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re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By seannettaPremium member Comments: 2130, member since Fri Jul 28, 2006
On Wed Feb 15, 2012 09:32 PM
^Oh come now. Beatings would have ensued had there been no marginal set improvement.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:17 PM
^It's cute when my teachers humour me--like tonight, when I asked my Highland teacher if I could show her my solo (she told me on Sunday that the decision to compete it was mine alone, but that she'd be happy to take a look and assess whether it's as mediocre as I claimed it to be). The verdict? It lacks confidence, and I look scared and unsure of what's coming next except during one part where I do a step across the floor, which she said was like watching a different dancer. That step happens to be my slip jig, and while it's no secret that I love my slip jig, I'm really unhappy the best part of my solo is in a dance form I'm NOT competing in. There's also one part she choreographed that I could not get at all, so I've just spent more time than I'm willing to admit to listening to and counting that particular section of the music and then trying to fit that one little step to it. That's getting to be a habit, isn't it? I have to get it, though, and I have to make the intro look like it's choreographed and not just random, and I have to make the rest of the dance look as good as my slip jig (I never thought I would write these words--make the dance form I'm certified to teach in look as good as a step I've known less than a year?) I'm going to the studio again tomorrow to work with my students, but she said she'd be happy to take a look at my dance as well, so all those things I mentioned? Have to happen in the next day. *commence freak out*
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Tue Feb 21, 2012 08:17 AM
Another competition weekend has come and gone—and left me feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I really enjoy watching my students compete. I know how hard they work in class, and I’m always proud of them regardless of what their results are on any given day. Judges only see a handful of 90-second performances, but I see the whole package. I’m a staunch believer in the whole “all you can do is your best” business, and that may sound trite, but it’s true. You can’t control what your competitors do, so you just have to go out there and do whatever it is you CAN do. Sometimes you’ll get the results you’re after, but often you won’t. That’s just the nature of competition. On the other hand, living vicariously is nowhere near as exciting as it’s made out to be, and when I watch my students compete, or when I see my classmates on stage or the familiar faces in my own category, I can’t help but feel it should be me up there instead. It’s an odd feeling because I’m not a competitive person at all, and when I do compete, I get nervous, uneasy. I never feel as though I dance my best. It’s more the idea of it, I think. Highland dancers aren’t exactly swimming in opportunities outside of competition. I feel like I have to do it, you know, out of obligation.

I do compete in choreography, however, which is exempt from my “competition is evil” rule because the atmosphere is completely different (and at last weekend’s event, they awarded medals to last place, which was great for me because that’s where I nearly always end up). My favourite part is that we get comments from the adjudicators, which never happens in regular competition. I wasn’t altogether surprised to read the comments for my duet (not Celtic enough, not enough actual dancing, weak middle section ‘cause I messed up), my trio (basic technique needs work, visible errors), and my group (hard to coordinate 12 dancers but effective use of costuming), since they were exactly what I had been expecting, but my solo comments? Her criticisms were about my evident lack of stamina at the end (I died), my arms in second and third positions (could be prettier), and my basic Highland technique (needs work). But she liked my intro (Irish dance skipping), my slip jig (obviously Irish dance), and my ending (Irish dance-inspired jump). So there you go.

Speaking of Irish dance, I will grudgingly admit there has been marginal improvement in my set dance, grump, grump.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Sun Feb 26, 2012 09:47 PM
So studying. I kinda failed with that. I was so keen just a few days ago. (Was it really just a few days ago? Let's say weeks, just to be sure.) And now? Not so much. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm not really feeling the whole Highland thing these days. That's happening a lot lately, isn't it? It's kind of unfortunate, but I'm also strangely not too broken about it. I figure these things happen. I just have to find something to get excited about again. These practice exams aren't exciting in the least, but for what it's worth, Faithful Reader, let's see if I remember the order of the Barracks steps, which is the dance I made it to before I gave up to do other things: balance and travel, pas de basque, pointing and backstep, assemble and change, diagonal extension, circling balance and travel, reverse shedding, turning. Remember that, Faithful Reader, because I'm not convinced I will. I HAVE looked at the hornpipe book, by the way. I'm definitely NOT feeling that one yet, like at all.

