The Seasonal Shift in Scenery and How I Feel About It

The truth? I don’t have to write a Raptors script or blog anymore on a Monday night so I’m filling the time slot with some personal prose. Hi. It’s good to be back.

When the final buzzer echoed at the arena Sunday afternoon, the final buzzer of the season, I realized how invested I am in this team and all that comes with it. And that there were people around me that felt the same way. And that’s really cool. As game watchers trickled out of the arena sharing ‘have a good summer’ wishes and so long for nows, I wasn’t the only one who just silently stood there facing the court for a few moments too long. That buzzer wrapped up an incredible season for the Raptors that made the city and all involved glow. The city was full of remarkable pride and it was praised miles and cities and countries away by people who forgot that Canada had an NBA team. It was a victorious moment even though the game victory wasn’t the Raptors. And the arena stood up and applauded the magic that was. That buzzer also wrapped up my eighth year with the organization and in that moment I felt incredibly blessed. I dabble in a field where work isn’t necessarily stable and where us artists are known for our gypsy ways and I sometimes question whether it’s time to move camp. Then I realize that I’ve moved camp within and that I need to be more reflective of the journey. More confident in my growth. More impressed with myself and not just the escalations of those around me. I began as a dancer or cheerleader and even though that has changed, I’m still a cheerleader when it comes to pushing others to hit their highs. You need to cheer for yourself too sometimes. The only way you were able to advance is because you worked your freakin’ ass off. Dancer, choreographer, host, reporter, social personality and writer. And in this moment, I’ve erased and re-wrote the previous line four times because I hesitate expressing the moment where you yourself shines. I’m working on it. Someone who called me out on exactly that said to me, “You may be the only bible somebody else reads.” It’s a Mark Twain quote. And then they told me to tell my story because someone is listening and it’s exactly what they need to hear. I’ve been blessed to be able to share my passion for the game through more than one outlet that I’m passionate about. I’ve been blessed to be able to share my passion for the game with other people who share the same passion for the game. I’m blessed to have built sincere relationships with people that were once just a connection on a screen; a tweet or a timeline post. 

My sister sent me a beautiful message while I was sitting on set, anticipating ‘go time’ yesterday. She said, ‘Today through all of the stress, the pressure and the frustration, just take a moment, close your eyes and feel. Feel the energy around you and soak it in. Feel the love and support coming your way. Trust that you were meant for today. Have faith, enjoy and breathe.’ When someone sends me wonderful words I like to pass them along. Add it to your day just to see how it feels.

The end of the season is always bittersweet. I miss the passion, the play and the people. I am thankful for the people that have crossed my path and the opportunities that have both scared the shit out of me and changed my life. I also crave a few hours of extra sleep, sitting down with the family and my friends with a big glass of red and no cares and honestly, just a little more time for me. To cook and run and read and clean my unorganized room that has been seasoned by the NBA season. I also look forward to sharing the next few months of thoughts and tangos and thrills on this page. 

Hi. It’s nice to see you again. -kImage

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Alter Ego Explanations.

For those few moments when the lights go up and the music is humming I get to play pretend. It’s my wild high. The game doesn’t really go away from those six year old days where you were both the talent and director and the scene wrapped and Mom had milk and cookies waiting in the kitchen for you. Now it’s a vodka water cheers to a great show waiting at the bar. Now I get handed my costumes and choreography and I call on my alter ego to hang out with for the evening. I’ve always said that as an actor you have to be a little crazy to do what you do. To expose your insides to your peers and strangers. And want to show everybody your flaws. As much as you take on a so called ‘alter ego’ or character or ‘method act’ your way from script to stage or screen, there is always going to be a part of you up there. It could be your mannerisms. It could be your side smile or the way your hand grabs at your necklace when you’re nervous. But most likely there is a word or sentence or scene that triggers a memory. You’ve been here before. You’ve felt what this character is feeling in this moment. It kind of overwhelms you. And your competitive actor self wants to tackle those goosebumps once again. Because it’s that wild high. Because it’s a secret. Because it’s a safe place because no one knows the truth… … …

I’m lucky to call on my alter ego every week for Porcelain. I get to dance my guts out. Here are some quick scenes from our recent show. -k

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It’s Not Just Physical.

As a professional dancer this article hit close to home. ——-> Cheerleader Called Too Chunky

To succeed in the industry requires physical strength. Your calves burn from hours on your toes, your core burns from yoga class in the attempt to perfect your lifts and you cringe through burning muscles and blisters for the love of it all. But your mind shouldn’t burn.

To succeed in the industry requires mental strength. This article is the unfortunate truth of the business. I speak from experience. Do I know people that have let go of their dream because the mind game was too painful? Yes. And it hurts my soul to accept that it will probably never change.

The dance scene knocks at your pride with a daily dose of judgement as you work towards perfection; not only in the steps and style but in the silhouette seen through the lens. The measurements and muscle. The inches fading up and out. Blunt? Absolutely. Reality? Like you wouldn’t believe. Here and there I get asked how I approach this glamour game. I first posted the following as the captain of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak on our blog three years ago but I’ve shared it many times since. And once again I feel it’s appropriate. -k

It’s all about the ABC’S…

February. The month of the groundhog and cupid. The cold nips at your heels and you hit snooze fourteen times before you run to the heat of the shower in the AM. You eat two out of three of your meals in the dark and they probably consist of comfort foods like Mom’s killer macaroni and cheese recipe from your childhood. It’s winter, folks! And the only ones smart enough to hide from the elements are the bears.

I won’t lie. I’ve been in hibernation mode for the past four days. I made it as far as loading new songs onto my iPod in hopes it would give me a motivational kick in the butt to boogie over to the gym. But the -25C windchill puffed out its chest and won. I drank my hot chocolate and marshmallows, ignored that tick of guilt and quietly hummed the winter blues.

Happily adding more marshmallows to my cup of cocoa, I clicked over to Facebook. Raptors lose unlucky 13, storm brews harder in the GTA and a message. Hey Katherine.

A blast from the past. A former student. Now taller than me, a fiercer dancer than me, pursuing that “I want to dance forever” dream she used to talk about in tap class. And getting hit hard by the reality of the business. After a certain point it’s the complete package that clears that next hurdle. It’s what they see when you walk into that audition room that counts.

“What’s your motivation? What’s your secret? What gets your body in the game when your mind says no and vice versa?”

My heart sinks a bit every time the ‘reality of the biz’ swims past me. But it is reality. An evil shark sized reality. And it’s something you need to accept when you decide to follow your dream. That was my first step. So I typed back ACCEPTANCE.

The night before two friends and I were having dinner and over our spinach dip and chips the same topic came up at the table. I’m not perfect. I drink too much coffee and don’t get my eight glasses of water everyday. I eat Doritos when I’m sad and ice cream when I’m happy. And I walk confidently onto that basketball court in a Raptors splashed half top because I now know the meaning of BALANCE. But it took me four years in the professional world, three years in theatre school and many ups and downs to figure it out. Listen to your body, don’t deprive yourself because life is too good for that and on those low days remember how great you feel in spirit when you take care of you.

I was cleaning out my closet and I found an old journal from my theatre school days and splashed across the first page was the saying “CONFIDENCE is beautiful”. It’s not something that is easy to find and hold on to tightly when you’re knocked down daily for your artistic imperfections. And it comes with growth. But when I started believing in myself (I’m at about 94.7% of the time) I started pursuing and conquering bigger hills.

Everybody does it differently. Acceptance, Balance and Confidence. I figured out my equation and I work on my ABC’S. The ‘S’ is for SUPPORT. I told her she has mine. -k

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