kistha: (Self)
Once I lost most of the weight I realized I could go back to other dance classes, now that I was no longer obese, and was just chubby I wasn't afraid of the leotard anymore, not happy mind you, but it was doable. I added Ballet and modern into my weekly routine. I wanted both twice a week, but ended up at first with Ballet once a week and then added modern twice a week. Ballet was (and frequently still is) humbling. Modern is mostly good, but since they are both visual led dances, I'm slower than I'm used to being. Now I'm doing three hours in Ballet and still only two in Modern. Group classes are hard to find and are all over the damn place. I'm in Redmond, Bellevue, Greenlake and Cap hill.

Doing the summer showcase at the studio and having Grant let me build out the story arc, and help choreograph brought back very fond memories of the dance I choreographed and danced with Sam back in the day at Western. So many mental doors flew open. So many stories I wanted to tell...but ballroom is kind of restrictive. It's really taught and used as social dancing for fun or competition for perfect technique. There really isn't any call for story based performances for ballroom, unlike Ballet, Modern, Jazz....pretty much every other kind of dance on the planet. During the choreography for the summer showcase I was listening to a song called Sail by AWOLNATION while doing dishes and started dancing around with a bread knife (you know like you do). A story of a serial killer and her victims popped up. I worked on it for a bit, and then put it on the back burner. It simmered there, and every time I heard it, it became more defined, and more complex. I now need a company of dancers, and a complex remix of the song. Technical stuff pops up like UV lighting, cords, and props. But the more I focused on what I would want in the actual steps, I realized I just didn't have enough knowledge. Then Grant was leaving and I was getting tired of the drama and money crap at the studio, and I realized that I had put off dance once when I was 13 when I was told that I was too old to take Ballet, there was no point since my bones had fused. I put it off again when I was in early my 20's because Evergreen didn't work out on the first try, and they said to go to Cornish anyway. Then I got fat - and the dream died until Ballroom popped up. Sure I took Hula, and that was great - but ballroom is where I found that passion and a place to express it, but now I'd out grown what it had to offer creatively. I wasn't going to let this slip past me again, and if my body sabotages me again, well it'll happen while I'm out getting my dream goddamn it.

So I started looking for ways to get all the pieces and knowledge I wanted. I looked into getting it piecemeal in classes. I talked with my Modern instructor, and looked around. The answer I got everywhere was I can just go to a studio and start making shit up on my own, or I need to get a dance degree. I already know I don't know enough to wing it past maybe one or two small pieces here and there. Then I looked for schools, and there are only four:

Evergreen - which tells you right off that if you want a degree based in the classical forms you should go to Cornish. Also an hour and a half away.
UW - which doesn't give a shit about you at all, and only has three classes total for Choreography for the entire degree (and I'd have to go through the whole AA portion) or Audit for the same cost, with no labs ie studio time.
Western - Comprehensive, but you have to complete the basic AA, and then you can be nominated and audition for the BFA in your Junior year..Also an hour and a half away and don't really want to go home.
Cornish - A four year program all dance all the time, with a choreography track and is so small you must audition to get in.

Realizing that the only place that really works for me is Cornish was scary. Looking at the audition requirements was enough to make me realize that there was no way I could get in. I'm old (by dancer standards I'm approaching the end of my career, and if I was in Ballet it would have been over for roughly 9 years) and I'd be competing against 18 year olds that have been doing this since they could walk, and I must have intermediate Ballet to even audition.

I had a bit of a breakdown. Actually I had a pretty big one, the "just kill me now I'm too old for anything obviously, why get thin and get the dream if I can't have it - too old, too goddamn late" kind. Then [livejournal.com profile] dthon who is a fucking Cheerleader Pollyanna of Stubbornness pointed out that he knows the head of the dance department of Cornish, and he thinks she'll remember him. I wailed and whined and then had him ask if there was anyway I can get what I want anywhere else maybe. Do they Audit? Other Schools that I don't know about? Private programs? Ultimately she said that I could totally go to Cornish - if I get Intermediate Ballet, and that while my age won't disqualify me the thing that drives out most older students is the "sustaining the energy demands of 5-6 hours/day of dancing, and tolerate studying with immature 18 year olds.". Add some more wailing time with a side of fucking horror because for me Ballet is HARD and how long is that going to take? I started thinking really hard about it and how bad I want it.

