Alice in Wonderland – The Ballet

The National Ballet of Canada is in town to perform their Alice in Wonderland masterpiece and who’s got premier orchestra tickets in her greedy little hand? THIS GIRL! With costumes and sets like this can you blame me for being totally excited?

Image

Image

and I get to go with two of my most amazing ballet buddies. I don’t think the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion can handle it. I guess we will all find out tomorrow night!

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Zombie Friggin’ Ballet

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Zombie Ballet – Click on any of the images below to see images in larger size.

Posted in ballet, dance, performing, photography, photos | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Winter Show Case

Winter show case. The yearly prom of the ballroom do-er. The one the students prepare for months in advance and get their friends to come to. The event that you bust out the “good shoes” and the “sparkles” for. Often this is a dress rehearsal for a showcase piece or an open routine for competition to see how it all flows and stacks up to. A lot is riding on it, be it pride or the acid test, the Winter Show Case has everyone invested and it’s going to be a spectacle, for that is the point right? How many have I done and to what extent they have meant things to me at various points along the ballroom path has varied and this year is no exception.

Year One 2009 :

(Lindy Hop World on a String, Sinatra) :

I love this picture because I love Tina’s expression. I know this look, it was not only did you nail it, but you did exactly what I thought you could do, and maybe a little more. Ok, that last little part is what I like to think.

Emotion Level Before : Tina made the argument that the best way to get better is by doing a routine for something like a winter show case and I couldn’t really argue. She also waved a Lindy in front of me and approved Sinatra’s “World on a String.” tune I picked out. She toiled with it to make it work but she was committed and in her tenacious and ambitious manner pushed me to do something I’d never done before. After all, I was a bit lost, didn’t really have a direction or goals for dancing, just knew I liked it and had this itch, finally, to go somewhere with it. But right before we went out on the floor in spite of all my pontificating about how I’d finally come to a place where I felt that I was capable of giving people finally something to look at, there was nothing but panic, pain and sheer terror running through me.

Emotion Level After : Elated, I really think the picture says it all. The routine was something truly special, the dance and the music just worked. When that song comes on, people just start to smile and Tina’s choreography is always catered to the students strengths. It was so special  we never forgot it and three years later reinvented to win top solo at Desert Classic :

After (2012) Can you smell the confidence change? :

Sorry Park West, but it’s called a screen grab.

Year Two 2010 :

( WC Swing Singing in the Rain / Umbrella mash-up Glee ) :

I love this picture because when I look at us, we kinda look a little fierce.

Emotion Level Before : I had a thought in my head that being in front of strangers would help actually help with my nerves. Whoops. The thought was that if they were people that I didn’t know, I wouldn’t feel the need to live up to anyones expectations. Yeah… sigh… Amazingly, the strangers only added to the terror and vomit feelings. So when I went out and they played the music off the CD at the wrong speed. (It was I think 6 or 7% slower.) I sort of shut down, astro-projected out of my body and watched from the disco ball. I’ll never forget that exchange of looks between me and Tina when we both realized that there was something a miss. It was a completely humbling moment and I surrendered to someone who just knows how to handle it better. Tina gave me her jedi mind trick, locking eyes, her head up and then slowly down controlling my foot to go down at the right moment.

Looking back at the tape it, actually worked out better then we had originally planned it. We performed it again the next day at the right speed and it just wasn’t as good. That was also the year I tried really hard to be a West Coast Swinger. Boy, that was a mistake. I should have not fought my inner Lindy Hopper. Doing West Coast, I’m like the princess and the pea, I’m on a butt load of mattresses but I can still feel something not right underneath me. Oh well, it was still a SUPER fun routine and it once again pushed me. This was also the year I learned to spot. I did three turns, that’s right three turns, in a row and it was a spontaneous applause moment from strangers. That felt good.

Emotion Level After : I knew that it was a really good learning moment. I was happy. I finished and finished well. I learned that what you think and what it turns out to be are two different things and that the one it turns out to be might actually be better if you can let go of what you thought it would be and look objectively. :

Year Three 2011 :

(Quick Step / Lindy The Trouble With Me Is You Red Mckenzie ) :

I love this picture because again it’s the dynamic duo. While I’m sort of always going to feel like Tina’s wing man, I love the fact that she never sees me as that. To her I am just me and the friendship that has crossed the fourth wall has been strengthened with trust and sprinkled over our dancing to give us, what someone said at April Follies, “a very special connection.”.

Emotion Level Before : Completely Mixed. I’d never tried Quick Step before this and I was excited to try but really sort of upset at myself for agreeing to try it this way. I remember thinking, even though I love the song and I thought it was completely charming, I’d picked a song that was just too “vintage-y” and obscure and that no one knowing the song would get what we were doing. Yet, in spite of my fears, there were three spontaneous applause moments.

I also had the break through after looking at the tape, I LOOKED like I was having a good time. Prior to this I had tells when I screwed up, a giant smile would grow and grow in between a long bats of a very sullen face or I just looked like I was concentrating way to much. But in this dance, I stuck the character through. Nahh, I was just having a good time.

Emotion Level After : This showcase came after a storm of uncertainty of where to go and what I was going to do with dance. It solidified my new commitment to ballroom competition. It was go time. :

Year Four 2012 :

( A Fox Trot. A Super Special Waltz and The Reinvented Lindy Hop. ) :

Here’s what I know, it will take place in the picture above filled with strangers and with the lights low, and it must be a Lindy Leap year in my calendar. Because Tina and I, we are going back to the Lindy hop in its new and reinvented state and I kinda can’t wait. It’s also the first year that I will be working with Youriy AND not doing one but two routines with him… for a grand total of three routines!!!! AND one of the routines will be done to a song that is not, in any way, rat pack related. WHAT? I know.

