Tag Archives: Arts

When life gives you lemons…

…you sit and pout for about three months before you even start considering the thought of making lemonade. Not to worry, around month four you’ll eventually start to come around…because, get serious…even in November, lemonade is tasty and still easy as hell to make!

Without getting into it, I may have indicated that life post-graduation has been anything but *glittery fun*. The transition from a structured life filled with technique class, an abundance of rehearsals, regular performance opportunities, and even discussions of dance (that don’t always feel like gifts at the time), to a life filled with self-doubt, Scandal, and free time…is hard. Life is hard.

Uhmmm…. (crickets) (…more crickets…)

I’m sitting at month four, and only because I’ve sufficiently met my pouting quota for the year can I reassure you that LIFE IS GOOD — and I mean that genuinely, not in like the…I tell my friends who I haven’t seen in six months that life is great when really I sit in dark corners at night and binge on Nutella because THAT makes things feel better...false version of happiness.

Four months in, and I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that if I want a structured life filled with the things that I love to do, then I need to put my big girl pants on and make it happen — and also recognize that the uncomfortable chapter of transition was, and continues to be a necessary part of the overall journey…and I might as well appreciate it for what it is.

Note: temporary

Had I come back to teach dance, start rehearsals, blah blah blah…without having time to think and reflect on my last crazy graduation-filled semester…I probably wouldn’t have realized the things I truly value in those situations

I like to teach dance, but even more than that, I LOVE to dance myself. I’ve learned that I need to take a challenging technique class at least once a week. I want to sweat, not just organ-slosh…and I want to be intellectually challenged while doing it. When this need is met, I’m instantly recharged and ready to give my students a similarly rewarding class…a class they deserve from their higher education.

I like to perform, but even more than that, I LOVE to rehearse. I love rehearsals…I love spending time with people who inspire me, learning about their process as they create work that matters to them. I value spending time with like-minded artists who appreciate the struggle that comes with the art-making task, but do it anyways…and they do it well. When I pursue my own choreographic endeavors, it’s those experiences that validate my challenges, and help me to keep my chin up.

I like to read about dance, but even more than that, I LOVE to write about dance. When I debated back and forth about ending This is Major, I finally came to terms with the fact that I no longer have any papers due for a grade, and therefore, if not for this blog, I have no real reason to engage in dance writing at all. And if I don’t continue writing about dance, how am I ever going to become the FIFTH American woman….of (Rochester) New York?

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And finally, I love to be mentored, but even more than that, I LOVE those people who mentor me, period. Dumbledore will always have a spot way higher up on the food chain than me…those are just the facts…but after allowing me to flail around and have my tempter tantrum, where I litrally cried about the opportunities she helped me to get, she was still willing to sit in a room with me after and laugh about how awesome/ridiculous/heart-breaking the lyrical face is. (Note: The lyrical face is real.) I’m now able to see all that she (and so many others!!!) have given me, and if wasn’t for that free time in between episodes of Scandal, I may never have figured that out. While I’ll always need Dumbledore to guide me down seemingly random hallways that may or may not have a million dollars waiting at the end (and then she lets me pretend to think it was my idea!) from time to time, mentors are more than just people who give you things…(did you write that down?) I’m now able to see that aside from sitting higher on the food chain, these people also possess qualities that I really admire and aspire to possess myself. These people are the family I’ve chosen for myself — these are the family members who get it, and don’t make you feel like an alien for wanting it — and if I can’t sit in a room without asking them for something, then I don’t deserve them at all.

Even Olivia lyrical faces...

Even Olivia lyrical faces…

I really love this community of dance, even though at times, it feels like the most unstable, selfish community ever. My job as a contributing member however, is to simply just keep contributing. If this is what I love to do, then that’s reason enough to make myself a priority and figure out ways to keep myself involved.

Thinking that the next great opportunity was going to land in my lap right after graduation didn’t necessarily get me all that far…maybe because I’ve been laying in my bed all semester, and it’s hard to tell where my lap actually starts when I’m always horizontal under at least five blankets…or maybe it’s because I’ve been laying in my bed all semester, and it’s hard to tell where my interest/talent/confidence ended up when I’m always horizontal under at least five blankets…it’s hard to say…

Do yourself a favor, Dyva.