I ran the idea across a couple of people - a few strangers, and a couple close friends over the last two months. While I'm explaining that obviously I'm batshit crazy, I'm really thinking doing this. So far everyone's reply has been "THAT'S AWESOME!" I keep explaining that I'm insane, and that it's hideously expensive, I don't know how long the ballet is going to take, and dude I'm already old and it won't become a paying gig. Everyone still thinks it's awesome and I should go for it. One person who has a dance degree told me that she thinks that with all my creativity I'll be awesome at my long term goal (more on that later.)

Then as Grant and I choreographed and performed our last showcase (it went OK, not awesome but it was done in a freakishly compressed time frame) I realized this is really what I want to do - tell stories through dance. I just have to have the pieces to do it. Losing Grant - the one person I have who's willing to work with me to choreograph and do lifts, I was just bereft. I can't give this up. So on Tuesday I talked with a ballet guy who after his ballet career went to Cornish and got his degree and he thinks that I should be able to get through intermediate in a year, maybe a year and a half. This makes it doable.

So I'm going to try. I'll be auditioning for Cornish next year, probably February 2015 for fall of 2015. My ultimate goal? Build a Company and perform with them for as long as I can, and then keep on choreographing. I'm going to take all the pieces I have and make stories. One way or another. Thank the gods I'm a stubborn bitch with a high pain tolerance, right?

As Grant was leaving teaching, and one more unbelievable money issue at the studio (asking me to pay for the showcase I was performing in) I left the studio, Saturday was my last night. I'll be keeping ballroom - with Miss P, the occasional Nathan and a new studio when we get back in February, but it won't be my main focus. I'm doing three ballet classes and hopefully picking up two private instructors. My Pilates instructor is already starting to work with me on my feet for pointe work which isn't required, but once I hit intermediate it's the next step and I've always wanted to do it. So I am. I need to cram in another Modern class in too at least, since the audition is at the intermediate level for both.

So there it is. I'm going for my dream. No regrets, right?
kistha: (Bleeding)
From the time I saw the first trailers for this, I was sold. You can see the trailer (which is all Kylian, actually) here and you can see a bit of Emergence (Pite) here for some context.

Let's take them in performance order we start with Kylian.

Petite Mort
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano Concerto in A Major [Adagio], KV 488; Piano
Concerto in C Major [Andante], KV 467


This is the ballet that I bought tickets for, and yes they did mean that double entendre. It's an interesting piece; taking dance, sex, swords and women and making for a lovely, and moving ballet. Some of the tricks of the piece were the lighting, and the rolling dress pieces, and the fantastic sheeting they used for changing scenes and partners; the men would take it from the back, running it fluttering over the dancers, out over the whole stage then back to find that all had changed. The light made them disappear, stand out and glow like they were lit by candle light, all gleaming and gold.

Six men, six fencing foils, and just barely visible pale silhouettes in the gloom in the back are six women in black dresses. This is a contemporary ballet piece, and it started in silence. Luckily about the time I was getting irritated by the lack of music, it started - well timed that. (And I just realized used to build tension. I have issues with silence and dance, but that's for another time.) The men move with and without their swords, and eventually the women join them, coming forward in black dresses, which turn out to be on rollers. Eventually leaving their dresses behind, they too are in skin colored minimal dance wear. This is mildly erotic piece, just south of overly polite ballet, lacking ballet's usual romantic air. All of that muscled glory on display and some of the physical feats were just breath taking. A woman laying her head on an extended leg, while being suspended by another man, or the woman who is laid across the man's legs and then slowly lifts her upper torso and over extends, arching her back and then going back to parallel on the floor, again and again like a wave was something that was so beautiful and something I wish I could do - the sheer control and sensuality was fantastic. This was a ballet to watch and to love, just the sheer physicality of it.

