Tag Archives: Rehearsal

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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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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you want me to eat my food off of a plate???

How many times have you heard in your life, “integrate X-activity into your practice”…

Mmmmmm by practice…do you mean…show up two minutes before class starts with just enough time to take my shoes off…and then run out of the room right after class finishes to not think about any of it again until…the next class two days later?—oh, while also making sure to eat an abundance of Fritos and chocolate truffles while running to and from the studio?

Yes? No?…wait, really…No?

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until VERY recently that I started to figure what all this “practice” hoopla is about…and through pragmatic research, I’ve decided that it’s not in fact a hypothetical thing that artsy-artists just say as one more way of isolating you from feeling legitimate. In fact, how many times have those artsy-artists made you feel like the biggest fraud ever for not actually understanding what it means to feel connected into the earth?

Ummm the floor is in the way, guys. I don’t care how hard you practice, the floor is definitely in the way…

So I say…screw the artsy-artists, I’m here to tell you from one Dyva to another, that you too can have a real-life, legitimate practice. You (yes, you!) can regularly engage in a series of activities that not only make you feel confident to throw glitter all over your kinesphere, but you can engage in activities that actually prepare you to go ham with your glitter without ever having to risk pulling a hammy (did you actually follow that logic?). Sounds like a win-win, yes? Yes.

As my performance opportunities have increased in the past few months, I’ve really started to identify what I need from my body to feel available and prepared for a successful performance. I can eventually find a comfortable groove to live in once I’ve hit the stage, as long as I know that I’ve primed both my mind and my body–especially when I’m nervous (as I seem to turn into a clammy mess of emotions).

Performing with Red Dirt Dance

Performing with Red Dirt Dance

For me, my practice starts first thing in the morning; I know that if I don’t sit down at the kitchen table and eat my breakfast off of a plate, that the rest of my day is a lost cause. If I can’t slow down long enough to feed myself like a human being, then all sense of balance follows suit, and I can pretty much kiss a grounded performance goodbye.

Other things I need?

  • Healthy food that doesn’t make me feel bloated (I’m looking at you, dairy!)
  • A good plank and a downward dog
  • Some leg-swings
  • Several plies
  • Lots of standing roll-downs (…the official name, I’m sure)

…and finally…

**I MUST balance on releve on either foot while singing, “Whistle” by Flo-Rida. I do not step on stage without this final exercise being accomplished successfully. I have never been so serious in my life. (…please excuse the crude lyrics and images…I can’t really explain the appeal…it just is what it is…)

So that’s my list for performance needs, but even for class I require a little maintenance. Attending class regularly is a practice in itself, but my curiosities should always be alive to be truly invested and engaged in the material (even when I’m not in the studio under the guidance of a teacher and their syllabus).

Technique class is my version of a scientist’s lab, blow shit up and don’t worry about being on good behavior until the science fair eventually rolls around.

I think one of the most important parts of engaging in a practice is to first allow yourself to be humble. Practice makes perfect is a grossly summarized version of my mantra…or at least what I want it to be:

Practice makes failure. Failure makes progress. Progress is perfect.

Until the next science fair rolls around (or lets say, my next performance in April), I’ve got to stay committed to taking unapologetic risks in class. Not succeeding one day doesn’t mean I fail forever, it just means that I have a new goal to work towards. That’s exciting.

What do I need to feel successful in technique class?

  • I can’t be too hungry or too full.
  • KapDaddy must visit the potty. I know I’ll have to pee, I always do.
  • I’ve got to turn off all technology at least 20 minutes before class so that I can focus my energy away from the distraction of social media and back in towards my body.

Seriously though, who can concentrate on undercurves with a raging case of FOMO? Not this Dyva.

I hate to say it, but *knowing that I have a practice and then *owning that I have a practice sort of makes me feel like an artsy-artist. But don’t worry, not the annoying kind…the floor is definitely still an issue…

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i thought it was spelled “warewolf”…

I’m currently a teaching assistant for our new dancers’ modern technique class; most of the students are freshman, and a giant handful of them come from studio-based backgrounds…like me…

I recently sat in (…and painfully facilitated) a few of their mid-semester evaluation conferences (we split the semester in half, so each section of modern technique has two teachers/semester…so technically, this is quarter semester, but who’s really paying attention…), where we discussed both their strengths and weaknesses…in a very candid way.

There was something about those meetings that really struck a chord with me; these students, mostly all new to dance in higher education, were in that confusing period of phasing out of what they’ve known for years at their studios, and into this world of postmodern dance through Bartenieff fundamentals and release technique…a phasing period I know all too well.

