Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Festivities are Best Enjoyed Fed

I have a performance tomorrow for an MA student's assessment. I'm a bit nervous but I think everything will be fine. As our choreographer says, "We'll let it be by chance..."

Tonight the school held it's annual Christmas Showing. The final piece of the evening was my program's repertory piece. It was so fun watching my friends and classmates onstage looking incredible. I was so proud of them and amazed!

After the showing we had our OYP Christmas party. It was tons of fun and nice to talk to people and find out what they're doing over the monthlong term break. I go to school with some truly amazing people and I'm so glad to know them. I will actually miss them over the break.

It was a good time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"For you, I will put cheese in"

I just love how it gets dark so early here. Like, where's the sunlight?

Today I hedonistically slept in until about 2. Eew, right? No, it was awesome, but I dreamt that the student village had a swimming pool, gym, and 7-Eleven. Then I woke up to realize that it's freezing cold ALTHOUGH we do have a Costcutter across the street....close enough.

Term break in two weeks. Yes, yes, yes....still putting it all together though.

I cannot, but quite nearly, guarantee......a divorce---so says the song.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Paris Extravaganza

Alright, I am convinced that Paris is my absolute favorite city in the world, no question about it. I love that Paris is big enough where there is always something new to see and discover, but not so big that it just becomes overwhelming. Furthermore, the trip was met with some really unfortunate weather but it didn't matter to me. In each of my experiences with Paris I've learned that through bad weather, large crowds, language barrier, unpreferable personalities, tired feet, icky food, and smashed toes, Paris is still the greatest city in the world to me.

This time around I travelled with Emily and Kristan, two new friends from the program at Laban. We left early Wednesday morning and arrived in Paris by midday. After some long queues and some Metro hopping, we made it in one piece to our hotel in the Tour Maubourg area. We settled in and left to explore Paris. Well it was pretty cold to be honest and we were quite hungry so we found a cute little eatery tucked away behind some cafes near the Seine. It was a pretty mellow place and I enjoyed my dinner. Or late lunch seeing as the Parisians don't have dinner until late. After eating, we did a lot of walking around and sightseeing. It was so beautifully familiar to me and I felt quite happy to be there amongst the buildings and bridges that I love.

In the late evening we found ourselves at the Louvre. It was closed but we spent our time hanging around the Grand Pyramide. It was so uncrowded, what a rarity! Actually throughout most of our trip it was pretty uncrowded.

On Thursday we woke up early and headed to the Rue Mouffetard market. I had never been to that area before but I'm glad I did this time. I absolutely loved it there! It had a lively food market and tons of nice cafes and restaurants and small boutiques. I picked up some cool things and pretty much enjoyed just walking around having the fattest crepe ever! After that, we headed to the Place Maubert market in the Latin Quarter. It was a food, craft, and clothes market that was pretty nice and right in the middle of the busy Latin Quarter. We had some pastries in the nearby Paul patteserie. I also picked up some old childrens' books at Boulinier that cost only 50cents each. Happy stuff.

Next we headed to Ile St. Louis. I had been there only once before and vowed to return so return I did. I just loved it there and its so old. Actually I think its Paris' first neighborhood, or at least one of the first. We stopped into Berthillon where, despite the cold weather, had our ice cream fix. Good stuff.

For dinner I had the awesome raclette experience. Okay so I had no idea what a raclette was but it's basically a reverse fondue. Melt some cheese on a rack thingie, tilt it and let it pour over some potatoes and ham. It was awesome!!!! I shared with Emily but alas, we could not finish it all. But it was good food I'll tell you that.

In the evening we went to the Maison des Arts in Creteil to see the Emanuel Gat Company perform a repertory program. I went in expecting awesomeness seeing as its an Israeli company, and Israeli companies/choreographers had a 100% success rate with me thus far. Well after seeing Emanul Gat, they still do. The first piece was a male duet that was originally a male/female duet, which would have been interesting to see but I think making it a male duet gave it different qualities that I overall enjoyed. The dancers were neither too masculine nor too feminine. One dancer, Roy, was really good and Emily told me that he started dancing when he was like 20 or something. Amazing. He was an amazing mover.

The second piece was a solo by Emanuel danced to a jazzy version of "My Favorite Things". He did it pretty casually, wearing rehearsal clothes and taking small breaks in between movement phrases. I was blown away by his movement quality. He really uses his arms a lot and so fluidly. His musicality was spot on and I really enjoyed watching him. There's something really neat and distinct about his movement.

The third piece used more company members and it was exciting. It made me smile a lot. It was kind of all over the place with the dancers running around, breaking into smaller groups, doing solos, etc. The music was pretty eclectic and the movement amazing! There were a lot of motifs that I particularly liked and thought looked pretty cool. Dance doesn't always have to be pretty but it can still look cool and quirky without being ugly, which this company exemplified.

On Friday we stuck around the vicinity of the hotel which was actually quite nice. We had breakfast on rue Champs du Mars and discovered yet another outdoor food market. I picked up some more old books and enjoyed seeing this side of Tour Maubourg. We had only 2 hours left so we decided to hit the tourist track and head to the Eiffel Tower. Ironically we did last what most people on a Parisian trip do first. The whole park preceeding the tower was mellow which I appreciated. The surrounding streets, namely rue Emile Deschanel, are on my list on future residences haha. Aaah, that would be great. Anyways we made our way to the tower in all its massiveness and foggy glory. Hey I still take tons of pictures of it so whatever. Then we went up to the Trocadero for more views and pictures. I had a pretty good time up there sitting with my friend just talking and taking tons of silly pictures with the tower in the backdrop. I'd say it was a good last moment in this amazing city.

