Some Dancing

Greetings from the last stretches of finals week!

Here’s some of what I’ve been doing when I’m not locking myself in a library:

I did this one for my mom this weekend. My parents always used to play this Billy Joel album around the house when I was younger, and it¬†still makes me smile/feel lots of feelings¬†ūüôā

I made this one today because I remembered that dancing in skirts is fun and I wanted to listen to something which was very not Gregorian chant (I have a Music Humanities final coming up).

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My Life Lately

Some things I’ve been up to lately:

First of all, I did some Nutcracking this weekend (the ballet kind). It’s been a while since I’ve been in a Nutcracker, but I’ve gotta admit that it¬†still holds a certain nostalgic and kind of magical place in my heart. Kind of like a home to come back to. The show went really well and now I’m all in that Christmasy¬†mood.

Photo by Rebecca Ohaeri

On a side note, has anyone noticed how crazy the actual Nutcracker plot is? Besides all those colonialist vibes, can we appreciate that the Nutcracker is a¬†fairy tale in which the girl saves the soldier? (Specifically with a shoe . . . ) And that it’s a ballet about food? Also, do no other NYC residents find the concept of ginormous fighting rats a little too real? Not that anyone really watches ballet for the plot but . . .

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The morning after the show, I woke up at 5:30 (after 2 hours of sleep) to shoot a dance film project at Hudson River Park (and drag along a highly obliging dance friend to help). Ever since I saw some¬†kids playing on the¬†beautifully geometric/funky jungle gym dome there, I knew I wanted to make my dance around it. I figured that we needed to get there super early to film before kids overtake it. What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be cold. Really really cold. I had to stop every few minutes when my hands went numb. Also, when the camera I borrowed wasn’t working, we had to resort to using an iPhone.

Despite that, I managed to get some pretty good footage out of it and made this:


I stuck around in the area for a few hours afterwards, hoping to get some footage of actual kids for contrast. Except that it was so cold that no children¬†ever showed up. Whoops.¬†I kind of stopped wanting the kid footage in the end though, since the space and some of the movement that came out of it already brought a strong enough “kid element” into the piece. But I guess that also means we could have slept in a little . . .

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As of yesterday, I’m done with classes for the semester. Turned in some papers and projects. I guess that makes me 3/8 of a graduate? On to reading week. Maybe I’ll break the traditional typical reading week¬†ritual of locking yourself¬†in a library while trying really hard to look like you’re studying intensely (actual progress optional) by actually doing something exciting. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here

What I’ve been working on this weekend:

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I’m in a site-specific composition class, and we’re currently working on film¬†projects set in various significant locations on Barnard’s campus for an installation¬†during the school’s Founders Day event.¬†Between shooting my project and dancing in other people’s projects, this means dancing in¬†staircases, student centers,¬†and gyms¬†(and I wasn’t in the library group).

It also means sometimes coming into conflict¬†with security guards and have to repeatedly explain that yes, we are cleared to be here, no, the building won’t break, and yes, we know it’s not a dance studio–that’s the definition of site specificity.

Personally, I would have liked to catch a security encounter on camera, since my film relates to violating rules and expectations of movement in public spaces.¬†That didn’t happen.

But what’s¬†just as interesting is the reactions of the “normal people” in the space. There are some people who will stop and watch, clap, and ask us¬†questions about our dancing and our project. There are some people who look at us like we’re crazy.

But the majority just pretend not to notice. Of course, they do notice–they do double-takes with their eyeballs and might whisper something to the person next to them–but they just keep walking, making sure¬†not to make eye contact. They maintain¬†the choreographed motion of normality, as if a regular pace and a fixed frontal gaze were enough to preserve¬†the illusion that nothing is off. Like if you keep moving like¬†everything is normal, maybe it is.