“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.”- Chaim Potok

the {Concert}.

Posted on May 15, 2015

Springtime. s i g h. Even the thought of it flirts with fresh flavors of fruit and smitten sunlight. I can’t get enough.

…and here we are… half way through May and wrapping up what has been a long, challenging and fulfilling season – my second with Boston Ballet.

Last night we opened our final program with a variety in repertoire not nearly diminished by a generous audience over at the Boston Opera House... The Thrill of Contact (performed now thru May 24th) suggests exactly that – a dynamic palate of dance not limited to any one style, form or freedom…

Opening with George Balanchine’s ‘Theme and Variations,’ a masterful effort “…to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tschaikovsky’s music” (said Mr. B himself) …picture poise and timeless technique beneath the grandeur of a crystal-laden chandelier…

Next up reveals our very own Jeffrey Cirio’s world premiere of ‘fremd‘ – an innovative stretch “to reach outside the box with no inhibitions” — followed no less, by William Forsythe’s distinguished ‘The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude‘ – a short albeit powerful tour de force set to the honorable score of Schubert — last week we had the honor of partaking in a two hour “Skype Rehearsal,” where Forsythe proceeded to translate his visions from the likes of an apartment in Germany, fine-tuning and challenging us all from the mind-blowing confines of a computer screen…if that’s not a sign of the times, I’m not quite sure what is.

Last but not least, the comedic study of people portrayed through the endlessly entertaining mind of Jerome Robbins in ‘The Concert.’ I had the pleasure of performing this brilliant ballet, set to the soothing score of Chopin (played live on stage) during my career with Royal Danish Ballet, and this revival has been the sweetest opportunity to conjure and create new memories.

So here we are! The final stretch of a marathon Season, Summer fast approaching with indulgent dreams of trading satin shoes for sandals and buns for bathing suits… Does it not seem like yesterday we were aloft with visions of deceitful birds and feather-weighted burdens?!

Well we’ve made it. The next adventure is ours for the taking :)

Below… Some throwback photographs of Royal Danish Ballet’s production of The Concert – (photographers credited below) The Concert - David Amzallag The Concert - David Amzallag 06_prt.ashx The Concert - David Amzallag The Concert - David Amzallag 02_prt.ashxp.s. If you haven’t indulged yourself in any of Chopin’s musical mastery in a while, I highly suggest you lend an afternoon walk to a few of his piano sonatas… Or you could always just pop into the Opera House for a ballet or two :)

See you from the stage!


{spring} awakening.

Posted on April 23, 2015

Now that Boston’s epic Winter has taken its final bow, I thought I’d relish a bit in the light of longer days here on Tutus&Tea

How exciting is it to cross over to the sunny side of the street, detouring your routine walks to soak up that feeling of warmth we grew to forget…that moment when green sprouts decorate barren brick sidewalks & cherry blossoms blOOm at long last…a sound asleep S P R I N G has finally awoken. Boston Blossoms

This week I had the pleasure of stumbling upon a few pieces of timeless advice, I found apropos to share with you all… tiny bits of blissful thought to carry you into this Season of regrowth & rapture.

High off of an inspiring weekend in New York City where I took my sister to see An American in Paris (*most highly recommend!*), I stumbled upon this quote from a broadway actor that resonated with me beautifully:

“Being a performer is really not about the two and a half hours you’re performing onstage — it’s about how you stay grounded and happy the remaining twenty something hours of the day.” Amos Wolff"Take 5"

I thought about that for a while…and realized that while we dancers “live” for those precious minutes on Stage, it’s really how we stay balanced as people that contributes so honestly to the moments we share with an audience.

Casually scrolling through Instagram, getting lost in my thoughts, I next fell upon this one:

“We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way. Appreciation is a wonderful feeling, don’t overlook it.” (Unknown)

…could that not be more true?! Such obvious, humbling wisdom. Spring BlossomsSo as we fall into the warmer days of Spring, I’ll just suggest a little reminder to look up. Smell the Flowers. Chase the Sunlight. Enjoy the journey. Appreciate your friends. Love your Art, & live to Share it. Shelby Elsbree by Kenneth Edwards

In closing, this brilliant advice from a Tree:

Stand Tall and Proud

Go out on a Limb

Remember your Roots

Drink Plenty of Water

Be Content with your natural beauty

Enjoy the View.

