Tag Archives: dance

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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I miss “being in my body”…

I never really understood what it meant to be “in my body” until I spent almost 12 weeks entirely stationary. Without even realizing, I became one of those other people—one of those people who simply observes others moving.

I became a patron of dance. Gross.

I’ve been sitting at a desk all day, six days a week—and until a recent series of yoga classes, I forgot what it felt like to use my muscles intentionally-to sweat on purpose-to feel my system totally engaged. It felt great, and for the first time maybe ever, I understood what it meant to be truly in my body.

Nirvana bliss…like actually. The boost of serotonin, probably.

(I wonder if it’s possible to become immune to the mood-lifting benefits of physical activity? I say this because I honestly can’t remember a time before this summer when I felt so great from just an hour of stretching and breathing—things I’ve been doing on the reg for years…when the thought of sitting down for even 10 minutes sounded like a glorious, laughable daydream…I don’t remember having this feeling concurrently…) 

I remember realizing a few months ago how important it is for dancers to maintain a practice, essentially understanding, preparing, and then establishing a routine that supports a physically rigorous schedule. What I didn’t realize at the time however, probably because I was entirely immersed in a highly structured environment of class and rehearsal, was that there are a million other ways to engage my body that don’t include tendus. Engaging in activity beyond a technique class may actually supplement the activity of a technique class (not actually mind-blowing).

I realized that part of establishing a practice for life beyond the walls of academia, is realizing how important it is to find balance. Maybe I need to take two yoga classes a week so that I feel present or even interested in taking any sort of dance class –maybe I need to be coached through breathing exercises twice a week so that when I’m x-rolling across the floor, I can find the purest/safest/most efficient level of engagement on my own.

Here’s the dilemma in this not so impressive realization: after exchanging messages with a friend (a fellow Brockport dance alum) via Facebook, she pointed out how sometimes taking a step away from the studio for a bit can actually draw you back to the studio in a serious way. It’s sort of like in any twisted relationship, you never truly realize what you had until it’s gone—and sometimes you have to take the risk of letting it go so that you can eventually have it back forever.

The problem is the lack of dance classes offered now that we’re out of school. There are actually 78965 yoga studios in Rochester, but maybe 2.75 dance classes (if that—worth attending…) offered to adults.

No thank you, jazzercise…zumba, I’m even looking at you. I don’t want to bouncy step-touch while shimmying to the right and then to the left, just to say I’ve “danced” this week.

I want to feel my organs slosh around… and all those other imagery-related activities that sort of piss me off…I WANT TO DANCE.

After spending years being told that I had to take x amount of classes each week, it eventually became an obligation—now that there’s a lack of classes even available, it’s all I want to do.

(Note: I also don’t want to be in a mom’s tap class. I am not old enough to want to Boot Scootin Boogie around the stage in black slacks and a white t-shirt…)

So I guess there are two morals to this post.

  1. Find a supplemental practice that allows you to feel your body in ways that dance can’t. Trust me, it’s great.
  2. Where the hell are all you adults dancing? Help…
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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.

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just be somebody

I’m sitting here in my little cabin in the middle of the woods, essentially completely cut off from the rest of the world – not much time for social media, and no TV in sight – I actually have no idea what’s going on in the real world unless Twitter tells me in the five minutes I scan it upon waking up or right before I go to bed. With that being said, there’s a ton going on in this little festival-bubble of mine, that I ALMOST don’t miss feeling connected…almost…

(Again,…you’re just going to have to use your context clues to figure out where I am, it’s not too hard to guess…)

I’ve been living/working here for about a month now, and have yet to see a lick of dance. It’s time. I couldn’t be more excited for the Festival to officially start this weekend, because that means I can actually take a step away from my computer – where I spend far too much time writing about dance – and finally get to see some of the biggest names hit the stage. So excited!

With the Festival right around the corner however, I’m starting to find a whole new batch of nervous energy. While I officially feel settled in, my job description will drastically change in just a few days, and essentially, I have NO IDEA what I’ll be doing. It almost feels like I’m completely starting over…again.