***

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mission: Desklamp Status: Accomplished!

Okay reading week, here goes:

Friday I sat and observed classes. One of the classes I observed was a BA2 class with a lovely teacher named Susan Sentler. She had such a dynamic dialogue with her students and was more than gracious to us observers. At the end of the class, they all began to sing. Really now.

On Friday night I watched the school's BA3 performance featuring the work of guest choreographers. One of my friends was performing and I'd never seen her dance before, but she was such a character! I never knew she had that in her and I was pleasantly surprised to see her put on such a performance. The next piece was dull. I can't remember anything about it. Other than it was dull. The third piece was pretty cool. Kind of earthy. It had good dancers. The final piece was the most technically demanding and played with the concept of shapes and geometry. I'll say I liked it.

***

Saturday was the coolest day EVER. Well, not ever, but a really awesome day nonetheless. I started in the morning by attending an open audition for the Jasmin Vardimon Company out in south London. There were soooooo many people there that they had to conduct the audition in groups of 40. Luckilly, I was number 19. I went in pretty much for the experience of auditioning for a professional company and I think I got a lot out of it. Granted, I wasn't there too long, but I had a positive experience and enjoyed being there. But man, to quote my friend Joanne, there were tons of wankers there. I don't get why when it's not their turn to dance, people still insist on standing in the dance space, completely obstructing the dancers who are actually having their turn. This happens everywhere, yes, but still! Lame on them!

Then I went to Laban for another rehearsal with the MA student working on some pieces. It was mellow as usual and we had some interesting tasks. I enjoy all the improv practice I can get. And there's space to move!

In the early evening Emily and I headed over to the King's Cross area in search of a Japanese restaurant. Well we ended up walking in a large asterisk pattern all around the station and wound up in Casa Mamma, an Italian place. Not quite as planned, but good stuff....

After that, we walked up Pentonville Road to get to Sadler's Wells theatre and on the way we found a furniture store called "dwell" still open (!) and went in for our lamp search. And they had cool lamps! And cheap, too! The goal was a cool lamp under 50 pounds. Price of our lamps? 15 pounds each. Mofo yeah! Thank you, dwell! The funny thing is, we're so excited about new lamps. I feel lame but whatever I really needed a lamp! So blah!

***

Evening. Watched 'zero degrees' at Sader's Wells. It was my second time seeing this piece, the first time being in Sydney in January. I loved it so much more the second time around. It's just such an amazing piece and the fact that Akram and Larbi don't just dance makes it even better. They converse, they play, they interact, they joke, they mimic, they fall, they fight, they yell, they sing. It's beautiful. And my friend really enjoyed it which was good because she's such a tough critic. Even she was moved by the piece, so that's got to be a good sign. After the show, did some catching up and got a lot of useful advice. That would be the high point of the day.

Later we found a Japanese restaurant (still open!) near Angel station and I finally had my first Japanese meal since moving to London. It was good, too, so that just added to the already cool day.

Then on the way home we came across some volunteers from a local church who were passing out free coffee and tea, so we helped ourselves to some. We were like, 'it just gets better and better' and then I feared we'd jinx it and then some drunken person would come barf on our shoes. That never happened, thankfully.

***

Sunday morning, had shakshuka. Went to central London with Emily and Sophie. Actually made it past the ground floor of Harrod's. Ooohed and aahed at the amazing displays of food there! Had Wagamama's. Walked all over the place. Made it to Hyde Park. Split up. Took tons of pictures. Planned to go to Buckingham Palace but got distratced by the Serpentine at Hyde Park. Reunited. Had hot chocolate. Took more pictures. Yeah. Then watched "Save the Last Dance 2". Terrible fucking movie.

***

Monday, went to Legoland Windsor, which fucking rocked. Miniland alone was worth the admission price. 'Nuff said. Oh and I scored a free annual pass.

Then hung out around Windsor and Eton, bought some awesome old books, and I do mean awesome, and a fishing hat. Hmmm....saw Eton College. Eton looked like a ghost town more than anything. It was so deserted....but I liked that.

***

Today, shopping on Oxford Street with the rest of the cattle. But I bought tons of cool shit. So hell yeah. Tomorrow, Paris. Okay bye.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

**"""**

Well what can I say? I'm keeping track of most of it here. But not all of it, no, just a bit.

I interrupted one too many thought processes today. For this, I apologize.

Tonight I went to the Barbican and saw Shen Wei Dance Art's "Connect Transfer". To me, it looked mostly like an improv/contact improv class, only with really amazing dancers. They truly were. They were some of the most fluid, weightless, bendy creatures I've seen and they just seemed to float across the stage in such an effortless way. I really liked when they painted the floor, a large canvas, with their hands and feet while doing some insane floorwork. Floorwork. They absolutely ruled at that. And just about everything else as well. The music was beautiful, the set design simple, and the costumes non-distracting. The dancers were truly amazing, I cannot stress this enough. Like unhuman. The best dancers usually are.

Otherwise it's been a slow week. What makes a week slow anyway? What makes a week go by quickly? I don't necessarilly connect good times and bad with that stuff. Time flies when you're having fun? Not always. Sometimes we're lucky and time will fly when we really want it to. And sometimes good times can last long. I think I'm somewhere in the middle, not quite sure where, but somewhere. An uppety-downety week, but slow moving either way.

