Tag Archives: attention whore

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.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

can’t help that i love to love

After three weeks of not posting, I share with you this:

I feel like the following disclaimer should be placed in all dance programs:

CAUTION: You will fall in love

Ordinary people become extraordinary once they hit the stage, and somehow normal people that…

A. you aren’t actually attracted to (with the rare exception every so often)

and

B. don’t actually mean anything to you

…become incredibly appealing, and all of a sudden…before you’ve even realize it’s happened…

You’re in love.

Raw passion put on display is striking. It’s self-indulgent to a point – for everyone involved – and you can’t help but feel turned on by it. Right?

There’s something about the context of performance that sheds serious light on people that you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in, not even a little bit. (again, there’s always one…)

I have three thoughts after making that statement:

  1. I can’t even tell you how many shows (movies/concerts/plays) I’ve left convinced that I’m soul mates with one of the performers. I know it’s coming even before I purchase my tickets, I will fall in love with somebody in costume.
  2. How many people are in love with me after they seen me perform? (…)
  3. Why does it take a fourth wall to get people loving on one another?

It’s almost something I insist upon when going to see a show. I must walk out fantasizing about one of the performers. Since I was little, Baby-Kap always had big dreams of dating a superstar…now the term superstar is all relative the performance of the week. The problem is, Grown-up Kap still hasn’t figured out that the person she’s fallen in love with on stage isn’t necessarily the same person out of the spotlight.

Here’s the thing to remember…

Performance isn’t real.

The person I see on stage (even the person I portray myself) is not real. It’s an idealized version of some character a choreographer dreamt up one day, even if it’s just a romanticized version of that person themselves. What you’re seeing is an outward demonstration of someone excelling full-heartedly at something that they love. Even better when it’s something you’re interested in as well.

it's all fun and games until somebody falls in love...

it’s all fun and games until somebody falls in love…

As my girl Stravinsky says, when the lights come back on at the end of a show, it’s like the lights coming on after last call — the rose-colored glasses are fine for a while, but eventually they need to come off.

Reality is waiting, and it doesn’t actually look so bad. Trust me.

Here’s to love.

Tagged , , , , , ,

the inner circle of concert dance

So open disclosure, I’m totally going through my quarter-life crisis right now…as in, one of my friends cut out a magazine article the other day about how to survive a quarter life crisis…before I ever actually came out and said anything about going through my quarter life crisis. This is my life, friends…I’m turning 25 in a few days…it’s officially the beginning of the end…

So with all of that being said…

The more people I meet and the more work I do within the world of concert dance, the more I realize how small that world actually is. In some ways, it’s extremely reassuring to know that the inner circle is actually somewhat attainable, and that it’s all essentially just one incestuous pool of love and talent…that is, once you make it into the inner circle.

I feel like the few opportunities I’ve had in the past few months have demonstrated the potential for all that this incredible world has to offer, and as I mentioned a few weeks ago…I now know that I really do WANT IT ALL! The thing is, I sort of feel like I’m standing on the peripheral (the wings, if you will…), impatiently witnessing all of the fun, not quite included yet…but closer than some…and hissing at anybody that threatens my potential spot a few years down the road.

Sometimes I wonder (okay, lately I’ve been consumed with wondering…) if once I’ve graduated there will actually be room for me as a contributing member of the love/talent pool of incest? What opportunities are going to be around when I’m no longer engaging in residencies and faculty repertory classes within the Brockport bubble, but rather, I’m just one of the other 200 white, female dancers showing up to an audition?

I haven’t even graduated yet, and I already have some serious professional-dance FOMO.

mind if I join you po-mo'rinas?

Mind if I join you po-mo’rinas? (AKA…Can I play???)

Here’s the thing, it wasn’t even two weeks ago that as I sat in Dumbledore’s office discussing my future she said, “Nicole, the world is yours. How exciting!” …Is it though?

I have been incredibly blessed while at Brockport and have had numerous opportunities to perform and embrace the world of concert dance for all that it is, and I truly have nothing to complain about. Sometimes though, I can’t help but wonder if there really is a seat for me at the round table of real-life dance. The question as of late has become, why do I feel so incredibly threatened by just about everyone? How competitive is it really going to be to find work once I’m up against all the other “Nicoles’ from all over the country?—and what about the up and comings? Where will we all fit???

I will say that I do have a few enlightened moments from time to time as I work through this awful and uncomfortable QLC, when I not only sort of see things clearly, but I think I can see the glitter in them as well. Even as I type this, I have to remind myself that success is all relative to how you choose to define it, and that there will be room for me at that round table…when the timing is right. My job now (…as a student) and in the future (…life post graduation) is to stay true to myself while I continue to work hard.

The good news is, there is only one me in this world, and as long as I “do me” well, nobody else can compare.

