Graziella Baratta Ventura, former Ms. United States 2008, triple threat, dance and fitness pro, and image consultant shares her latest thoughts and projects.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MIA

So in case you've been wondering why I've been a bit MIA online these past 2 weeks, it's because it's "busy season" for dance teachers, and for me personally, it's also "pageant season!" I've got my annual recital coming up in a week which means we have extra rehearsals, plus G-Volution is performing in it as well, and I've got a bunch of new events scheduled for myself and the new G-Volution in the next three- four weeks including our video shoot...all while preparing for the Ms. United States Pageant which happens in 6 weeks in Vegas!!! AHHHHHH! Yes, the cliche saying holds true; "when it rains it pours!" Except, this is good kind of rain :-) I am certainly not complaining, but just a bit overwhelmed.
Amidst all this chaos, today I took some time for myself to get a neck adjustment and laser treatment from my sponsor Dr. Perry. If I don't take the time to make myself relax, even for just 20 minutes, no one will do it for me, and I've also learned the hard way what happens when I expend so much energy without stopping... major BURN OUT! So, my advice to all of you who are movers and shakers like me, take at least 20 minutes out of your day to do something that relaxes you- just for you. In the long run, you'll be more productive and avoid burn- out. There is an Italian saying that my parents always recite to me, and it goes like this: "Chi va piano, va lontano." Translated it means "he who goes slowly, goes far," and this is illustrated by the turtle, an animal who not only happens to be mega slow, but also lives to be hundreds of years old! Did you know that? Well, there go my twenty minutes of relaxation...actually 40 for today including my chiropractic/laser therapy session. It's time for some pageant prep work!

Love and World Peace ;-)

P.S. Above is my official Ms. New York headshot.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My work out on the table

I figured that since these next three weeks will be filled to the brim with extra work for me, that I share some of it with you! Don't worry, it's fun stuff...

I've been working on the marketing of my dance company G-Volution for a number of events: A Master Class, A NYC Arts Festival, my annual dance recital (where I teach), and my friend Leslea's Dance Studio entertainment division.

In addition, I've also created a press-kit for GV and for my image consulting company B.Youneek.

Opinions, suggestions? I'd love to hear them all!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hurry Up...Learn this!

Web 2.0, a term being loosely thrown around in the "tech" community, is certainly not as well- known to the average Joe & Jane. I heard the term back when I was getting my second degree in Graphic & Web design in 2004. I don't know who all of you are reading my blog (although I'd really like to ;-) but chances are that if you're not a web developer, programmer, or avid New York Times reader, you probably don't know what "Web 2.0" is. My definition of Web 2.0 is an enhanced version of the internet as you knew it in the 1990's- Early 2000's with interactive & intelligent features to help people communicate, do business & socialize more efficiently & quickly. In essence, I believe we are becoming not a lazier generation, but a smarter generation that communicates quicker and gets more done in less time...Web 2.0 is helping us focus on the real work that needs to be done, rather than the menial tasks that took us days to complete before this technology existed. Of course, Web 2.0 has also provided us with some fun distractions that can rob us of precious time if we don't use it wisely.

The web is ever- changing, as is all technology with a new development every single day...so, for those of you that still haven't caught up to Web 1.0... get moving! If you're reading this blog, you're likely on the right track :) But, if you are like some of my older relatives who still refer to the internet as "the computer," I suggest you do a little reading...on the computer, that is! I also encourage you to encourage others who are not on the Web 2.0 bandwagon, as it will make your life and their lives easier once they've caught up to technology. I stumbled upon these two videos that describe Web 2.0- check them out, and enjoy!

Here's the creative video explaining Web 2.0


Here's the more straight forward- "classroom" explanation of Web 2.0

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The New G-Volution



It's what all of us have been waiting for...the G-Volution Makeover! We've been anxious to show our new look thanks some major creative jam- sessions of Leslea Clark & I! We came up with what we thought represented the eclectic G-Volution best, so here is the new site design and photos...but you'll have to wait for the new videos ;-) These things take time, don't you know that people? (G-Volution attitude)....J/K! And just FYI- any G-Volution News will now be featured on the G-Blog.