Research. Lots and lots of research. Really, it's the only thing I can do at this point. What else is under my control? That's something....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Graaaph Paper

It's amazing to go to school with classmates and teachers from all over the world. I hear so many languages and accents every day that I'm starting to pick a lot of them up. As a newly-arrived American in England, I only knew of a few different types of British accents. Over time I started to notice the numerous regional British accents of my classmates. And it's mutual. A lot of the non-Americans in the program have been telling me and other Americans/Canadians that they are starting to be able to tell the difference between our accents. One of the girls in my program is from Calgary, Canada and I didn't even know she was Canadian right away. We were talking with a girl from Switzerland who said that we sound the same to her. Immediately the Canadian said, "We do NOT sound the same at all! She's from LA!" It's true, I have this weird drawn-out LA accent that's not typical valley girl in any way, luckilly, but it does sound funny now that it's been brought to my attention.

Like today for instance, a guy from Austria presented a project and didn't know 'graph paper' in English. So I said "graph paper" aloud, only it sounded more like 'gray-yaph paper' and my teacher, who is British, mimicked me and laughed. She then said "graahf paper".

There are a number of other Americans in the program, but they are from all over. The closest to me geographically would be a girl from Northern California, but we sound nothing alike. There are a few students from the midwest and their accents are more distinctive but overall it's one big jumble of accents.

On a similar note, we presented our self-portraits in choreography class today. Every person had the opportunity to discuss their creative process and the substance of their piece. It amazes me how fast the non-English speakers learn and how they can so eloquently present themselves to others. I constantly wonder how I would feel if I had to make an oral presentation in another language to a random group of people. I'd be so scared.

***

I stayed at the school late tonight. After an impromptu audition for someone's project, I found an empty studio and decided to try and come up with some material for a solo based on my self-portrait. I wasn't expecting to come up with anything but I surpirisingly did. I'm working with the theme of travelling and seeing the world, and the feelings that come with it. Tonight I explored the open-mindedness and expectation of arriving in a new world followed by the sudden frustration and confusion that comes with it. Once I feel I can convey that coherently I want to move on to the realizations, lessons, epiphanies, and eye-openers that inevitably follow. From there I'd probably explore the.....happiness I suppose, of the gaining of new knowledge and new experiences.

Fortunately I worked with two amazing partners in class today devising movement based on their interpretation of my self-potrait. They were very inquisitive about my want and need to travel and how it could be translated into movement.

One girl asked if I found a commonality in all the places I've been. The first thing I thought of was immigration. Being from the United States, I'm used to the diversity around me. My older family members are immigrants as well. But everywhere I travel, there are immigrants, too. In Australia, France, Italy, Austria, Israel, and England. Excluding Australia and England, I always wondered how tough it is for foreigners in these countries to learn English. They know their home languages, then learn the language of their new homeland. English is just another language to add to all that and it must be a bit frustrating. I wonder why they moved to where they moved and if they like being there, or would they go back home if they had the chance. I wonder how they adapt to the new language and culture while preserving their own culture for themselves and their children. I know so little of my Chinese and Mexican heritage, speak no other languages fluently, and currently live in another English-speaking country. But how would I adjust to living in say, Brazil? Thailand? Kuwait? Nigeria? Of course it's easy to assume "everyone" will speak English anyway, but what if they don't? And even if they do, why shouldn't I speak their language? I'm in their country afterall. I'd probably struggle and constantly worry that I sound stupid no matter what I say. How much of my "American-ness" would I retain? Lose? How much of the new culture would I gain? Miss out on?

***

After leaving the studio late at night, I walked out to an empty, beautifully lit, curved pathway between the giant grass pyramids. I turned around and looked at the building, my school. With it's multi-colored windows--some opaque, some transparent--situated between the grass pyramids and preceeded by a beaitifully lit pathway, I thought to myself, "I go to a pretty fucking amazing school." Yes, the architecture and landscape of the place initiated the feeling, but the overall appreciation for the training and people involved came rushing to me and I suddenly felt more grateful than I ever had before.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Yellow Europa as the shirt says...

I had a rather restful weekend, I'd say. And deservedly so.

On Friday night I went to Sadler's Wells to see Birmingham Royal Ballet's "Edward II". What drew me to this performance was purely my curiosity to see how they would portray Edward's rather gruesome death. Historically, Edward II was not a particularly great king. Not good, even. He is known for being fickle, childlike, and oblivious to his responsibilities, placing a higher priority on his personal pleasure than on the wellbeing of his kingdom. It also doesn't help that he was the son and father of great kings. Yet BRB artistic director David Bintley chose to create a ballet about this king and I was instantly drawn to the notion. The ballet itself was pretty cool. It was a classical ballet through and through, but the costumes and sets were completely contemporary and unconventional in every way. The choreography was dynamic and powerful. The dancers were amazing actors so much so that I was more amazed with their character portrayal than their dancing--which almost never happens. The only time I can reacall feeling that way was in watching Marcelo Gomes of ABT as Othello. This ballet succeeded in putting a real face and personality on Edward II who otherwise remained just a figure from a text book with a gross ending.

Speaking of his grisly end, the ballet portrayed it very interestingly and with the right tone. What I want to know now is, how dificult was it to come up with that, or was it super easy?

***

On Saturday I went to this informal rehearsal for an MA student choreographing random projects as part of her course. It was a mellow ordeal with me and three other girls, one of whom is in my program (sort of). It was nice to actually just move around in the space and not worry about bumping into anyone or worry about technical stuff. We pretty much did improv for an hour and a half then learned a short sequence. It was cool.