I’ve written what feels like a million press releases. I’ve sold over the phone what feels like a million tickets. We’ve been having seminar after seminar about a million different things, like how to give a historical tour, how to schmooze with difficult patrons, how to market a variety of dance genres…you get the point. In some ways, it feels like these past few weeks have merely just been spent revving up for the big event…it probably feels that way, because that’s EXACTLY what’s been going on. These past four weeks have simply been rehearsal for a ten-week festival that’s right around the corner.

Holy shit. A *ten-week* high-pressure shenanigan!!!

As you all know, I’ve been known to have a little performance anxiety. I’ll nail it during every single rehearsal, but I ALWAYS get a little nervous when the lights and an audience are added to the mix. This whole situation feels far too familiar, yet so so different all at the same time – I’ve prepared for how many shows in my life?…but nothing like this!

Let’s just put a few things out there really quickly,

  1. I just graduated with my Masters.
  2. I am 25 years of age.
  3. I am an intern…a MASTER INTERN…if you will…
  4. I am more than capable of doing this job well

Why the hell am I so nervous?

Because I’m still a little too high-strung for my own good, I’ve recently received two generous pieces of advice (from some serious VIP’s) that lately I’ve been leaning pretty heavily into – wanna hear them?

1. Know that you have a little, purple, velvet bag stored away in your back pocket at all times. It holds all of your successful experiences, and anything else that makes you feel confident. Whenever you’re not feeling so great about something, reach into that bag and know that you are somebody.
**The Dean of The College at Brockport gave me this little nugget of glitter earlier in the semester. Right after I walked across the stage at graduation, she handed me an actual purple velvet bag. This bag is the bomb.com

Get your own bag, this one's mine!

Get your own bag, this one’s mine!

2. When you walk into a room, lift your head high, puff out your chest, and put your shoulders back. Be somebody.
**The Artistic Director of the Festival here recently shared the story of when she met Mr. Arthur Mitchell for the first time. This is what he told her upon walking in the room.

It’s that simple. All you have to do is wear a confident posture, and
BE SOMEBODY.

One of the first things we were told upon arriving here was to embody a duck swimming upstream. Stay cool, calm, and collected up top, but paddle like hell whenever/wherever anybody’s looking.

Sometimes you have to fake it ’till you make it. Sometimes you get on stage and your music simply just won’t start (until Mr. Oklahoma runs on from the audience and fixes your speakers for you while you’re fumbling around, trying to do the dance in silence) (…not that that’s ever happened to me…)

Sometimes you forget a really important person’s name, or you stutter, or you forget your own name as you’re talking to a journalist from The New York Times.

This is showbiz, kids.

Preparing for a festival is a lot like preparing for a performance. It’s also incredibly different. Duh. Either way, the show goes on, and you roll with the glittery-punches…that sometimes hurt an awful lot. We all have good days and bad, but preparation is key, and so is your attitude.

I leave you will this screenshot of a conversation I recently had with Dumbledore. Work hard and good things happen.

my 15 minutes

my 15 minutes of fame

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master of dance

Well, friends…as of a week ago, I’m officially a Master of Dance.

Master KapDaddy, that is.

So much has happened since I moved to Brockport three years ago…

  • I learned how to have an opinion
  • I learned about dance analysis
  • I found my faith
  • I lost two of my grandparents
  • I learned how to not be a good long-distance friend
  • …by learning how to become a good long-distance friend
  • I adopted a kitten
  • I danced for two professional companies
  • I was awarded distinguished honors through the University
  • I turned 25
  • I finally started to identify as an adult
  • I danced and presented work at the American College Dance Festival
  • I also danced and presented work at the inaugural Rochester Fringe Festival
  • I learned how to boil noodles
  • For that matter…I learned how to actually cook real food…
  • I stopped calling Michigan home
  • I learned how to stand up for myself
  • I’ve maintained a (just about) three-year-long-distance relationship
  • I learned how to accept small victories
  • I guess that means I also learned how to fail
  • I learned how to forgive
  • I performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
  • I witnessed my favorite undergraduate professor retire
  • I discovered how delicious vegetables can be if you simply roast them in the oven

I started this blog

...context clues...

at a crossroads, it appears

I know that deep down, I’m still me (KapDaddy from the block), but although I may have the same exterior, things on the inside have definitely changed.

