Tag Archives: dance

Dear Diary, Day :UGH

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I think the other pic I posted explains why I am always the maid of honor, never the maid...*sigh*

I think the other pic I posted explains why I am always the maid of honor, never the maid…*sigh*

Started off with a text from somebody that I used to know. In fact, many texts…delete, delete, delete, respond. Bad idea. But I’m sort of famous for my bad ideas. It’s like my “thing”. Some people can tie cherry stems in a knot with just their tongue, some people can escape handcuffs, me? I can make bad decisions without a second thought. But, it’s all good anyway. Reminded me that this person is, simply put, a total douchebag. Moving on…

Went to the doctor for that pain in my neck (no not the above referenced douchebag). Since the pain has all but abated, we decided to not do anything right now. But the next time, whoa, the NEXT time this nerve pain flares up we are gonna kick it’s ass with drugs and tests and eventually surgery!!! Take THAT you freaking nerve pain!!!!!

While waiting in line to talk to the receptionist, I mean whisper to the receptionist because she was unsure that the doctor accepted my new- from- the- Exchange- insurance and we are supposed to whisper when we talk about the ACA and the Exchange? there was a mouth breather behind me. That’s all well and good but it’s flu season. And he was the same height as my ear. I shifted forward, he shifted forward. Hot breath on my neck, from a stranger, during flu season, NOT my idea of sexy time. I inched forward, he inched forward. I was basically pressed into the woman in front of me when the mouth breather’s wife finally said “why don’t you go sit down and I will check you in?” Thank God because the people in front of me were just about to go down like dominoes.

I left the doctor after quizzing her on nerves, muscles and vertebra. I showed her the lump in my neck that no one knows what it is…she was unimpressed. I went and picked up the kids from school and went on to work. Work went well. The younger girls are all excited because next week is mid winter break and the big girls are just all sorts of teenage fun.

Got home, got in bed, and now I have to get up to go heat up my own damn footbag.

I have a date for Valentines Day!

Along with my excellent bad decision making skills I am also very very good at forgetting things. It’s a blessing, really.

That is all sorts of preteen  hotness stuffed into a unitard...The Heat Is On...

That is all sorts of preteen hotness stuffed into a unitard…The Heat Is On…

Dear Diary, Day 723

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It's a good day at the mall when you're eyes are shut.

It’s a good day at the mall when you’re eyes are shut.

I think I left off on day 5…let’s recount what has happened in the days, well-nigh, weeks since my last post….

I have no idea. Really. I have no memory of anything ever. I think it is partly hereditary, partly voluntary and a little bit of 10 years of ambien. But I will give you a general idea.

It’s winter here. It’s cold. I went back to work after vacation. I started working on choreography for the end of the year performance. I yelled at the dog alot. I got bagels at the bagel shop and green tea at Starbucks every morning. I got into fights on the internet. I worked very hard at ignoring cravings. I made a decision to eat better (just made the decision…like this: if there are 5 frogs on a log and one decides to jump off, how many frogs are left on the log? 5 because he simply made the decision….I’m a freaking frog).

The kids and I went to the movies a few times. We went to a hockey game. We threw one of my closest friends a Stay Strong dance party because she is going into surgery for breast cancer. That, despite sounding strange, was the most fun…bitter sweet fun. I could go on for days about this woman and how she has stood by me in sickness and in health. 19 years I have seen her almost daily. But I think I will keep this in my heart for now.

And that brings us to today. Today is the 22nd. It was bombastic cold out today so the schools cancelled. SNOW DAY! Minus the snow and plus -17 degree day!!! So, we slept in, woke up, took the 15 yr old to the Dr because she has a cold. She hasn’t figured out her own body stuff yet and who am I to say she doesn’t have strep throat or Ebola? I’m a dance teacher not a doctor. She does not have strep. I told ya so. Got our bagel at the bagel shop and green tea at Starbucks. Came home.

I thought about taking the kids to the mall. I took a shower and made a pot roast instead. It came out sort of blechy. But we ate it anyway. I yelled at the dog alot. I thought about why I am where I am now and I ate peanut butter and chocolate chips. I made the kids watch my favorite episode of Fact of Life (the title of the episode is The Golden Years….I laugh so hard I cry…and I quote lines…I am not ashamed).

Now I am figuring out how to not make Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate my new obsession.

I can watch the movie Bridesmaids on repeat for the rest of my life.

Eye doctors are weird people.

I have never worn these and never will. But I will always have them.

I have never worn these and never will. But I will always have them.

Getting To Know You….

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This is not me. But it gives you an idea..minus the sword and the boob....

 Perhaps a little too well. I had the first legitimate costume malfunction….Way before Janet and Justin made it a “mainstream” thing to do. I’m no sell out, I am the originator.