Saturday night I went to the Barbican to see Sidi Goma and Omar Faruk as part of the center's Ramadan Nights festival. It was long....

***

Sunday was a restful day and I worked on my self-portrait for my choreography class. Following a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, our assignment was to create a self portrait in any way--not through dance though. I figured with a group of dancers who don't really draw, the self portraits are going to be pretty abstract and I'm quite excited to see what everyone came up with :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

525,600

Tonight is not one of those nights where I'll be sleeping much, though I know I should. But I can't. I'm completely out of order and I need some repairing. My brain needs repairing. Maybe resuscitation. I feel a storm coming...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Shaken and Stirred

Tonight I went to the Southbank Centre to see Inbal Pinto and Avshallom Pollak Dance Company's "Shaker". I went in with high expectations having heard a lot of positive things about the company and its dancers and I was not disappointed. The piece comprised of 8 dancers and 2 actors. It was a very theatrical piece with a really cool set. There were tiny styrofoam (sic?) balls all over the stage creating a snowy atmosphere. Upstage were three small cabins where dancers would appear and disappear throughout. The imagery and set design, combined with eclectic music and frenetic dancing created an encased, snowglobe-like world--hence the title. I loved every moment of it. The dancers were amazing with athletic and graceful movement qualities that they mixed well while portraying a range of characters and personalities. I really enjoyed the theatrical feel of the piece because it gave it a whole new dimension and tone. It ended on a slightly discomforting note, which I loved. Finally, a really awesome dance show that delivered.

After the show there was a Q&A with Inbal and Avshallom. There were some good questions regarding the musical selection and set design, a funny question from a BA student wanting advice for her choreographic project, and words of appreciation from an Israeli woman living in London who had never seen Inbal's work before tonight. But of course came the "Israeli" and "Jewish" questions, which I knew were inevitable. As I'm sure Inbal and Avshallom did as well. First, a woman commented that the set deisgn and costume of one performer reminded her of Auschwitz, and asked if that was intentional. The answer: No. Avshallom said it's not what they thought of when creating, realized it later but decided not to change it due to different interpretations, and said if people saw it that way then so be it. My opinion is that it could have been intentional but they chose not to elaborate on it, for it would turn the piece into something far more profound than it needed to be...but honestly, if the weren't an Israeli company, would anyone have made that connection in the first place? Later, another man mentioned that he's "half-Jewish" and couldn't make a "Jewish" or "Israeli" connection in the piece then asked if they consider these things when creating. The answer: No. Why should they? Yes, they're Israeli. Yes, they're Jewish. But why must these things become the central theme of their work? Avshallom said they do what they do because they love it. Simple as that, regardless of their religion and nationality. If they wanted to make a comment about being Israeli or Jewish, fine, but it dosn't need to dominate their work in any way. Why must this man need to find a Jewish or Israeli connection in this work? Can he not enjoy the piece for what it is--pure dancing and theatre? Once again, if they weren't an Israeli company, would anyone want such a religious/patriotic commentary? It reminds me a bit of the questions Ohad Naharin would constantly get asked in interviews in the US and Australia and who knows where else. Political questions and the sort. Why does it matter? Not all American choreographers create with American politics and society in mind---sure, they can be inspired, but why would they choose an artistic vision that relies heavily on such things? It would get very old, very fast.

Fucking awesome show.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

1,729

Right now I'm watching a show about the plastic surgery phenomenon in Los Angeles. This is not news to me but its still interesting to hear these peoples reasons for wanting to go under the knife and remove/inject all sorts of crap. Right now there's a 50years+ man who got pec implants and now he looks like he has women's breasts. They also documented a woman in search of happiness and self-esteem who hired a $2,000/day image consultant. If that doesn't work (which I'm sure it won't), she's going to feel like a dork (which she probably won't either). The show just proves the constant self-absortion that exists in everyone and how people can only feel complete when they feel they look their absolute "best". I'm not against plastic surgery at all, but I hate when people resort to it to "change their lives". To be honest, I'd rather if people just did it out of total vanity, not to change themselves on the inside. But that's so cliche.

***

Yesterday I went to the Barbican Centre to see a show called "A Disappearning Number". I knew nothing about it, assumed it was a dance show, knew the tickets had been completely sold out for some time, and heard it was "brilliant". Turns out it wasn't a dance show at all, but a play about mathematicians and the significance of numbers. Right off the bat I panicked and instantly regretted buying a ticket without doing my research. I thought, 'is this whole show going to be about fucking equations?' but NO!!! It was really interesting!! I really enjoyed it and was even moved by the significance of numbers and what they mean to different people and of their relationships with and around life. Who would have thought? It was beautifully acted, lit, designed, and scored. "Brilliant"? Quite possibly, but you don't have to be brilliant to enjoy it....obviously.

***

I went to Covent Garden for the first time last night and I enjoyed it a lot. It was a bit crowded and I was grateful that it wasn't summertime. But the whole area around the markets is really nice and I liked the live musicians all over.

***

Today I discovered Spitalfield's Market and its vicinity. The main market area itself was under renovation so the stalls were relocated to a nearby shopping area. The whole place was really clean and nice and it was refreshing to find a market that was actually selling nice, pretty things, rather than crap. Okay, well there was a good share of crap, too. It was a fun day. Only complaint, I can't seem to find a damn desklamp! Well I can, but not ones that I like or want to pay for. Emily and I are both on the search for the perfect desk lamp and we don't want to resort to buying a plain, boring one from some chain store. No, we want a cool, crafty, funky lamp from an independent seller. Problem with independent sellers? They're really expensive!! I don't want to pay 50pounds for a lamp base and 40 pounds for a lamp shade. That's like $180!! Hell no....but I am determined to find a cool desklamp for under 50 pounds. In London, this may be a BIT challenging.

