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Ok,

Here goes.  I’m in Minneapolis for the time being.  I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but it won’t be more than a few months.  Nyc, China, Nyc were AMAZING.  I’m going to upload some pictures, but all of my photos are going to be on facebook, so you should probably check there.  If you don’t have facebook, IDK, that’s really not my problem.  ❤

I feel like writing about China doesn’t do it justice.  I’ll have the memories forever; and as much as I’d like to share these memories with everyone I know, I haven’t figured out the best way to do it.  I can tell you though, that jet lag is HORRIBLE.  I’m still not sleeping right, and I’m hungry at weird times and can hardly finish an American meal.  I also have an awful craving for Arby’s pretty much at all times: unfortunate.

I have a boifranz now.  He’s amazing.  It’s been a while coming.  We’ve been back and forth between Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and NYC.  I’m uber excited to see him this weekend in Milwaukee to have our own little Christmas.  I have to get the presents ready.  I don’t think I could be happier in that respect.

This is a pic of Ra’ and me in NYC the first time we were there together.  He was staying at the Sofitel and we painted the town singing and dancing away at places like Duplex and eating amazing meals at STK and sharing delicious cheesecake at Juniors.  New York is an amazing place to fall in love.  The lights, the music, the electricity: it’s all there.

The second trip to NYC we got to go to MoMA.  Omg.  Can I just say how spectacular it was?  There was a Tim Burton retrospective with and also Monet’s water lilies.  We weren’t allowed to take photos of Burton’s exhibit, but I got some of the museum in general.

We did some shopping also in Soho.  I’m missing the city already.  The fashion, the lights, the excitement.  If I chose not to do something, it’s because I had a choice.  I’ve only been gone a few days but I’m already itching to get back.  I am gonna miss the accessibility to all the shops and all the stores I loved going into while I was there.  Minneapolis is great, but it’s not NYC.

SO the reason for the whole trip was dancing with the Limon company.  It was quite an amazing experience.  I LOVED dancing every day and getting paid to do so.  I didn’t have to have another job to support me while I was there, I could just focus on my art and getting my body in tip top shape for performance.  Speaking of my body, my hip hurts like a MOFO. I need to get it checked out for hip surgery while I’m here.  I really need to do it this time because I can’t have this keep happening.  Anywhoser, (my new phrase picked up from some girl in Coffman) Ok I just lost my train of thought because I walked away from my computer.  Whoops.  Oh yes Limon.  Dancing with them was AMAZING. I loved feeling part of something like that.  THe dancers are amazing and great and treat you like an equal even if you’re merely guest dancing with them.  I feel like I formed some really close bonds and long-lasting friendships which I hope to continue to grow when I move back to NYC.  Again, I will keep updated as to when that’s happening, but it WILL happen and it WILL happen soon.

Jesi and I had a blast in NYC too.  We had movie nights, blockbuster visits, we went and had lunch on the steps of the Met on saturday and pretended we were famous.  We ordered sushi to get a diet coke, we ate Thai food in the dark, we watched lots of Star Trek, and we had an amazing Thanksgiving next to Central Park.  I am so thankful to her for allowing me to crash there.  Lots of love go out to her and also for letting Ra’ crash there a few nights the second time he came.  The best thing we did, though was after I flew back from China.  We spent my last day in NYC the right way: shopping, skating in Rockefeller Center, and then an evening of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at City Center.  It was spectacular.

NOW FOR CHINA!!

It was an adventure of a lifetime.  I’m surprised by how little culture shock I experienced.  Even though everything was pretty much in Chinese, and few people spoke more than a few words of English, I was able to get myself around with a lot of ease.  That’s probably because of China’s attempt to make the city tourist ready for the Beijing Olympics.  The theatre was out of this world amazing.  It was huge and everyone who worked there was incredibly kind.  Backstage everything looked the same.  There were multiple theatres in the large complex and it was very easy to get lost.  Luckily, the floors were color coded based on the theatre you were performing in…we were in the red theatre…so i never got FULLY lost.

