Updates from Texas

I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog-skimming for a short announcement: You may have noticed a new “site” tab at the top of this page. You probably didn’t. So I’m telling you now: I’ve been putting together a website for my dance and writing work, so check it out here!

Some other things I’ve been making in the couple few weeks:

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Yeah, I had  a lot of time on my hands . . .

But so much not any more! I’m currently in Texas getting ready to be an RA at a Joffrey Ballet School program. (Slash professional pokemon-tracing artist.)

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Another Little Dance

A piece I made as part of University of Southern Florida’s summer dance in Paris program.

I made this bit walking around Montmartre, looking at strip clubs by the Sacre-Coeur and graffiti on the art galleries, and thinking about the things that “intrude” sacred spaces of all sorts.

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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What am I Doing, Anyway?

Well after a few weeks chillin in California…

and some last minute attempts to absorb all of the French language by osmosis…

 

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I’m here in Paris for a month…

to study…

 

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Breaducation.

Bread! Ehrm, wait–I meant dance!

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A highlight so far was watching the Hofesh Schecter company perform Barbarians–one of the most skillfully wacky emotionally haunting pieces I have seen in a while–and then getting to take class–improv and repertory– from some company members. The class got me working on “finding my groove” without getting stuck in my “loops,” (which also happens to be something I need to figure out in my life in general).

More updates to come. Au revoir peeps!

Back-to-School Thoughts

  • I don’t really have any anxiety surrounding flying, but airports themselves make me kind of nervous. I’m not sure if it’s the TSA factor, the fear of missing my flight, or the environment which manages to feel both fast-paced and monotonously slow at the same time. Also, they smell funny.
  • Storage is really just an advanced, live-action version of Tetris. If you win, your fridge gets to survive.

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  • I hate unpacking. I hate it so much that I got it over with in three hours.
  • There are two types of summer story jealousy. The first is the actual, visceral feeling of “I wanna be you,” or at least “I wanna do that” (ex: me talking to people who were dancing in Paris). The second involves having no personal desire to do what that person did, but still feeling your comparative lack in the coolness/excitingness/impressiveness/successfulness departments (ex: me talking to people who were interning at Google and JP Morgan).
  • I’m only mildly jealous though, because I had a pretty good summer, and I think I’m the only person here who is legitimately excited to go back to school.
  • Reminder: New York is delicious and too expensive.

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  • Today I went to Steps to take a ballet class, but got there late and decided to take a jazz class 30 minutes later. It ended up being a super sexy style, and all the other women were wearing heels. I was trying really hard to be sexy in socks. I think it was kind of cute.
  • If Obama is actually coming to Columbia I guess we’ll be able to accurately say things like “I have to write a paper tonight . . . Thanks, Obama!” or “Just bombed my midterm . . . Thanks, Obama!”
  • So, 8:40 am class tomorrow . . .

Those In-Between Spaces

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Showtime!

Yesterday was the end of three weeks jam-packed with dancing, kids, city adventures, and dining hall yogurt pretzels. I got to watch the final performance from the audience, and even after watching a good chunk of the rehearsal process, I was impressed by the professionalism of the final product. These choreographers really did a remarkable job: they had only two weeks to put together full-length pieces with large groups of dancers of various ages and backgrounds, and they ended up with pieces that not only showcased the students, but also had some serious artistic merit. Not to mention that I was super proud of the kids: in the last couple of weeks, they have been working on a professional schedule and pushed out of their stylistic comfort zone, and they rose to the challenge. It was crazy to see the amount of growth that occurred just in the last couple of rehearsals.

I’m gonna miss those kiddos. And the faculty. And the rest of the fabulous housing staff. The (usually) good thing about dance people, though, is that we always keep running into each other, even if it sometimes takes a few years.

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My room had this in the closet. I still don’t know why.

I spent my first day back doing just about nothing (unless you count eating, watching Netflix, and taking ridiculously long naps), which felt very necessary. I guess I didn’t realize how tired I was until I let myself stop completely–now that I finally have some down time, my body is just taking the opportunity to completely crash, reboot, and recover.

An actual photograph of me today

Even though I’m feeling a bit dead right now, I also feel like the last few weeks have been rejuvenating in a sense. Being surrounded by new people, a new setting, and different choreographic styles is always a refreshing way to kick-start growth and remind myself of just how many ways I can fall in love with this art form. Now while I don’t particularly feel like being anywhere near a dance studio today, I feel even more excited to get back in class once I take a moment to let all these new experiences, information, and training settle and absorb into my body and brain. 

I guess that’s what these little gap periods are for. I’ve never really liked breaks (particularly extended breaks from dancing–which this isn’t) but I do think they serve an important role as buffer zones between crazy intense times, where you can process your previous experience into something you can use for the next one. 

So I’ll just be thinking about that in the next few weeks before I head back to school and throw myself into another crazy semester. I’ll be hanging out with family and friends, tutoring a bit, taking open dance classes, and taking a mini vacation. I’ll find some time to get bored, binge watch Orange is the New Black, and waste time on Facebook. Maybe I’ll even breathe or something like that. Who knows? Growth comes in funny forms.

Life in the Geekosphere (& Other Updates)

So remember when I learned Python? Well now that I’m back home, I’m once again being a caffeine-less seasonal computer geek. Or at least a part-time appropriator of geek culture.

My mom convinced me to take her online JavaScript class (slightly ahead of the schedule so I can check for typos and clarity and such). The good news is that I made a virtual dog named Fredward. But JavaScript is not my fave. I guess Python spoiled me, but that stuff has way to many curly braces for me to handle. I think I spend about 20% of my time writing code and 80% trying to figure out where that missing curly brace is. And I’m a touch snobbish about inconsistencies in the language:

Me: What? Why is the type of null an object?

Mom: It just is.

Me: It doesn’t make sense.

Mom: It’s just a design flaw. This guy made JavaScript in 10 days so–

Me: That sounds like Genesis or something. Like “…and on the fourth day he created arrays.”

Mom: Um…

Consensus is, Brendan Eich isn’t exactly God-status, but . . .

Okay, never mind. If this cat likes JavaScript it must be good. (From JavaScript for Cats)

Python and I had another little fling too. My dad wanted me to make a program that would slurp info about his patents from the patent office website and organize it into text documents. I did, and I was feeling pretty proud of it at first. Like Hey I just made a thing. Like, an actual thing that does things. What if I got people to buy this thing. Could this count as a start-up?

Then I realized that I didn’t actually know what my program was for. Minor problem. Asked my dad. His response: “I don’t really know. I just felt like it could be useful for something. It’s a good start, right?”

Besides that, I’ve mostly been just hanging around, getting ready to tutor some kids next week, dancing (though not nearly as much as I wish I was), and enjoying the California weather, while also missing NYC like crazy. Next month I’ll be working as a chaperone for a dance intensive (and yes, dancing too) which I’m super excited about. I do kind of wish I was doing more right now, particularly since everyone around me seems to be doing amazing things with their summer, but I guess there are worse things to have than free time.