  1. Get out of bed.
  2. Apologize for the selfish tantrums — not for feeling uncomfortable. Everyone (but you) knew this was coming…you just didn’t need to act like a six-year old….
  3. Stop pointing fingers. Nobody did this to you.
  4. Figure it out. Write it down, talk it out…whatever you need to do to figure things out. What do you want from all of this? Why did you spend the last few years in a dance studio for all hours of the day? Make the accumulated student-loan debt worth it.
  5. Enjoy your lemonade with a side of glitter.

 

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there’s enough male gaze to go around

I’ve been thinking about my last post, about falling in love with complete strangers just because you’ve seen their ridiculous six (twelve)-pack-of-abs work it out on stage, and you liked it enough to see that same show two more times and then stalk them on Facebook…all in the same week. The more I ponder this and my dying need to be the one lusted after (minus the abs), the more I question if this is all just proof that the male-gaze is alive and well…and unavoidable? – and then I wonder how sick and twisted this natural pattern of behavior actually is.

Dumbledore tweeted this article (then read this article in The New York Times about the competition circuit…some interesting points as well), and it made me think about my entire existence as a dancer (oh the drama of it all) – starting with my studio days.

I remember being 12 years old dancing to “I Gotcha” Fosse style, being asked to gyrate my hips and make a CFM (come *bad word* me) face…
But don’t worry, because I was the youngest performer in the group I wore a pleather leotard and fishnet tights rather than a midriff bearing costume (age appropriate attire, people). We were the award-winning routine throughout all of our regional competitions, and then again at nationals that summer. And that’s what really mattered, right? I’m sure my father thought so too…

Also, how many times have I daydreamed (from the time I was 9 years old to I don’t know, yesterday) about BEING Britney Spears circa early 2000’s…yellow snake and all? I had my first world tour completely planned out at 12 years of age – I had not only drawn my set design (in specific detail) on construction paper, but I had all of my sequinny barely-there costumes sketched out and ready for construction. I would practice my hair and makeup in the mirror (taking photos of Britney’s videos and trying to recreate the looks with my Wet-n-Wild collection) but would then quickly wash it off before my parents could see the inches of makeup and hairspray layered on. I fantasized about being the person everyone else was fantasizing about, and essentially, this delusion translated into my current fantasy about being the modern dancer that everyone wants to work with. Dance Magazine’s top 25 to watch…anyone?

The sick thing is, I daydream through the lens of the gaze…

Sure I spend hours in the studio working on my technique and efficiency, but deep down, I want to perform. I want praise. I want you to fall in love. I want you to gaze, and I always have. Does this really mean I essentially want to be objectified? I can’t tell. Maybe?

Part of me thinks I’m insecure and just need lots of attention.

Gaze at me, bitches…all day.

But the other part of me doesn’t necessarily want you judging. I’m a smart girl, and YOU DON’T EVEN CARE.

I can’t quite figure out if I want to be gazed at because that’s what Britney taught me?—OR if Britney flashing her body with confidence actually empowered my own self-assurance? As much as one can claim they perform for their own pleasure, can it really go unnoticed that they’re essentially putting themselves on display for the benefit of other people? And the people in the audience, they come to fall in love…with you! It’s a cyclic pattern of love, sure, but also a heteronormative gaze-fest that society tells us to not only expect, but also to accept.

At the time, I thought my Fosse moves were merely a means to a successful end at competition, the thing I cared about most. What I didn’t realize however, and I’m positive it wasn’t intentional, was that I was being taught that positive accolades were simply achieved by exploiting my body and even further, my sexuality. Yes, it was adorable to watch 12-year-old me practice her CFM face in the mirror.

Now 25-year old me can’t help but think about how the gaze has literally taken over just about every facet of her existence. I realized this morning that I not only have wrinkles on my forehead, but I have them on my chest as well (WEAR SUNSCREEN, FRIENDS!!!)…AND my hair is starting to turn gray. Does this mean I’m not beautiful anymore? What’s going to happen when I have a full head of gray hair and face full of fine lines?