I’ve realized that up until now, most of my life has been spent striving for something –usually something someone else has recommended. I always considered myself to be a proactive type, but really, I was the most reactive person ever to walk the face of the Earth. Mr. Oklahoma often says in his technique class, “…just try it on…” I guess you could say I’ve tried quite a bit on since moving to New York, and three years later, I’m just flat-out tired.

I’m sitting here in Becket, MA writing this post, trying to decide if I ever want to experience FOMO ever again in my life. (I just felt it about five minutes ago when I noticed a close friend got a gig that I wasn’t invited to participate in…) Do I even get a choice? I feel like the only way to avoid FOMO is to live life with clear intentions; well my intentions happen to be a little blurry at this point, probably because my perspective is a little blurry. I’m pretty sure the logic of these sentences may even be a little blurry.

The good thing about spending 25 years unsuccessfully trying different personas on is that I’ve been able to distinguish quite clearly what fits well enough and what just isn’t me. I was always taught that you teach people how to treat you…I guess I never considered that you learn to care for yourself based on the way those same people actually end up treating you…or at least I did. I’ve learned, or rather, I’m learning to accept that just by being, I am enough. I never have to try anything else on if I don’t want to –I don’t have to strive anymore.

I know that graduating can oftentimes feel like such an overwhelming landmark for change–hence going to grad school straight out of undergrad in hopes that I wouldn’t actually have to grow up. Puh! I guess now I view graduating as beginning rather than end, maybe even a marker of all that I want to pursue for myself. In some ways I feel as though I’ve just recently started to figure out what it is I actually want…who I want to be…where I want to be…

This Is Major has allowed me to share in the ups and downs of life as a dance student in higher education. While I’m still a dancer, and I’m still engaged in higher education, my goals for this blog will inevitably reflect my shifting perspective.

Oh…public service announcement, I’m staying in Rochester to teach next year!

I want to make a difference. I already told you guys, I know. But I like…really want to do things with my life that matter. As I spend the next three months in the Berkshires writing press releases and hosting journalists as they view incredible dance performances on two of the most historic stages in the country (put the puzzle pieces together, people), I want to figure out how exactly I’m going to change the world. I don’t want to simply make a difference – I want to make a substantial difference. I think I want to intentionally empower people through dance.

So vague, I know.

I share this with you, because this is a community of support…is it not? I’m planting the seed, and you’re all here to witness the growth. Here’s to new beginnings. I have no idea (today) what’s going to come, but I’m optimistic that it’s gonna be good!

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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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i have something to say

In a world where small-town shootings have become a thing, and you now can’t even run a marathon without worrying that you might not live to see the finish line, what gives me the audacity to think that my interest in a continuum from concert to commercial dance actually matters? I’m struggling to write something that feels so vapid at this point in time, especially knowing that so much turmoil is affecting the world on a daily basis. I mean, I know that since forever there’s always been something threatening the state of humanity—and maybe it’s just a sign of personal growth that I’m just now realizing how heavy life can become when you take the time to lift your eyes up and out of your own ego—but I’m really starting to feel bothered that my personal agenda is not even sort of saving lives, changing the world for the better, or even pushing some provocative political agenda.

 feminism

I’ve always said that I want to somehow make it into the history books one day, but I’m just not positive that my current plan of action is going to end up being that claim to fame –and I sort of worry that I’m just wasting time.

I’m absolutely allowed to be concerned with things other than North Korea blowing up the world someday soon, and it has occurred to me that maybe taking the time to coordinate my glitter has somehow allowed me to cope (and has maybe even helped others to cope) with the reality that our human race is sort of fucked. I know that I don’t need to apologize for liking the sparkly things that I like (…and then writing about them), because day-to-day life still matters (and somebody has to coordinate the glitter, people), but my question has now become…

How long can I actually continue living in a state of ignorant-glittery bliss before I finally figure out a way to use my talents proactively?