From the Previous G-Volution Girls Blog
G
-Volution
is proud to re-announce two new members to the dance troupe: Morgan Busso and Vanessa Cava! Read what our beautiful and talented newcomers have to say about the audition process and being a part of G-Volution!

Morgan Writes: "Auditioning for G-volution was a great experience. At first, of course I was a bit nervous, as I would be at any audition. I was also really excited at the same time because G-volution looked like a company that I wanted to be a part of. I checked out the website, watched the videos and thought that's exactly what I want to be doing! Running into a friend from college that I used to
dance with at the audition was a great surprise and definitely eased my nerves. In the first round of auditions we learned part of a Hip Hop piece and then a Musical Theater piece (to "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" from one of my favorite movies, Moulin Rouge!). Then we were informed that my friend Vanessa and I had made it to the second round and so far were the 2 finalists. We were given time to practice the 2 dances as another group went in for their first round. I was really happy to be a finalist with Vanessa and was really hoping that we would both make the company. After showing the pieces one more time and a short interview, we found out we both got in! I am truly excited and thankful to be a part of G-volution. Right away the girls welcomed me into the G-volution family and to sum it all up being a part of G-volution is really a dream come true!"

Vanessa Writes: "The audition for G-Volution Dance Company was by far the most versatile audition I've ever been on, and so much fun too! Graziella started by teaching a hip hop routine to a Missy Elliot song, who happens to be one of my favorite artists, so immediately I was having a good time. I have to admit I was nervous at first because I didn't know how many dancers she was looking for, but since the first routine was hip hop, my greatest passion, I was excited. Later we switched gears, and dance shoes, and learned a musical theater number to "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend." You can't get more playful and girly then that! I had such a good time and absolutely loved that Graziella and her dancers have a broad spectrum of dance styles to share. I can't wait to be on stage!"


We're glad these two are a part of the G-Volution family, and look forward to many amazingly successful performances together!
Stay tuned for more G-Volution Makeover News Coming Soon!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Central Park Workout Day

I was fortunate enough to experience a very rare, and exciting event in New York City courtesy of Self Magazine, The Bratskeir Company & my amazing manager, Catherine- The Self Magazine Workout in the Park, a fitness extravaganza! Sponsor tents lined the event as attendees were treated to give- aways and samples from Lancome, Silk Soy Milk, Kellogs, Clarins, Quaker Oats, Seiko, Crunch Fitness, Crystal Light, Circulon Cookware and more. It was unbelievable to see so many people working out together at the same time! I attended with my sister Liana, whose turn it was to suffer from a major allergy attack that day (mine was in March). We circled the park area on 72nd street that encompassed the event, and made sure to visit every sponsor to fill up our Self bags...our favorite was Physicians Formula who gave full- sized bronzers :-) Yes, we both like many of the same things, and really should have been born twins instead of 2.5 tears apart, but I was faster. Anyway, Liana was a real trooper and tried some of the different workouts Self was offering throughout the day along with me. It was a blast to workout in the middle of Central Park with thousands of others, something I'm sure you've never tried either! Check this out!!
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After a the 11- 3 workout event, Liana and I decided that we should reward ourselves by having lunch at one NYC's best burger spots, The Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien Hotel. Although it was 25 blocks and 2 avenues away from where we were currently situated, we decided it was well worth the walk, not to mention a good window- shopping experience along 5th Ave! We stopped at Christian Dior & Juicy Couture on our way where I gathered some inspiration for my national competition evening gown... but, that's a secret for now ;-) Upon arrival at the Burger Joint, we were clearly famished and devoured our cheeseburgers and fries instantly after 30 more minutes of waiting for our food to be cooked. Delish! :-) We didn't even feel guilty afterwards because we worked out before, and actually had to walk the 25 blocks and 2 avenues back to where our car was parked afterwards- excellent!
On our way back, I found this building that I proclaimed mine...it had a really pretty crown emblem on it! It was an awesome, and productive Saturday!

I feel a renewed sense of excitement & inspiration to continue my workouts in preparation for the Ms. United States Pageant coming up soon, in July!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Plate is Full.

I had to workout, eat, and make an all- important decision today...so I taped this blogcast!

