A little something to remember...

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says,
"I will try again tomorrow."

Monday, March 31, 2008

Long week...

Sorry I've been incommunicado. Last week was the audition week from hell. All I did was live and breathe theater last week, and I'm glad to finally have a bit of a break.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

HNT #49

A little booty for HNT thtis week. Have a great one.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

HNT #48

My friend Joey and I modeled for a body paint artist a few months ago. I figured I'd bust the images out for HNT #48. Happy HNT everyone. Can you guess which one's me?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vatican lists new sinful behaviors...

The Catholic Church, always the upholder of such high moral standards, has announced new sinful behaviors. Somehow child molestation and sexual abuse have been left out.

ROME, Italy (AP) -- A Vatican official has listed drugs, pollution and genetic manipulations as well as social and economic injustices as new areas of sinful behavior.

The Vatican has updated the list of mortal sins to relate to the age of globalization.

Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti said in an interview published on Sunday by the Vatican's daily newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, that known sins increasingly manifest themselves as behavior that damages society as a whole.

Girotti, who heads the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican body that issues decisions on matters of conscience and grants absolutions told the paper that whilst sin used to concern the individual mostly, today it had a mainly a social resonance, due to the phenomenon of globalization.

Catholic teaching distinguishes between lesser, so-called venial sins, and mortal sins.

When asked to list the new areas of sinful behavior, Girotti denounced "certain violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments, genetic manipulations."

He also mentioned drugs, which weaken the mind and obscure intelligence; pollution; as well as the widening social and economic differences between the rich and the poor that "cause an unbearable social injustice."

Girotti said the Catholic Church continued to be concerned by other sinful acts, including abortion and pedophilia.

He said Church authorities had reacted with rigorous measures to child abuse scandals within the clergy, but he also claimed that the issue had been excessively emphasized by the media.

His comments came at the end of a week-long Vatican conference on confession.

A recent survey said that 60 percent of Italian Catholics do not go to confession.

Traditionally the Catholic church has had a list of seven deadly sins, that of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride established by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century.

The terms entered the popular vocabulary after the publication of Dante's "Divine Comedy."

The deadly sins are in contrast with venial sins - relatively minor sins that can be forgiven.

A person that commits a mortal sin risks burning in hell unless absolved through confession and penitence.

Now the Vatican says it is time to modernize the list to fit a global world.

On hearing the Girotti's suggestion, some priests thought it was a good idea.

Father Antonio Pelayo, a Spanish priest and Vatican expert noted that it is time for both sinners and confessors to get over their obsession with sex and think about other ways humans hurt each other in the world in which they live.

"There are many other sins that are perhaps much more grave that don't have anything to do with sex - that have to do with life, that have to do with the environment, that have to do with justice," he told AP Television.

Father Greg Apparcel, a local priest said that the Pope may have been talking About this aspect of sin as a response to the recent "Italian confession" survey.

Apparcel also hinted that the announcement may have a wider agenda ahead of the Holy Father's trip to the United States and his speech to the United Nations.

"There is some sound going around that perhaps he is going to speak about ecology and environment, and if he does, this is kind of preparation for that," he said.

Don’t Judge Me By My Tights

My business attire is a pair of tights. All right, there it is. I wear makeup onstage, and some of my colleagues are gay. Can we move on now? Can we leave behind the tired male-ballet-dancer stigma—that ballet is not a masculine pursuit—in order to move toward an appreciation of the athleticism and artistry involved in this line of work?

On an average day at the job, I handle lithe, lovely women, engage in duels and delight in the experience of an exotic locale. I move like a gymnast or martial artist and embody the vilest of pimps or the most chivalrous and passionate of lovers. I constantly expand the borders of my physical capabilities, and I hone my mind to a quick-learning, focused edge. Come 8 p.m., I'll fuse dynamic movement and storytelling with the grandeur of a full live orchestra.

Yes, I'm proud of my profession. Yet I find myself slightly guarded when I tell people what I do. Like some sort of incurable blight, the male-dancer stereotype has taken root and metastasized in our cultural consciousness. Pioneers like Baryshnikov or Nureyev might have opened some minds, but their days have long passed, and despite the noble efforts of a handful of current ballet leaders to expose fresh audiences to our art form, a whole new generation looks at male dancing with skewed vision. Some of my peers are foreigners; in many other countries male dancers are held in higher esteem. I studied in Russia for a year and always marveled at the way Russians celebrated their artists, whether their medium was dance, music or the written word. But I'm American, and I want to live in my own country, as a dancer, with some respect.

The most irritating aspect of the male-dancer stereotype is the underlying insinuation that we in some way lack strength of character or a courageous spirit. Male and female, all dancers undergo strenuous training from a very young age, and constantly wrestle with injuries and fatigue. But male dancers must possess a special type of will and fortitude if they are to become professionals, for, like fish swimming upstream, we have to fight through the current of thinly veiled contempt that much of society harbors for our chosen path. In our culture, girls are encouraged to take ballet; boys receive no such endorsement, except of course from ballet teachers or exceptionally supportive parents. The boy who perseveres in dance must have a genuine hunger for it, must be uniquely motivated and dedicated, and must develop a truly thick skin.

I started taking ballet when I was 5. My open-minded parents thought it was a good way to channel my rambunctious behavior. A few years later I was hooked. I loved the physicality and, of course, the girls, but I also learned that not everyone recognized the value of dance the way I did. I don't remember the first fight I got into for being a kid who took ballet, but I remember fighting a lot before I realized that maybe I should keep my extracurricular activities to myself. But ballet was rewarding enough to be worth a fat lip or a black eye, and I emerged from my years of dance training more focused than ever. My background is not unusual among my American colleagues—they share similar stories of discouragement, harassment and even violence. But these experiences served to harden resolve and develop courage, and I know I can always count on several of my dancer buddies for steadfast support—they got my back! Ironically, the stereotype of the sissy male dancer has given rise to a male dancer who is anything but.

It's frustrating that I feel obliged to extol the virtues and describe the rigors of my profession. I'd just like to make it known that the path of the male dancer isn't necessarily easy—as with any truly worthwhile endeavor—but the rewards can be limitless. I feel lucky to have discovered a vocation that has allowed me to glimpse the great depth of human potential, both physical and mental, and has given me the opportunity to bring joy to so many people in so many places. I feel there is honor in the arts, in the world of dance, in the realm of male ballet dancing.

Exposure to ballet is all that is needed to open minds, for the combination of athletic movement, ardent drama and beautiful music can instill a profound appreciation in an audience. But for you out there who still feel compelled to malign male dancers with half-truths and petty stereotypes, well, maybe we need to step outside. I'll leave my tights on.

Sascha Radetsky lives in New York City.

© 2008 Newsweek

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

HNT #47

Happy 'I love my Mac' HNT! This is my portable baby. She goes with me on tour and anywhere else I need to go. I'm composing this on my desktop iMac, and I love it too. We're like a big happy family. I even bought her a pretty red outfit to protect her from the elements.

I hope everyone has a mactastic HNT!