I say these things also realizing that I’m not even sure what it is exactly I want to be doing instead—I just know I’m genuinely scared for what’s to come based on the current state of affairs, and I want to do more than just choreograph a flashmob and/or a benefit concert once every few years. I want to get dirty…maybe even arrested for making art that matters and challenges the things that I don’t agree with. I want to know that by the time I’m buried six feet under from either old age or a natural disaster…not because my neighbor decided to experiment with bath salts, that I’ve done something worth celebrating with pride.

It seems like every time I turn around, somebody’s telling me that I need to start trusting myself –I also need to stop waiting for permission to do the things I want to do. So here it is friends, I want to change the world through dance. It’s no longer good enough for me to just make work about something that sucks; I want cancer, suicide bombers, and ignorant homophobes to all feel the wrath of my dance making abilities.

This is just the beginning, folks. Look out, Syria—I may even come for you!

 

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pity-party post alert

As the semester quickly takes it’s final turn (my last semester ever!!!), I’m finding that all of this forward momentum that’s felt so great for so many weeks has lately started to feel like it’s all working in retrograde…and not in like the fun way…

Let me explain.

1. My body. I went from eating really healthily and working out regularly to practicing the total opposite habits. I want/need anything with a high-calorie count in my mouth (ALL THE TIME), and the only walking I want to do is to and or from the refrigerator. I mention this first because you know how important it is to me to take good care of my body and mental health—like a healthy person would and should, and I’ve been doing everything but these past few weeks.

p.s. I’m 100% certain that #1 has, in a sense, caused the rest of this downward Laban spiral to feel so overwhelming…

2. My research. I was feeling great about my work and creative explorations at the beginning of the semester, and then all of a sudden, I just reached a plateau. I’m currently in the process of building three different pieces and you know, writing my thesis…and well…I have…nothing…I feel like I’m just sort of chasing my tail round and round, pretending that each rotation is bringing something different to the situation. It’s not.

3. My relationships. I mentioned in my last post how necessary it is to have normal people in your life…and I still stand by that, but there’s something to be said for the support you get from the people who share your immediate community. But what happens when that environment gets poisoned with unnecessary competition, and you can’t actually trust that those relationships are healthy anymore? All I can hope for is that whatever toxic energy has contaminated the air will just as quickly skedaddle. I can’t handle mean people anymore. I just won’t.

Stravinsky and Nijinsky

Stravinsky and Nijinsky…friends till the end

So this is sort of a pity-party post, but also a real-talk post, as life has sort of handed me lemons as of late. I have a few choices here, folks. I can take the lemons and my new love-handles and make the best friggin lemonade you’ve ever tasted in your life…OR I can take these lemons and make lemon bars that will undoubtedly make my new love handles grow and grow and grow…gross.

We’re talking money versus muffin-top. Easy choice, right?

It’s times like these that remind me how important it is to take some downtime, and to be confident in my imperfections. I’m the only me in the world, and I might as well enjoy it.

So what’s my plan?

Since it’s still sort of the first week of April, I’m going to set a few public goals, and I suggest that you do the same based on whatever it is you’re needing from life at this moment.

  1. I want to eat food that not only satisfies me, but also makes me feel good.
  2. I want to workout at least three times a week…even if it means Dyva-stomping on the tready for just 20 minutes at 3.5mph. Just something!
  3. I’m going to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something fancy for myself…that doesn’t include mindlessly laying in bed. I want to do something that makes me feel good for purely selfish reasons.
  4. And finally, 20 minutes a day writing for my thesis, because you know…it’s gotta get done at some point within the next six weeks…no big deal.

When I asked my baby girl, Stravinsky if this post was too much of a pity-party, she said…

Bitch please, everyone needs a pity-party every once in a while.

So enjoy the party…and the lemonade that’s on its way!!!