Good things happen to good people, and if I’m spending my days wishing for every other dancer in the world to slip on ice…then I’ve pretty much wished some inevitable trouble upon myself. Competition does not have to exist if I choose to engage my mental energy in other, more constructive ways…like fostering healthy and supportive relationships with those dancers (not slipping on ice) as we engage and establish our own inner-circle of sorts. These people who I worry about taking my spot one day may actually, and probably eventually, create new spots for me to fill…again, when the timing is right. The world of dance is small, yes…but it’s only exclusive if you choose to perceive it as such.

The fear of missing out will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if and only if that’s what I choose.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

happy one year anny

So ummmm, well….HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!

I cannot believe it’s been an entire year since This is Major started filling your inbox, cray-zay!!! Thank you all for reading my posts every week, thank you for all of your honest feedback, and thank you all for joining the Dyva-army!

I feel like now’s an appropriate time to share a little insight into why I started this blog in the first place…a year in, I guess it’s about time I put out

Note: most of this has nothing to do with dance…some of it does…uhmmm enjoy!

So it was around this time last year that I became obsessed with reading blogs, my favorite blog was The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson (now inactive), a fellow Spartan that I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts. I found such a home in her random stories, as they felt so familiar to life I was living in Brockport (…my version was just a little more G-rated…), and in my weakest moments, I found solace in knowing that my path wasn’t necessarily unique—I wasn’t actually alone.

Similar to Rachel, I struggled with my weight for most of my life; when I graduated high school and then again from Michigan State University, I weighed close to 200 pounds, and I could fluctuate up or down 30 pounds any given year…not healthy…

hey me.

hey me.

As we’ve talked about before, my days as a dancer are spent standing in front of a full-length mirror just trying to get better; with this being said, most of my life was also spent under the bribe that if I lost ten pounds (when I actually had 60 to lose), some desired dance-reward would follow.

If you lose ten pounds, you could win a platinum medal at the next dance competition.
If you lose ten pounds, you could even place first overall.
If you lose ten pounds, you could be accepted at x-university.
If you lose ten pounds, awesome-choreographer will cast you in their next piece.
If you lose ten pounds, you’ll get a job with x-company.

Holy hell…why couldn’t I just lose those frickin ten pounds!?!?!??

Well I’ve lost about 50 pounds in total thus far, but so much more than the size of my dance pants has transformed; I finally found my voice.

Hey me, again!

Hey me, again!

Ok, yay for me…let’s bring things full circle, shall we?

I was spending hours of my life reading Rachel’s blog, feeling like we were meant to be best friends…but in reality, this chick didn’t actually know I exist ( and still doesn’t), yet I was changing my life because of her words (…initially…). I started thinking, if this girl could have such an impact on my life, why couldn’t I do the same for some stranger that I would never meet?

We’ve already established that I’m an attention whore…I WANT TO CHANGE SOMEBODY’S LIFE!!!

I wanted to create a blog that was written for my people, people who were experiencing the same things I was experiencing on a daily basis. I wanted to form a network where people from the dance community could not only connect with one another, but with outsiders as well; I aspire(d) to serve as the liaison between our world of concert dance and everyone else. I believe in dance advocacy (I know, I just blew your mind), and I love knowing that my dad can relate to what I’m talking about without actually knowing what I’m talking about (“I’m a modern dancer…I’m a kumquat!”) But seriously, how cool would it be if my review of Jonah Bokaer’s show inspires Ordinary Person to purchase tickets for his next performance at the Joyce?

That would be pretty cool.

So in conclusion, I’ve spent this past year writing posts that are based on real events from my dance life, hoping that something (anything) resonates with your life…even if it’s just the title. I love connecting with people and I hope that at some point you’ve realized through reading my blog that even when you feel the most alone, you’re never actually. Again, I appreciate your support throughout these past 365 days—through the ups and the downs (…sorry about last week…), and I’m ecstatic to see where we go in the next 365!

Happy Holidays! (we survived the apocalypse!!!)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

flecks of thanks!

I was told a few weeks ago that through good times and bad, life should be experienced through a “Thankful Heart”.

This got me thinking, I’ve thought/talked about things I’ve wanted/needed/aspired to become/hated, but I’ve never shared what I’m thankful for within our glitterific community of dance and awesomeness…

Since it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I’m sure plenty (most) of you are thinking less about undercurves and more about how much food your stomach can hold in 24 hours, I thought I’d share my Thankful Heart with all of you:

1. I’m thankful for the people who believe in me even when I stutter, spell incorrectly, fall on my face (literally…improv is hard), and awkwardly blog about them.

2. I’m thankful for people like this (Introducing: Kendra Portier) who inspire me to find my own voice and then love it for what it is.

3. I’m thankful for the opportunities and experiences that I’m not always certain I deserve…like being allowed to teach my version of head/shoulders/knees/toes to some of the most amazing dancers (and getting paid for it…)

4. I’m thankful for Britney Spears, the woman who taught me how to be unapologetically fierce (circa 2002…obviously).

5. I’m thankful that this guy decided to give me the permission to just say yes! (…and to BDF for accepting me into their program so that I could meet this guy…)

6. I’m thankful for sports bras.

7. I’m thankful that in a world full of “aesthetics” and “ideals”, every single one of us has a place if we choose to own it.