WHO’S GOING TO GAZE AT ME???  WHO IS GOING TO LOVE ME?!?!? (Relax, I’ll dye my hair and get Botox…just kidding…sort of…)

So much conflict here. I’m pursuing a career that basically revolves around me making a spectacle of myself (I mean, addressing the human condition through abstract movement…of course.), but at the same time, it doesn’t actually matter if I’m on the stage or off, society has made it pretty clear that I have a role to fill.

I’m not quite sure how to fix this situation, I might even agree with Bowen when she argues, “…that the prevalence of the male gaze makes it an inescapable part of our culture and psyches.” Sure I play my part in all of this, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or even agree with it.

So why do I impose the gaze onto others?—at this point, it’s so ingrained, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. From crushing on beautiful men that I see perform on stage, to telling my little cousin that I love her dress even before anything else get’s mentioned, am I any better off than having a porn-watching marathon just for funsies on a Tuesday. I mean, right?

The more I think and write about how our society has integrated the male gaze into our everyday, the more fired up I become – but really, deep down I know that I’m not going all of a sudden break free and destroy the gaze forever – I engage with it almost daily, and I suppose it’s this exact complacency that allows it to persist.

So I sent a draft of this post to my boyfriend to proofread, like I do with most others…and was so shocked at how passionate he became in response via G-chat. It was like a flood of opinions being thrown at me, until I finally asked him to just write a supplemental post. So I share with you, his take – the privileged (self-aware) perspective of my educated, white, heterosexual boyfriend, Paul.

When my girlfriend sent me a draft of her blog post, I immediately had two thoughts. The first was, Why does she keep talking about my incredible abs? The second thought was about how the male gaze (I just air quoted it, FYI) permeates every aspect of our culture.  If you try and consider the male gaze as the center of a wheel, then one can envision a lot of the related (or even tangential) issues as spokes off the wheel.  I should state that these spokes are sharp as shit and cause me to wonder whether or not I should ever have children.  These male gaze-y wheels aren’t exactly comfortable.  Buckle up kids, as this is going to be a bumpy ride.

The commodification of sexuality is something that is inextricably bound with Nicole’s post about the male gaze.  She speaks about making her best CFM face as a pre-teen, before she even knew what that meant.  Sure, the 12-year old is having a great time dancing around, even if she doesn’t understand the latent sexuality of the choreography.  Unfortunately, this is something that is the exception, and not the norm:

There are egregious examples of this, like a routine at a California competition in 2010 in which preadolescent girls performed highly sexualized moves to the Beyoncé hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” But even in less lurid numbers there is often the disquieting sense of children being made to ape pop-culture stereotypes of adult behavior: boys as macho men, girls as sassy flirts. (NYT Piece)

            This is not – I repeat, NOT – exclusive to perhaps clueless Dance Moms.

 Victoria’s Secret came under fire this year with their Bright Young Things line, which many parents claimed were marketed towards tweens.  Yes, your little 12-year old cousin wants to wear pants with suggestive words emblazoned on the bottom.  Victoria’s Secret claims this is marketed towards college aged girls in time for Spring Break.  Camel said the same thing about their cartoon mascot hawking cigarettes.  Obviously not for the kids, right?

I understand that it’s hard for some women to read what I am writing, because my nature precludes me from experiencing this first-hand.  I am, by the definition of some, the exact person who benefits from the white privileged, heteronormative male gaze. (The Feministing post elucidates that there is an element of white privilege in the male gaze, as the writer identifies herself as someone who is outside of the thin, light-skinned “ideal” that is presented in every fashion magazine and billboard everywhere ever.)

When we talk about hypersexualization, violence against women, or even the college culture of hooking up*, it’s not a game.  If it were one, it would be a skewed one.  The house always wins,  and this house is most definitely a house of patriarchy. Except in this game, everybody loses. (I am hiding behind a garbage can while the ladies of Jezebel arm themselves with tomatoes to throw in my direction.)

Check out this recent NYT article, and a counterpoint by Slate.

