Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nutcracker Premiere

Happy Nutcracker Season! Yesterday, on Saturday evening, I had my first performance of the Nutcracker.  The premiere was on Friday, but I am on the B Cast, which alternates nights with the A cast.  Two of my favorite ballerinas were performing as Dew Drop and the Sugar Plum Fairy! Even though I was in the Nutcracker last year, I was still feeling a little nervous.

Inky Polichinelle 2010

During the performance, the child dancers wait in a special room below the stage. When we are called for our places, we take an elevator up the stairs. There are over 100 children in the Nutcracker! They dance in roles like party children, mice, soldiers, and sweets.  I am a polichinelle- one of the little elves who come out from under Mother Ginger's skirt.  Did you know Mother Ginger is actually played by a man? Our  Mother Ginger last night studied at the English National Ballet when he was little- pretty cool, right?

Inky Polichinelle 2010

Photos are not allowed in the theatre, so I had these photos of me taken on Lincoln Center Plaza. I felt so beautiful, like a prima ballerina.  There were people walking around the plaza and some of them smiled at me as they passed.

Inky Polichinelle 2010

I love dancing on stage! I have a whole month of Nutcracker performances ahead of me, so I know the butterflies will go away after a while. I will dance every other day; December is a very busy month for me. Plus, I will still be taking my regular dance classes! That means that Violet will be going home soon. I'll really miss her, but I know we will meet again. That's what best friends are for.

Happy Nutcracker!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy 11th Birthday!

Three

Today I am eleven years old! Last year, I wished to have an Ugly Doll party and this year, my wish came true! My moms made me this awesome Ice Bat cake; he's my favorite Ugly Doll.

Four

Since my party was on a school night during Nutcracker rehearsal season, I only had two guests- Sophie and my best friend, Violet. Even though the party was small, we had a great time.
Five

My friend Piper told me that we had to play Pin the Eye on the Ice Bat! It was a totally silly game and the three of us laughed at each other as none of us got an eye in the right spot! Piper- thanks for the awesome idea!

Eight

Violet gave me this awesome Ice Bat hat! It's perfect for chilly New York City winter days. This is probably the best hat ever made, don't you think? Violet picked the absolute perfect present!

Eleven

I didn't think a birthday could get much better than an Ugly Doll party, cake, and hat- but my parents surprised me with the best present yet! A little Siamese kitten! What do you think I should name her?

My 11th birthday rocked. I think eleven is going to be the best year yet!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Afternoon in Manhattan

A November Afternoon

This afternoon was warm and grey. I had Nutcracker rehearsal all afternoon. Sophie decided to come into Manhattan with me. While I was dancing, Sophie took a walk through Central Park and looked all the beautiful fall leaves.

A November Afternoon

We agreed to meet at the stage door of the Koch Theatre- that's where the NYC Ballet performs. I pretended I was a famous ballerina coming out to meet my fans. I saw Sophie coming up Columbus Avenue, so I waved until she saw me.

A November Afternoon

Sophie and I sat by the stage door, talking about our day. This was Sophie's first time at Lincoln Center, but Sophie is very familiar with the world of fine arts. Her mother was a prima ballerina and she takes Sophie to see the Paris Opera Ballet all the time. Sophie told me that her mother performed at Lincoln Center many times when she was young. I was really impressed!

A November Afternoon

I took this photo of Sophie in front of the fountain on Lincoln Center Plaza. Doesn't she look cosmopolitan?

A November Afternoon

Here we are in front of the New York Philharmonic! I was really pleased that Sophie came into the city to meet me. We walked around the plaza for a while, hoping we might see a famous dancer or opera singer. (We didn't.) Then, we walked to the subway and headed home. It was just another day in New York!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthday Invitation!

Birthday Invitation

Hi everyone! I am going to be turning eleven on Tuesday the 23rd. My family is throwing a party for me; I hope you can come!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

International Red Panda Day

PB130004

Guess what today is! Today is November 13th, or International Red Panda Day. Red pandas are by far my favorite animal. They live in India, Nepal, China, Bhutan, and Myanmar.

Thirty Five

Living in New York City, I'm lucky that we have red pandas in four of the five boroughs. I visit them whenever I can, because red pandas rule! This photo is from my last visit to see Walter the red panda at the Bronx Zoo.

Celebrating International Red Panda Day!

To celebrate Red Panda Day, I wore my red panda t-shirt.  I worked hard all morning making the special doll-sized mask that Violet is wearing.  On my shoulder, you can see my stuffie red panda, Walnut. I like to pretend he hosts a TV show called Walnut's World, which is about dining out in Queens.