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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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David Dorfman Dance is Delicious

I want to be a Dorfman. There, I said it.

And not just because they sang Happy Birthday to me at midnight on my 25th, and then again in class a few hours later…although, that definitely didn’t hurt the case…

I wish that someday I'll become a DDDancer...

I wish that someday I’ll become a DDDancer…SO ADORFABLE!

In the meantime however, I’ll have to settle for being a Dorfable (Get it? Like, the Isadorables…I’m a Dorfable…whatever…)

David Dorfman Dance took over the department last week, teaching various technique classes, participating in a few round-table discussions, and presenting their most recent work, Come, and Back Again.

Given the fact that I have a not-so secret crush on Mr. Oklahoma (the self-proclaimed [and I quote] “…perfect combination of all the Golden Girls”) and Kendra Portier (see her here as #2), I sort of knew before the week even started that I would love this company’s residency. (And now I love Raja and Whitney too!)

(You should also know that I did end up telling Kendra in person – over wine and cheese – that I loved her…that sort of sounded way more romantic than it actually was…kind of…)

Anyways…to be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with the history of the company, having only ever seen one or two video recordings of the same few pieces—so I didn’t actually know what to expect from their new work. (Lay off me, I’m still sort of new to this world of concert dance…) I did however have a pretty good feel for their aesthetic, as Mr. Oklahoma is one of Brockport’s own—and I recently had the pleasure of performing in his latest show, which was as we all know by now, an experience that I loved with my whole heart. I’ve also taken class from a few former Dorfables (see #5 here), and have yet to leave any Dorfman-related experience uninspired.

I’m not mad.

So let’s just get it out there (once again), not only do I lust for DDD, but I love DDD. Do you hear me, David Dorfman Dance? I love you. I will never not know the history of your company ever again, pinky promise.

Ok, sorry…back on track…every moment of this performance was alive; the vigorous movement vocabulary shared by all of the dancers, even David Dorfman himself, was executed with incredible confidence and ease. It was evident in their performance both on the stage and in the studio that each dancer has an unwavering sense of self –  this was extremely humbling to witness.

The “point of aliveness” is where this company’s work lives; that point where none of life’s little variables actually matter—but where you must take action NOW to stay alive…yeah, that’s what David Dorfman Dance does best. David gave the following example (a rough quote) when describing this particular quality: You don’t slow down to put your fancies on when your house is on fire, you get your tush out of that house regardless of what your hair looks like! Now MOVE!!!

There was such honesty within each dancers’ performance, as so much of their work relies on not only a shared experience with one another, but with a million other aspects incorporated into the production as well. Somehow Mr. Dorfman managed to integrate various multi-media sources, live sound, text, and props (including a little paper doggy) into this one show, and it all worked.

Talk about interdisciplinary collaboration.

I can say with full confidence that this was one of the few times I’ve witnessed a work with text that hasn’t totally pulled me out of the performance; it was actually incredibly moving, leaving many of us (myself included) a little misty-eyed…dangit. There was something about hearing the dancers call each other by name that really allowed me to buy into this world of (eventual) mortality, a reality that we will all inevitably face at some point in time—their experience just seemed so genuine (all because of a little name calling, I presume). Oddly enough, this specific world – despite a death’ish tone – looked sort of fun…is that weird?

I often find myself getting so wrapped up in the experience of any company that visits for a residency, and I always convince myself that I want to be part of it, even if I know it’s not for me (…slut). But like I mentioned earlier, I still feel sort of new to this world of concert dance, and somewhat naive to what and who’s out there making work with a value set that aligns with my own. I can honestly say now however (as I may have indicated once or twice), that this company is what I want my future to look like.

I want to be affiliated with a group of people who values learning every person’s name in the room within ten minutes of starting a master class, that has managed to find the balance between athleticism and grace, virtuosic and ordinary, but most importantly – a company that creates work with an agenda that matters. David Dorfman Dance doesn’t shy away from the politics of dance performance, and I love that they never apologize for having an opinion.

Sorry I’m not sorry. Now go do your homework, and check out their website.

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