Happy Spring!

blossoms&beauty ~ p.e.

Posted on April 21, 2015

{silent} stacks…

A white marble alcove, grand statues we found

A haven where stories and secrets abound

With dawn came the morning, a peaceful resound

A place where so many a lost soul surround

A barer of lessons both small and profound

A chance to let thoughts dance, and dually rebound

A morning of quiet in a city renowned

A sleepless dream’s answer, when no one’s around.

Shelby Elsbree NYPL Shelby Elsbree NYPL Shelby Elsbree NYPLPhotographed by the loveliest Karolina Kuras one very early morning at the New York Public Library. Dreamy Dress designed by Louiza Babouryan.

dreaming at dawn ~ p.e.

let them eat cake.

Posted on March 30, 2015

Once upon a Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cake, there ate three girls. Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Desperate to find the forlorn flavors of Spring, they gathered round a joyous effort of citrus-laden confection—willing the likes of frozen berries to suffice amongst the complimentary combination of flour, eggs, ricotta and sugar…Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

In perpetual anticipation of leaves on trees and Vitamin D’s…they sat dreaming over a celebratory sweet, raising glasses of Malbec to the finish of winter’s final bow—a gentle Sunday snowfall that rebelled against late March’s better attempts at seasonal turnover. Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Another repertoire conquered. Another bright attempt at forgetting the most epic of mother Winters.

They strongly suggest you share in this successful marriage of flavors, in hope that sister SpRiNg is ripe & ready to show off her coat of many colors. They wrote a break-up note. They ate more cake. {recipe below}Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Dear Snow, 

But how many feet did you greedily fall, on a City fatigued by a white winter’s call?

So steady you came and so stubborn you stuck, on brick-laden streets you abused frozen luck

It was three months ago you arrived heavy-handed, now return us our streets you left comically stranded

It’s Spring’s turn to thrive and make up for your loss, we trade flakes for flowers, make sunshine the boss

In case you don’t get it, we’re making it clear, this courtship is OVER, you’re not welcome here.

You’ve defied mother nature, you negligent weather, we will never. ever. ever. get back together.

Love Boston.

Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Sweet Dreams are Made of These.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the likes of 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1.5 cups of whole-milk ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and the zest of one organic lemon (this is the secret ingredient…shhhh)

4. Gently mix wet ingredients into dry until just blended, and then gradually fold in 1 stick (113 grams) of melted, unsalted butter, followed by 3/4 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen). Scrape batter into prepared cake pan, smoothing it evenly, and top it with 1/4 more raspberries for show.

5. Bake cake until golden brown and delightfully fragrant 45-50 minutes (check with knife/toothpick to be sure it’s done). Let cool. Be cool.

(adapted gratefully from Orangette)

Happy Monday Merry Makers! Let’s stay inside all day wearing shorts and pretend it’s not Snowing.




Posted on March 18, 2015

Shelby-1825This very day marks a special place in my heart each year, one that merits – at the very least- a moment of humble reflection here on Tutus&TeaNew York City, Central Park

It was 6 years ago to this mid-month of March that I packed up my many bags and moved from the sleepless city of Manhattan across the Atlantic to start my professional dancing career with the Royal Danish BalletNew York City

I wondered wide-eyed down the cobblestoned streets of Copenhagen with not the faintest idea of what the next four years there would behold. Sweet diction can hardly suffice to sum up my experience living and working in that quaint European gem of a city…Needless to say not a day passes that I don’t indulge myself in the most luxurious memories…CopenhagenWhispering rooftops, Royal families, famed streets & statues, I dove headfirst into the most beautiful, humbling life-perspective shift I could have asked for…and never looked back.Rooftops of Copenhagen…until that is, a time and place in my life & career came that beckoned me back over the Deep Blue Sea. The divinely orchestrated chapter of my life in Denmark came to a close as I packed my suitcases full of sacred memories, and made my way to Boston, Massachusettes where I now dance for the Boston Ballet. The irony was that this move occurred on the exact same day, March 17th, a fast four years later.

shelby59…and now here we are. I’ve had the pleasure of calling Boston home for two years to the day, and in that short period of time have had the luxury of joining another family of talented dancers and incredible friends at the heart-wrenching expense of leaving one behind…Boston BalletIt’s funny how life seems to know just when to tie things together for you, even when it might seem chaotic or overwhelming at the moment…there’s a beautiful gift in reflecting that allows you to look back and see how and why it was all supposed to make sense. Shelby-1867This week we are rehearsing for a triple-bill in our upcoming Spring repertoire, a program called Shades of Sound that combines Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, George Balanchine’s Episodes, and Hans van Manen’s Black Cake.