***

Two nights ago I went to the Southbank Centre to see a performance by Rosie Kay followed by a performance by Siobhan Davies Dance Company. Rosie Kay's duet was pretty awesome. It was a really physical piece with a lot of jumping and falling. The kind of stuff that makes my knees cry in horror. They danced like the stage couldn't contain them, and I loved that. It was exciting. The main event, "Two Quartets" by Siobhan Davies..........was laaaaaaaaaame. I completely zoned out and thought about what tube lines I needed to get home and what I was going to eat for dinner. Lame lame lame. The first quartet consisted of running in circles while wearing costumes that made the dancers look like playing cards to music that seemed to not exist! All I remember is a woman's voice saying, "Tchaikovsky" every few minutes. I was sooooo bored. The second quartet started out pretty promising, with a solo by this awesome dancer who woke me up. The next three solos? Not so much, back to sleep. So that closes the lid on that company for me.

***

Inbal Pinto tomorrow night. I'm hoping for goodness, if not fucking awesome-ness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Inevitable

I got sick last night. It had to happen eventually, and now I feel miserable and mad. But it'll pass soon and I'll be fine, so why complain? I had no energy this morning and I couldn't make it to class. I did, however, make it to my choreological studies class so that I could at least sit and take notes. I was notified a number of times that I didn't "look so well". It was fun to sit and watch and I learned a lot.



A while later I headed to Sadler's Wells to see "Cast No Shadow". I didn't really want to go, but the tickets had already been paid for so that was that. I figured, it could be good to just sit for two hours and enjoy the movement........not so much.



Okay well the show was a collaboration between Russell Maliphant and filmmaker Isaan Julien. Usually I don't enjoy film or video installations in dance, it's never really rubbed me the right way. But tonight I was drawn to it, more than the dancing even. The show opened with a film that took place in Morocco. It was colorful, vibrant, loud, and energetic. There was a man dancing in it who was amazing. He was just moving in such an honest, intense way.



The next piece featured three dancers performing to a video background of Antarctica? Alaska? Some cold, snowy place. The images were breathtaking and I immediately wanted to be there in my own little world. I wasn't as drawn to the dancers, but more to the video. Who would have thought? The final piece of the evening didn't really capture me. I was making a market list in my head and thinking about what I wanted to eat for dinner. But once again, the video images were awesome, depicting delapidated boats and an abandoned seaside. The dancers made good use of some sticks, but not so much with rope.



After the show I ran into my new friend Alexis and we took the train home together. I didn't really know him so well before tonight, but I'm glad we got the chance to talk and get to know each other better. He's a really smart guy and we shared our opinions on London, LA, Cyprus (where he's from), dance, the program, and other random stuff. What would have been a long, boring tube ride home became an interesting, thought-provoking experience, and I'm glad for that. It took my mind off of my looming sickness.



***



Right now, "Where the Heart Is" is on tv. I remember seeing it in the theatre when it first came out, and loving it. I still do, to be honest.

***

I did a lot of thinking today. Strange, I know. But my friend Emily choreographed a short solo yesterday based on the theme of cynicism and religion. I think it was an interesting idea, whether I agree with it or not, and it obviously came from an honest opinion from someone who has a lot to say and express on the matter. So the basis of her idea got me thinking about the amount of violence and suffering that exists in a place deemed so holy and sacred. Why would God allow this? For such misfortune to fall upon people fighting in his name of all things? Or are they really? So many thoughts came and went, mostly regarding intentions and ideas. Good intentions, wrong intentions, genuine intentions, pure intentions, impure intentions. Who can judge which is which? What may be a good intention to one person can be a horrible, evil intention to another. These conflicts are manmade if anything, and why would God allow them to continue on? Because these people so will it, is why, I think. There are so many different agendas from so many different people, and they use religion as their platform to acheive these agendas using good and bad intentions. Although I have not seen or experienced first hand the loss and suffering that my friend has, I can understand where the cynicism comes from. Perhaps were I in the same situation, I'd feel the same way. There's no way of knowing for sure, but her feeling of cynicism is not unfounded or unjustifiable in any way. It's really dificult for me to write on such a subject as this, as I'm never really sure what to say.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

mangled

Is it even possible. Is it really possible to...I can't even make sense of my own thoughts. They seem to exist in my head, but they never make their way to....half sentences.....are about the only thing i can manage at this point.

I dont listen. I never listen. I hear. I hear. I dont comprehend, I dont know.

Suddenly the car made a turn and I just went along with it. What else could I do?

Comes and goes......

It's written all over my face.

I put the fun in funeral.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

You put the fun in funeral.

Last night rocked, I'd say.

I went to Sadler's Wells to see Hofesh Shechter's "Uprising/In Your Rooms". It was unofficially Laban night over there, as practically everyone from the school attended. Seeing my classmates in human clothes, hair down, and "scrubbed up" is like seeing a dog walk on it's hind legs. Okay so I so stole that from 'Mean Girls'.

The show was pretty fucking awesome. The first piece, 'Uprising' featured seven men throwing themselves around stage, flying across the floor, appearing out of nowhere, and sharing intense energy. There were moments of complete male aggression followed by moments of tenderness and calm. I loved the intense physicality of the piece.

