UK Tour de Force

Josh Thake togetherPlease join us in giving a huge welcome back to Joshua Thake (AKA Eugenia Repelskii) as he returns to the Dance Consortium Trocks Blog! We’re now over half way through the UK tour of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo with performances left in Bradford, Nottingham, Brighton, Salford and Birmingham. Be sure not to miss out before they jet out of the UK!

Take it away Josh…

What a gift it is to be here! So much has since we arrived to the United Kingdom, last month. Us, Trocks are on the whirlwind part of our UK Tour. With only a few days in each respective city, it is hard to see or do all of the things, you might want to do. The moments are exquisite, they are intoxicating, but they are ever-escaping my grasp. To better mark some highlights, I have recently been investing my creative flow into projects that keep me busy, without wearing me out. I felt it important to keep a different type of constant activity, besides the show, active in my day-to-day routine.

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Since Early Childhood, My mom would have a minimum of four boxes of different outfits, costumes, and accessories, to choose from. They were long, rectangular, cardboard boxes with a floral decoration around the lid. Every time the neighborhood opened the boxes, there was a flurry of activity that reminds me of some semi-aggressive, farmer’s market shoppers, vying for the last remaining produce of their favorite farmer. From Rambo, to a Pink Tinsle Dress Moo Moo, that always reminded me of Glinda, the selection was amazing and supplied everyone with drag. My mother, by having this readily available, allowed for us to freely express ourselves, through dress. It became an integral part of who I am and brings me much satisfaction.

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Coming from this type of childhood, would it surprise anyone if I said I brought a sewing machine with me to the UK? While still in San Francisco this past August, I was staying with my Fairy Godmother, Barbara Liu McDowell and her Beautiful Family.

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In her possession was the sewing machine of the late, Arturo Galster. This legendary performance artist was most known for his Tribute to Patsy Cline. I had the privilege of opening his Memorial at The Castro Theatre with Jonathan Dummar, now with Ballet Memphis. And in the spirit of allowing the flow of life to continue, it was decided that I would bring it with me.

I had been constructing a few new pieces to wear for our September Rehearsal Period on Arturo’s Riccar 8500 Dressmaker, and fell in love with its simplicity of design.

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I was also constructing my ‘Disney Night Out’ costume and knew that I would want more time. Making a three-tiered ball gown is no easy task. Luckily, while staying with Quinn Haley, in Brooklyn, I was able to wrestle the 10 yards of Pink  Taffeta, Satin, and Organza to establish my concept for Anastasia. With ‘Disney Night Out’ moved to just after our London season, I had to boogie! I also happened to travel from San Francisco with my dress form, in tow. Having sufficiently over-packed for two months on the road, I just could not squeeze the dress form into my veritable cornucopia of luggage. Maybe if I invested in a bottomless, carpet bag that P.L. Travers and Walt Disney would be proud of, I could bring everything that I want to bring. But, with a Spoonful of Positive Intention, you can manifest anything you would like. And sure enough, the hotel in London had a floor lamp that was the perfect size to set up my petticoat, making for a very ornate lampshade. No carpet bag required.

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On the bus ride to Southampton, I received inspiration for a new sewing project. After seeing a dress that would featured in a current version of Vogue, I instantly flashed to a concept that would blend two versions of, The Sound of Music. And with the Original, Julie Andrews‘ Maria Silhouette and the Color Palate of NBC’s version, starring Carrie Underwood, in mind, I searched for the perfect fabric to bring this idea to life.