When we were 19 (I think…it’s all a bit hazy…read on, you’ll understand why), my best friend and I were in a production of The King and I. This was before she was famous. We were just kids. Anyway, she was Topsy and I was Simon of Legree. We didn’t do anything until the big ballet of The Small House Uncle Thomas. I choreographed the whole ballet (I think, at least it feels like I did). Topsy had pigtails and was the funny one. Her movement was mostly done in a wide second position stance, like a sumo wrestler, with alot of head wobbles to make her pig tails bounce. My best friend, who is not a dancer, did this particular move with such precision that it was as if she were born to be Topsy (she still does this move with hysterical accuracy). I was the bad guy, I had a sword and a mask that I couldn’t see out of, and alot of lifts. I was being lifted by two huge, local, body builders who had no clue how to lift anything except a dumbbell (wait for dumbbell joke…it’s coming).

Anyway, the show opened and we had a pretty good crowd. Backstage was hopping with two body builders and the promise of doing the show ON TOUR!! I am ready for my entrance, which consisted of me being carried out by the two body builders, tossed into the air, and landing in a second position with my sword in the ready position to attack…. I proceed on with my dance and then I am eventually carried off, as I am dead. Sounds like a good outline of the way it was supposed to go. Backstage, good thoughts, visions of how it will all come together, total trust in the body builders, and no thought about the mask I was wearing and not having any peripheral vision. I am carried out, I AM Simon of Legree, the music swells, the body builders toss me into the air….. and….. accidently throw my legs out from under me. From a height of about 8 feet above the stage, I drop like, well, a dumbbell (there it is… ha ha) and hit the stage with a crashing thud, on my ass. My plastic sword breaks into pieces and goes flying into the front row. A little old lady was hit by the shrapnel, had a flash back to WWII and ran screaming for the bomb shelter which was still open in the basement of the theater. After her scream subsided, you could have heard a pin drop. There was total silence from the audience of 200.The music stopped, the director, who was in the audience, starts to run towards the stage, and Topsy, backstage, is in a fit of hysterical laughter.I am sitting on the stage where I landed, spread eagle on my back, with just the handle of my sword hoisted in the air. I got up, nod to the orchestra, all of whom were frozen with silent looks of horror on their faces. I nod again, and they still are not playing, I clear my throat…if this wasn’t awkward before, now it is. Finally, the musical director regains her composure and begins the music. I do my dance faster than any dance has ever been done in the history of dance, because I am embarrassed and I have totally lost my composure, not that anyone could see because I have a mask on, oh yeah and my ass is killing me! The musical director was having trouble keeping up with me as she was damn sure I wasn’t about to keep time with her. And I exit stage left, not dead, not carried. I get backstage and Topsy is literally rolling around on the ground, tears streaming, hands stuffed into her mouth so as not to make more noise. I stuck my sword handle at her butt and tell her to quit laughing. This, ofcourse, makes her laugh harder. I had a few others ask if I was ok, which I was, but for the most part, everyone backstage was in giggles. It was pretty funny.

That might make for a good story, but wait! There’s more!! So, we did take the show “on tour”, a few towns up, about 3 hours from home. How fun!!  Now, here’s the twist. Topsy had a wedding to go to. So, I had to do her part as there was no understudy for such a tiny part and I had to do my part too. That meant one of those lightning fast costume changes backstage. Her costume consisted of a long scarf that wrapped around her upper body. She had plenty of time to wrap and pin it so that she could move and not be exposed. I had to do my part, then her part, then my part again. My costume was a zip up the back jacket type thing. And the mask. So, night of the show, I go do my part, run backstage, I am stripped and I have her costume underneath. I had people switching my pants and mask and shoes. I make my entrance as Topsy to do her dance and I see one of the chorus girls giving me The Eye. The Eye is when someone is trying to tell you something is amiss with your appearance, such as a buggar hanging out of your nose, or spinach in your teeth, or your right boob is fully exposed, you know, The Eye. I notice her giving me The Eye, but I am concentrating on this dance that I barely know. Doing my oh- so- important- job of furthering the story, the reason for me doing this dance. She is still giving me The Eye and I begin to feel a slight breese…I look at the other girls on stage and they too are giving me The Eye. I look down but I can’t see anything because of the mask. I finish my dance and run off stage for my last lightning fast change and one of the dressers has tears streaming down her face, laughing (I am nothing if not a great source of  unintentional entertainment for others) and before she slips me into my jacket she repositions the scarf that was not positioned correctly, re-covering my exposed right boob (or lack of boob as the case may have been. I was a 19 year old dancer… built like a 12 year old boy). Yes, that’s right, I single handedly made The King and I into soft core, live action porn. I think my only response was “Are you kidding me???” Then, as she was zipping me into my Simon of Legree costume, the zipper broke which left my entire back exposed. So, the audience was going to see Topsy’s costume hanging out of the back of my Simon costume. That meant that there was no way to disguise that it was me fully exposed out there. The audience was going to connect that Topsy was Simon was the choreographer was me. On the upside, maybe I would finally get my big break into movies!!

So Janet had to pay fines and make apologies and excuses. Me? I was congratulated on yet another entertaining run of a show. Topsy went on to eventually star as Anna in The King and I. I have gone on to tell this story to countless legions of dance students to illustrate my point of remaining calm when a costume malfunction happens. Words of wisdom: never allow amateur body builders to lift you, no matter how cute they are and if sitting in the front row, and I am dancing, bring a camera and a shield.