Well, this is a boring entry. I don't have much else to say. I'm teaching tomorrow and will likely have to miss the first 30 minutes of Irish, which means I won't get to do any soft shoes and will have to start off the class with working on my set dance. I don't mind teaching--in fact, I'm looking forward to it--but the timing sucks majorly, 'cause let's face it, hardshoes isn't exactly my favourite thing in the world. (I know, I know, step dance is ALL hardshoes! Well, I'm still not sure I like that either.)

Ok, I'm done my complaining for today. Watch this instead; I think I saw this in a dream once.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:04 AM
Well, Faithful Reader, I think I am legitimately going to get married next year. I know we said it likely wouldn’t happen for several years, but the Boy and I have started to reconsider our many plans for procrastination simply because both of my paternal grandparents are currently in long-term care at the hospital, and most of our other relatives are getting on in age as well, so if we want to include them on our wedding day, it will have to be sooner rather than later. We have an appointment on Wednesday with a venue we like, and we’re really hoping it will be “the one.” We think it’ll work really well for a more intimate ceremony, which is ultimately what we’re after, and from the pictures on their web site, it looks like we could easily set up the space to accommodate dancing, which for obvious reasons needs to happen. I was talking to one of our dance moms this weekend, and she was lamenting that most brides only request senior dancers to appear at their wedding, which is understandable (if you’re going to spend $500 on hiring dancers, you want the best you can get), but she would really like her daughter to have the opportunity to perform at a wedding. It got me thinking that I’d like to invite my dance school to do an honour guard and maybe a 15-minute performance at the ceremony, and then I would ask my performance group to do some dancing at the reception. I don’t want to exclude anyone, and my dance school has been such a big part of my life these past ten or so years, so I would feel bad if it wasn’t at least somewhat represented. But the other reason I know I am legitimately going to get married is remember the cards I said I would get for those girls I want to ask to be in my wedding party? Well I am holding them RIGHT NOW. I’m actually super nervous about sending these – I know it’s my wedding, and I can choose whoever I want, but I really don’t want to offend anyone, and I certainly don’t want anyone to feel obligated to do it all the while thinking, “I really wish SeniorLady would just stop talking to me.” And these cards have my friends’ names actually PRINTED on them. That’s pretty final. I can’t just change my mind and pick another girl. I’ve been stressing over the bridesmaid business because every article I’ve read on the subject has made it sound like choosing your wedding party is the most harrowing task of life, and you should basically just prepare yourself for rejection because no one actually has any friends these days. And they all say you should have a back-up plan, but I don’t have a back-up plan. So I’ve been putting off mailing these, because once I do, there’ll basically be no turning back.

Also, I’m really bored with Highland these days. I lost my hornpipe textbook again – I swear, I’m NOT doing this on purpose! – but it’s fine because it’s not like I’ve been studying anyway. I’m just not motivated to go to class at all, but the worst part is that I’m not sorry to be skipping when I do, and I don’t miss it when I’m not there either. I went on Saturday because I was already there to teach, but I didn’t go last Tuesday or Wednesday, and I likely won’t again this week. I’m not feeling it, and I’d rather be at home doing other things.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:03 AM
I found my hornpipe book. Someone had stuck it in the lost and found box at the studio. I’m happy because I really didn’t want to have to buy a new one, and to be honest, even though I can’t be bothered to even show up to class these days, I will likely still spend some time perusing the book. The problem with my dance schedule is that it’s basically left me unable to be idle. I’m so used to doing things that when you remove them I don’t know what to do with myself. I really DON’T want to go to class though, and with the Boy out and about this evening, I’m thinking it’ll be a good time to make some chilli and teach myself a couple of new hornpipe steps while watching CSI.

I did teach last night, and I’m really liking that class. It’s a big mix of levels andabilities, but the dancers are all determined and work really hard. I might like to see two of them do a duet for our recital, so I’ve been listening to a bunch of tunes, but I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for yet. I’m hoping I’ll know it when I hear it. At Irish afterwards, I somehow managed to injure myself again (I use the term fairly loosely – it’s not so much an injury as it is the pain I’ve come to expect from dancing on a bad floor). I did have an unfamiliar twinge in my right hip, presumably from a funny landing at one point or another, but it seems to have gone away, so I’ll just pretend it never happened in the first place. I thought most of my dancing was pretty good actually, except for that stupid set dance – I get nervous whenever I have to dance it for one of my teachers, even though she’s so good-natured about it, though I’m not entirely convinced I won’t be going about my daily chores one day, like picking out veggies at the Metro or whatever, only to be accosted by a couple of surly men with metre sticks ready to administer beatings, “This is for your set dance.” (Ok, it’s not nearly as bad as I’m making it sound. Complaining just buoys my spirits, you see.) I feel like my reel and slip jig are much stronger, which in all likelihood is because they don’t scare me nearly as much (and also I love skipping). But I feel much better about my reel now that I’m mostly on the correct foot (it’s kind of frustrating when you can’t remember what foot to step on knowing that there are really only two to choose from). I might ask my teacher if I can do the first step as a leadaround – I know I’m basically supposed to move A LOT, but I don’t like feeling like if I were dancing on a stage, I’d be in danger of falling off of it. It would probably help if I could turn around at some point. Also, my teacher is bribing us with a new slip jig step but only if we can get the first one on the left foot (there was also talk of a new hornpipe step but hardshoes =/= bribe for a SeniorLady). I figure I can get the left foot by next week – it’s not too bad, and it’s really only the turn that trips me up because I’m not willing to comprise and do only a half turn since that’s not pretty! And I wanna be pretty!

And geez, now I really want to go to class tonight.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Wed Mar 07, 2012 08:36 AM
Of course I went to class last night. I swear I wasn’t planning on it. I came home, put a pot of chilli on the stove, put on my comfiest pair of pyjamas, and was firmly ensconced in my couch watching YouTube videos (of talented kids in parades of champions – my first mistake) when I started to get antsy because it was nearing the time when I usually make my way to class. And then it was 7:19 (class starts at 7:30), and I was suddenly running around my apartment, looking for ghillies and a water bottle and some pants, and then I was sprinting down one street to the bus stop and up another to the studio. It was a good class too—there was nothing remarkable about my dancing, but it felt good to be there. I did a 9-step fling! And a 3&1 sword to pop music! And a Laddie, a Measure, a Flora, and a Jig! And none were too shabby! I’m not entirely sure where all this boredom or lack of motivation is coming from, but I’m glad I made it out to class last night. My friend thinks we're addicted to dance, and I suppose that's not bad considering all the other things we could be addicted to.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Tue Mar 13, 2012 08:36 AM
I overslept this morning, and now I’m all flustered. It’s not going to get any better either – I’ve got so much to do today, it’s kind of ridiculous. I’m meeting with two retirement homes to discuss spacing and flooring for our performances on Wednesday and Thursday. The first meeting is at noon, close enough that I can manage the visit over my lunch break but far enough that it will literally take ALL of said break, and the second is at 4:30pm – I haven’t figured out how that’ll happen yet because it’s actually impossible for me to get from my office to their venue in that amount of time (especially since I have to wait for a friend to deliver costumes for tomorrow). I’m hoping I’ll come across a hovercraft between now and then. I also need to buy several sets of metre sticks, make playlists for both our weeknight performances, go to two dance classes, and do some administrative-type work for my dance school. No problem, right? I’m only complaining because I can; I’m actually really excited about the whole March Madness business. It’s just that I wish I didn’t also have to do other things.

Yesterday I had an unfortunate faceplant while teaching. I’m always sticking my face up to the CD player, trying to discern which pop song is best suited to whatever exercise I want my students to be doing. I was in some ninja-esque backstep position, hovering mid-air like someone who thinks she’s a champion, and then I was suddenly and unceremoniously on the floor, and although it didn’t hurt on impact (mostly because I was too embarrassed to stay down there and feel pain), afterwards it hurt A LOT. Both feet did, which is why I sat around my living room wearing a stern look of disapproval and icing both feet with bags of frozen vegetables because NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME, OLD BROKEN BODY. I feel fine today but am hugely worried about Highland tonight because I heard a rumour we’ll be doing our championship sword at every class, and I can only imagine what half points and extended highcuts will do to me.

Irish was fine. I’ve mostly given up on my set dance, and I know my teachers will read this and roll their eyes and disapprove, but I don’t care. If it was socially acceptable for me to have a tantrum I would, but since it isn’t, here’s an entire web site dedicated to grumpy animals. The internet is a wonderful thing. We did start learning a new hornpipe, but because I’m morally opposed to dancing in hardshoes ever, I’m not going to admit that it’s cute and that I might actually like it. Because it isn’t! And I don’t! Oh, I did practice butterflies though. All of my students were late, so I had a bit of extra time to look at myself in the mirror. I can’t jump with flexed feet; it’s so awkward. It’s this whole process, like, I have to stand in first and then jump up and down like an idiot for a bit. Then I can work in some changes, and then the actual movement. Too bad the step doesn’t have 77 counts for me to will my feet off the floor. But accidentally getting it right 1 time out of 97 is kinda progress, right? At this point, I’ll take what I can get, and when I go home tonight and finish my chores at 1AM, I’m going to reward myself with several shots of whiskey before I fall asleep on my couch in front of a marathon of Dance Moms.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Wed Mar 14, 2012 08:54 PM
Edited by SeniorLady (72324) on 2012-03-14 20:56:31
Well, we had one of our many Paddy's Week gigs this evening, and while I know it happened and went well to boot--we got many lovely compliments and an invitation to come back again--I actually have no recollection of having done any dancing at all. Was it really just a few hours ago that I was franctically changing outfits for the 97th time in five minutes? I hate that feeling, where you've worked yourself up for a concert or a competition and visualised it in your head for days or weeks ahead of time, and suddenly it's happening, and just as suddenly it's over. I always feel a little cheated, and I'm rarely ever pleased with how my own dancing went. I always want a do over. Sometimes I think of my dancing at these events as an afterthought. I watch my students dance, and I get anxious for them (and am happy when they do well), but I don't always give the same amount of thought or effort to my own dancing, and then I make silly, amateurish mistakes I can spend days kicking myself over. Despite my insistance that I'm only there to dance, I can't really get out of the mindset that I'm responsible for every little detail. I take it personally when things don't go exactly how I'd planned.

I did have a very small victory, however: I danced my set for the Benevolent Seniors without falling on my face, forgetting most of it, or crying. I did get tripped up once or twice, but I think I covered it fairly well, and the whole experience wasn't nearly as bad as I had envisioned it would be (and believe me, I am very good at envisioning terrible things). There was even one audience member who apparently really loved the tune. I saw him rocking out, and I wanted to highfive him, "YEAH OLD MAN. YOU ENJOY THAT SET DANCE TUNE."

Tomorrow's another day--and another gig. My goal is to not rush through it like a burning train but actually enjoy it.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By falling_leaf Comments: 143, member since Wed Mar 18, 2009
On Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:24 AM
I can't wait for next week's episode of dance moms! It promises to be dramatic!!!
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Tue Mar 20, 2012 09:40 PM
Edited by SeniorLady (72324) on 2012-03-20 21:41:42
I really want to update you, Faithful Reader, on the events of Paddy's Week, but seeing as it's already 11:25, and I am feeling so very lazy at the moment, I'll just direct you to seannetta's post of March 19 where she sums up the week's madness quite nicely. I couldn't have said it any better myself. Suffice it to say I wasn't ready for the week to end. Being a proper adult is overrated -- I'd rather be dancing.

There is one more thing I wanted to mention, however; my teacher told me tonight that she had picked music for a new solo for me, so it looks like I'll be retiring my much-loved slip jig/lilt solo ... and replacing it with this one. (:
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Mon Mar 26, 2012 08:58 AM
Last week, we enjoyed temperatures of nearly 30C (that’s about 85F), and I was basically besides myself with excitement – I’m at my happiest when I’m sunning myself on asphalt in the blazing sun. This morning I was assaulted by -12C (around 10F) and the notion that we might be getting SNOW on Wednesday – I’m not pleased. As well as rendering my choice of wardrobe completely inappropriate, the rapid change in temperatures also makes my allergies freak out, and I exhausted myself walking from my house to the transit station this morning and then felt nauseous and lightheaded when hit by the blast of warm air and the crush of people inside the bus. Now I’m sipping tea with lemon and honey and wearing my most disapproving expression yet. This is the only thing that can possibly redeem this day. I am wearing mine with pride and hopefully no price tags still attached.