I did a lot of touristy things.  I saw the great wall, which is where the top pic is from, obviously.  It was breathtaking.  Probably one of the most beautiful things I’ll ever see in my life, at least manmade.  I was taken by the thought that had to go into the construction of the wall, the angle, gradient, depth of the steps.  I would love to go back some day and spend more time there in the summer, but I’m not sure if that’ll ever happen.  I also saw the Forbidden City.  Beautiful.

Basically everything about China was interesting.  The pollution was incredibly thick, the people were generally pretty kind and helpful, but there was a lot of “Where are you from” and “Have you seen the Foribidden City” sort of English.  My favorite was when I was at the Silk Market, a highly touristy location with a lot of shops and imitation luxury fashion goods the merchants used “hello sexy boy, hi handsome, you want purse for your wife” a great deal.  I don’t have a wife…duh.

Ok, I’m running out of steam.   This may be my only China/NYC post.  I had an amazing time. Now I’m back for a short while, going to enjoy the holiday with family and see some friends.

Ok, time to vamboozle.

My last post was a little too angsty for my liking.  I’m actually doing well.  I can’t wait for New York; we’re almost into the teens, people.  I’m just enjoying life more and more each day.  I use the phrase more and more too often.  I have noticed that in academic papers.  Anyway, there’s a lot to be happy about; a lot of positive energy; a lot to feel thankful for, and that’s really what fall’s about, right?  Idk.  I’m very excited for Halloween.  What do people do in NYC for Halloween?  I guess I’ll find out.

I’m really excited to get my ass back in gear and really start dancing like mad again.  I need to get myself more into shape before that though; a few classes a week isn’t really amounting to much so far.  It might be slightly (or way more than slightly) narcissistic of me, but I have a print of me hanging in my room of me doing this fierce jump.  I took a picture with my phone a while ago, but the quality in the print is much better and it’s not in black and white.

It’s pretty good.  I have another one of myself doing a C jump which I’ve been trying to figure out where to put in my room, but no luck so far.

Again, the quality is much better in the print, but still.  When I get sad, I remember that I could do this, and I really can again if I get my butt in gear.

Ok. I think it might be time for a little nap before a night of reading, cleaning, and rejuvenating.

In case you thought I was making it all up, this is what I’ll be doing in China.

http://www.chncpa.org/n457779/n457834/n516566/2762975.html

I have to write. I have to write. I have to write.  It’s been too long since I wrote anything with real substance.  I’m not promising anything with this post, but at least I’ll give it a real college (post grad) try.  It’ll be my goal for the rest of the summer to post at LEAST twice a week. Haha, fat chance.

Yesterday I spent a majority of my day at one of the Lake Calhoun beaches.  This is a picture of the skyline you see from the beach.  Pretty, no?  Leave it to Minneapolis to create a small group of lakes right next to it’s downtown.  Lying out in my new Sauvage boy-shorts swimsuit for hours I probably got too much sun.  Consequently, here I am this morning, the color of a ripe tomato.  I don’t usually tan, or burn, or anything.  I just freckle.  I guess yesterday proved me wrong. Thank you Lake Calhoun, thank you.

Today one of my favorite people is heading off for a summer in Europe.  It’s going to be weird without him here.  Since Elizabeth started going to Spain, the people I care about tend to rush off to Europe for the summer.  Maybe something is telling me that I should really travel.  I want to go to Italy, France, Germany, England, Scotland.  I want to see where my ancestors came from, and I want to do it soon; before I get locked into some corporate machine, unable to escape for longer than a week or two at a time.

I have some horribly exciting news.  I cant quite spill it yet, but I might be doing some really amazing things in November.  The more I find things out, the more I will be able to spill.  Let’s just say, for now, international dancing experience?