P.S. My best friend had to cover for me during this run as I had some prior engagement to attend. She had to do both her part and my part. She didn’t expose any body parts or land on her ass…but to see her do her interpretation of my dance was so funny that to this day, 18 years later, I ask her to do it at cocktail parties and random social events…sword and all. Western people funny 🙂

Danceology

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danceology 1Being a dance teacher is what I do. It has become who I am. I have had great teachers over the years. Not all of them were kind, not all of them were good. I learned as much from the “bad” ones as I did from the good ones. I had one teacher who was incredibly mean. I believe her goal was to weed out the kids who couldn’t hack it.

I could hack it. I stayed and was abused and scared, but I loved what I was doing enough to stay. After all, criticism is really just a way to be kind. Abuse is just another form of love. Especially verbal abuse. Verbally abusing a child is really just shaping and molding them for their own good. Now, I know that’s a load of crap, but there are so very many who believe that.

I also had a teacher who was there to teach. That meant sharing her knowledge and wisdom. In those classes, I learned how to pass along the knowledge. She wasn’t promoting herself, she wasn’t there for an ego trip. She was there to pass along hundreds of years of dance that had been given to her by her teachers. From her, I learned that dance was much more than how to do a jete or where your feet and arms are supposed to be in second position. She taught us the history behind what she was saying. She didn’t back up her teaching with facts or trivia, she didn’t impress us with where she had been or what she had accomplished, she gave us what she knew. She gave us part of her soul. Because part of her soul was dance.

I had another teacher who showed me the love of dance. She loved dance like it was  partner. When she spoke to us of dance it was as if she were speaking of a beloved. And when she danced, although she was old and couldn’t move like she had in her prime, she was beautiful. She was the one who believed that everyone of us, no matter the size of our thighs, or the extension of our legs or the beauty of our faces, all of us had something to express through dance. She loved us because we danced. She was our teacher, but we were all equals. After all, dance is a personal thing, it comes from within. She could teach us, she could pass on what she knew, she could even inspire us to be the best we could be, but if we didn’t light the candle within ourselves then we would not dance. Self discipline.

So, I am a combination of my teachers. I am unique yet common. I believe that all of my students have the ability to achieve what they are meant to. In that, I have no doubt. And I am there simply to facilitate a love, knowledge and a way for them to feel good about themselves. It is a path to self awareness. Not all of my students go on to a life in dance. Most of them don’t. But they all go on to love dance. To appreciate it. To know that no matter the rotation of their turnout, or the length of their balance, they have a place in the world of dance. Dance includes everyone. In that respect, it is the best of the performing arts.

To dance, all you need is desire. The only thing that can stop a person from dancing is themselves. When you dance from your heart there is no such thing as “I’m not a good dancer”. Some people sing, some act, some paint or draw. They have talent in that area. Dance is something we do as soon as we hear music. We all have the ability and desire in the beginning. For some people, it is one person who says “you can’t dance” and for some, it is one who says “you can dance”. It depends on who we hear. But no matter who we hear, if we listen to ourselves, we know we have the ability and we all have the desire.

My job is not to control or criticize or belittle. My job is not to tell a student that they should lose weight or change their physical appearance. My job is to share, guide and encourage. My job is not about me and my talent, or my ego. My job is not to turn out dancers who are like me. My job is to support and encourage my students to find their own strengths, to find their love, to give them not only the history of the dance but the origin of the movement they are doing. Where it comes from within their body and why.

I am very lucky to be able to do what I love. But I am even more blessed to share what I love with my students. I am a composite of all who have gone before me. I am passing along a tradition that is older than recorded history. And I do it with love. Sometimes with irritation, sometimes from a low place, but always with love. For my craft and for my students.

They can tell you that sometimes I yank their leg to heights they never wanted their leg to go. Sometimes I bore them to tears with the history of Bourneville or where the energy should be coming from as they hold their arm in second position. Sometime I crack them up with stories of what happened to me when I was performing. But always I have faith in them and I am always learning from them. Totally cliché but, I have learned more form my students in the last 21years than I have taught them I am sure. That is the beauty of being a teacher. A real teacher. As we dance teachers know, we do not do it for the money. Cause there is never enough. We do it for the love. We do it because we know we have to pass this history along to other generations to keep it alive and well.

In general, dance doesn’t have a written record. The choreography is passed down in the simple way of teaching. Even when there is a record, written or visual, it still needs to be interpreted. It still needs to have life and love breathed into it. That is our job. As teachers and students.

So, I never say anymore that I am “just a dancer”. We are more than just dancers. We are the keepers of history. We have universal story telling ability. There are no language barriers when it comes to dance. We do not need interpreters for foreign audiences. Where as a singer or actor may need to learn another language or have subtitles on their work, we dancers do not. Where as an artist may have to verbally explain a splash of paint on canvas, we dancers do not. We can, if we choose to, explain. But without explanation or words or work stands on its own, always.

Without pride and only with love we dance. We carry on the love to all those who care or dare to join us.danceology 2 danceology 3 danceology 4