In our private conversation, Nicole said to me that “…even my gaze is essentially from the viewpoint of a heterosexual male.”  Is she incorrect? I don’t think so.  While we have seen great progress vis-a-vis the end of DOMA and the slow realization that gay isn’t just a trendy thing for Hollyweirdos (sorry, Michelle Bachmann), Primetime television can still seem recalcitrant when it comes to displaying these relationships – especially a gay male couple.  America watches TV, and not just men.  But men don’t want to see men kissing – they want to see women. 

In the 1990s, you saw Ellen kiss Joely Fisher.  You saw Neve Campbell kiss her professor in 1999.  You saw Calista Flockhart kiss Lucy Liu for 21 seconds in 1999.  But in 1994 on Melrose Place, when Doug Savant was going to kiss another dude… well, pressure from an advertiser caused Fox to cut away. 

When I think of a music video, I think of women being paid next to nothing in order to twerk on camera in next to nothing while the rapper/singer (usually, a man) is there fully clothed. In her new single, Miley Cyrus sings (or warbles, if you ask me) about how we own the night, and how we aren’t going to stop partying no matter what.  Except while she does this, she writhes about and makes her own distorted CFM face as she makes out with a Barbie doll.  Hell, Robin Thicke even sings about tearing that ass up in his newest #1 single that your 9-year old cousin sings in the car on the way to church. Here’s Mr. Thicke, himself:

We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, “We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.” People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.”

Because, ladies, the message here is that apparently we can’t help it.  It’s not our fault that women come to our parties and drink our alcohol and wear short dresses. (This is sarcasm. A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend) But then the question remains, whose fault is it?  How did we get to this point?  It’s easy to blame the multi-million dollar porn industry for turning our hearts and minds into depraved, Tiger Woods-style sex fiends who want nothing more than to “choke a bitch” and then produce our own live action “money shots” from within the confines of our own bedrooms.  The problem is that there is no way we can pin this down on a particular issue.  It is a confluence of commonplace misogyny that is tolerated, if not celebrated.  After all, it’s just a song/movie/rap lyric/29 minute porn film involving powertools – if you don’t like it, then you don’t have to watch it, and it won’t affect you… right?

We live in the most progressive country in the WORLD – and yet, even here we have this notion that women do not know what’s best for their own bodies.  We let legislative bodies of old white men – here’s looking at you, Rick Perry, Todd Akin, and the legion of other members of Government who fucking sit in committees dedicated to health and SCIENCE – pass laws that they think will best serve young women. 

We live in a culture where sexting is a thing.  It’s an actual term that people use.  Isn’t that embarrassing? (The term and not the actual notion of sending racy messages)  Our grandparents used to send each other love letters during World Wars, and we choose to send photos of our genitals with a self destruct time limit. In the event a woman feels empowered by taking nude photos and sending them to a romantic interest, there is the risk (or perhaps inevitability) he will share it – be it with his dorm mates, his frat brothers, or the internet.  Snapchat is wonderful because it lets you know that someone just took a screencap of your picture.  Except the second someone takes that screenshot, you’ve lost whatever illusion of power you had.  It is (literally) stripped from a woman when the picture she sent in confidence is displayed on the internet in perpetuity – and embarrassment.  The revenge porn apologist will rationalize his actions, usually by claiming the person who sent the photo knew or, perhaps more brazenly, wanted others to see the photo.  The person whom sent the photo is denied their autonomy as these decisions are made for them. (See: The legislative branch, etc.)  

The male gaze dominates every arena of our daily lives.  It saturates, if not dominates, both public and private spheres.  It is the monsoon that does not concern itself with waves of Feminism.  The old adage is, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.” Another one is “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” 

Well, ladies and gentlemen:  The wheel is broken. It doesn’t need to be fixed.

It needs to be burned to ashes and rebuilt from scratch.

Its me again, KapDaddy. So as you can see, the male gaze has the potential to elicit some pretty passionate arguments– what are your thoughts?

To gaze or not to gaze, that is the question.

To gaze or not to gaze, that is the question.

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things i ponder whilst writing a thesis

Literally in the midst of my last week of graduate school…thesis writing…whirlwind of a life…(that is, before starting an internship in two weeks…)

Thoughts I’ve had/Things I love

*Listening to music in my car and seeing pedestrians walk on beat.

So Dyva.

*Happy-accidents in the choreographic process.

I’ll keep that.