The second piece, 'In Your Rooms' was even cooler. It featured most of the company whose dancers have such amazing movement qualities. The live music was so energetic and percussive, with the choreography perfectly matching. I loved the choreography, I loved the music, and I loved the dancers for their physical daring and insanity!

Later on, my friend and I made our way to King's Cross to see some live music at a pub. The first musician we saw, Fiona Bevan, kind of reminded us of Joss Stone. She was really quirky vocally and had some interesting lyrics, my favorite being "you put the fun in funeral".

***

I need to think about my term schedule and who knows how long that will take.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

drag

today leaving the tube station, a man referred to me as an "ignorant, chinese immigrant". i've never even been to china in my life.

**

Why do we all get so happy when we buy the most ridiculout things?

Kettles, socks, tee shirts, desk lamps, etc. Strangeness....

I love the kids I assist in the morning. They're so honest and straightforward in their behavior, their dancing.

Really, we lose this quality.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

shtuyot

I'm learning to speak Hebrew. I think this was inevitable.

My feet are so scabby, it's disgusting. Classes are fun and challenging. It's all new to me so that keeps everything exciting. Today after class a group of us asked our teacher some questions for our teaching class. We asked her about her influences as a mover and teacher. Long story short, she told us to grab the bull by the horns and make things happen. Yup.

I love my new jazz teacher. She has this insane energy that seems to rub off on everyone in the studio. Which is so great because no matter how tired I am, I always find the energy to "do it again".

Of all the performances I've seen so far, there have been some where I've felt like falling asleep. Tonight I actually did fall asleep only to be awakened by an elbow to the arm. I miss music in dance. My opinion on dancing in silence is that the dancers onstage have to be really amazing to manipulate my attention into believing the music they're making. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. There comes a point in a piece where I just want to scream, "Just use some fucking music, really!" Like the idea of dancing to music is so unbearable or something.

Tonight I saw a really great fucking piece at my school's MA Dance Showcase. It was about Haiti and it was fucking amazing. The dancers in it were so powerful and dynamic. The choreography was exciting. It was an inspiring piece for sure. We all left freaking out about it. It was so cool.

'Without A Trace' is on TV right now.

Going to see Hofesh Shechter Saturday night. Looking forward to it....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

lame lame lame-o

The week at Laban has been pretty cool so far. Tonight I had the greatest jazz class ever with this amazing teacher Hagit, who just let us have so much fun. It was a much needed class after a full day of seriousness. I wish I could take her class every night, no matter how tired I am from everything else, it would be great to end the day with a class like that.

Last night my neighbor performed in a tap jam in Soho, so the other neighbors and I went to go see him, and it was such a fun night. The vibe in that place was so positive and all the tappers were just improvising and having fun, in turn giving us a good time. It's nice to see tap dancing every now and then, I don't see it nearly as often as I should.

Tonday I took a Pilates class for the first time ever. It was a basic class, yet I still struggled, which shows me just how out of shape I really am, eeew.

I love my new ballet teacher.

Choreography yesterday was fun. I partnered with this one girl and we had to learn as much as we could about each other and choreograph solos based on the information. Then we had to present them to the whole class. It was actually more fun than I thought it would be. Yay, that's a good start.

Okay well that's it for now.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

step inside and then outside of yourself

The past week has been a fun one I'd say. Everyday we had class and seminars to introduce us to more and more of what Laban has to offer, and it's quite a lot. Unfortunately I can't do everything and will eventually have to make choices over what I'll be doing, but whatever it is, it'll be what's best for me even if I don't know it. That makes no sense. But what ever does with me?

On Monday night I went to see 'The Sound of Music' at the London Palladium. It was a grand performance and I got goosebumps throughout. I really enjoyed it a lot. My first West End musical, yay. On Tuesday I went to the Place to see 'Touch Wood', the first of a series of works in progress and other random stuff. For the most part, it was an enjoyable evening, but there was this one piece I could have lived without and really wouldn't hold in a high regard.

On Thursday night, I went to see 'Touch Wood' again with a different lineup and this show was far more exciting. There was this awesome duet with two women dancing to separate sections of the same music. The music was energetic, the choreography was interesting, and the dancers themselves were really good. They did this one part in silhouette against white curtains, and the shapes they made with their bodies was really neat. Next was a solo by a teacher at my school that was more profound in its message than anything. The third piece was a duet featuring Jin Yeob Cha and Fernando Martins that blew me away!! Everything about it was so exciting, I swear that even people who don't like to watch dance in general would have liked this one. It was just all over the place, the dancers fully giving themselves to everything and just throwing themselves all over the stage with an energy thats enviable. I wished the dance would have gone on and on. After the show I met Fernando and told him how cool I thought the piece was, and he said that's just the shortened version and they want to add to it and 'improve it'. Oh. My. God. When and where is all I need to know. Next was a piece by a classmate of mine, Harriett Macauley, about Speaker's Corner and freedom of speech. I was so impressed with her piece and the choreography and idea altogether. She went so far as to have an American flag in one dancer's mouth, as if to stifle her. Then the flag came out and she began to dance. It was a great piece, really. The final piece of the night was something I hadn't seen before. It was a trio with two deaf women and a wheelchair bound man. Without use of his legs, he was very expressive with his upper body and arms and the three of them would speak and sign their movements as they did them simultaneously. It was really awesome.

Friday night I went to a Caileidh. What a fun Scottish night it was, though I suspect that if I were liquored up a bit, it might have been funner. I learned a few basic traditional Scottish dances. Yay something cultural!