A HUGE Thank You to Leslea, who made me cry today (in a good way), and inspired me to do great things! I Love You :)

video**Chat with me tonight at 9:45 PM Eastern on Ustream and tell me about your plate!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Age is Ancient



I consider myself a pretty "new- age" type of person, but have you ever stopped to think of what it really means? No, it doesn't mean that you are forward thinking, but rather backward thinking, in essence. This is because most or all of what we consider to be "New Age" is really quite ancient, and rooted in practices and cultures that came way before us. It is only in the past thirty years or so that Western culture has come to learn more about these ancient practices that are known as "New Age."

What's New Age about me? Well, having a Mom who is very open- minded and also an Aquarius (a very free- spirited sign), and a Dad who is a Leo (strong- willed independent thinker), I grew up with a broad belief system. I was taught to examine everything around me and come up with my own conclusions rather than "go by the book." Kinda cool, yes, but also confusing...yet very educational. I studied about the Renaissance in Italy (where this pic is from), and it was the best thing I did for myself! I really feel like we're in somewhat of a second Renaissance right now...I say this because we are reexamining history to create a greater awareness in our world in health, spirituality and social issues, and combining it with technology.

Without going too off topic and making this a novel, I've made some worthwhile changes in my lifestyle that are New Age such as:
1- Changing my eating habits to include more whole foods (aka whole veggies & grains, protein and organic foods that are not processed or "boxed"). I feel healthier, more energetic, and happier...plus I lost about 10 lbs without really trying :)

2- I meditate for balance. This is something I thought I'd never, ever do. I'm really "uppity," so it took me a while to get the hang of mediating, but I love it now. It helps me to focus better, it calms me, and allows me to process & acknowledge all that's going on in my life.

3- I give thanks in my own way every day. I guess this kinda goes along with the meditating thing. Whatever your religion (I believe all religions basically mean the same thing), I think it's important to give thanks to Big People Up There (hahaha). Even though I may have a terrible day, I think of the things I'm thankful for all the time to put life into perspective.

4- I live one day at a time...this is tough for me because I'm a "planner." I try to savor every moment as much as I can, because after all...this IS LIFE!

Are you a New- Ager? If so, how? Or...do you think this stuff is NUTS? I'd like to know :-)
Email me
or comment on the little link below (u don't have to have an account to do this)

Ok, enough deep stuff...I'm off till next time!
Ciao ;-)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Auditioning in NYC

Smack in the middle of my busiest day of the week, I ran into Manhattan for an audition to be a host for FUSE TV. Auditions can be as easy- breezy as a conversation, like today's...or, they can be hours, hours, and hours long- even days! I've been on long open calls that have lasted weeks (yes, weeks), such as the New York Red Bulls audition a few years ago. There was a preliminary audition with choreography and dance technique, then after the first cut, we did a totally different dance. This was learned within a span of 20- 30 minutes. After that, we were called in for a final cut (for the day), and those finalists (and I) went on to audition a 2nd day two weeks later, filmed a TV promo, and then had mini- interviews. A few weeks after that, we had formal interviews with one of the heads of the New York Red Bulls Soccer team. After a few weeks, I then got a call that I made it onto the New York Red Bulls Dance Team! Yikes- I better had made it after all that, jeez! Anyways, I know that's the nature of the business, but it's really a relief when auditions are like today's...short and sweet! Then again, did they really see all of my potential by the few words I spoke?! Who knows what works best. All I do know is that when I'm relaxed and don't even "care" anymore is when I get the job! Seriously....when I'm just nonchalant! I have so much energy, that I think sometimes I need to tone it down.
So, what does it take for you to get the job?
Check out my few words for FUSE TV
video
Thanks for bringing me in today, Sean!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

What To Do On Your Day Off...

video
I was blessed with an unexpected day off today...but, as usual, I don't know how to "take it easy!" I think part of the reason is that I am a freelancer and pretty much make my own schedule other than the dance classes I teach and rehearsals I run regularly. So, I work round- the- clock from home, and because it's a home-office, work never goes away! It stares me in the face, and I think I need to learn to "separate." I was dragging my feet yesterday because of my increasingly fast paced & long work days , and you would think that I would relax right? I always feel I need to be productive, otherwise my day is a waste. Who feels this way? What do you do on your days off? Work? Play? I want to know, please leave a comment below!