*Music that has a BADWL

beat any dancer would love

*Dancers that choose not to engage the fourth wall.

I see you too.

*Spontaneous contact-improv moments out in general society.

Ready to fall. Fall on.

*Backup dancing to the 8 measure musical breaks in karaoke jams.

Air guitar anyone?

*Seeing site-specific work as I walk around campus.

This fire hydrant is my stage, bitch.

*Casually walking around in spandex as if it ‘aint no thing on a Tuesday.

Just following a dress code.

*Getting serious attention from my dance friends when I’m not wearing spandex.

Yes, underneath all that sweat and lycra, I’m actually a pretty girl.

*Realizing that my grade depends on the efficiency of my plie, not long-division timetables.

I win.

Anyone else?

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life awakeners

There are three types of relationships in this world – all of them are wonderful (at times), and work to fulfill a specific role in your quest for balance.

1. Relationships with people who share common goals.

Your school friends. The people you go to class with every single day. The people who know when you’re having a good day or not, based solely on what your makeup looks like. The people applying for the same 9897 jobs as you.

Photo: Rebecca Puretz

Photo: Rebecca Puretz

2. Relationships with people who work within the same field, but don’t share (immediate) common goals.

The Dumbledores, Mr. Oklahomas, Ms. Weight Sensings, recent grads, and younger comrades in your life. It’s all the same talk, just at different points along the continuum of (professional) life beyond higher education. There’s very little competition in these relationships because a hierarchy definitely exists (…as in, you’re eventually either receiving advice/letter of recommendation or providing one…) These are also the people who often have to switch hats to accommodate – like professor/turned advisor/turned friend/turned choreographer all within an hour. These are the people I feel the most supported by – they totally understand what’s going on at any given point, and then know just the right thing to say to get me off the couch and into motion. I basically want to be these people when I grow up. Thank you!!!

3. Relationships with people who have absolutely nothing to do with your chosen field.

I know this might sound a bit crazy, so try to bear with me. There are these…people out there who don’t actually wear spandx’y clothing on a regular basis, or who don’t give a flying-F about the concert versus commercial dance Venn diagram. I know…weird…

These are the also people who are like, “Oh, you won that super competitive dance award? Congrats…go take a shower, you smell like an animal.”

Buzz kill. But also…life awakener! (…yes, that’s now a thing…)

These are the people who remind us that there’s an entire world outside of the dance studio, and that it’s okay NOT to be in the dance studio from time to time. When we psycho-Dyvas get all crazy in our heads about these daunting deadlines and artistic goals, we need these people to pull us out and give us a reason to smile (beyond knowing Martha Graham Dance Company will be at Jacob’s Pillow this summer – or Jacob’s Ladder as my family insists on calling it…)

My man friend, the Ethnic Prince (who has been waiting for an honorable mention since I started writing this blog…here it is, sugar buns!) immediately caught my smeye (smize/smeyze…get it?) when the first he thing asked upon hearing that I was a dancer was, “Oh so like, you must study dance theory, and shit?”

YES!!!! And shit!!! No, I am not a stripper! No, I am not on Dancing With the Stars! Yes, I’m totally really smart! DING DING DING!!!

What the Ethnic Prince has taught me is that these “other people” we have in our lives don’t necessarily have to understand what we do in the studio, they just have to appreciate it and value our commitment to it.

America's couple.

America’s couple.

Dear General Society: If you are going to pretend that what I do is a make-believe profession, then you and I are not going to be friends. If you are going to admit that maybe you’re a bit jealous that I can not only tell you about the mechanics of the body (and how it moves through space), but then make beautiful things with those bodies in space, and then articulate in words what I saw those beautiful bodies doing in space…then I’ll definitely consider making friendship bracelets for the two of us. Sincerely yours, KapDaddy

We all need balance, people. We build community that not only shares common interests and values, but mutual support. There are times when it’s necessarily to feel a little competitive with your peers (not like, break their kneecaps competitive, but enough to light a little fire under your butt), times you need to bounce ideas off of someone who’s already been in your shoes, and then there are moments when you need to sit with your other friends and laugh about that one time you got in serious trouble for drinking (…spilling…) pickle juice in the pool when you were eight.

