I want to go.  Once I can achieve some of these goals and find a place in my career that seems balanced, I’ll consider “settling down.”  Might take me longer, but I need to figure my own life out before I start involving other lives.
  3. I don’t get it.  It’s ok.  You don’t have to get it.  A lot of art is created from very personal experiences and many times the artist wants the viewer to experience it in their own personal manner too.  It’s meant to be an expression, and provoke thought – any thought.  There’s no right, no wrong, or “getting it”.  And I’m sad to break it to you, but there’s no prize for “getting it.”  So chillax. 
  4. How do you pay your bills?  First off, it’s none-ya-business.  But to answer the question, I pay them the same way everyone else does, I work.  I might not work Monday – Friday, 9-5, but I have a job.  No strike that…jobs.  That’s right, multiple jobs to make ends meet.  As an artist you have to get creative with where you get your income, which might mean working multiple freelance or part-time jobs at very odd hours.  Mostly this occurs during the hours when most people go out and have fun (ie: the weekends).  But it’s the sacrifice you make when you want complete freedom and flexibility with your schedule.
  5. When are you going to give up?  I’ll probably move on once I lose passion for what I’m doing.  I’m not pursuing my art professionally for the fame and fortune.  I pursue it because it’s all I think about.  It’s how I experience the world, and how I share those experiences.  As soon as the passion is gone…I’ll move on.  But I can’t live a life where I’m doing one thing, and thinking I should be creating art instead.
  6. I bet you have to be emotionally troubled to create powerful art.  I’m no more emotional than any other person.  Maybe I’m just more in touch with my emotions, and I find a way to channel them.  Or maybe somedays I need art to find my emotions because I let them live so deep inside.  The beautiful thing about humans is that we have a spectrum of emotions, that we all feel on some level, if even for a millisecond.  As an artist, I just have the urge to understand and communicate those emotional colors at any given moment.  In my eyes, we’re all artists in our own right.  Some of us are just more vocal about it🙂
  7. When will you feel like you ‘made it’?  Personally, doing the damn thing means I’ve made it.  “Making it” is a verb not a noun.  I know many people who have won esteemed awards and booked Broadway shows, but they’re still out there pounding the pavement.  Because, for an artist, it’s a continual journey full of growth, discovery, and creation.

Thanks for listening. 

Here’s to letting your true colors speak.

xx

A

key to the city

IMG_9477-0

  Key to the City Scene 1 (Porto, Portugal) (early summer of 2015) (apartment interior, bags are packed, room is slightly disheveled, 2 ladies in their late 20’s/early 30’s) Gloria: Did you check your coat pocket? Andrea: (rummaging in bag) No, … Continue reading

13 travel learnings that should be applied to everyday life 

 

As stress, and cares, and worries melted away while I was away these past few weeks – I’ve noticed how much joy and happiness travel brings.  I believe a lot of it is because most people life their life vastly different while they travel.  But what if we applied these same simple concepts to our everyday life?  Perhaps it would make the everyday more of an vacation?  In my mind, it’s similar to applying a meditation or yoga practice to your life.  So let’s apply a travel practice to our lives, shall we?

1) Balance: find time to see the sites, make time to relax.  There’s a reason why many of the big sites and monuments are points of interest.  So you should probably check it out, take a pic, Instagram it, ooooh & ahhhh.  But don’t center your entire trip around just hitting up the major sites – you’ll tire yourself out.  It’s a balance.  I’ve never regretted passing up on a tourist attraction, but I’d most certainly regret passing up on the opportunity to have genuine and unique experiences.

2) Allow yourself to get lost.  Don’t follow the crowd.  You never know what opportunities or adventures are waiting for you around the corner.  Those who wander are not necessarily lost.  (Or however that cliche quote goes.)

3) Take risks.  Risk and you shall receive.

4) Talk to people.  Listen to their story…tell them yours!

5) Only acquire possessions that are truly meaningful and unique.  The baggage will weigh you down. And ain’t nobody got extra money for overweight baggage fees!  And if you feel the need to show your loved ones that you were thinking about them while you were away…send a postcard.

6) Put your phone away. If you’re traveling internationally it’s probably not gonna work anyway, therefore making it even easier to stash it.  This is something everyone is preaching about these days, but when you travel it becomes so apparent how much you actually don’t need to be connected ALL THE TIME.

7) Treat yourself to cheese, carbs, and wine.  Based on my own extensive research, it never killed anyone. 

8) Stressing out about work is a waste of time and energy.  This sort of goes back to number 6, but it’s funny how much life (and work) can survive without you, and without all the stress you put into that work.  When you’re away from the hustle and bustle, living your life, and giving zero f***s – life seems sweeter.

9) Document, document, document.  Keep a journal, take pictures, draw a picture, write a poem.  These moments are fleeting and your brain can only capture so much.

10) Pack your lunch, have a picnic.  Put value in the time you spend eating.

11) Pay attention to the details.  Architecture, smells, what the sidewalk is made of, signs in the metro, the sound an ambulance makes in another country, slight shifts in temperature…the list goes on.

12) Accept change, embrace differences.  What’s normal to you, isn’t normal to everyone else.  Step into their normal and see how it feels.

13) Take some deep breaths, take it all in.  

This post is kicking off a series of posts I plan on sharing from my last trip to Portugal and Spain.  I took a slightly different documentation approach this time around: I left my computer at home and wrote everything in a journal instead.  I was terrified of leaving my trusty computer behind, but once I made the decision to ditch it – I was incredibly liberated.  Because when I’m out and about exploring an area I’m never carrying my computer.  So having a notebook in my purse made it easy to just sit down and write a poem, or a journal entry when the moment allowed.  So over the next few days (or weeks depending on how busy I get), please enjoy my adventures from the Iberian Peninsula.

Here’s to feeling liberated.

xx

-A

changed 

Embarking on another trip, I’m presented with more change than normal to sort through.  Plucking out the Euros from the Chinese Yuan and the Costa Rican Colones – my memory rushes to moments shared, both bad and good.  Greasy food that couldn’t be swallowed, endless car-rides thru lush tropical jungles.  Exotic Bahraini dinars brought me to that hot desert terrain filled with cheering audiences and a fateful night full of tragedy.  A South African rand or two showed up in the process, conjuring up nothing more than a beaming smile.  And of course, too many Canadian money for any singular person to want to deal with – guess that’s what you get when you go there so much.  And at the peak of my travel independence, we have the Czech koruna – where alone, I stayed in a hostel that taught me more about myself than about the rich culture of the Czech Republic.

Alone again I venture away from home, with my various change, sorted out, in the palm of my hand.  What I do with that change, the future only knows.  Its for me to discover, and share with you right here.

If you need me for the next 16 days, I’ll be in…Portugal!  (And I may have found a way to sneak Spain in there too.)

Here’s to collecting more change.

xx

-A

latching onto you

Just wanted to share a little piece of choreography that I created for Guilty Pleasures Cabaret.  I’m really proud of this piece because it’s so different than anything I’ve done before.  I wanted to create something that was a little bit sexy, a little bit quirky, and a little bit stylized.  Also I F*&%ing love this song.  Who here hasn’t overplayed this song a teeny bit?

The video above features the lovely Katarina Lott and Anjuli Bhattacharyya, who bring so much personality to the piece.

If you’re into it (which I hope you are), it’s being performed live tomorrow night at The Duplex (61 Christopher Street) in NYC at 9:30PM alongside tons of other sexy little numbers.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, with a 2 drink min.  Get your tix HERE.

Here’s to dancing my face off.

xx

-A