Posts Categorized: Copenhagen

ballet + Copenhagen + denmark + In My Next Life + Life / Friday, 15 Feb 2013

In my next life: Ballerina

photography by Amanda Thomsen
I’m super pleased to introduce a new monthly column to Lars and it’s been a long time in coming. Let me explain. Growing up I felt like I was meant to be a ballet dancer. My mom was a dancer, my aunt was a dancer, and clearly I was also supposed to be one as well. The problem is that my ballet teacher didn’t agree. I was “too chubby” to audition for the Nutcracker at the age of 8. Now, it may seem harsh, but in all honesty, I was tubby and most likely awkward because I was definitely shy and turned bright red when anyone spoke to me. Not a great combo for a graceful dancer. My mom instantly took me out of ballet and enrolled me in tennis and cello and I continue to play to this day. Ultimately, she didn’t want me to grow up in a world where weight and appearance was a factor that dictated her life and I’m very glad she directed me in another direction. I’m also very happy with how my childhood and adolescence played out so though I still would have loved to have been a dancer (and with the right body type), I’m satisfied with the talents and skills I’ve been able to develop. No harm done!

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some jobs that I wouldn’t like to try in my next life. Enter new column. This whole internet thing has exposed me to jobs that I never knew existed. Paper floral designer? Color expert? Cupcake maker? Come on, these are dream jobs! In fact, I was going to label this column “Dream Jobs”, but thought that they’re someone’s reality so “In my next life” it is. Every month I’ll feature a different person who inspires me in their chosen profession. First up? Christina Michanek.
Christina Michanek is a soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet. She’s also a good friend of mine and my former landlord. Ha! Paul and I lived on the top floor of her house that she and her husband were renovating. You would think that friendship + landlord could be a recipe for disaster, but these two are the best. I’m their biggest fan. You won’t find two more kind and hardworking people. Part of the reason I was so sad to leave Denmark was because we wouldn’t be by them (and their adorable 2 year old). 
Christina generously invited my mom and me to attend a dress rehearsal of a brand new show at the Ballet in September at the Opera House, The Golden Cockerel (or Den Gyldne Hane), an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov that was turned into a ballet with original choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. She said that the sets and costumes reminded her of me and my jaw just about dropped when I saw them. They’re bright and bold and colorful (see below). They’re the original designs from Ballet Russes. I invited Amanda Thomsen, the awesome photographer with whom I shared a studio in Copenhagen, to come along and document the day. She takes us through from the practice, getting ready and finally the dress rehearsal with her beautiful photos.
Mom and I had a ball watching The Golden Cockerel. Though the story is over-the-top (like all operas), I loved the dancing and original choreography. There was an exotic spin on traditional ballet. I also loved the costumes. It was definitely a feast for the eyes. I tend to like dress rehearsals better than the real thing because you get to hear the banter between the director, maestro, and dancers. It’s a bit more entertaining when you add in the real life drama.
With that in mind, Christina was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Did you always want to be a dancer? 
Before I knew ballet and ballet dancers even existed I wanted to be a librarian. The library was such a magical place for me. It was like a church for stories. And I dreamed of being this superlibrarian who could tell people as soon as I saw them what they should get! 

How did you get into dancing? 
An American missionary who was dancing at Ballet West in Utah, Candice Taylor, made a little dance for all the young girls in my church congregation for a Christmas activity. Ever since she danced for us I was hooked!

Were there people along the way in your field who you admired or helped you shape the decision to be a dancer?
In the school it was my friend Ulrik Birkjær (now principal the company) who was my ‘source’ or his ambition and ballet interest just made him the one I could ask ballet questions and he inspired me to aspire higher. Still does. Apprentice years and early dancer years it was Adam Lüders, Caroline Cavallo, Sorella Englund and Nikolaj Hübbe.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The feeling of moving in space led by my own musicality. The drama we get to enjoy! I’m a drama junkie! I’ll do a death scene any day any time. The theater magic of costumes, stage light and a live orchestra. 
Is there anything you could do without?
I could do without the judging, elbowing, never good enough chase for perfection. And that it takes forever to get in shape and four days to get out of it…that’s almost evil. 

How do you juggle being a wife/mother with your job?
I make sure to leave work at work and don’t bring it home. And if I need to take a nap before a show I do it in the living room preferably in the beanbag on the floor so it’s easy for my son to play on and around me. FaceTime helps a lot too then we can blow kisses to each other and sing songs and play games. It was a great help when I went on tour recently. 

What’s one of the most memorable moments of your career?
Some of my favorite moments… Watching a colleague on their 40th jubilee and seeing old pictures and video and sensing their love for their work and how much they are loved for sharing their talent. 
First Sylph rehearsal is a special memory too. As soon as Nikolaj [Hübbe, the director of the ballet] had left the studio I let out a little scream and involuntary leap of joy and then I got a little embarrassed cause he could probably hear me. 
Romeo and Juliet balcony pas de deux with Ulrik in Japan. I stole a moment to just soak in the stage, the music, the moment and save it in my heart and mind and it made me shiver with delight. 
Watching Nikolaj dance Apollo in a small proconsul theater, sitting in the wing so fascinated that I almost was on stage! I’m pretty sure he didn’t mind at all. 
I have a lot of favorite moments. 

I loved watching Christina dance. She is pure passion and love for the art. I’m also very lucky to call her my friend. She is beauty, kindness, and integrity. Thank you, Christina, for being letting us follow you around.
Stay tuned for next month’s In My Next Life.

Do you have a dream job? What is it? 
Thank you to Det Kongelige Teater for allowing us to take up some space in the practice room and letting us wander around backstage.