Ding-a-ling-a-ling!!!

Who’s there???

Your LIFE AWAKENER!!!

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why i love to dance…again…

I feel like you should first know that about six months (or so) ago, I had a little chat with Dumbledore about my decision to eventually (sooner than later, actually) transition away from dancing into purely dance scholarship. I can remember thinking that dancing was no longer satisfying, but rather an added source of anxiety; I also knew that I love(d) to write, so maybe I was just meant to be the next incredible dance historian…maybe I still will be…but because of this show however, I now love to dance again.

Let's dance...forever!

Let’s dance…forever!

I feel like (still) not having experienced life outside of an academic setting, I was tired of feeling like I needed to perform for a grade, and that my curiosities had become complacent because I was purely dancing to fulfill a list of expectations as listed out on some class syllabus.

And then Mr. Oklahoma, the Artistic Director of Red Dirt Dance asked me (without actually asking me) to dance in his show, and then surprisingly, things started to quickly turn themselves around. I remember feeling so nervous at our first rehearsal back in November …even though I had spent (and continue to spend) a fair amount of my day, every day with this man. It was essentially my first time out as a not-student working as a professional alongside a professional (a professional who has David Dorfman on speed dial) for a professional gig…

As we continued to rehearse two pieces together, a trio and a solo, I found myself rediscovering why I ever loved to dance way back when I was five.

  1. I sort of get to do the “lyrical-face”…yes, you know exactly what I’m talking about—and we all know po-mo dance rarely leaves room for “facials”.
  2. I was involved in a process that demanded my full attention and creativity on the spot. I was finally being treated like a professional…because, well let’s face it…I’ll be 25 in two weeks, and I sort of am a professional.

So once I adjusted to this new role, I decided to wear my hat as a working dancer with pride and enthusiasm. This process has been challenging, but so so fulfilling.

And guess what Dyvas and Dyva’men? I’ve redecided that I want to dance for the rest of my life!

P.S. Come see this show this weekend, it’s incredible!
P.P.S. The flashmobs were also incredible…and incredibly rewarding! A grand total of five…count them, FIVE not-mobs took over campus yesterday, and it was glitterific to the max!

 

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dance the fight!

You may or may not have heard about the horrific event that happened on Brockport’s campus earlier this year, and it’s still so hard to believe that something so traumatic and terrible could ever happen within such a small, charming town…right down the street from where I lay my head every night—but it did…and stuff like this happens all the time…

Domestic violence needs to stop!

As part of the One Billion Rising national movement on 2/14, Brockport has created a series of events…a day of dance events…in efforts to contribute to this imperative fight against domestic violence. Yours truly has been employed to create a two-part site-specific dance, or as we’re calling it a (not) flashmob for the entire campus (and maybe even you!) to participate in! Check us out, Brockport Breaks the Chain!

Two flashmobs will take place, one at 10:14am and one at 12:14pm, and then a two-minute dance-along will take place at 2:14pm. You don’t have to be a member of the Brockport community to share in this fight, press play on the following video and dance along wherever you may be in the world.

Dance along with ME!

This is just one regional event amongst NUMEROUS others around the globe. It is such an honor to be part of an event where dance is not only communal, but works serves the community as well.

Domestic violence is not okay, and should never be tolerated.

We need you to get up and dance!

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feeding your (other) interests

While it’s fun to say I’m a dancer, chances are you’re also something else all at the same time.

“I’m a dancer and a secretary.”
“I’m a dancer and a teacher at a studio.”
“I’m a dancer and a waitress.”
“I’m a dancer and a DYVA”…obviously

You get the point.

I think it’s important to recognize that while there are still a few jobs out there that offer full-time work for dancers (…in Minnesota…), most of us are going to have to find supplemental work to support our passion for the arts. The question then becomes, what is my something else?

If I may, I suggest filling your time with work that feeds your interests while both fulfilling and challenging you as a unique individual. If working at a coffee shop is where you want to be, that’s great…you make that coffee!!! For me however, I’m going to need to find work that makes me feel just as valued and excited as when I finish rehearsal…

So how do you do this? Well…do yourself a favor, and when you’re already busy making your new website, continue to soul search and dig just a little bit deeper. As you discover how/why you make it rain in the dance studio, think of other areas that make you excited enough to want to throw a little glitter in the air.