Tonight I went to see 'Touch Wood' for the third time, with a different lineup of course. I also enjoyed tonight's performances. The first piece had 6 dancers who danced to spoken directions and "fragments". The second piece was one of my favorites of the series thus far. It had this one section with floor choreography that amazed me. One of the dancers had the most amazing movements qualities I have ever seen. I was really inspired by the way she danced, and I'm so glad when I go see a show and find a dancer whose movement just grabs me completely. The final piece was actually created from scratch by Hofesh Shechter and his company. It was a long (but very quick) process that culminated in an energetic and humorous dance.

At the show I ran into a lot of classmates of mine at Laban and realize how young I actually am. I always have this feeling that I'm so "old" and started dancing "so late". Maybe in LA terms, this is true, but maybe not so much the case for Europeans and elsewhere. People who love to dance will dance, regardless of their age or experience. It puts things into perspective for me and reminds me that although I might be a relatively late-starter to this crazy world of dance, it doesn't mean that I want it any less than anyone who has been dancing since they were a baby. If anything, it makes me hungrier and push more.

On a completely different note, I learned I have this "reading week" coming up in October, and I'm super psyched because I plan to travel around England. Legoland Windsor, hell yeah!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Untitled

Yesterday while on the Tube, I overheard two men talking. One of them is preparing to move to Hebron to work as a peace activist for the Swiss government. He has never been to Israel before and is quite nervous because of the political tension there, rightfully so. I admire what he is going to do, what he is going to be apart of. God bless him....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

dawson's feet

On lunch break right now from class so I'm in my flat watching 'Dawson's Creek'. Seriously. It's funny how I used to be so obssessed with that show when it first came out and then I hated it and stopped watching. And now it's on.

So I don't live next to an asshole. Just a loud person.

I have cool neighbors.

I got to go now.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

All this hubbub.....

I live next to an asshole. On my way to reception, I ran into two new classmates and one of them suggested I stick a note under the neighbor's door that says "YOURE A CUNT!" I'm seriously considering it......

I wound up in a Mexican restaurant and a Spanish tapas bar in the course of 2 hours tonight. Maybe my Southern California-ness is innately leading me to these places. All I can say so far is that the Mexican food in Greenwich is better than the Mexican food I've had in central London, but that was half expected.

I made my way down to Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road today for the first time. I love how there are so many used book stores on Charing Cross. I ventured into the massive Virgin Megastore and got lost finding all sorts of random music...on sale, too! I was originally planning to go to Urban Outfitters, but never quite made it. Next time...

Tonight I learned that I like art, but I don't like art. I like obvious art. Classical art. I don't want to have to think. I want the answers to just jump out at me. Like a math test or something. Which is funny considering I don't feel the same way about dance. Or I used to. Prior to seeing Batsheva for the first time, I liked obvious stuff when it came to dance. Technical tricks impressed me and storylines were clearly mapped out. Everything looked somewhat contrived and planned and I didn't really care, it was all visually pleasing. Then I saw Batsheva's "Three" and that all changed. Now I guess I'm waiting for that same thing to happen with art. Because honestly, I just don't get it. I can't stand in front of a painting or a piece and "find its meaning". Actually, I really liked Egon Schiele's work I saw in Vienna. Prior to seeing his paintings, I'd never even heard of him, and now I love them.

Tomorrow is Sunday and my TV is still not working, and my mom took all the paperwork back home. I really want to watch TV!!

Fireworks happened over the Thames tonight outside my window. It was a pleasant surprise.

But my night was made by hearing a little boy say "fuckin'" twice in one sentence.

Friday, September 7, 2007

9 crimes, is that alright?

I'm so loving Damien Rice's "9 Crimes". I just bought the CD yesterday (I know how late am I?) but it's really good.

The Hungarian waiter gave me his number......after my mother insulted his English and referred to him as Russian.

My new cable connection is awesome! I've been on youtube nonstop, and I really like Jiri Kylian's "Sleepless" pas de deux. I watched it over and over and kept thinking, "I want to be in that!!" and I also liked stuff I found from Yasmeen Godder, Inbal Pinto, and Siobhan Davies, whose name I horribly mispronounce all the time.

There's this dance festival coming to London that's going to have all this cool stuff and I'm really excited about it. Gosh, I'm such a dork. Actually it's more the fact that being from LA, we don't get too much in European contemporary dance so it's nice to have access to all these companies all throughout the year at all these venues.

Starting this program is like starting high school again. I've known pretty much all the same people throughout the end of high school and into college, mainly through dance, and I haven't had to make much of an effort to meet new people, but now all of a sudden, I know no one and have to go through the socializing process all over again. Overall, people have been super friendly and one of my neighbors help me set up my tv.

I went over to Camden and Piccadilly Circus yesterday for the first time. Camden completely reminded me of San Francisco, minus the giant hills. It was such an eclectic place with all these market stalls selling the randomest shit. And there was a canal, too. Upon reaching Piccadilly Circus I turned into a total tourist and took all these pictures of those electronic billboards and the Eros statue, while oooh-ing and aaah-ing the whole time.

Sleepy now, goodnite.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Allo Allo

I am in London. It's quite nice, I like it here.

Today I had my induction day at Laban. It was only for the 1 year program-ers, but there were still a lot of us and I haven't even seen all the BAs and MAs. It's a huge, international student body, though my induction group comprised of pretty much all the Americans.

I'm really excited to start my program next week.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My civic duty is also to say no....

Yesterday I managed to get myself kicked out of jury duty, thankfully, though it did come with quite the temper from the judge.