Sechs Tänze (Six Dances)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Sechs Deutsche Tänze [Six German Dances], KV 571, 1789)

This is a farce of a ballet and definitely meant to be comedy. A group of men and women run around in 18th century underwear and do the most absurd things. It is not however without meaning. Watching them run amok, while never being able to leave stress and fear behind unable to even recognize the environment that they are in, chasing one another and courting each other. One of my favorite bits of the piece was the gender swapping play and the black rolling dresses making a guest appearance, most notably rolling by the only door out with dead dancers impaled by the foils through a green apple. And while they are not always performed together, I see how they fit together. Not a lot more to say about it, other than it was hilarious, with meaning. The husband points out that it seems that some of the jokes are only funny to dancers, since a good portion of the audience didn't laugh in some sections which he was included in. I'm not sure but it seems likely, some of the gender swaps were all about the men doing the girl ballet parts.

Forgotten Land
Benjamin Britten (Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20, 1940)

This was a contemporary ballet piece, with a very strong ballet feel. This piece is about uncertainly, the loss of everything, where even the land is impermanent. Six color matched pairs, with white and red and black being highly prominent, dance against a stormy sky. This one made me uncomfortable, which I guess says that it hit home a bit closer and a lot deeper. These couples danced dreams, and hopes and the loss of them. It was a stunning display physically, and was full of grace. It ends with three of the women all alone. I got a lot of pagan overtones in the piece, knowing that it was made with the idea of a particular part of land being reclaimed by the sea and with every woman's costume other than the woman in white, having red between their legs - the image of bleeding was very there for me. While I'm always painfully aware that change is inevitable and so is loss and death, I'm not really a fan of it. It was a deep moving piece, and while I'd see it again I don't want to anytime soon and yet, I want to see it again now.

And then, to close Pite -

Emergence
Owen Belton (2009)

I'd actually call this a straight up contemporary piece if the girls hadn't been en pointe. This is a piece that is based on insect emergence the idea that simple agents following simple rules could generate amazingly complex structures. Informed largely by Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software by American popular science theorist Steven Johnson after the choreographer Pite wondered if there was a model in nature that paralleled a ballet company.

This was brilliant, amazing, awe inspiring, and more than a little freaky. The set while minimal is key, and the lighting is just as critical. The music and even more untraditional, the counting of the dancers (they had mikes set up on stage to pick up the sound) just sealed the whole illusion. It starts with a dancer as larvae being born, with the help of a fellow bug. Dude, the spasmodic, yet wave like movements, I could see her trying to inflate and unfold her wings. She was so committed to the character that it was unbelievably believable. At the Q&A after we learned that the birthing dancer is actually soaked before she comes on, I bet that helps set the mood. From then we see more of the hive, the communication changing forms in small groups with changes sweeping back in forth in waves until consensus, or emergence is reached. When the swarm goes in and out of the hive, the come out through a yellow light - this was the one place where being dead center kind of sucked, you are head on to the light, and it got a bit blinding at times. I also get an extra 10 points costuming for I found out that the tattoos that the men have are indeed makeup not costume, also every available member of the company is on stage at the end, which is awesome.

This is a ballet that took something I am SO NOT A FAN OF and made it scary, pretty, alluring and something I'd want to do. Being a hive of bugs was never really ANYWHERE on my radar as "hey, that'd be a cool dance thing." Um no. But now, it just seems so fucking brilliant. I was on my feet the minute it ended, and so was everyone else. I'd love to meet Pite, but I doubt that's in the cards. Maybe someday I can do something so radical, and moving. Although these days I'll take managing to pull off someone else's choreography without fucking up. But really you have to see this one and experience it.