I’ll justify the following analogy with a little open disclosure: I’ve recently (re)binged on the Twilight Saga…at home, in theaters, even paperback form…I’m not sorry…

That being said…the transition period between competition-studio dance (where technique class is code for “competition choreography”, and where your sole goal is to make it on Hall of Fame’s website so that people can jack your style for next season) into modern dance at the university level (where you finally learn how to plie efficiently…F-off external rotators, my knees were working just fine…) is a lot like phasing for werewolves. (I said it.)

You’re not really sure why life has to change all of a sudden, especially when you were doing just fine, but all of a sudden EVERYTHING has changed.

You start to realize that dance, that thing you’ve done for years every day after school for fun (!!!), was a lot harder and smarter than you ever imagined—and there are days when you worry it may even be smarter than you

i’ve been known to snarl/growl/bear my teeth

Amidst the self-doubt and various degrees of resentment and resistance, a flicker of hope shows its face when you least expect it. As a new werewolf (I mean, modern dancer…) you start to realize what your current patterns of movement are and how they either support or oppose this new information; there’s no set timeline, but eventually you begin to make adjustments that fit your body’s needs. Before you know it, you’re alpha, teaching a modern technique class to other dance majors, claiming that your understanding of release technique is enough to feed theirs.

That shit cray.

Even after you’ve settled into this new way of life, self-discovery becomes your new BFF…or maybe sometimes, that person you actually can’t stand who never seems to go away. A lot of that transition requires you to go back to the basics, and realize that technique class isn’t a performance; it’s your lab to experiment and make crazy shit that may blow up in your face and everyone else’s around you. That’s okay.

You’ve claimed to have been making art your entire life, and don’t get me wrong, you have! Think of studio-dance as shading with crayons, whereas dance in the university is finally outlining those pictures in marker; it’s all the same picture (at least that’s what I’m arguing).

I encourage you to join our pack…we really are nice people.

Duncan, Graham, St. Dennis, Laban, Dunham

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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!

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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!

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sharing is caring

So this past weekend (Oct. 18-20) was the moment of truth, time for my thesis Mapping to hit the big stage. We’ve been rehearsing since mid-August, and I’ve probably seen the piece at various stages at least 70 times; it’s safe to say at this point, there are very few performative surprises. Having worked together so closely for so many weeks, I could argue that things between the eight dancers have become sort of predictable (predictable = consistent)…consistent that is, until a new set of eyes exists in the same room as our dance…

…then all is fair in thesis and war…

As the choreographer, I tense up and sort of break out in hives…ok not sort of, I get a rash sometimes. I become so protective of our work together, that I almost can’t watch if other people are in the same room also paying attention. It’s like I’m being forced to give something special of mine away that I’m not yet ready to part with. Having that new set of eyes makes my perception of the dance completely shift. What was once predictable and consistent is now something I’ve never seen before in my life. Woof Daddy.

Mapping
photo: Rebecca Puretz

It’s so weird, but it happens ALL THE TIME, even with composition assignments for class. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen my own work, the minute there’s an audience, my body literally trembles…

Let’s not even get started on what my nervous energy does to the dancers when they can see me foaming from the mouth with anxiety.

I do think there’s something to be said for having people watch your piece while it’s in the developmental stages; I value feedback thats honest and respectful of the work in progress—and really, the only people I’m comfortable letting in are those whom I know give (my version) of constructive feedback. Let’s just say I work well under a compliment-sandwich situation. The minute the feedback portion is removed however, and people become just spectators viewing my work, I automatically go on the defense…maybe because I’m no longer in a position to defend my choices, as the piece in fruition is finally no longer mine.

Another thing I’ve grappled with throughout this process was not being able to share the narrative that the dancers and I developed. Trying to be a POMO choreographer of the concert world of dance, I left it all up for interpretation…but not really…I mean, absolutely have an opinion, but it’s probably wrong…just kidding…not really…sort of

pure dyvalicious glitter
photo: Emma Scholl

I know what you’re thinking, why do I feel the need to defend myself? Well, for this piece in particular, so much of ME is in it…how could I NOT go on the defense?? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, yes (I mean it this time!), but to sit anonymously within a crowd of people who are busy formulating opinions about the work you’ve devoted hours of your life to without being able to claim any part of it…it’s sort of isolating and an extremely frustrating challenge (especially for me, an attention whore/control-freak).

Those are MY ideas on stage that YOU are watching–and you have NO idea that while you’re whispering to the person on your right, I’m the person sitting to your left…the same person responsible for the tutu-spectacle that’s been assaulting your face for the past 18 minutes.

Not to the same extent, but I sort of feel the same way when I watch people I care about performing. I’m not confrontational (AT ALL), but I become a pitbull, open-mouth growling at people who make side-comments under their breath while people I love dyva-stomp on stage.