P.S.  Tattoo, must think of what i want.

Yesterday I had a meeting with my dance mentor Ananya Chatterjea. We were winding down our meeting when I remembered an article by Brenda Dixon-Gottschild that I had read for Ananya’s class. In the article, “Some Thoughts on Choreographing History” which is found in the book Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance edited by Jane C. Desmond, Brenda talks about a white, female choreographer who complains to her saying that she is “sick and tired” of Brenda’s critique of irresponsible writing of dance historians. Brenda later goes on to point out that after having a conversation with this person, the writer was later able to open up and examine more thoroughly her own work. When I asked Ananya if she knew who this person was who Brenda described, she said that Brenda had never told her–Ananya was Brenda’s student and close friend.

What struck me was what Ananya said after. She said that Brenda had dealt with a great deal of hardships in writing about Balanchine, one of her main focuses. As a woman of color who was writing about the Africanus presence in Balanchines’ work, she found herself unable to even gain access to certain venues. Ananya made a strong point to me after this. She said that she is too old to work with bitches. What has the world of academia, specifically dance studies become encapsulated in? We MUST make friends in this business if we are to make a difference. Being catty, bitchy, or overly defensive about your work will get you no where, and will make the already prejudiced audience even more put off by the field.

We must must must work together, stop being defensive, and collaborate to create a web of powerful, critical writers. Critically looking at each other’s work will help us, but taking things personally will only arrest our development…haha, funny!

This is my CALL TO ACTION. Let’s stop being accusatory and combative and start being critical and nurturing. I’m only 23 and I’m already tired of the bitches.

I’m out


Yesterday was the last day of our University Dance Theater’s Dance Revolutions concert. It’s the big hooplala for the dance program. The pic is of the piece I’m in. I’m the one in the front left most downstage (which in this case is closest to the body). The piece is called “Impetus” and is choreographed by Nathan Trice, a budding New York choreographer.

For those of you who don’t know much about dance, let me just say I am going to try to enlighten the experience of the performer in this context…what goes into making a 2 hour dance show that runs for 3 days.

It’s the first week of school, which correlates exactly to the first week of September this year. The dance majors (and some non-majors) crowd into a small, dark studio which is overly-crowded and full of anxiety and nerves as practically no one has prepared well enough to jump right back into the rigourous 1.5 hour class 4 days a week schedule that is Modern 7/5. Today, and for the rest of the week, we audition for our placement into which level of modern we are placed. Modern 7 is advanced modern, while Modern 5 is intermediate. By the third day, we start to feel it. Our hamstrings are tighter, legs feel heavier, but we feel stronger. The first week back is always a bitch…nothing feels good and you can only remember how good you were last May when you left. Why didn’t I dance at Zenon more over the summer?!

The first Saturday is the worst. It’s UDT auditions…if I don’t make it, I have no worth as a dance major, right? Why would I even want to be a dancer if I can’t make it into UDT?! I hope at least one of the choreographers likes me. I should wear something that makes me stand out…but I should try to dress ooshy gooshy because Bebe Miller will be there….omg, is Trisha Brown going to be there? I’m so nervous. We all get to the audition and hear Carl Flink, our “fearless leader” tell us about the process. 4 artists, 4 studios, 4 hours…and callbacks after. Intensity is key.

First on to Nathan Trice, an African American choreographer from New York with a military history and Alvin Ailey training. He sounds like Uri, like last year. Intensely physical, technical movement. Counts to six, long legs pointed feet, lines, etc. Fluidity through hyperphysicality. Balletic? Hortonish… 45 minutes. I think he liked me. He looked at me, and said good when I did a leg thing. He had me do it again too…that’s a good sign. Good way to warm up for the day.