So it was one hell of a trip to the Ballet, and PNB as usual was utterly fantastic and the pieces and choreographers they chose were excellent as well. I hope that I'll get to see Director's Choice and then either Midsummer Night's Dream or Giselle for the classical side before the season is over. Stay tuned I'm going to try and write here more often.
kistha: (Argentine Tango)
Man that was awesome. It was very well received; people were very impressed and excited. Dancing it was awesome, and I get to do it one more time. This Friday I'll be doing an encore for the studio's Grand Re-Opening dance party.

There's always some sadness when you leave a piece behind, but I'm just very, very glad I got video. Unlike the vampire performance from back in the '90's - I'll never get to see that, all I have are the memories; this time at least I get to keep a recorded memory. This is the best piece of art I've done in so very, very long. Getting my body back and being able to do things like this are the greatest gift I think I've ever received. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Lesson learned and I'm going to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

Now I just need to find another story that we want to tell....
kistha: (Default)
If you are wanting to attend my showcase on the 30th, you really, really want to get tickets through me - the $12 is reasonable, and the $22 at the door is way over priced.

I will be able to purchase tickets - but the last day that I will be able to do so is THIS FRIDAY! I need to know by call or text by 3:30 on Friday. Before noon on Friday I can be reached by email or internet.
kistha: (Default)
I'll be in the Fifth Avenue Dance Studio's Spring showcase. I'll be doing a Tango to the Assassin's Tango from the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Here's the details:

Friday March 30th 9PM (Come a bit early to get a good seat, usually the sides are best)
Tickets are $12 through me, and $22 at the door.

The studio is located on 3rd and Wall on the North side of Wall in Seattle. Their exact address and directions are here.

Hope to see some of you at the show. I will say this for those that have not been - it's not a pro-show, but it's where I am dancing.
kistha: (Default)
Once again I'm participating in the studio's Showcase.

I'll be doing a medley to "Devil in Disguise" by Elvis. It's from the Lilo and Stitch soundtrack, and as such we will be costumed as Lilo and Stitch. It's a fun little routine, and I'm pretty pleased with it.

Tickets through me are $12 now or it's $25 at the door. Show starts at 7pm and should end by 10.

The studio web site is here for directions and address: Fifth Avenue Dance Studio

Let me know if you want tickets.
kistha: (Default)
My life it's been busy here are the quick highlights:

Dance:
I've been working on dance and have accustomed myself to Miss P's leading, and have been making much progress. I have completed the first half of Bronze (receiving an A in both tests) and am now doing what they call "Silver Amalgamation" and have added Cha-cha to my majors. At this point the only thing I'm missing is Rumba and The Meringue - and while I'm OK with learning Rumba (we did that for my wedding) I despise the Meringue. Soon I'll be moving to Silver (two more tests to go) and that will be awesome.

Miss P and I are getting along swimmingly, which is good and I'm trying to come up with a good dance idea for the spring showcase. I have one awesome idea for a Tango, but because they are not having a fall showcase, I won't be able to take the Tango slot until next fall. Total bummer, it's an awesome idea. So if you can think of a song that'd be good for two girls, that fits a ballroom dance that isn't a Tango, Waltz or Samba and isn't objectionable (for example Lady Marmalade was OK, but apparently U + Ur Hand is not) let me know.

Heath/Workout:
Well, I'm still doing about 5 hours a week of Ballroom dance, and most weeks I do Yoga for 20 minutes 5 times a week. I lose weight, I gain it back, I do the twist...

Really it's all up in the air and is still totally random. *sigh*

Social Stuff:
Have managed to see some people, lost touch with others. It comes it goes, but we're probably more social than we've been in a long while. Am working on a new project for a monthly event - and it's going well - but more on that when it solidifies. Have been more crafty thanks to [livejournal.com profile] winifred's awesome craft night - hmmm maybe I should make icons today...