Am I alone? What’s the “normal” way to negotiate that point when the dance is no longer yours? Being a firm believer that the process is never-ending, and knowing very well that ready or not, at some point there will be an audience, what are some tactics for that painfully vulnerable stage when it’s finally time to share your work?

you can look but you cant touch

I mean, remember, sharing is caring!!

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thesis pieces

What have I been doing since August you ask? Just working on the choreographic portion of my thesis…you know, it’s no big deal, really…

There have been moments where I’d rather submit this for a grade…

casual apple crisp

Or even this…

stress baking much?

…instead of a fierce-ass dance glitterfest…but unfortunately the glitterfest is what’s required from an MFA candidate at Brockport, and even though I bake really really well, it didn’t appear that I had much of a choice…

So late August, I returned from Maine and immediately faced my darkest daemons, I started the rehearsal process for the biggest project of my career thus far…

DUN DUN DUN

(…I actually am this dramatic in real life…just consider it part of my charm)

Anyways, I had two weeks to create enough of a rough skeleton that once classes started, I could hold bi-weekly rehearsals without wanting to purposely trip in rush-hour traffic. The only thing I knew going into this adventure was that I wanted there to be lots of partnering, and that it needed to be ridiculous…in a good way.

It’s now two months later and my thesis goes up for final evaluation in a week. If nothing else, THAT’S ridiculous.

So now that I can start to sort of see the light at the end of this short tunnel, I think I’d like to share a few things about this process, all unrelated of course…

Let’s start with the creative process:

Like I said earlier, I knew I wanted tons of partnering, but I also knew I couldn’t pre-choreograph any of that magic; so I made games, or rather borrowed games from the partnering class I took at Bates, and put a lot of faith into my stunning and crazy-smart cast of eight. Lucky for you, I’m willing to share some of those ideas:

  1. Teach a phrase (the “OG phrase”) and then pair off…
  2. One person performs the phrase while other dances in their negative space, switch roles. This essentially yields two new solos in addition to the OG phrase.
  3. Make a grid of body parts for ‘person one’ and ‘person two’ individually. While performing both new solos simultaneously, dancers must make points of contact as grid indicates. Voila, weight sharing duets.
  4. Perform the OG phrase as a collective group. (So one person at a time is executing a specific part of the phrase while the rest of the group supports the movement
  5. Pair off again, take segments of the OG phrase and perform as a partnering duet…whatever that means to you.

The list truly goes on and on, and once these games finally came to an end for our process, we literally had enough material for at least four dances.

I don’t know if these last two years at Brockport were just an annoying dry-spell or what, but this dance just sort of fell into my lap and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve been making consistent changes week by week (like cutting out an entire song a week ago…), and I don’t actually think the process is over, or even near finished…but I’m honestly so proud of the work that’s accumulated and am thrilled to finally see it produced on stage.

Next: The first annual Rochester Fringe Festival

So, a few weeks ago (later September), I unofficially premiered the work at the Rochester Fringe Festival. It was a free event and an informal showing, but my babies rocked it so hard, it hurt.

*I should also say this, there’s a few moments in the dance that are reminiscent of Harry Potter and Malfoy wand-battling on the dining room table at Hogwarts. That aside, there was something about the performance in this space that limited my thinking to Dementors…apparently I made an 18 minute dance about Harry Potter and Dementors. You are welcome.*

just my thesis…

In all seriousness, it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so artistic and community based, as I value taking complex “things” and making them generally accessible; it was such an incredible opportunity to take my version of concert dance and share it with the local community. It wasn’t a perfect space for this dance (claustrophobic doesn’t even begin to describe it), but the day couldn’t have been more perfect…make sense?

And finally, shall we address my mental state?

I’ll start by saying, the dance is a narrative of one’s mind at work…the affects/effects (both…?) of the ego and how dissociation from one’s self-imposed narrative can actually be liberating and life changing. It’s essentially a mind-map of the mind…trippy and so relative.

I really was surprised at how “easily” the dance took shape; it was definitely a ton of hard work, but once I stopped standing in my own way, I managed to make a piece that I loved. With all of this being said, I’m now in this weird limbo of newfound confidence and familiar insecurity (mostly because in the back of my mind I know that in a few months I’m back to the bottom of someone’s totem pole).

In conclusion:

I think part of the reason I was hesitant to blog these past several weeks was because I didn’t think I could justify offering advice on anything when I was begging for advice on everything. I then got a friendly reminder from Ms. Weight Sensing that these are the moments and the reasons for having a blog; without sharing my stories, I risk leaving somebody out there, maybe even you, feeling isolated in a similar experience. Know that you are not alone, I too am a psycho, and we will get through this together.

It’s going to be great!