I found the perfect, weighted jersey in a brilliantly, vibrant Cobalt. Not to mention it was on clearance at about 2£ per meter! What luck! In my excitement, I began laying out the pattern and creating my tribute to Maria. After arriving in Canterbury, I decided that the dress should be lined, as well. So, I picked up this Mesmerizing, Glacial Blue Satin at a C&H Fabrics, just down the block from the Abode Hotel, where we were staying. They had the exact yardage, I needed! I cut out the lining and started piecing the garment together, before our Opening in Canterbury. I wanted to finish before the excursion to Stonehenge, and only had a few days to finish the garment. With my pedal to the metal, I finished the evening before we left for Stonehenge. Not to mention, the weather when we arrived was Glorious! The perfect ratio of overcast and sunny that both highlighted and contrasted the rock face, beautifully. An experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

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When we shuttled ourselves to Cardiff, The Rugby World Cup Festivities were in full swing. The city was bustling with Rugby Fever. Because this travel day included an epic excursion, a few of us went in search of sustenance. We landed upon Locke and Remedy, and received Great Service, and drank Luscious Libations.

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There was also an opportunity to take company class with the National Dance Company of Wales. I was very excited to partake in an experience that was NOT Ballet. After performing our show for the better part of the month, I was very much looking forward to a different way of moving my body. It turns out that the universe, once again, gave me a restorative gift. The company had been working very hard that week and we spent 45 minutes doing a Series of Flow Yoga and then 45 minutes of partnered massage and stretching. Talk about a rare treat! The company was absolutely lovely and I hope to see them perform in the future.

Upon completing our shows in Cardiff, we were bussing up to Edinburgh, Scotland. There were so many sights to take in! First up, was the Edinburgh Castle. Although, I did not take the Tour of the Castle this time around, I captured some great shots of the Landscape and the Outer Walls.

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After some window shopping down the Royal Mile and a libation/chip break, Jack Furlong, Ryan Hanson, and myself went on a trip to Rosslyn Chapel. Needless to say, we boarded the wrong 37 bus and took a Scenic Route to the Chapel.

We arrived just after closing and as we could not delve into the mysteries surrounding this Infamous Historical Site, took in as much of the exterior and surrounding area.

We even had a hike to Rosslyn Castle, which was built in 1386! The castle sits atop a steep ravine, that was thicketed by the blanket of autumn-colored forest. Truly picturesque.

As the rain gave us a gentle reminder that it was time to head back to Edinburgh, we made time for a few drinks and a few baskets of chips at The Original Rosslyn Inn.

Later that night, a large group of us went out to celebrate Chase Johnsey’s Birthday!

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Riding the wave of celebratory energy, I began to piece together a Dorothy-Inspired, Warm-Up Romper. I had pieced apart a Vintage, Multi-Colored Gingham Dress, some time ago. I repurposed the Bottom Tier of Fabric and had enough Lining from my trip to C&H Canterbury, to complete this concept. Again.. What luck! I used some Adorable, Blue Flower Buttons, I found in Southampton. These were used on my Stonehenge look, as well. Completing the ensemble was my Wizard of Oz bandana, a Wizard of Oz Tee, gifted to me, by my Best Friend, Jeanne Dearie. And some Scottish Poppies in my Pigtails, for a locally-sourced touch.

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All throughout our stay in Edinburgh, the company was being filmed for an upcoming Documentary, by Award-Winning Director, Bobbi Jo Hart. She has been collecting footage for several years now and I am looking forward to the future developments surrounding this production. Stay tuned for more info on this exciting project, in the years to come.

Also, The Scottish Ballet made the trip from Glasgow to see us! It was a thrill to have them at the show. And just in time for the Birthday of Dancer/Ballet Master, Raffaele Morra. And even better still, the company hung out with us after the show! It was a real treat to reconnect with friend, Tom Kendall, reminiscing about our days at San Francisco Ballet School. And being introduced to choreographer, David Dawson! Upon meeting him, I asked if he would ever want to do a parody of his work for us. Maybe a ’50 Shades of Grey Area’?

Also while in Edinburgh, Chris Ouellette and I went on a hike to Arthur’s Seat. We scaled the hillside with the caffeinated help of Elephant House and the Magic of Harry Potter.

If only we could Wingradium Leviosa our way to the top next time. Or better yet, Aparate to that majestic place every time you wanted some perspective.

