Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Ballerina

These thoughts are all inspired by my latest adventure at a place I will call Sifernd U. 

 The ballerina is the definition of beauty and grace. Her lines are exquisite, her dance is captivating. The self-discipline is the strongest I have ever seen. Everything is immaculate, from the bun on her head; to the way the seam runs down the back of her tights. She is sophisticated and demure. The ballerina needs structure… and French! I think the classical ballerina is wonderful…..BUT… I am no ballerina.

 I wiggled into my pink tights that took me all morning to find. They made me feel lumpy all over, and I am not a big girl. Only a ballerina would have no muffin top in a material that fits this close.  Next, I squeezed into my black leo and I tried to talk myself into believing it wasn’t so bad. My next layer was all me. Comfy black jazz pants and a loose fitting white T, but I wouldn’t have these layers on for long.

 I went to enroll for this weeklong adventure. When I arrived, no one was in sight. I signed up anyways and paid my fees. Next, I was whisked off to the dressing room with my class schedule and page-long instruction guide on how to be a dancer. At 20 years old, I was told to inform the instructors of my lunch plans (so they could keep an eye on me of course). This is a whole new world. What did I drag myself into? Well, a world of tiny, pristine ballet babes. At ages 11 and 12, some of these girls already showed more discipline then most grown men I know. I was the only one from the outside, and the oldest of course, because the story just gets better.

 Class was intense, and I kept my mind open to the ways of new teachers. I enjoy learning from new people and trying to broaden my worldview. This was hard being the only “outsider”. Everyone else knew each other. They all had danced side by side for years. They were so serious! I was actually a little scared to smile… something might be wrong with that. With one little grin, I could have ordered the whole group a round of push-ups. Quiet was definitely the way to go. No fun to be had here.

 The list of expectations was long. Hair in a bun, this color shoe, that colored pant, bring your Bible, pens and papers.  WHAT? By this point, I was completely and utterly lost. Since when did this FUN intensive that I thought I had signed up for turn into a concentration camp with Bible hour?

 The line had to be drawn somewhere for me. I raced back and forth in my mind: FIGHT OR FLIGHT. I grew wings pretty fast and flew away even faster. Hey, I managed to stay 8 out of the 9 hour day. That is pretty good!

 More importantly than what happened to me, is what I gained from this experience. I know more today who I am, then I did yesterday. I am not a ballerina. My hair is curly and out of control, most of the time. That is the way I like it; not slicked back to match all of the other robots. I listen to jazz music and blues, you know, the kind that is all improvisation and no set structure. I like being comfortable in my dance clothes. It makes me feel confident. I need a class that makes me want to get up and dance every single day. I will work hard, but it has to make me happy. I am not happy when I am being told what to do, how to stand, whom to be.

I have tried to fit that mold on the journey to find myself, and I have finally come to the age where I can see myself clearly and accept what I am. I love the ballerina, but I love me, more.

 So I applaud you, ballerina, for your grace and beauty. I applaud you for all of your hard work and motivation, but I want to say, ballerina, that you could also learn something from a girl, no, a dancer, like me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have several projects I am working on at the moment. There are a few group pieces in mind and a couple of solos as well. Without other people to work with during the summer, the solos are the easiest projects for me to focus on. I have cut music for some of the dances already and I am excited to get started. Inspiration is coming from everywhere at the moment. Everything inspires me, from my long distance relationship to a movie I have seen recently. As an artist, I really enjoy being able to discuss issues that I find important through my work. Movement is so powerful and I find it easier to express myself through movement. If I can influence just one person who watches one of my pieces, then that is all I need. I don’t want to give too much away before I really dig in, but I want to discuss a few of the pieces I am working on a little bit more.

One of my more whimsical ideas definitely has serious undertones. It is a piece about our vices. The vices range from drug abuse, to eating too much chocolate, and anything in between. It is a story of overindulgence told in a cute way. The movement is fun and carefree, with sections that feel a bit robotic, like a habit that you just can’t break. I am excited about the music for this one that I cut myself.

Another idea is a group piece that deals with serious issues. The music doesn’t match the intensity. It is about the “ideal” American couple, and how they aren’t ideal at all. It is a sad story about what goes on behind closed doors. The music is the polar opposite of the movement. The music has a relaxed, “life is good”, feel to it. The movement that I chose to combat that easy-going feeling is quite serious and slightly disturbing.

I will talk more about some of the solos I am working on in later posts. I am trying to take advantage of my time off this summer and get some good work together.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dance in the summer

The summer always slows my dancing down. I really enjoy a little time off. It is important to remember why you love something so much and it makes the return to your art even better and stronger. I am really hoping to work on some choreography this summer. I have a few summer intensives lined up. I was really excited to be asked to teach modern at my local studio. Modern isn’t a part of their curriculum and they haven’t had anyone come along that was passionate enough about it. Hopefully I can fill that spot and make modern dance a staple at my childhood studio. This summer is mainly going to be cross training, choreographing, teaching, and of course summer school.


This is my time to focus on my art. I should have some more information up soon about some projects I am working on.

I also wanted to put up videos of a few pieces that I danced in. They were choreographed by some some very talented friends of mine, Genny Rounkles and Amy Pollard. In the first piece,Capitulation, I start at the far right (I have short curly hair, capris, and white socks on) and I am wearing the same thing for the second piece Irrevocable.