Monday, August 31, 2015



I can't believe that this actually finally happened!! :D

Okay so if you follow me on Twitter, you would know that I am a huge fan of the dancer Teddy Coffey. If not, you can kindly read this fun piece. :) 

Teddy and "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 10 alum Nico Greetham, along with other swell dancers, were in a dance performance this past weekend at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater called "Pearl The Show", which celebrates the life of prize-winning writer Pearl S. Buck and how she is a connection between East and West cultures, China and America specifically. It tells her story in correlation to the Chinese poem ”Spring, River, Flower, Moon, Night”.

In an effort to support my favorite dancer while he was back on this east coast and because it is about a female writer, I decided to attend opening night on Thursday, August 27. My parents came along with me, as well as my Aunt Maria "Ea", whom we brought to celebrate her birthday. My aunt actually told me that this was the best birthday of her life. Beforehand we had dinner at P.J. Clarke's, which treated us very well. I recommend the Pickled Cabbage Burger. ;)

I correspond with Teddy and his family every so often so I told them that I was going to be there. His family was attending the same show that I was, so we hoped to meet each other, which we did! I saw his father Bob first and then scanned the rest of his group and recognized the other members, which included Teddy's mom Pam and of course his Aunt Cindy. I was like, "It's them!" so I ran over to them and tapped Bob's shoulder. They recognized me right away and embraced me with thrill and open arms and introduced me to Teddy's Uncle Greg and grandparents. We took some pictures, talked a bit, and resolved to meet up again after the show to hopefully see Teddy.

Bob leaned towards me and said, "We're going to blow up the Internet now, aren't we?" and laughed.

Totally! ;)

Taken and tweeted by Bob Coffey

Let me take this opportunity to talk a bit about the show itself. First of all, this theater is gorgeous! The whole thing is just set up so nicely inside and out! When you first enter the lobby, the walls and floors are made of marble and there are golden sculptures in various locations. Inside the house, there is this enormous bright chandelier!

The show, choreographed and directed by Daniel Ezralow and composed by Jun Miyake, is a beautiful work with intricate movement. The whole time I was thinking, "I don't know how these dancers do it." The lighting, Miyake's composition, sets, costumes, and other details add extra ingredients to the show to make a spectacular piece. While watching I was thinking, "I want a dance performance choreographed about my life now! Can I get a dance show choreographed about my life now?" Like what Teddy and Nico messaged me the morning of the show, the show was a different experience. However, it did remind me of Peak Performances at Montclair State University's Alexander Kasser Theater. It was so great to see Teddy and Nico perform live again.

I loved seeing Teddy's name and bio on the edge of the page as soon as I opened the Playbill! :D

As planned, I met up with the Coffey family after the show and Teddy's family met my family. The Coffeys, myself, and my mother all walked outside to the stage door to hopefully see Teddy. Nico actually came out first and met the Coffeys for the first time that night as well. Pam then brought me to his attention and he was like, "Oh, Stef Sears!" as if he recognized my name and hugged me. I told him that we met in Tom's River for the SYTYCD Tour 2013 and he told me that he knows me from social media! He also said that he likes my Jersey accent and that I am nice. :D

His fan Marta was there supporting him and we bonded over both being from New Jersey. lol

Nico left to the front of the theater and Teddy came out shortly after. Upon seeing him I gasped a bit and was like "This is it!" While I was seated on a bench, he greeted his family and began to talk with them. Pam then told him that I was right behind him and he turned around and saw me...

"STEF!" he exclaimed as he bent over to hug me! I jumped up from my seat and then we embraced and it was glorious!!!! While we hugged I looked up to the sky and was like, "Finally!" :D

"You look great in person," he said with a smile after we parted.

"Thank you!" I responded, "So do you."

After he and my mother met each other and shook hands, he saw that I had my camera out. 

"Do you want to take a picture?" he asked.

Duh. ;)

So then we took pictures!!! :D

You guessed it. These pictures are now my computer's desktop! lol!

You guys, I have been wanting to hug Teddy Coffey and have my very own photos taken with him after seeing so many other fans do the same and have their own for so long all of these months. This feels like such an accomplishment, such a check off of my bucket list. 

Also, get this! Teddy is known for his famous Polaroid camera and pictures and he actually wanted to take a photo of us with the camera. After my mother took the above photos, we shifted a bit so Pam could take the shot with the Polaroid. When it started to develop, Teddy handed it to me and said, "Here, you can have it." So now I have my very own Teddy Coffey Polaroid picture! I'm so honored! I was thinking about where to store the photo and then later on that night came up with an idea. That photo is now safe and secure in my wallet. It's perfect wallet size! I love to look at it and carry it around with me. :)

I might put it in photo pockets, but I think it looks better in here. :)
The most valuable item in my wallet. :) Next to, you know, my money, my cards, my license...

Such a lovely keepsake :)

It actually came in handy too. I went to the bank on Friday and told the bankers about the night. I had left my camera at home, but was able to show them the Polaroid photo. 

Teddy and I also made this shout out video for his fans:

Teddy chatted with his family and myself a bit more before he left to go to the front of the theater himself. My mother and I parted with the Coffeys at this point as well. But before we did, Bob said to me, "Now, Stef, keep us posted now, okay?"