Chroma is a genius combination of exotic beauty, stretching contemporary limits beyond bare-white walls, giving dance-dialogue to a story we’ll never know…It’s always been a dream of mine to perform, one that Royal Danish was preparing for just as I left.

Episodes is just one of many masterminded “leotard ballets” of Balanchine’s,  lending neoclassical simplicity to intricate musicality and choreographic brilliance.

It seems fitting that while on stage at the Boston Opera House this very evening, I realized this program is a humbling combination of my New York roots and near-missed opportunity during my last days in Denmark…It all fits together how it’s supposed to, you see.

Sometimes, it just takes a day or dream or two to note well the realities of treasured time.

Here’s to milestones & memories.


{artist} challenge.

Posted on March 12, 2015

Throughout my career as a professional ballet dancer, I don’t think I’ve ever met an artist who doesn’t appreciate a good challenge. I would even dare suggest that we invite challenges into our lives on a daily basis, pushing our bodies and minds beyond normal limits of creative confines and comfort…perpetually seeking that endless climb towards perfection — or better yet, learning to accept our unique imperfections.Shelby by Kenneth

Today’s post was inspired by yet another trending Facebook Challenge targeted towards Artists far and wide – (Three cheers for another encouraging use of Social Media!) This creative class of individuals are challenged to share pictures of their artistic career for 5 days, each day nominating two other artists to do the same. I think this is a most brilliant idea for several reasons. A friend of mine recently told me that she had heard of her musician friends participating in this quite a while ago, and was happy to see it had made its way to performing artists in the dance world…Shelby by Kenneth

Despite my inevitable bias as a dancer, I do feel like the artistic community has formed a beautiful camaraderie of late – dance is permeating the world of athletic advertisement, dominating photographer’s Instagram feeds and waltzing down runways – not to mention its recent balletic influence on broadway! Shelby by Kenneth

I feel like this challenge is such a beautiful reason for artists to reflect on career highlights that have contributed to their own perspectives, while shedding light on the influential friends/colleagues/artists that have likewise shared their talents to make this world a brighter place. Shelby by Kenneth

Recently nominated myself, I look forward to sharing bits and bobs of my own memorable stage moments this week, and to spreading the honor of artistic reflection throughout Facebook & beyond :)

Fittingly, I’d like to thank the lovely artist/photographer Kenneth Edwards who’s work is featured here above…Pop over to my website for more moments from this Studio 4 Shoot

“Art is not what you see, but what you make other’s see.”

~Edgar Degas


Posted on March 5, 2015


This weekend concludes the Boston Ballets run of Lady of the Camelliasa scorned lover’s tale after the famed Alexandre Dumas Fils’ 1848 novel by the same name… It felt lovely to be back on stage again, dancing to the brilliant melodies of Chopin amongst dramatic turns of pointe & plot.

I took a few free moments to capture bits of this beautiful story through my own lens, and was excited to invite you all backstage to catch a glimpse from the wings!

The ever-talented Yuri Yanowsky (pictured below with his wife, Kathleen Breen Combes) will be retiring as “Armand Duval” this coming Sunday – See this lovely tribute in the Boston Globe – I dedicate this post to him and the exciting next chapter of his career! I’m so thankful to have shared the stage with such an eloquent artist…

Act IIIMG_2623 Act II Act II Act II Act II Act II Act II Act III Act III Act III Act III Act III Act IIand Curtain.


 Catch Boston Ballet’s Lady of the Camellias, at the Boston Opera House through March 08, 2015

Choreography by Val Caniparoli, Costumes by Robert Glay de la Rose, Music by Chopin



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