I googled 'how to get out of jury duty' and found tons of web sites dedicated to tips on getting out of jury duty. I realized I hadn't been in a similar situation that the defendant was being charged with (a rather humorous thing, though gross and pervy), nor was I willing to make something up. I didn't want to go in with some instant radical belief (religion, racism, homophobia, etc.) that I do not personally possess, so what could I do? Be honest. And so I was. Said a few magical words that made me toxic to any prosecutor and legal aide in their right mind. Interrupting the judge a few times didn't hurt either. And in the grand scape of things, I was completely honest and straightforward with my disdain for the situation. Though I did have to receive an earfull from the unsatisfied judge who was unsuccessful at forcing his opinions on me or getting me to change mine. I had to sit there and take it, all the while thinking, 'Good, he's pissed, I'm getting myself the fuck out of here.' A few minutes and a sidebar later, I was dismissed--with a lecture of course. I walked out of the courtroom rather happy for being able to talk my way out of jury duty by being completely honest.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ouchie

While getting ready for tonight's performance, I stood up too quickly at the makeup table and hit my thigh really hard against it, resulting in a beautiful, huge bruise that appeared in mere seconds. Now it just hurt-hurts.

Standing in the wings was like lost in translation. What was going on? Who knows.

People annoy the shit out of me and I annoy the shit out of people. It's just how it is. Table poachings, ridiculous food searches, ridiculous food in general, and thigh bruises. My day comprised of all this. And a performance.

I think tomorrow will be my last day of work. My goal was to make $160 to make up for the stupid shit I bought. Employee discount my ass. Which reminds me, today I asked Sierra, "you know how I know the people I work with are lame?" and she responded, without delay, "because you work at Abercrombie & Fitch?" Which wasn't going to be my answer at all, but heck, why argue that one?

We were talking about our funerals. Well, we designed each other's funeral should one of us outlive the other. Here's how I planned hers: AHS DT members past and present show up in uniform and have a drill down. Instead of pictures of her around the coffin, there would be pictures of Panic! At the Disco, her favorite band. And for music, bagpipes playing 'Scotty Doesn't Know', the themesong from 'Eurotrip'. Oh, and her sister riding a unicycle whilst juggling chickens. My funeral? A mime re-enacting my death, a balloon artist, circus music, and what all funerals need, a bouncer. Which is where my 'shit list' comes in handy.

I can't stand Pasadena anymore. It seems like there is construction going on EVERYWHERE. Just yesterday I was watching the news, and one of the construction sites on Delacey collapsed into the street. Guess I'm not driving myself to work tomorrow.

This weekend marks parties. On Saturday, I agreed to attend a family reunion on my father's side, which consists of pretty much no one I know. But there will be food. I keep telling myself, I shall be gorgeously fed. I'm not sure if they're from Mexico or not....? Then the weekend follows with Petra and Lucia's birthdays. I don't feel like buying gifts, as I'm feeling incredibly stingy these days. Well, I'm moving to London in about two weeks, and my dollar is worth only half a pound, which explains the stinginess. And then there's that bitch thing that could explain it, too.

Haha, Carlye had a good one. She asked Sierra, 'Is my hair messed up? If it is, will you be mean?' Sierra said, 'No, if it's messed up, I'll help you fix it.' I said, 'If it's messed up, I'd be mean.' Carlye said, 'I know. That's why I didn't ask you', to which I responded, 'Nicely executed.'

My general lack of compassion for humanity is becoming all the more apparent now. Or maybe I really just can't stand Pasadena.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Counting down the days

Three more weeks until I head out to London for a year. I'm obviously very excited to go, but a bit scared, too. I think it should be good. Fortunately, dance has given me the opportunity to travel, and this is another one of them.

My days in Southern California are winding down.

Tomorrow is my last performance with the company, though I'm not actually in the company anymore, but it's a piece I know well and have been asked to be apart of, which I am happy to be. Last Southern California performance, for a while at least. Who knows.

I guess I could comment on the two reality tv shows I watch. 'Hell's Kitchen' and 'So You Think You Can Dance'. Talent competitions at opposite ends---one, a world I know, the other, a world I know nothing about but love to see.

It seems I can't get enough of HK. Mostly because Gordon Ramsay refers to contestants as 'right bitches', 'cows', and 'fuckers'. I love it. I have no idea what the hell is going on half the time, or what any of the terminology means. Heck, I don't even care what they're cooking. It's just pure entertainment I can watch with little or no scrutiny at all, because I really know nothing about the culinary world, except that I love to eat. Mindless entertainment.

'So You Think You Can Dance' on the other hand, I can't watch without scrutiny or opinion. The show just drives me insane. It's a guilty pleasure for me and most people I know. We can't stand it, but we love it. To me, the show is a stylized version of one of those dance team/studio team competitions I used to *gasp* go to. I do respect the dancers though, for the amount of choreography they have to learn each week, and for admirably taking on different styles of dance they've never done before. I know I could never pull off most of that stuff. I think what irks me most is the way they portray the dancers. Each dancer is assigned a style, i.e. 'contemporary dancer', 'ballroom dancer', 'hip hop dancer', etc. when clearly some contestants defy catergorization. And others, well, they don't seem to look all that great in their given catergory. Moving along, I hate the way they're making Danny look. I've seen him dance before with ABT and have met him and he's quite nice. Though I don't know him personally, I think it's unfair for him to be branded as 'arrogant' or anything of the sort. He just exudes more discipline than obnoxiousness and carries himself professionally. He probably won't win though, since personality seems to dominate more than talent. Which is why we are constantly reminded it's a competition to find America's 'favorite' dancer.