Perplexed, I cocked my head and asked, "About what?"

"Everything!" he answered. He, Pam, and the rest of the Coffey family then laughed in unison.

I am so honored because even though I am their kid's fan, they are interested in MY life. I think even Teddy said that he wanted me to keep him updated about my future interviews.

Out front, I motioned Teddy over to us again to meet my father and my aunt, who didn't come along with my mom and I to the stage door but still wanted to meet him. After sharing some more words and hugs with Teddy, I followed my family to the car, feeling so giddy, a feeling that lasted the rest of the night and even to this day.

In fact, here is an accurate representation of that:

Lol. I couldn't resist. :P This was one of the new Bitstrips last night and it was too perfect.

When I got home and shared the news, my online friends were all so happy for me. :)

I want to emphasize once again how these dancers, as well as their families if I meet them, treat you like you are their friend, not just a starstruck fan. They act as if we've known each other for years! The humbleness! I felt this way when I met the Season 10 dancers at the SYTYCD Tour 2013, when I met Chehon Wespi-Tschopp for his CheForce Dance! The Convention Tour, and when I met Serge Onik, Jacque LeWarne, Casey Askew, Nick Garcia, and the rest of the performers I chose for my "Ballroom with a Twist" Meet and Greet at the NJPAC, which was also an incredible night this past July:

L-R: Top Row - Casey Askew, Nick Garcia, Anna Trebunskaya, Tristan McManus, Stef Sears, Dmitry Chaplin, Serge Onik, Gina Ruzicka (nee Glocksen) (From "American Idol" Season 6! I saw her on tour too so it was so great to see her perform again and meet her! :D)
Bottom Row - Jacque LeWarne, Lacey Schwimmer

It's such a privilege to know these people because not every fan has this opportunity with those they admire so I am extremely grateful. My life has been so active these past couple of years in regards to these dancers!

What's great too was that I thought that I was going to hyperventilate and maybe even cry when I met Teddy, but I held my own and acted so naturally! I felt natural. In fact, I was more nervous for the past Meet and Greets! I was the most calm when meeting Teddy! That's terrific! I was a bit nervous, but I was feeling pretty comfortable when talking to Teddy and his family because they made me feel that way.

Things have a way of working out and I believe that God definitely had His hand in this ever since that night in Red Bank, New Jersey for the SYTYCD Season 11 Tour at Count Basie Theatre on Thursday, November 5, 2015 when I wasn't able to meet Teddy because of rain and lack of Meet and Greet passes. Things happen for a reason. Sometimes good things don't happen for you because better things are yet to come.

I was very depressed for awhile there because I was having difficulty professionally. Watching SYTYCD always brings me relief and Teddy was one of the few people who made me happy during a time when I wasn't, so when I couldn't meet him to thank him face to face for his positive presence in my life, I was crushed. Because he said he was moving to LA, I thought I would never meet him.

It's amazing how something that felt like such an utter tragedy to me then became my ultimate blessing now! I wasn't supposed to meet him in Red Bank. I was supposed to write my "Teddily" article first, the phone interview for which was when I thanked him and Emily James for having such a positive impact on their fans. I felt closure then and was somewhat accepting of the fact that maybe I would never meet them, even though I did still want to and had a feeling that I would. Teddy knew how I felt and that's what I really wanted. I always told myself that if he ever came back here I would try again to meet him, which I did and succeeded. I was supposed to meet him where, when, and how I did, because I also got to meet his marvelous family as well and wasn't as nervous to meet him as I was in Red Bank. I had quite the private audience with them all without a bunch of people around, which was exactly for what I had hoped.

Additionally, ever since I did that phone interview and wrote that article, I've been feeling more confident in those areas, therefore more confident professionally. That interview and article was a turning point for me and changed my life in a way. It was also through this article that I ended up getting closer with Teddy and his family, which is probably a reason why I felt pretty calm when I actually met them. Teddy and his family have a tendency to make me feel so happy and confident in both my writing and other life experiences. Now, I wouldn't say that I am fully confident and content now with my personal and professional life for there are plenty of things that I still need to work on, but they have helped and continue to help me a bit through this just by being such awesome friendly people. They make me feel good about myself.

"Confidence is always sexy." - Teddy Coffey

I'm still growing my sexy confidence. ;)

I always wondered under what circumstances I would meet Teddy, what I would say, etc., and I am so happy with how it turned out because of so many additional factors that went into it! Sometimes when I meet dancers I wonder if I said the right things, if I said enough, etc., but I don't feel any of that about this night. I feel content.

I consider Teddy my hero and my muse because I am so inspired by him and his perseverance and determination. This is rubbing off on me and helping push me to achieve my goals. I enjoy following his journey.

This was one of the best nights of my life. I wasn't sure if I was going to meet Teddy or his family that night and it was also uncertain if my family and I were even going to see the show. Nothing was guaranteed, but everything worked out so well, so perfectly. Even the weather was gorgeous that night! I wasn't even sad leaving Teddy or his family because I have a feeling that I will see them again. We already plan on keeping in touch. :)

I can't believe "Pearl The Show" is now over after hearing about it for so many months. The show ran from August 27-30.

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