What about you, dear readers, anyone have a good Christmas show case yarn to tell? Anyone getting ready? Share… go on share…

Posted in ballroom, ballroom dance, dance, performing, students, swing dance, teachers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show Stoppers

I was already to finish up writing a post about the fun and substance of the Winter Show Cases when on Tuesday night I was getting out of my car and the back spasm started.

Show stopper…

It felt like I was being squeezed by something mechanical. It took my breath. I stopped. I got my breath back and thought it was over. Another step and three squeezes and I fell back on to the car. My heart was ready to burst out of my chest, my whole body perspired, when I got my breath back there was heavy breathing and then it was done.

I made my way to the elevator like nothing happened. I went into my apartment, put on my PJ’s, plugged in the heating pad, took a vicodin and slept.

Some times vicodin dreams are horrible, but this dream was amazing. I was in a fairy park that was over grown with foliage and flowers. It was humid and time was slow. I was approaching a fountain in the middle of the park that was filled with sad tired old white swans. Their heads skimmed the surface of the water because they couldn’t hold their necks up. Nothing pretty to look at, the only thing they seemed to evoke was pity. I walked to the edge of the fountain to try to see why they couldn’t lift their heads and as I reached for one they all saw me, and said, “It’s not: I jumped in, and it was cold. No. It was cold, and I jumped in. Always arrange a sentence so you appear to be fearless, when in fact you are far less than fearless—you are clueless.
”** They then rose up from the fountain, which of course had by now magically somehow turned into more of a lake, to reveal that the sad swans where really more like cowls, and these angular white sparkling dragons rose up with their wings dripping water in the foggy diffused sunlight. The image was so vivid and real, it woke me up and I was whapped in the face with a fuzzy cat tail.

Show stopper…

Luckily, I was still able to go back to slumber time.

In the morning I carefully got out of bed. I got down the stairs and sat down on the couch, trying to figure out what I should do. Stay home? Go to work. I got up and started walking to the bathroom. I got three steps in and three squeezes sent me hanging on a wall for support.

Show stopper…

I sent the official staying home sick email. Right now, I could go into the stupidness of doctors and our health care system, but the emotions I have towards it, I just wouldn’t know where to start. So let me just say this, “To the Troll Nurse who was beyond curt with me because I didn’t know the exact date of my last period, get laid. Because I’m in a bit of pain and can’t think, it in no way gives you the right to make me feel like crap when I’m on the scale that I’m at the high-end of the BMI normal healthy index. I don’ not need your judging eyes nor your whatever bad thing you are thinking about me, because it has nothing to do with me. This is all you. Check it at the door. And Young Evil Wizard Doctor,  just because I choose not to have surgery for this injury does NOT make me a drug attic. So thank you Third-Random-Doctor-That-I-Have-Been-Assigned in two years, for not looking at my MRI, and making that immediate assumption. I’m glad that I had a copy of my MRI on hand, why didn’t you? When I’m in pain I totally have more patience then you have patients.”

Not a show stopper… because I made it through… it’s weird isn’t it, when you think you have no faith in yourself and you’re just in a sad state where all is lost and then a complete stranger treats you the way you feel and then you’re all, “Screw you I’m amazing!”

I passed the test of the Angry Troll Nurse and the Young Evil Wizard Doctor and the prophecy of my dream comes true. The sad swan slowly rose up out of the pond and became a the Show Stopping Strong Sparkling Crystal A/B Dragon. Again.

**( A quote by Jarod Kintz from At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you’d still waste time by reading it. )

Posted in ballet, ballroom, ballroom dance, dance, essay, students, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Not So) Deep Thoughts…

…in no particular order…

*****

…in a performance situation. If something is not working cut it. It’s not a reflection of you or your ability, nobody wants to see anything look hard. One perfect pirouette is more amazing than 99 when you don’t land it.

*****

The day of the dead is cool. I smell portrait sessions coming on… I always wanted to get that airbrush makeup kit!

*****

How can angels pirouette with wings? It seems like that would be really hard. Wings would be whapping you in the face.

*****

I drank so much water last night, sleeping was a big mistake.

*****

When I close the trunk of my car the hood comes up. Bruises are gone, pulled hamstring is here. Le Sigh…

*****

My Zombie Girls are going to do their ballet! I can’t wait till next week to take pictures. Last year was awesome, this year is going to be longer and better, little kid zombies. Look there I am, in the audience supporting my girls, when I had long hair…

*****

Started Christmas Show Case Routine. I like to Fox Trot. Oh, I smell a blog post coming on that is actually substantial!

Posted in ballet, ballroom, ballroom dance, dance, students, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 3: Weird Bruise Watch

image

Is it possible I actually sprained both my ankles? Same bruising is on the other foot… yesterday the feet/ankles were not happy. Grrrrr…

Posted in ballet, ballroom, ballroom dance, dance, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Today’s Special Dream…

I’m having one of those days when I REALLY wish I could have picked another path for my life. It is epically implausible as a date with Aqua Man and a mustached unicorn while surfing in a Tutu holding my cat. But I can dream it today and today I can give me permission to dream it and not feel bad about it tomorrow.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments