Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Art at the ART

Working in the arts often means that there is controversy, dialogue, and broadening of horizons and minds (hopefully that is created in reaction to the art. All of this is good. Even controversy. It gets people talking.

However

There was an event that happened mid-performance of a show at the ART in Cambridge. Cambridge, home of Harvard, home to leftist political minds, home to artists and performers. The ART - well known for putting on controversial, edgy, sometimes too edgy, productions. Taking all this into consideration, one would not necessarily think that a production at the ART, in Cambridge, that had some swear words in it would cause an uproar. But it did. Well, it did for some Christian group that went en masse to the show and then decided to destroy the production, literally in one sense. Here is the link to the clip of what happened that night.

This saddens me as the attack became personal. I fully support both the process of creating art, and the process of forming an opinion about the art. You don't have to like something just because it is art. However, you do have to respect the art form and artist. I have been to many productions, some of which I did not like, some of which I left DURING INTERMISSION. Never during the performance, and never in a manner that degrades the artist or destroy the art. Just imagine walking the halls of the MFA and deciding that a Georgia O'Keefe painting was deemed offensive by an onlooker, who then poured water all over the canvas. I think that he/she might find themselves in a whole heap of trouble. What happened here to Mr Daisey should be akin to that.

I just always end up shaking my head when I realize that very often the self-proclaimed Christians are the ones who act the least Christian-like.


UPDATE
So Mr Daisey tracked down the "Christians" to talk about what happened. Of course, they were reluctant to discuss what they did until he had to thinly threaten them with the fact that they destroyed his work, then they sort of agreed to talk to him. Apparently they defined themselves as Christians until the reporters started calling, and then they had to admit that they were actually a public school group (!!!!!) and they were concerned with the "safety" of the children. I am just horrified that our country is falling into the trap of fear and ignorance that our fine leaders have cultivated. How does one fight this? How does one overcome ignorance and hatred? I think that Mr Daisey sets an excellent example for dealing with people such as this. But I really don't know how this can be reversed....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ever fixed.... and ever moving!

It's curious to me, how insanely fast these past 4 months have flown. I remember the faculty meeting I attended at the beginning of the semester, and our Department Chair said that before we knew it, the end of the year would be upon us. I looked at my calendar, and all that was going to be accomplished, and laughed a little.... yea, right! And yet it was true! Here I stand at the brink of the semester's end and I am wondering where it all went. Final projects are being passed into me, grading needs to occur, books need to be ordered for next year's class, I have one final Fabric class to teach, and we are travelling to Plimoth Plantation that day to learn about how they build authentic period cloth and garments, there is one final student production that goes into tech on Sunday, and my seniors have senioritis so badly that I think they very well may explode. I am not sure how this happened. How I arrived here. And yet here I am....

And add on top of that my new found obsession with tango, freelance design projects, family, friends, and last but not least, S.... and I am not sure when I managed to sleep these past few months.... Life is good. Life is happy. And full. Even the prospect of being unemployed for a month and a half as the movie I was supposed to work on in June was cancelled does not cast a pall over how very pleased I am with the universe's spinning. True, it is a bit of a scramble now, although something will turn up, it always does. Even the bumps in the road this past winter, loss of family and my own health complications, don't detract from how good I feel.

It's a good tanda right now.... I think I'll stay for another....

;-)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Midsummer Night

I have been working on a production of a midsummer night with a dear friend of mine as co-designers. I love working with him as we have a similar aesthetic and we work very well together. Well it opens tonight, which I am thrilled with, it was not a difficult production (for a change) and I am quite pleased with it. Here are a couple of shots from last night's final dress tech If you are interested. :-)




Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's the shirt!

Here is the outfit I keep blathering about that I love so much.... and I really do! Possibly the most comfortable tango pants ever... and the shirt rocks, although I discovered the hard way that when you dance in close embrace with someone who sweats through their shirt, it becomes transparent and I need to address my sudden change from chic to "free show".... ;-) (Note - none of the leaders pictured here were the cause of my sudden transparency.....)
S did a great job capturing these images, it is not easy to take pictures in a crowded, dark (you'd never know it from the picture) room where tango dancers spontaneously boleo and volcada at the least provocation regardless of who is holding an incredibly expensive camera behind them.... ;-)




Friday, April 13, 2007

photos from Yale



Well, despite S taking over 500 photos at Yale, he managed to not take many of me... considering that there were over 220 people there and he was the official photographer, so he sort of had to focus his lens on everybody, this isn't too surprising. But he did manage to get one fairly good picture of me, just not me in my Bali pants and awesomely expensive and flattering shirt. Oh well. I'll just ask him to capture that look this weekend as I am wearing that outfit to tomorrow night's milonga ;-). But, this photo is from the first night's milonga and it is amazing that you can see as much as you can in the photo as it was very dark in the room, no real light to speak of, just LED lights in the plastic tubing running along the baseboards of the walls... so considering he was taking pictures in the dark, he did a great job. I am the girl slightly to the right in the white shirt.



















This is me (red shirt this day) stepping in Ney and Jennifer's Vals class...despite the horrible ponytail, ugh someone should have told me I looked like that, not too bad I don't think. Especially considering my penchant for resisting stepping forward.... ;-P

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Still can't feel my feet....

But who cares?!? Not me, I'll dance anyway!

Actually my feet have gone from sore and aching to slightly sore, which is a good change I do believe. But Yale, what a great festival. This was the first festival that I attended as a dancer. I went to the Rendezvous festival in Montreal with S, but i did not dance then, only watched and contracted the tango bug. This festival I danced. And I think that from Friday night to Sunday around 1 am or so, I only took a few hours off from dancing to catch some sleep. It was pretty intensive, but ever so much fun.
I'm just going to hit on some of the highlights and interesting moments, otherwise this posting will be approximately 523 pages long I think, and I really don't want to be one of "those" bloggers!

So, Friday night, S and I arrive and go right to the milonga. It was a dual milonga, with alternative on one side of the building and traditional on the other. And it was PACKED! Luckily, floorcraft was in excellent shape, so there were only minimal bumps and whoops, no real horror shows. Although near the end of the night, when the floor became a little more empty, some people got a little eager for back boleos and one woman walloped my shin pretty good, I have a beautiful bruise that bloomed there, but she was mortified and apologetic, so no real harm done. I realized about a half hour into the milonga that there was no way I was going to remember leaders. There were too many people to watch, so I made the decision to accept any dance offered, and I would simply remember the leaders as either future "Yes, please!" or "I'm resting, but thank you." Not surprisingly, there were very few leaders whom I did not enjoy dancing with. I guess at festivals the levels are usually a little higher than on average. I had a great time, some of my favorite leaders from Boston and Providence were there, and I danced with some of them, but mostly I danced with people I had never met before, and that was really cool and an awful lot of fun. The DJ in the traditional room was Shorey Meyers, and she, as always, did a fantastic job. I spent the whole time in the traditional room, and I am not sure what time we left, but I think it was around 3am.

Next day morning came awfully early, and S and I went off to have some breakfast before heading to the workshops. I had signed up for Vals with Ney and Jennifer, Corridas with Robin and Jennifer, and Milonga musicality with Brigitta and Tomas.

I was not disappointed in any of these workshops. Ney and Jennifer are fantastic teachers, and they have a very easy teaching style that allows fun, creativity, and learning. My class with Robin and Jennifer on Corridas was exceptional though. I really liked their teaching style. To the point and honest. There were a couple of times I was with a leader who was just not getting it and my suggestions were not helping and Robin came over and correct whatever issue it was that had arisen, he was direct without upsetting the leader and great at immediately assessing the problem at hand. I think that I learned the most in this class. It was only the basics, walking and quick quicks, but I think that working the basics to the point of your muscles committing the lesson to memory is a great thing, regardless of your level of dance. It was recommended that I take a private with Robin the next time I am in NYC, and I think that is a great idea. Brigitta and Tomas' musicality class in milonga was also excellent, this is an area I need to really work on, as I often get carried away with the music and my form and feet go all to hell, so it was also a good workshop.

At this point, my legs are tired, my stomach is complaining loudly about its empty state, and S and I are ready to drop. So, is it food or nap or shopping? Yes! All! My friend P had bought this amazingly sexy wrap shirt that I just had to have. After showing S the picture of the shirt, it was not a hard sell to have him go with me to the shop, which was a two minute walk from the workshop space, and CLOSED! When we got there they had just closed! But the lights were on and there were people still in. S urged me to knock on the door, and as I hemmed and hawed about doing that, the ladies came over to the door as apparently my face was like a 5 year old being told there was no Santa Claus. I explained that my friend bought a shirt there that I had to have, and they welcomed us in and brought out the shirt. Wow. Amazing. That would NEVER happen in Boston. As the ladies played dress up with me, S watched in amusement, and I decided to buy the Origami wrap shirt in white. Then she rang me up at the register, and $100 poorer, I left the shop. But there was no way I could not have bought the shirt at that point, and to be honest, it is an amazing sexy shirt, so I think every penny was well spent. Then off to nap. Although the nap might have been a mistake. S did not sleep, but I did, and when he woke me up I was not exactly filled with boundless energy. But, there was an all night milonga to attend! So up I got, on went the Bali pants and the most expensive shirt I have ever bought in my life. And dancing all night. It was a blast, and I had some great dances from leaders all over the country, and a few from europe! It was sardine packed again though, and again, the floorcraft was exceptional. Sometime near 4am I hit the wall. I was cooked. Sexy shirt or no. S, however, was still going despite being exhausted too. So I went to lay down on a couch and he kept dancing until 6am, when he came to get me and we stumbled to the car in the dawn.

I'd say we went to sleep, but three hours is really only a nap. Quick shower, which felt good on our sore, tired muscles, and off to practica and more workshops! Practica was empty, which was great as we had more floor space to work in. And I discovered that my thick skin is much thinner when I am exhausted and become frustrated with practicing areas I am deficient in. But I got over myself and had a great time practicing with my friend P, who has a great lead and is the wife of one of my favorite leaders. I tell them that they are my favorite leading couple. :-)

Then the last two workshops of the festival. First up, embrace diversity with Carlos and Tova, whom I just adore, and had a great class with them. Then off to another milonga class with Ney and Jennifer. Unfortunately S and I were rather punchy at this point and S got a little silly in class, at which point Ney would laughingly yell at S "Romania! Get with it!" or something to that effect.

After the workshops, we decided to learn a lesson from the night before and go sit down and eat before the final milonga. So off for some Thai food, then go change, make coffee, and go back for the last milonga of the festival. It was much thinner, although still a strong showing. Again had a blast, danced until 1am at which point I was one song away from being a cooked noodle again, so I told S that I had one tango left in me and it was his if he wanted it. So we danced, which was lovely, and then we said our goodbyes to new and old friends and stumbled back again to fall into oblivion.

The only thing I would do differently would be to take the day after the festival off from work. What a mistake it was to only take the morning off! I was of little use to the students, although I did my best to make it through 8 hours of fittings for the show, but next festival, Monday will be my day to sleep and recover.

All in all though, it was a fantastic time and I am so happy we went! As soon as I get some pictures from S, I'll post them and you can see the most-expensive-shirt-I-ever-bought as well as my new favorite pants, the Bali pants.

(So much for not posting a long blog entry! heh heh heh...)

Monday, April 09, 2007

I can't feel my feet....

Except for the pain that is....

Went to the Yale Festival this weekend, and it was a fantastic time. It was a really well done and incredibly organized festival, those Yalies really know how to put on a great tango festival! In three days I went to 3 milongas (1 all night, and 1 almost all night), 5 workshops, and one practica. Sleep? Nope. Maybe a few naps between but no real sleep. Ate lots of bananas and carbs, drank tons of water and coffee, and just had the best time. Some fantastic instructors were there and I had some very helpful workshops with them. I also danced with some great leaders from all over the country, and a few from out of the country too!

I will write more later and post some pictures as soon as S sends some my way... (hint hint). But lets just say I am happily exhausted! More soon....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

GRRRRRRRRRRR

It's SNOWING!!! It's April for crickey's sake! And it's snowing....

*sigh*


Welcome to New England folks.....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A question about embrace

This is something that has been on my mind for awhile now, and I hope that both leaders and followers can give me some feedback on this issue. And that is embrace. I prefer close embrace, but will dance in open and will also move to open when the close embrace is a disaster or uncomfortable. But there seems to be a third embrace, and that is neither open nor closed but somewhere in between. A leader I danced with recently said that he dances what he considers close embrace with "room for the mother-in-law" which he learned in BsAs. It is almost closed, but there is a gap between our torsos. There have been a handful of other leaders who dance this way, and it seems that there are followers who adore dancing with these leaders, but for the life of me I can not dance with them. I can not feel the lead, I feel as though there is no connection, and I do not get enough from their arm in order to really dance. So what is this? Is there some sort of technique I am missing that one's needs in order to dance in no-man's-land? I feel like a doofus at times because when I dance with one of these leaders I just can not dance well and I feel lost. And if I try to create the connection by moving into close embrace, they very quickly move it back into this nebulous area. What am I missing? How do I find that connection? Is this just a beginner thing that I will eventually get over? *sigh* the learning never ends.... which I actually kind of like, even if I do get frustrated at times. :-)