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Attempting to process through the overwhelming, fleeting moments of life, on the road, can be just as draining, as it is replenishing. For me, Bikram Yoga has been my decompression of choice. I have been lucky enough to practice Bikram, in three other counties, besides the US. In fact, upon learning more about the Tour to the UK, while in Madrid, I was deep in a strict routine of daily classes before each performance, at Bikram Yoga Madrid. It was my first time being featured in a Paquita Variation for a whole week! I wanted to ensure the easing of bodily tensions and sufficient breaking up of lactic acid. The flushing of freshly, oxygenated blood throughout my body postponed the effects of dancing on a harder stage. The studio in Mardid was quite intimate, with a max capacity of about 20 students. Listening to the script in Spanish, I could follow the pace of language pretty easily. However, in Tokyo, Bikram Yoga Shinju-ku, the studio had a capacity of closer to 60 people and listening to the script of the class in Japanese was much more distracting, as it was extremely difficult for me to decipher, at first.

More recently, I practiced while in London, at SoHot Yoga. After arriving to help with jet lag, I decided to try my First Ever, Silent Bikram Class. On the walk to SoHot’s Soho location, I walked right past a street performer playing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow‘ on his accordion. Being an avid fan of the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’,  I knew that this was to be just the regenerating experience, I needed. And to my unsuspecting, delirious, delight, I looked up from my towel to see a whole strand of lights. Stretching across the massive studio was a row of illuminated White Rabbits. And it was within this beautiful convergence of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’, in which I found my breath. What followed was a very successful two week stint in London. And a week to enjoy the city! So Fun!

Most recently, the company was in Inverness, Scotland. This majestically, quaint town provided us with the most INCREDIBLE sunsets! Many of us went exploring and ended up at Inverness Castle, which was a short 5-min walk along the River Ness. The sun was just making its descent, and we basked in its light. We continued our hike to a very historical burial ground and found some inspiration for when we begin performing Giselle Act 2, on our upcoming Tour of the US.

After the post-performance reception in Inverness, a few of us ate at a Jamaican Restaurant named after the Famous, Jamaican Olympic Bobsledding Team and Major Motion Picture starring, John Candy, ‘Kool Runnings’. The food was so delicious, I went back the next night, following our group trip to Find Nessie.

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Earlier that day was our excursion to Loch Ness. I, of course wanted to take the opportunity to dress up a bit. I found a shop in the adorable town of Pitlochry. This was where we took a break on our bus ride up to Inverness from Edinburgh. I trimmed off the seams of a black cloak, added a black velvet corset, and was ready to enjoy the mystery of the Loch. And thanks to The Monster Patrol of Jacobite Cruises, we had just the vessel to take it all in. With the promise of rain, we were pleasantly surprised, that once again, the weather was in our favor. The perfectly partly sunny skies lit up the landscape. The scenery was sensational and the fanciful foliage captivated my every glance.

The company is in Bradford this week, performing at the Alhambra Theatre and off to Nottingham on Thursday. Just in time for Halloween and Alberto Pretto’s Birthday. We are working on several Little Black Dresses that have been inspired by ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

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For a more in-depth look, and a whole slew of photographs, you can follow me on Instagram: @_josh_thake_

I am also fully involved in my Arbonne Business. I am really enjoying the ability to order everything I need, from my own online store and have it delivered to any hotel, within the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Poland, and soon Taiwan, Korea, and New Zealand! Providing Vegan Nutrition and Pure, Safe, Beneficial Skin Care. For more information, go to: www.joshuathake.arbonne.com.

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Whether it be exploring the ever changing scenery, or replenishing my mind, body, and soul, or fulfilling some early childhood traditions, I am reminded everyday, how grateful I am, to be apart of this incredible group of professionals. Bringing to the table a vivacious, vigor to their vocation and a meticulous magic, that enchants audiences, all over the world. With our 2015 tour to the UK well past the halfway point, I am reflecting, positively to each new experience that has greeted me on my first trip to The United Kingdom. The glass is not empty or full.. The glass is, in fact, refillable.

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Much Love!

Eugenia Repelskii

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