Deaths:
Well, it's me, so of course there's this category. We almost made it a whole year without anyone dying, just short by a month and a half. We lost a moderately distant family member, but the drama around it is out of control and is hurting people close to me, and that totally pisses me off.

Entertainment:
I've seen some movies, most of them were good. Inception wasn't the ground breaker for me that it was for most people - but it was good. Salt was a fun ride, but not deep. Toy Story 3 - which while good, had a whole death section I could have totally done without. Looking forward to HP 7 - although I still can't fathom why they split this book. I'm cautiously looking forward to the next Narnia too.

And a recommendation:
I've never read 9 Chickweed Lane, but they ran a story that was a solid arc which started in Nov of 2009, ending just days ago - and it is so awesome, I can't even tell you. I cried, I wondered, I laughed, I gasped. It is available here and if you like a good story with awesome art you should go read it immediately.

In closing I'm hoping I'll start updating here more regularly. I'm still reading though....
kistha: (Girl Talk)
So, my instructor has moved on, and I've had the first few lessons with my new instructor Miss. P.

And I want to whine. But I don't want anyone to think that she's not a good dancer, or think that I dislike her. But gods I want to whine.

I like her, but she's a very subtle lead - and I don't know her as well, and I don't have the kind of acquired trust that I had with Mr. L. This means that my learning speed has dropped down by more than half. With Mr. L I usually learned 4 new patters, and sometimes as many as 5-6 per lesson. So far we're at 2 new patterns per lesson. What's slowing us down is two things: The first is that she's not really aware of how fast I learn, the second is that I learn it quickly, but when we blend (the new patterns in a random order while doing the dance they are from) I have a hard time, because I can't follow her very well, so I'm fighting her, and missing the cues...so we blend for a very long time. Lesson takes about 10 minutes and the blending takes the rest of the half hour, then we change and do it again in another dance.

I keep telling myself that this will, ultimately make me a better dancer and a better follow. Also Miss. P is much more about nitpicky technique in the forefront, than Mr. L was - we did have lessons in it, but they generally were separate lessons, where Miss. P is into the technique in each lesson (at least so far.)

But the joy and easy dance and the fabulous gliding and talking across the floor is gone. I used to get though the "dance parties" and the group lessons where I was dancing with people who couldn't lead (they're learning of course and we're at the same level, and honestly some of them just suck) by knowing that I could follow it up with a lesson with Mr. L where it would be natural and easy - and now it's all difficult and hard and uncomfortable.

So, I'm in a whining mood and not excited to go to dance class. And, it looks like the people the owner is looking to hire, may not actually already know Ballroom dance. *bangshead*

And, before you suggest I leave, I'm stuck there for quite a while. I paid for lessons in advance and there's no refunds.

I am however thinking of adding a Ballet class this fall - I found a place in Seattle that only teaches adults, and now apparently you can learn to get on Pointe past forty years old - obviously it's going to take a while. But it's something I've always wanted to be able to do, and it's the kind of muscle I want to have, long and lean. Downside, they require the leotard and tights. Guess I'm going to have to shove my vanity in the box, and just suck it up. They also have a prep course "Pilates for Ballet" that I might do first. We'll just have to see. One of these days on my way to dance class, I'm going to hit the Ballet studio and ask questions.

If anyone knows of an adult Contemporary or Modern dance class let me know. I'm looking at branching out. :)

Also still working out twice a week at Curves and doing the daily Yoga. And, I'm pretty sure I'm not loosing weight anymore, but I'll do a weighing/measurement tomorrow and we'll see. I'm going to try to keep this up even if I don't loose the weight. I just have to remind myself that it does good things for my body, even if it doesn't really do anything I can see. My blood pressure had dropped the last time I hit the doc, so that's good, right?

Still fucking depressing.

And without that joy of dance that I had as the main motivator for all this....it's so much tougher.

And now off to prep for dance class.

Yay.

Ah, Mr. L my life does suck without you.

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