Dancing on Roofs to Radiolab

I’ve been spending most of the past week or so at City Center Studios learning and rehearsing Merce Cunningham repertory, which by the way, is a physical tongue twister and an equation and a calve killer and a dance history lesson all at the same time (one might even say we are im-Merce-d *knee slap*). I’m really excited to show what we’ve been working on at the showing on Friday (there will be a live stream too, so check the Cunningham Trust streaming page at 4:30pm!)

But last Friday night, I took my dancing back downtown for a different sort of performance experience, improvising at a rooftop showcase organized by Artery, alongside three other captivating musicians and dancers.

When planning for this show, I was in the process of moving apartments and didn’t have the wifi access to do my usual music search. I considered just dancing to whatever was on my phone–and then realized that mostly included a bunch of NPR Radiolab episodes (I’ve been commuting a lot lately).

My friends immediately told me to go with it, and I did–smashing a few episodes together and throwing in some Gwen Stefani and some of my own sound effects.

Here’s what resulted: let’s call it a little study on curiosity, words, and fear.

A Straightforward Update Post: Nadia Does Things

I’ve recently crossed the post-grad threshold between “nothing is happening” and “why is everything happening at the same time?” and thought I was due for a standard life update blog post. This feels much more straightforward and somewhat more self-promotional than what I normally do here, but hey, I promise I’ll be back with the rambly feel-pieces you know and tolerate soon enough.

As usual, the news page on my website will have all the self-promotional deets.

Right now:

  • I’m in my last weekend of performances of “Genesis 22” with the Woolgatherers Theater Group on Governor’s Island. It’s an immersive piece with six directors showing their various re-interpretations (theater, dance, funny, serious, and everything in-between) of a biblical story. I’m a dancey version of Isaac who finds myself some crazy partnering and ends up with audience members covering me in candles.
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Photo by Nathan Luttrull and Jan Paulo Musni. Choreography by Caedra Scott-Flaherty.

One of the most challenging things about immersive theater, I’m realizing, is repetition. We repeat our 20 minute piece four times during each performance, as audience members explore and cycle through the different rooms. Not only is this physically demanding, but it also requires that we bring a similar focus and energy to each run–whether it happens to be in a near-empty room or filled with vocal group of 8-year-olds from a summer camp on the island. However, it’s also a chance to really dig into one piece of material and discover new things each time.

More Dancey Things Coming Up That Have Me Pumped:

  • The day after our last show on the island, I’m jumping right in to a performance workshop with the Merce Cunningham Trust. We’ll be training in Cunningham technique and re-staging Cunningham’s 1973 work “Changing Steps” for a performance on August 11.
  • The week after that, on August 18 I’ll be performing in a piece with Trainor Dance at the Battery Dance Festival.

New things starting up:

  • I recently joined Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee, a group of young professionals with various roles in the dance field who come together to discuss relevant social and economic issues. I’m one of the communications coordinators, and we’re looking for ways to use our blog and social media to expand give these discussions a public platform and wider visibility.

Particularly as I am primarily pursuing performance right now, I want to reject the expectation that performers are just silent, voiceless bodies to be used. I’m clearly too opinionated for that, so I’m excited to have a space where I can have a voice and create platforms for more voices in the dance community to be heard.

  • I’m just starting writing for Reductress.com, my favorite source of ironically faux-feminist satire! I always thought that puns and sarcasm would end up being my marketable skills.

Stuff that keeps going:

  • I continue to be a dance class junky and love meeting other dance class junkies of various persuasions, so I’m having a great time taking class in a variety of styles through Mark Morris Dance Center’s work-study program.
  • Generating income is hard. I’m looking for tutoring demand to start picking up as kiddos head back to school.

Between the profesh stuff…

  • As you may have noticed from the previous picture, I have significantly less hair now, and I love it!

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  • My sister popped in last weekend to go to a Mashrou’ Leila concert with me (if you don’t know them, they are a socially-concious Lebanese alt-rock group with dope music videos that you should check out). It was both amazing and perhaps the gayrab-est thing I have been to. I tried really hard to get them to sign my shoe and barely failed.
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So close though.

  • I’m trying to move apartments at the end of this month! Fortunately, I don’t have that much stuff (it’s not “minimalism,” it’s just not having much stuff).

On my personal project back-burner: 

  • A dance film called “Neutral Pelvis” (Can pelvises really be neutral though, ya know?)
  • A sorta-historical essay about the role of White Jesus in legal race construction

 

So What Am I Actually Doing?

If you follow me on this blog and not in real life, you probably have picked up on the fact that I am no longer in college. You know that I continue to have feelings and thoughts and jokes which I post on the internet. But perhaps you are wondering: what is this Nadia person actually doing with her life?

Well I am starting have some answers!

I’m incredibly pumped to have some performances lined up in the near future! You can check out the “News” page on my website for full descriptions, locations, and times.

In slightly less performative news, I am also tutoring, doing the work/study program at Mark Morris Dance Center, working as an office assistant for a psychotherapist, and continuing to write stuff (hopefully some of which will get published).

Things I Did In Paris

The Shmoop version:

  • Spent time wandering through parks and sitting on benches and lingering in cafes not feeling bad about not being productive like I do in New York.
  • Improv-ed a lot.
  • Found my groove. Forgot where I left it and lost it again. Found it. It ran away. Chased it around.
  • Krumped.
  • Choreographed in a park.
  • Learned to like journaling.
  • Wine.
  • Had some late night w(h)ine and feelings conversations that dug deep.
  • Needed friends. Found them.
  • Cried in public.
  • Cried in private.
  • Had about four and a half identity crises.
  • Ate snails. Didn’t hate them.

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    Garlic can fix anything.

  • Almond croissants.
  • Macarons.
  • Monoprix brand chocolate mousse.
  • Saw seven performances, which I loved, hated, and felt meh about, sometimes all at once.
  • Noticed which moments from those performances (whether love, hate, or meh) still stuck with me after a few weeks.
  • Was impressed at the size, diversity, and casual-ness of theater audiences. Realized that subsidized tickets probably have something to do with it.
  • Developed an appreciation for NYC’s 24-hour subway service after 2am.
  • Dealt with some transportation strikes.
  • Learned to get around using actual maps instead of just Google Maps.
  • Took dance classes in French. Was thankful for ballet terms and body language.
  • Was an open class junky as usual.
  • Really felt like I was hitting a wall with my performance (in that I literally ran into the wall during a performance).
  • Got good at saying “je voudrais”” and “pardon” and “Je ne parle pas français.”
  • Gave directions in Arabic once (which is a big deal for me given that I rarely have competent directional knowledge or language skills, let alone both at the same time).
  • Got lost in museums.
  • Wondered why I was in museums and theaters when the world is a mess.
  • Went to more museums.
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Posture jungement.

  • Spent a long time looking at art and an equally long time looking at graffiti. Tried to figure out the difference.13494989_10208692991714392_1993365495488247232_n
  • Wandered around cemeteries looking for famous dead people. Wondered about the non-famous dead people I saw along the way. Tried to Google their names. Found nothing.

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    Nijinsky though…

  • Decided that I should to make a resume section for every airport security additional screening test I pass (It’s senior year–gotta pad that resume with something).
  • Realized how quickly I can get comfortable in new cities.
  • Didn’t necessarily leave with the feeling that I need to move to Paris, but with the feeling that I could move there, or a whole lot of other places, and find bits of home-ish.

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