Next on to Karen Sherman and Morgan Thorsen. Karen’s a New York choreographer and Morgan’s a Twin Cities choreographer. They’re life partners doing their first time collaboration. We start the audition with some theatrical improv. Much more comfortable audition. Then on to a hyper crazy phrase. Very physical, but different from Nathan’s phrase: more disjointed, more separated, more fragmented. They looked at me this time too. Good UDT thus far. Maybe I’ll get called back for this one too.

Next on to Bebe Miller’s piece. Erin Thompson, famous modern dancer and our teacher, is running the audition. We learn the phrases. Do them…I’m not as good at this one and I can tell. More monkey, and my legs were tired and sore and I couldn’t find my monkey…it was hard for me. It always is. Very beg, luscious movement. Beautiful even. Not sure about making this one.

Last audition with Trisha Brown. Will and Katrina, two former company members, are doing the audition. The piece is Set and Reset. We learn a phrase and start going. We get to do it twice in the 45 minutes. It’s hard to get into. Much less energy than the other pieces. Hard to do last after all the nerves. Trying to empty the body. We started with a great and fun movement improv, though. Very fun and ineresting.

Everyone’s done and now on to the callbacks. I made 2! Nathan’s and Karen and Morgan’s. Dance big and hard and show how well you can do it. Make them remember you. We don’t have time to review the phrases and must just jump in and do them again. I feel good about it. Wait til tuesday to see the cast list.

Tuesday is here, and I’m in Nathan’s piece! There are four guys, 3 seniors and a freshman…hooray, this piece seems the most diverse agewise. We don’t start rehearsals until end of October. I’ll jump ahead now to our rehearsals.

We show up on the first day, scared. We don’t know who the understudies are. This is still and audition. We learn a phrase. The final phrase of the piece. It takes over 2 hours. Nathan is a drill sergeant, to say the very least. Everything must be precise, the way he wants it. It’s intense. The next three weeks are much like this…hearing “no, no, no, again, no, no, no, again.” It never really feels good enough. We learn most of the material in the first week, then we find out who’s in the piece. It’s intense. I’m in! All the guys are in. We start setting it on Saturday. Finally, it seems less stressful. We don’t have to dance constantly. That first week was as sore as I’ve been in my life. I literally felt like a walking corpse. No energy and completely sore. I needed a massage every night just to fall asleep. I was a little pathetic.

The second week and third week were cleaning. Cleaning with Nathan equals running it and stopping every few seconds. Nothing is good enough. We can always do better, but we should not try to master it. We need to keep exploring. The final day is here and we have our showing! Finally, people get to see our hard work. it feels good. We wear our costumes, which makes the dance harder. The costume pulls on my hip hiker muscles causing my pelvis to tilt, which hurts my back and stomach. I have to compensate by flexing my abdominals constantly. Here we come six-pack.

After the showing, we have a few runs and rehearsals with Toni Pierce-Sands, but Nathan is gone. We leave for Winter break for a break. We come back and have rehearsal right away. It does not feel as good and easy as it did before. But we will get it back. The second run felt better. It just kept getting better.

Tech rehearsal times. Every night we’d have a run. We’re the last piece so we have to stay late each time. We have one 9-11 p.m. rehearsal on a Friday, which we find they’ve lost all the data on it the next day. The computer had an error and we had to re-record. A Friday night lost…which resulted in a Saturday sitting at the Rarig center for about 6 hours with nothing to do. Dress rehearsals went pretty well, but one of our dancers was sick. She got better for the show, though. Preview, opening night, kids show, saturday night, and sunday matinee and we’re done. Such a long process for such a short run. It’s sad and terrible to be over.

In conclusion, we rehearse, practice, audition, work hard for you to see 20-30 mintues of a piece. I hope you all appreciate it because it is truly what we love to do. I hope that shows also. The piece is killer, and I want to vomit each time I finish, but it’s worth it for the feeling of pure energy while doing it. Some pieces started rehearsing right away and their processes have been even longer. Just remember that a dancer’s process is so long and you should really appreciate a concert next time you go…if you’d never thought of it that way before.