8. I’m thankful for this tiny community of dance. In an environment where you don’t know a soul, you quickly realize that it’s a lie, and that you’re actually back home with old friends.

9. I’m thankful for my Grandpa-Kaplan who claims to have taught me all of my “cool moves”…apparently without him, I wouldn’t be here…

10. And finally, I’m thankful that you people find me interesting enough to read my blog about sports bras and tendus week after week. THANK YOU!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

i think i’m supposed to be embarrassed..

So…a few things…

  1. I’m a super geek and have serious crushes on a few of the faculty members at Brockport…not hard to figure out by now…
  2. I’m still so amazed at their willingness to socialize with me on a regular basis outside of the classroom. (…hence super geek…)

just waiting for Dance Research to start…

I realize that power is assigned and that it’s all relative, and I also realize that I’ve assigned a pretty decent share to the people whom I look up to—but I still find it fascinating that the same people who can text David Dorfman or even Trisha Brown (…I’m not sure Ms. Trish texts…I don’t know, maybe she does…) on a regular basis, also text me (…sometimes)—and we sit across the table from one another fairly regularly over coffee and a bagel.

I definitely don’t do that with Britney Spears, and it’s sort of on the same level…

Sorry if you’re one of those people I’m referring to and it’s now awkward. Actually, sorry I’m not sorry. I kind of really like you….sign my yearbook?

I think it’s again, one of those things that set dancers apart from other fields in higher education. Sure, there’s theory and conceptual thinking involved while sitting behind desks, but so much more of what we do is instant turnaround and application. 99.9% of the faculty are still active and contributing members within the larger community of dance, and people literally apply to work here just because of the names…but when I’m not improv’ing alongside those names in the studio, I get to sit in their offices and talk about hip-hop, glitter, and why/how the Magic 8 Ball really does provide the essential answers to life. That’s crazy talk.

…is the world going to end?

I just know that when I majored in Communications at MSU, I didn’t necessary know or even care who any of my professors were. It’s definitely all relative to the value one assigns to a particular field and their VIP’s, but I just have to say that it has yet to wear on me that I exist in an environment where I learn dance history from the people who are literally in the midst of making and recording the dance history of today.

On one hand, I find that the expectations I’ve set for myself (as a student, and in life) are directly correlated to the faculty’s level of success. I want to be one of those people working at a reputable school like Brockport, so that means I’ve got to work extra hard to stand firmly through the natural selection process that comes shortly after graduating; I will not work (…as in, refuse…) at the coffee shop I once dined at with said faculty.  I think it’s valid to set goals and aspirations above and beyond what’s simply passable; I want to be great at what I do, and I want to make a lasting difference before I kick it for good. I’ve realized that in a few short months, I’ll technically be able to apply for a job alongside these people who I so admire, but that doesn’t necessarily make me a competitive applicant just by default; I’ve got to account for the time in between where I gain the experience that makes me not only competitive, but a momentous force that can easefully roll with the BIG DOGS on a level playing field. What’s most important however is setting a realistic timeline, which I’ve demonstrated can be a little difficult when you’re a perfectionist that wants IT ALL RIGHT NOW.  I just wish that when faculty and I were having coffee, their successes (…and impressive vocabulary…acetabulum, for example) would just rub off on me free of charge…

On the other hand, these people who I look up to so much, give me the time of day because they see the potential for growth in what I have to offer right now in this very moment; they’re less worried about what I’ll be doing five years from now, and more interested in how my work is evolving today. My foundation has been set…THEY laid it over these past three’ish years—so at this point, their major objective is guiding my path in the way of self-assurance, it’s about time I own it. Nine times out of ten, I get a verbal slap on the wrist for expecting the world of myself over night; they say/imply that I need to chill out or something (…as if they know me…wait, THEY KNOW ME!) They totally know that I want their jobs one day, but they also know that I have a genuine interest in learning and improving—and that even though I’m a little star struck from time to time, way back when they were once in my shoes…

 We all have a Dumbledore…even Dumbledore has a Dumbledore…

So call me groupie, I don’t care—there’s literally no shame in my game!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

bucket list alert

1. Strut down a catwalk with lots of people watching (don’t lie…you want that too)

don’t be jealous of my boogie

2. Be in a music video

3. Learn how to vogue

4. Serve as a guest artist at a summer dance festival

5. Frame a snapshot of a grande plie in second position (…is there anything sexier?)

6. Be a YouTube sensation

7. Get paid to make a dance with my hubby (Mr. Spears)

8. Teach in higher education

9. Dance in a high(ish) profile company (…I know, I know…it’s all relative… whatever…)

10. Be a published author/dance critic

(11. I sort of want someone to call me a RAB behind my back…psych someone out with my sass)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,