Spreading kindness

Nicole Voris

It has been a really rough week.  The United States election did not go the way we expected it to, and it's been difficult grappling with the reality of what it means.

I have decided to take this opportunity to try to spread kindness.  As individuals we can work to make the world a better place, but when we do it collectively, it can be momentous.

Here are some of the ways I choose to be kind and spread positivity:

Charitable Donations:  We have already made a donation to Planned Parenthood.  Our plan is to donate to a different charity we believe in each month.  So far we plan to donate to Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Greenpeace,  Kind,  and NILC.  If you have more suggestions, please let me know.

Vegetarian Diet:  We don't eat that much meat, but  are going to start cutting even the little meat we do.  There are many reasons to do it including animal welfare, the environment, and concerns about the ethics.  I am choosing to vote with my dollar and eat mostly plant based meals.  Yayyy for green chile bean enchiladas!

Supporting Public Programs: I regularly take public transit, but I will make an effort to take it more.  I also plan on utilizing the services of the Public Library more often.  I want to continue to educate myself and help educate others.  In the past I have taken steps to volunteer at my local teen homeless shelter, but for various reasons, did not end up volunteering.  I plan to finish what I need to do and volunteer for this important organization.

Kind to Strangers:  Because I walk and take public transit often, I encounter many strangers from different walks of life.  I have never been unkind, but I will try to be more open and kind. For example, offering my seat, allowing someone to pass in front of me, or just a simple smile.  I will also work to protect people if I see them being harassed or if they feel unsafe.

Make Art:  I encourage you to put your feelings into art and to share it with the world.  Channel your feelings into your creativity and add some thought and beauty into the world.

If you have any ideas for how else we can spread kindness, let me know in the comments!



Nicole Voris

I love Etsy.  I have shopped the sight for years and will spend many hours browsing the app.  I love that they are a company that facilitates the connections and commerce between artists and a their fans.

That's why I was so excited when Etsy asked us to be a part of their #DifferenceMakesUs campaign.  This is an awesome campaign that encourages you to share the things that make you unique!  If you share a photo on Instagram of a one of your favorite items and hashtag #DifferenceMakesUs, then enter here,  you could win a $1000 gift card to Etsy!

If you haven't seen the video we collaborated on with Etsy on check it out!

Ballet Zaida: The Tide

Nicole Voris

On Monday we released our latest film, The Tide. We are so proud of all of our work, and this piece is no exception.  It gives me chills every time I watch it.

The music is by Ken Mankin & Ariel llies.  We had never worked with spoken word before, but this amazing piece, with poetry by Ken Mankin and music by Ariel Ilies, was perfect to start with. 

Oliver, Stephen, and I have known and worked together for almost a full 10 years now.  Stephen is Oliver's and my best friend.  We all know each other so well that we completely trust one another.  When we work together it's pretty spectacular because we really know what the others are thinking.

As a partner I completely trust Stephen.  I can through my body at him and I know he will never drop me, plus we also make something really cool.  The day we made this we filmed a lot of different lifts just in case we would need them.  Not all of them made the final cut, but we did some work that I have never seen done before.  Stephen and I just allowed our bodies and gravity to work together to make new exciting partnering.

We hope you enjoy the film!  If you do please like, comment and share! 

The Grand Paradise

Nicole Voris

Oliver and I spent the weekend in New York City.  We had a wonderful time, got to spend time with family and friends, see art, and work with incredibly talented people.  I wanted to use this post though, to tell you about an amazing show we got to experience.

Oliver and I have been wanting to attend an immersive theater show for a while now.  When we planned our trip to NYC, one of the first things I did was buy tickets to The Grand Paradise.  If you don't know what immersive theater is,  it's a lot like what it sounds like.  As opposed to going to a theater, sitting in seats, and watching the show take place on the stage, with immersive theater, the entire building is the stage and you get to be in the story.  

Jessy Smith, foreground, and Erik Abbott-Main in “The Grand Paradise.”     CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

Jessy Smith, foreground, and Erik Abbott-Main in “The Grand Paradise.” CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

The Grand Paradise is a show set in a 1970's beach resort.  I don't want to give too much away, but the show explores themes of growing as a person, exploring desires, and the philosophy of being human.  The dancing, singing, and acting was incredible.  What I found so amazing about it is that the show blurs the lines of reality.  I didn't expect that I would lose the sense of being just an observer.  I truly felt that I was a guest at this beach resort and was interacting with their quirky staff.  

What to expect at an immersive theater show:

- Dress comfortably.  It goes against theater logic to not wear a fabulous outfit and heels, but you really want to be comfortable.  You'll be moving around a lot, and often in the dark.  I chose to wear a 70's jumpsuit to fit in with the theme of the show.  For shoes I chose to play it safe and wore white sneakers, but I would have been fine in flats or clogs.  Oliver wore nice jeans, a nice shirt, and nikes and was comfortable moving around. 

- Be prepared to be separated from your group.  Embrace it!  For Grand paradise we generally were separated into groups of 2-4,  if you're lucky you may get a one on one experience with a performer, which a few people in our group (myself included), got to do.  I encourage you to embrace getting lost with a few strangers.  It helps make the world feel more real.  At the end you can all get together and relay what you got to do and experience!

- Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Myself and all the people who attended with me were all performers, so I think we fell into the participation easier.  I could tell some other audience members weren't as comfortable.  I encourage you to embrace the strangeness and not to be self conscious.  It'll make your experience so much better!

Elizabeth Carena and Tori Sparks.  Photograph by Third Rail Projects.

Elizabeth Carena and Tori Sparks. 
Photograph by Third Rail Projects.

The Grand Paradise is now playing through December 31st.  I highly recommend seeing it!  If you do see it or have already seen it let us know what you think in the comments!  If you've seen other immersive theater shows let us know about your experiences there too!

To learn more about the show and buy tickets follow the link below:

The Grand Paradise