Over on the wedding front, the Boy and I are exploring a couple of different venues for our ceremony. We both liked the one we viewed a few weeks ago; it felt really intimate, which is absolutely what we’re going for, but we don’t want to commit to one place without having viewed any others. We’ve pretty much agreed, however, that the day will have the following format: ceremony with piper and honour guard late morning; pub fare, beers, and dancing early-to-late afternoon; general debauchery after our more conservative family members have gone to bed. Last week, I sent the first of four bridal party cards (I’ve been really procrastinating with these). It went to ceolas with a gift of 12 mini gluten-free cranberry soda breads (baked in muffin tins). She and her husband ate them for two days before realising that they were covered in edible glitter. I got an incredulous text, “IS MY SODA BREAD GLITTERY?” I was worried it would be awful (I used GF AP flour and couldn’t warm up to the taste AT ALL), but they both seemed to really like them, and I guess I officially have a bridesmaid now. (:

I don't have any dance updates because I'm lazy and didn't really practice or accomplish anything that could benefit my dancing in any way. This weekend I more or less just sat in front of my TV eating huge portions of whatever foods I could get my hands on. I won't be able to get off the ground at Irish tonight and will probably never get to learn a new slip jig.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:00 PM
Edited by SeniorLady (72324) on 2012-04-01 23:05:13
I'm still awake for some reason that is completely beyond me. Actually, I take that back. I know EXACTLY why I'm awake, and it's because there are things that need to be accomplished and too few hours in a day in which to accomplish them. This time, however, dance is NOT the reason why I'm awake when I shouldn't be, watching a pot of water boil seemingly slower than normal so that I can cook something not unlike a meal for tomorrow (and by tomorrow I mean later today 'cause it's past midnight). I've actually left things to the last minute because I was honest-to-god sociable this weekend. I'm really very proud of myself -- I left my house! For 18 hours straight! I left at 7am yesterday to head to the studio early, and after my usual five hours there and a totally hilarious bus misadventure, I showed up at the first of two gatherings (a belated party for my friend's birthday). We sat around her house discussing very important grown up matters like whether my friend should dye his hair red and which coffee shop we'll go to if we visit Toronto this summer (apparently we all have our favourites). Then we went out for all you can eat sushi, and I was incredulous to see the Boy eat steamed rice with chopsticks without spilling it all over himself. At home he can't even manage that with a fork. Afterwards, he and I went to a second gathering, this one the first of what we hope will be many bad movie nights at my friend's place. We drank rum and coke and watched Jack Frost, which we rated bad but not to the standards set by this gem, and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, which we deemed The Worst Movie of All Times. No, really, if you haven't seen this, and the odds are quite good that you haven't, get your hands on a copy, and prepare to be completely and utterly amazed. It has a musical number. Which happens during a scene where the garbage pail kids are making garments for a boy named Dodger to take back to this mean girl he is seriously crushing on (named Tangerine, who is dating a bully named Juice). It has a very serious plot obviously. We also watched Madonna's half time show and wished we could grow up to be as cool as she is. And we listened to this as well and reminisced about high school, which at the time we called that awful seven-hour a day prison that kept us from sitting in my friend's basement drinking rum and cokes and wishing we were cool like Mylène Farmer. Obviously a LOT has changed since then. This morning, I got together with falling_leaf for some overdue BFF time during which we unleashed our inner mall rats and bought cute shirts and books and jewellery and a ridiculous pink heart-shaped pillow that pulls apart and says BEST FRIENDS on it in case we forget. And because we're 12.

