Updates (In which I do less than It All)

Things I did this weekend:

  • Performed in the Barnard dance department show at New York Live Arts. The choreographers and dancers were absolutely killing it this year with some beautiful, intelligent, and hilarious work (in addition to being generally awesome people to be around all day).
  • Wrote two papers and a presentation.
  • Struggled with the subway system.
  • Tried really hard not to neglect my parents who flew in to see me.
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Choreography by the fabulous Caitlin Trainor. Photo by the fabulous Julia Cervantes. 

Things I didn’t do:

  • Laundry

It’s really really been awhile. I need to catch up before I revert to my super-seasonally-inappropriate clothing reserve and excessive body spray as an alternative to washing.

In related news, I think this is gonna be my new go-to answer for questions like “Is it possible to do dance and academics?”–Yes, but not laundry.

I’m pretty sure this is also the definitive answer to the perpetual question of “Can women Have it All?” (Which women? What’s “all?” No one really seems to care)–No: they can either have a reasonable laundry schedule or everything else, but not both. 

(Feel free to pull that out in interviews, female CEOs.)

I’m gonna go do laundry now.

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The Recap

Where have I been this last week? you may or may not be wondering: Actually doing stuff. What stuff? you may or wish to know: why, let me tell you.

This past weekend was the dance department show, which was one of the most intense performances I have been in, and also one of my favorites. The first piece I was in was a contemporary ballet piece by Diane Coburn Bruning. We were in pointe shoes, knee pads and jumpsuits, jumping on our knees, slapping ourselves, and generally being fierce, mad warrior women in a scene of twisted beauty. And we had a live string quartet.

Siege  Choreography by Diane Coburn Bruning  Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Siege
Choreography by Diane Coburn Bruning
Photo by Julieta Cervantes

After an intermission, I was back onstage in a restaging of Mark Morris’ Gloria, which is one of the most musically interesting and challenging pieces I have done (he does some beautifully unexpected things with Vivaldi), and a piece that we got really emotionally attached to as a cast. It’s also a 30 minute piece with a lot of jumping, so I kind of wondered whether I would make it through tech week and three shows (spoiler: I did.)

Gloria Choreography by Mark Morris Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Gloria
Choreography by Mark Morris
Photo by Julieta Cervantes

This New York Times reviewer was not really a fan, but hey, I’ll include a link anyway, because there’s no shame in getting negative reviews. (Even if they misspell “pointe,” for instance.)

I had a little bit of a post-performance slump afterwards. I guess after all the excitement and and adrenaline calmed down, I realized that I was really exhausted. Not to mention that emotional hole that’s left when things end. And it didn’t exactly help that I had planned to finish one or more huge final papers the next day . . . that didn’t really work. I did, however, get to spend some time with my mom who was visiting for the weekend, which was really nice.

Monday was my last day of classes for the semester. That all happened fast. And slow. And probably at a moderate tempo too.

Yesterday I spent most of the day writing papers and hopping between review sessions (can’t complain–I got some really good free pizza and cupcakes out of those). In between all of that, I went out to see NYCB with a group from my ballet class, and we obnoxiously fangirled over our teacher Antonio Carmena, who was doing a principle part in Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements.

I think we're cute.

I think we’re cute.

I finally finished and turned in my final paper for my experimental psych class today. Our experiment may not have been the most legit (small sample probz–did you know that most college students actually don’t want to participate in a 30 minute survey with no compensation which involves doing math?), but I think the topic itself–stereotype-threat and socioeconomic status–is really interesting and important. The gist of what we found is that being reminded of socioeconomic status makes low-income students test worse and change their behavior/language to avoid stereotypes, and this sucks, and universities should care.

Now for another paper. And finals

Maybe in all the stress, I won’t have time to notice the weird, reverberating emptiness of all this being over. And I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

Post-Show Reflections

I spent the last three days performing in the dance department’s show at New York Live Arts. I was in a piece by Pam Tanowitz which was really great: it’s focused on connecting with the other dancers inside the piece, structurally interesting from the outside, and also just really physical, quirky, and fun to do.

Something that Andrea Miller told us in class Thursday morning, which really stuck with me through the weekend was

The performance is not a cemetery for the dance you’ve been working on. It’s still alive.

Makes sense, right? There are living, breathing humans up on stage doing that dance, and why shouldn’t they be experiencing something new in that moment. Maybe the strict division of process and product was never really meant to be applied to performing art anyway: it’s really always about doing and not (as the piece exists) about being done.

The piece this weekend felt very much like a living organism. Despite being tightly crafted and well-rehearsed (we finished this months ago–I know, that never happens) it’s not a piece where everything can go perfectly in a run, nor does it have to be. It’s filled with challenging technical moments, timing cues taken off of other dancers, and extended, uncounted unisons based on feeling a group rhythm, which mean that it will never be formulaically consistent. As a group, though, we can adjust to the inevitable little inconsistencies in each other’s timing, spacing, and movement and make to piece work wherever it is that day.

We had stronger and weaker moments each show, but I really felt like it kept growing throughout the weekend–the last run felt particularly connected and on-point. (Of course, these feelings may have nothing to do with how the piece actually looked–I’m excited to see the video and know what it’s like from the outside.)

Also, my shiny legging costume has inspired me to buy shiny leggings.

I also managed to not really get sick until after the last show–I was starting to come down with a cold yesterday, but it didn’t really kick in until today. Typical post-event cold I guess: my body is taking advantage of it’s little break to just slow down and get sick. (Actually, that makes no sense at all. I mean, why are we assigning conscious decision making processes to bodily functions? Besides, if I was a magically conscious body with the ability to control if and when I got sick, why wouldn’t I choose to not be sick over breaks either? Seems more restful than cranking up the immune system and being unable to sleep from congestion . . .  So really I have no idea why this happens . . . Google?)

Me this morning

Anyway, the point is I’m done and temporarily dead. And a little relieved. And a little empty. And grateful for this process and everyone who was a part of it. And now I have to finish a paper.