I leave you with the following, a little ditty Dumbledore shared with me yesterday…

 Sorry Feminists (…I died…)

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good news alert…I’m back!

So since my last post in June, I’ve found myself extremely busy with the final stages of losing my mind (officially…we all saw that coming…), I ugly cried several times in several mirrors, I met an Albanian popstar, I read several trashy novels, and eventually, I found myself standing (confidently) back on my own two feet.

What a trip.

I’m currently sitting here in Lewiston Maine, in a tiny little dorm room (hey Small House) at Bates Dance Festival. You should know that there is glitter (or what appears to be glitter) literally embedded in the streets; they must have known I was coming!

I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous; I have such mixed emotions that I’m not quite sure which ones I want to own and commit to just yet. Part of me feels pressure to network and get my name out to anyone who will listen, who knows what opportunities await just around the corner??? Part of me wants to sit outside under a tree and ignore the world while I self indulge in my own version of Eat Pray Love. Part of me wants to cry because that’s what I do when I feel overwhelmed with any sort of emotion. Most of me however, just wants to take it all in as it happens–which is what 97% of me has decided to do. Baby steps, people.

As far as I can tell in the short time I’ve been here, Bates supplies an eclectic mix of Dyvas and RAB’s alike. What we all share in common however, is our walk: super erect upper bodies with loose (kind of flailing) lower bodies. It doesn’t matter which end of the personality spectrum one falls in, it’s like a stampede of glittery egos walking to and from the dining hall, day in and day out. The differentiating characteristic amongst us exists in the eye contact, some bitches can’t bother actually looking you in the eye and instead choose to just ignore the fact that you’re standing right in front of them–the rest of the Dyvas can’t wait to smile and say HELLO.

Hello.

I’ve decided that aside from Dyva-stomping all over the northeast, my plan for the next three weeks is to take a few dance classes (this place truly is heaven), see a few shows (Kyle Abraham, Kate Weare, Keigwin…), write a few blogs (…I’m back!!!), and most importantly, take a few minutes to myself each and every day. I view this experience as an opportunity to practice and instill balance within an environment, similar to Brockport, where opportunities are endless.

The name of the game, Balance Bitches.

Essentially the summer months symbolize the beginning of a new year for the dance community, so here’s to new beginnings and new experiences. I’ve got my game face on (i.e. bright lipstick) and I’m ready to make some serious waves.

*I’ll be posting from my iPad these next few weeks—the same iPad that apparently doesn’t want me to load any pictures into my posts…*

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not-dance rules!!!

Going to see a non-dance related performance is such a simple way to find inspiration, DUH! It’s not all that of a mind-blowing idea…I just never took the time to put into words what happens to me at these events…

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Britney Spears concert or a symphony orchestra, the feeling that overwhelmingly consumes me sitting there in the audience is unlike anything I experience anywhere else; I believe this what they call ~*inspiration*~.

Without question, I always leave invigorated and inspired.

I sit there in the audience of these non-dance performances, watching these people perform their chosen art form with such passion and commitment, it makes me wish I had an outlet of my own to pour my soul into like these people have….but wait, I do…DUH!!!

Nine times out of ten, I tear up uncontrollably, and usually can’t name what’s going on as it’s happening. The kinesthetic response I experience at these events is just sointense

This feeling of inspiration is totally different from the feeling I get when watching really wonderful dance, however. When watching incredible modern dance, (because it also happens to be my craft), I tend to experience a wide-range of emotions, usually in the following order: excitement—jealousy—inspiration—defeat—jealousy—inspi…nope, still jealous….

My brain: I want to do that!!!!

The feelings I experienced last night at Musica Nova and Ossia at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, are what I’m sure non-dancers experience when they observe a modern dance concert. I felt anxious at times, confused at times, I found humor at questionably inappropriate times, I experienced moments of surprise, and shock, and I loved every moment of the unpredictable madness.

I watched this tiny girl perform the (comparatively enormous) cello with such concentration, I found myself wondering what it would be like to commit myself to something to fully.

Again, ‘light bulb city’ went off in my brain.DUH.

If I’ve completely lost you, I apologize—go see a non-dance performance, and then we’ll talk!

It’s so easy to get lost in the grind of your every day life, that what you once loved as a hobby (dance), has now become a task-oriented job. Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be this way…that’s the good news! The bad news is, you’ve got to free an entire evening of rehearsals to get yourself out there in the real world….and PUT SOME JEANS ON, TOO!!!

Last night when I was sitting there lost in my thoughts, listening to the music of Steve Reich, my conscious said “Maybe you should start doing things that make you happy…”, right there at the moment of thinking “happy”, the drum ensemble blew up into an explosion of sound. Subtle hint, I know…so now that I’ve shared that with you…

Enjoy your tears of inspiration!

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