Photography by Amanda Thomsen
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Copenhagen + flowers + giveaway + Life + This week / Friday, 19 Oct 2012

This Week & giveaway

How has another week gone by and we’re already in mid October?! I swear! Fall is in full force here in Copenhagen, yet I can’t help but think of Washington, DC, particularly Georgetown, where you can experience the very best shades of fall in the world. I’m a bit biased, but that’s my claim. But you tell me, where’s the best place in the world to experience fall?

This week:
Our trip to Provence and the tres cool apartment we stayed in
How make colorful flag garlands
Outfit to Room
This is how I would bring fall into my wedding on Brooklyn Bride 
I’ve been loving listening to Grace Bonney’s radio show, After The Jump, this week

Giveaway! 
Remember the telegram service, Telegram Stop, that I mentioned a few weeks ago? All you have to do is go to their site, type in your message and they will send it off for you. It’s the best! Well, 10 lucky readers will win a FREE telegram. Wahoo! All you have to do is “like” The House That Lars Built on Facebook, and then leave a comment below letting me know. Bonus points if you share the news! Winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 24th.

And if you don’t want to enter the giveaway (as if!), you can still get 10% off all of your telegrams by enterting LARSHOUSE at checkout on their site. Ready go!

photo taken on my iphone via Instagram at the flower boutique selling the most lovely shades of cabbages 

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Copenhagen + denmark + House + Life / Monday, 27 Aug 2012

Three minutes.

“You have three minutes” he told me. That’s how long Paul gave me to take his photo in front of this not-so-Danish garden home (aka kolonihave). He is so good about finding spots around town he’ll know I’ll gush over and this was one of them. Of course, he should know by now that that also means he has to be my subject. Or at least he knows it now. I love it when someone goes outside the ordinary and even provides a little resting bench outside for snoopers like us.

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Copenhagen + Life + This week / Friday, 24 Aug 2012

This week

We’re currently staying at our friend’s place for the week located right by the Marble Church (Marmorkirken) and we’re loving it! Remember what it’s like to step right outside and have your choice of restaurants, grocery stores, and cute shops? Oh man, I miss this proximity! There’s the BEST shop across the street, Fil de Fer, whose owner Lars Kristensen, has packed with the most exquisite home furnishings from France. I want it all (like these chairs above shot in front of the store front). The edible flowers, above, were picked from the garden outside our real home that we placed on our Sunday meal.

This week:
We spotted the most lovely flower boxes in Austria last week
Super beautiful florists, Bornay, out of Barcelona
Outfit to Room
Pixelated post-it staircase
Interviewed Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland over on Brooklyn Bride

REMINDER! Craftenhagen is TONIGHT! Hope to see you there! 19:00 AHLEFELDTSGADE 33 (bring 75kr for materials)

photos taken from my iphone on Instagram

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Blog'nhagen + Copenhagen + denmark + Life / Tuesday, 7 Aug 2012

Blog’nhagen FINALE!

Dry up those tears, I know it’s tough to see the end finally arrive. Blog’nhagen part 4 starts….now!

After a tour of Ibsens hotel in the afternoon we headed across town to A XOCO by Anthon Berg, a chocolatier. Jesper Rahbek is the man behind A XOCO and he was so kind to give us a lesson on how to make flødeboller or as he called them “foam kisses” in English. Flødeboller are super Danish: a marshmallow type cream on top of a cookie or marzipan and dipped in chocolate. Then you can get super crazy and add toppings like strawberries or pistachios. Jesper even revealed to us his secret recipe. Gasp! You can also do a class at their Chocolate School, which I would highly recommend.

We started out by making the cream and then squeezing it onto the marzipan pieces. Some were a little more successful than others…I’m not naming names. 
Jesper was super patient with us. We were like kids in, uh, a candy store.

 While some of us remained classy, like Thea.

Then it was off to Antom Dam, a furniture and home design store in Frederiksberg.

 where we found out that pillows can be used for the sofa and for your face.

The owner was so kind and provided the prize for the winner of the Love My Guide tour competition.
Lastly, off to Sticks ‘n Sushi to pick up our dinner to take to our picnic.
Then off to our last stop of the evening, the blogger’s meet-up at Islands Brygge Havnebad

 Where we pretty much devoured our food. Anne has the perfect model hands.

It was GREAT fun to meet up with other bloggers and supporters from around Copenhagen. We were joined by the people of Everplaces and other friends who I had met at The Hive in May.

 JJ was the winner of the Love My Guide tour and came home with a VIPP pedal bin. I’m quite jealous.

I was so thrilled when Juliane of Froken Skicklig came with a tart in hand and hand-picked strawberries. 

Well, I believe that’s it! We had such a great time and were so thrilled to see so many people at the meet-up. I wish I had more pics of everyone. The rest of the pics are going up on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for more Blog’nhagen coming to a city near you! And if you haven’t had a chance to see the Blog’nhagen video, you must do so!

Thank you to EVERYONE involved! For the bloggers for taking the time to come and share the day. For the sponsors for allowing us to take over your place for a bit. And a big thank you to At Hermans and Ferm Living for providing goody bags. And a thank you to Maria for being my partner in crime. We’ve been trying to find a project to do together for ages and I think we made the perfect team.

And another thank you to Ashley of Chasing Heartbeats, Jenny of Dos Family, Thea from Sister Mag for letting me use some of your photos!

Check out parts 1, 2, 3, sneak peek

If you’d like to be involved with Blog’nhagen by either becoming a sponsor or blogger please email us at blognhagen@gmail.com 

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