I’ve talked about the show I produced way back in the day, and well, I love philanthropy and contributing to my community! Maybe I pursue part-time work at a non-profit organization, maybe I find a way to make a career out of producing my own shows? The key is patience; be patient with yourself and with your journey. We know that you (I) love to dance, but somebody has to pay the bills…consistently each month. I can pretend that I’ll be okay not making a regular paycheck, or I can be proactive NOW while it’s still January to pursue opportunities for when I graduate. I may end up working in an office for a bit, but that’s okay because it’s not forever. As long as the work I’m doing feeds my soul, my soul is happy.

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make it rain…online

In this day and age (Hey 2013!!!), is it enough to just dance anymore?  Maybe. But not for me…

Who thought (when they were six years old) that by the time the 2000’s rolled around, we’d by flying? Well, we’re not exactly flying, but thanks to the not-so recent advances in technology, we’re now able to make an appearance overseas without ever having to leave the comforts of our living rooms….jammies…or even kittens…

How old do I sound right now? I swear I’m still in my 20’s…

As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to finding work, self-promotion is JUST as important as quality studio-time. With the internet and social media making the once expansive world teeny-tiny, you can never really know who’s scouting you out (RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY MOMENT) from the opposite side of the globe; so why would you not put yourself out there?

don't leave us!!!

don’t leave us!!!

There are so many free websites waiting for you to make one of their nine-million premade templates your new online-home; whether it be blog, personal website, or even video channel, there aren’t enough reasons to keep you from showing your face online. Consider this your personal invitation; please join me with an online presence that extends a smidge past Facebook and Twitter!

You can RSVP by checking out one of the following links:

www.weebly.com

www.wix.com

www.wordpress.com

www.youtube.com

www.vimeo.com

I’m not asking you to indulge us in all of your most personal information; I don’t actually want to steal your identity…

I do however want to know what makes you unique in a world of dance where everyone can essentially start to look the same. Even if you’re just starting out, creating a website sort of forces you to identify your niche. What about you is marketable? What are your strengths/weaknesses? When you’re forced to choose the content that essentially represents your “brand”, you quickly start to realize why you’re special, and why your skills are the bomb.com. Exuding confidence is always sexy…right?

Get sexy…Get online…Get a job!!!

Things to consider as you’re creating your page:

Language: Who’s your target audience? The content you choose should represent the people you’re speaking to—keep them in the loop with relevant lingo and an appropriate tone.
Just be honest: People can see right through disingenuous crapola within seconds of hitting “publish”. Don’t alienate your followers by trying to be anything you’re not.
Who are you?: If not your resume, find a way to share a brief bio with your community. Why should people care about you and what you do? This is your page to self-indulge, so…unapologetically Dyva-stomp all over the place.
-Reviews: Now it’s time to share what other people think of your work. It’s like once the hot girl gives the geek a chance, all the bitches want a piece. Not that you’re a geek…
-Multimedia: Now that you’ve shared in words why/how you make it rain glitter, and you’ve shared other people’s descriptions of your incredible rain-making skills…it’s now time to prove it. Post excerpts of work you’ve either created or have been in that demonstrate you’re the shiz.
Apologize: Wait…don’t do that. Never apologize. Be intentional. Be original.

Share: Let us know when your new sites are up and running!!!

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be the OG…don’t steal from the OG

So rumor on the street is that everything’s already been done before…well that really blows, now doesn’t it? What’s a DYVA to do when the glitter she’s all ready to throw has supposedly already landed…years ago…maybe even centuries ago?

(S)HE MUST FIND A WAY TO REINVENT THE WHEEL, duh. You’re right, it’s not broken, but it’s now his/her responsibility to make this (new, cooler, hotter) version of the (dance-)wheel unique and distinctly NOT the original…unless it’s an updated edition/restaging/ummmm…you get the point.

The line between plagiarism and originality (given the circumstance, of course) can be tricky, but it definitely doesn’t have to fall within that gray area of questionable intentions if you’ve not only done your research, but are also smart about your actions moving forward.