I love that there is a holiday to celebrate my favorite animal.  If you want to learn more about what you can do to help save red pandas in the wild, check out the Red Panda Network.   They have tons of information about red pandas. They even have a program for kids where you can become a Red Panda Ranger!

Happy International Red Panda Day! Do you have a favorite animal?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Migration at Jamaica Bay

Happy Wednesday everybody! It is starting to get cold in New York City, but we have had some nice sunny days too.  On Saturday, it was chilly, but it wasn't bad enough to keep me indoors.  So, Sophie and I went with my parents on a walk at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. If you're a long time reader of my blog, you know my family likes to go there all the time.  Violet had a bit of a cold so she stayed home to read and watch Harriet the Spy.

Inky & Sophie at Jamaica Bay

Jamaica Bay has a loop trail that goes around a freshwater pond. Just on the other side of the pond is Jamaica Bay. In this photo you can see the beach behind me. Off in the distance is a neighborhood called Broad Channel. Lots of birds are migrating right now, so it's a great time to visit the wildlife refuge.

Inky & Sophie at Jamaica Bay

All along the path, there are different bushes and trees. Since the wildlife refuge is a great place to bird watch, there are lots of benches and areas where you can stop to observe all the wildlife. Sophie and I liked this little spot. You can't see it in the picture, but we were looking at an osprey nest. American Ospreys fly as far away as South America for the winter; they had already left so the nest was empty.

Inky & Sophie at Jamaica Bay

Can you see the pond behind me in this photo? There are tons of ducks and geese using the pond as a stopping point on their migration. We even saw four big, white swans relaxing near the shore. Sophie and I sat and watched the birds for a long time. Suddenly, something startled them and they flew off into the air at once! There were hundreds of birds! I wonder how they pick who will be the leader?

Inky & Sophie at Jamaica Bay

I'm glad I had the chance to take Sophie to Jamaica Bay before all the birds fly away.  Do you have migrating birds in your neighborhood? Which ones have you seen this fall?

=^..^= Inky  =^..^=

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nutcracker Audition

Happy November everyone! This post is a bit late, because I've had visitors with me. At the end of September, I went to an exciting annual event- Nutcracker auditions!

Inky's Nutcracker Audition

I got to my ballet school early on a Saturday morning. There were tons of kids there! The Nutcracker has many children's parts, like party children, mice, soldiers, angels, candy canes, and polichinelles. I was hoping to be a polichinelle; they're the little clown dolls that live under Mother Ginger's giant skirt. I lined up with the girls from my class.

Inky's Nutcracker Audition

Everybody stretched to get ready for the audition. The ballet mistress calls kids up in small groups to do little sequences of steps. Since I wanted to be a polichinelle, I had to practice my pas de chat, or step of the cat.

Inky's Nutcracker Audition

I stood with a girl named Hannah. We whispered a little bit about which parts we wanted. Hannah promised to cross her fingers for me.

Inky's Nutcracker Audition

Finally, the ballet mistress called my group up! We did several pas de chats and did a few little sequences of steps, called combinations. Even though I go to ballet class four times a week, I still got little butterflies in my belly as we went through the combinations.

Inky's Nutcracker Audition

The last thing we did was practice dancing around in a circle, as the Polichinelles do when they get ready to go back under Mother Ginger's skirt. I held my arms high and pointed my toes.

Inky's Nutcracker Audition

The ballet mistress looked very closely at all of the dancers. Then she starting pointing the girls she wanted- and she chose me! I made it to be a polichinelle in the B cast! There are two casts of dancers, A and B. Each cast alternates days of performance so the child dancers don't get too tired. Hannah and I high-fived! We made it! I was officially a polichinelle and Hannah was a soldier!

 That Saturday officially started Nutcracker season- ever since then, I've had rehearsals every weekend. Our performances start right after Thanksgiving. I hope you can come see me!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween/ Welcome Sophie!

Five

Today is Halloween! The holiday started off with the arrival of a special guest, Sophie Desmarais! She's visiting me for a few weeks on her trip around the United States. She and Violet already knew each other; they met when Sophie visited Utah. That's Violet on the left, and Sophie on the right. Can you tell them apart? It's tough.

Ten

I thought it would be fun if we did another holiday tutorial. This time, Sophie, Violet, and I are going to teach you how to carve a pumpkin into a jack o' lantern! You start with a pumpkin, of course.