Steal my glitter...I will behead you. Just kidding...sort of...

Steal my glitter…I will behead you. Just kidding…sort of…

Inspiration for a new project often comes from a variety of sources and people, it’s then your job as an artist to take said inspiration and use it as a springboard from which new ideas are developed; as in…move far far away from the original version by layering many your own ideas over it. The goal here is to make sure that even the most seasoned and educated eye will have to take (at least) a second glance to realize the similarities.

Make sure to cross check that any glaring light of familiarity to the OG choreographer/writer/designer is neatly suffocated underneath your layers upon layers of Dyva-glitter. Rest assured that somebody will notice, if not the artist themself…and let’s get serious, nobody wants to be known as a cheater-wiener.  Again, take this advice if and only if you’re claiming to be original, if your intent is to pay homage to a choreographer/writer, make it known.

Loud and proud, baby.

As we approach a new semester, lots of new projects will be conceived and it’s so easy to borrow ideas (sometimes unintentionally) from the people you work with on a daily basis. Just make sure to take a step back every so often throughout process to ensure that what you’re “creating” is actually YOUR creation. There’s nothing worse than finishing a project that you’re so proud of and then having almost everyone refer to it as somebody else’s work.

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starting new

It’s been an interesting start to 2013 to say the least—I barely even had time to set a resolution! I did however manage to survive the apocalypse of 2012, and it appears as though you have too. Congratulations!

Within the first week of the New Year, I celebrated my mom’s new marriage as well as mourned the sudden loss of my grandfather (this guy #9 on the list…my favorite man in the whole wide world…), and with these two enormous events literally falling back to back, I was faced with the dilemma of having to write two separate speeches about some pretty important people in my life in a just short amount of time. How was I possibly supposed to start writing something that could do either relationship justice when there were literally a million things to say?

As I sat there staring at not one but two blank pages on my computer screen, it occurred to me how metaphoric this situation was to life in general. Sometimes life happens unexpectedly, sometimes you can see it coming, but either way, new beginnings often require deliberate action (at least they do for me). I very rarely approach a new situation/task without some premeditated game plan stored away in my back pocket; once I have a plan of action, I’m fine…I just struggle with the whole ‘make a plan of action’ bit…

Where and how to start??? (my two least favorite queries…)

I find that with anything…starting a paper, a new semester, or even choreographing a new dance (ok…especially with choreography), that once I make the giant world of opportunities into a small pond of options, I’m all of a sudden free to make a move; surprise, restrictions are actually my friend! I used to think that imposing limitations would only hinder my creative process, and I worried that by assigning a specific task to my process I was eliminating the creative portion of the job. What I failed to realize however was that if I didn’t choose a focus, my work would invariably turn out disjointed and disorderly.

Ummmm…have you ever anchored a boat out in the middle of the ocean? When all you can see in either direction is water, it can become extremely daunting to figure out which direction will take you home at the end of the day. Sometimes all you need is a compass to inspire a successful pathway, you just have to remember to pack the compass before you leave the dock in the morning.

take me home!

take me home!

In the case of my grandpa, I thought about his legacy; rather than trying to recall every memory, I wrote about how his values have impacted my life and how our relationship was unique because of those principles. I took a similar approach when writing about my mom, I thought about the principles of our family and how this new marriage would feed them. As I said earlier, I could have written a million different things about either person, and if I had, nobody but myself would have understood it—I knew that the end result needed to reach a broader audience, so I wrote accordingly.

Soooo…how do you make a compass of your very own?

-First, you must paint a clear picture of what “home” looks like. Detail everything you know about the finished product before you even get started.
-Pick out one or two details about your “home” that are important to you. Consider this information as you build a plan of action. Consider drawing a mind-map.
-Work slowly and commit to each step as it develops. I often work backwards in my head before I make any move physically.

I find that sometimes I need to work out of order; maybe jumping ahead to a new paragraph/movement phrase is what you need to find clarity in what you’re doing in the present moment. Nothing is precious; throw things away if they aren’t working and keep making strides forward. Keep your eye on the prize and your emotions in check.

Here’s to new beginnings. It’s going to be great. Happy 2013!

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