Eleven

Start with a nice big pumpkin. The one Sophie has in this picture isn't quite right- when you try to carve it, it is so hard that it can't be made into a jack o' lantern.

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Carefully use a knife to cut a lid into the top of the pumpkin. Make sure you cut at an angle so that the lid doesn't fall right inside the pumpkin!

Fourteen

Then, scoop the guts and seeds out of your pumpkin. You can use a spoon, but it's more fun to use your hands! The guts feel nice and gooey. Blehh!

Sixteen

Separate the seeds from the pumpkin guts. Save them in a small bowl so that you can roast them later on. Pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack!

Seventeen

Once your pumpkin is all cleaned out, draw a scary face on it! Try not to be too detailed if this is your first time carving a pumpkin- it's harder than it looks. If you don't like scary jack o' lanterns, try something like a kitty. That's what Iris and I did on our pumpkin a few years ago.
Eighteen

Using a sharp knife, very carefully cut face out of your pumpkin. Violet is a pro, but if you are a kid, you should probably ask a grown-up to do it with you.

Twenty

Once your pumpkin is carved, choose a small candle to put inside your pumpkin. The candle is what turns it into a jack o' lantern! A tea light is an excellent choice. Then, ask a parent to come and light your candle.

Twenty-two

Voila! Close the curtains or turn off the lights so that you can see the jack o' lantern glow. Awesome! You're done!

Twenty-three

When your jack o' lantern is lit, invite your friends and family to come hang out. Happy Halloween! I'm so glad Violet and Sophie are here to celebrate with me.

Love,

Inky

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Making Halloween Cards

Three

Hi Everyone! It's me, Inky. Today I'm going to teach you how to make Halloween cards with my friends, Violet and Sonali. First of all, you need
  • cards
  • newspaper and tape
  • glitter
  • crayons or colored pencils
  • a pencil
  • glue
  • a paintbrush for glue
  • Halloween stickers
Got it all? Okay! Let's get started. First of all, get a page from the newspaper and tape it to your table with painter's tape- you want to be able to clean up your glitter easily.  I used a page from the New York Times Book Review.

Six

To start, take one of your cards and decide what you want to be on it.  We decided on a pumpkin. Draw your design on the front of your card.  You're going to fill in the drawing with glitter, so try not to get too detailed.

Seven

Next, pour a little glue into a dish.  Use your paintbrush to cover the part of your drawing where you want the first color of glitter to go.  You don't have to use a paintbrush if you are super awesome at gluing.

Ten

Here's the part where you need your newspaper! Carefully shake your glitter over your picture.  Now you have to wait a few minutes for your glue to dry.  Try telling some Halloween jokes while you wait. Here's a good one:

Q: Why don't skeletons go to see scary movies?
A: Because they don't have the guts!

Eleven

When your glue is dry, carefully shake off the excess glitter. See how the newspaper came in handy?

Twelve

Repeat the steps with your next color of glitter. We only used two colors, but if you want to do more, go ahead!

Thirteen
Ta-Da! Now you have decorated the front of your card. The next step is to do the inside.

Fourteen

Open up your card and use a crayon or pencil to write a cheerful Halloween greeting. If you are really creative, you could even put a little poem.

Fifteen

Spice up the inside of your card with a sticker! We chose a scary little werewolf.  Then, sign your name in your very best cursive.

Eighteen

And that's the end! Try experimenting with different drawings and glitter colors- we also made skeleton and bat cards.  Put your cards in envelopes and send them to all your friends. 

Thanks for making Halloween cards with us!

Love,
Inky, Violet, and Sonali

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bronx Zoo & Lincoln Center

Forty Six

Yikes! It's been ages since I last remembered to blog. Violet is still here visiting me. We've been having a lot of fun together; last week, though, we had a special visitor! Susie, from the blog As Told By Susie, came down to New York City to visit us. Click on the photo above to check out our photo album.

We explored the Bronx Zoo and went to see the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.  Violet and I really enjoyed getting to show Susie around New York City- though I think Susie was surprised at how much Violet and I like going to Starbucks!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hiking at Jamaica Bay

Ten

On Saturday, Violet came along on one of my family's favorite short hikes- the West Pond loop at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Even though we go there pretty often, Violet didn't get a chance to go last time she was here. Plus, as I mentioned earlier this year, Jamaica Bay just debuted its new Junior Ranger program!
Four

I had fun helping Violet do the different activities in the Junior Ranger booklet. The highlight of the hike was seeing an osprey at its nest! Awesome!

Violet made a photo album of our afternoon, which you can check out here.
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