So I'd say this past week has been a really good one. Leaving my house for extended periods of time is alone a REALLY BIG DEAL, but I also learned a bunch of new things in all three dance forms (in Irish, we're working on a new slip jig step and a new hornpipe step; in stepdance, my class is working on the clog and reel, and the class I'm crashing is working on the twostep; and in Highland I finally cornered a 13-year-old and made her teach me lowcutting). I love learning new things, so I'm obviously really excited. I'm especially happy with finally having been taught lowcutting because I'd been struggling with trying to learn it straight from the book and by watching youtube videos. It's awkward and ridiculous and really counterintuitive, but I love it. Also, today I danced extended highcuts! Lots of them! And they were mostly good! I wasn't planning on dancing today at all -- I really only went to the rehearsal as a teacher (I hadn't even brought dance clothes) -- but I don't think I'm capable of being in a studio without dancing.

The other reason it's been a good week is because all of my bridesmaids got their cards and foodstuffs in the mail, and none of them laughed and said they never really liked me anyway. It sounds silly, but I'm not entirely convinced I have any friends, and I was fully expecting to get back the empty boxes of cookies with notes that read LOL NOPE! Fear of rejection and public humiliation is the reason why I mailed cards instead of just asking -- that would have stressed me out. Not that I didn't stress out with the cards because I did but at least it was in the privacy of my own house with only the Boy and Stupid Cat around to witness it. But everyone seems genuinely excited, and they're such a great group of girls, so I'm really excited too. Now I just have to, you know, plan a wedding.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:43 AM
This is not a post about my lack of motivation. I know that most of my posts have a certain weariness about them, and it’s not at all a reflection of who I think I am (shimmery, effervescent, happy-go-lucky). I just find complaining cathartic – and fun. But this is a post about cool music! And dance performances that make me feel alive and excited and eager to practice! And a student’s recent competitive success that was nothing short of triumphant! And grilled cheese sandwiches! I think I want my 30th birthday party to be a grilled cheese party where everyone brings one weird ingredient and then owns it Iron Chef style. I want someone to make me a grilled cheese dessert.

In a bizarre twist of fate and some very last-minute planning, I was able to take last weekend off from teaching to go to a competition with one of my students, and I’m so glad I did. She danced beautifully, and while I was certain she would earn her fourth stamp towards moving up to novice, I never imagined she would come away with three firsts, a second, and two trophies (one keeper and one perpetual). I’m proud of all of my students’ accomplishments, but this is a dancer who came to me two years ago with no previous dance training and very little natural ability but with an incredible work ethic and an unshakeable belief in her ability to kick some ass – I can’t believe how far she’s come. And it makes me feel a bit better about my abilities as a teacher, which have been pretty severally trashed in the past and which I’ve often questioned myself. Losing students will do it because I always assume it’s due to something of my doing, but not seeing a student progress as much as I think they are capable of will do it too. So it’s nice to have this little bit of student success under my belt.

Last night, I saw a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and I’d really been looking forward to it. I’ve always enjoyed seeing videos of their performances and was really keen to see them performed live. I wasn’t super into the first few pieces, however, and that made me a little disappointed, but the rest of the program was so enjoyable it didn’t really matter in the end. This piece was my favourite. Anyone who thinks dancers aren’t athletes needs to go watch a full-length performance – it’s a display of athletism and strength that makes my complaining about championship-length dances completely invalid. I was exhausted from watching, but it was invigorating too, and that’s a sign of a good performance I think, when it leaves you feeling like you can’t possibly take a single step, but then you’re on your way home, and you’re so amped up you think you don’t need the bus, you can just run there.

It looks like I’m about to run out of lunch break, but I did want to share this song by Frida Hyvönen, which has become my unofficial work anthem by virtue of the entire album being on playback as I go about my daily tasks.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Sat Apr 21, 2012 03:07 PM
Wedding planning is hard. I've said it before, and you'll likely hear it often over the course of the next year. It's hard! And wedding blogs have given me all sorts of unrealistic expectations too because now I only want pretty things I can't afford. And the Boy insists on being sensible for some reason. He says I can't ask anyone to spend three digits on shoes, but all the best shoes have triple digits! He already said no to hiring an entire pipe band to parade our wedding party through our city's streets. So I don't get a band, AND I don't get any shoes? That seems slightly unfair, don't you think?

This morning I taught my adult class in what felt like the first time in years. It's only been a few weeks, but it seemed longer, and it was nice to see everyone working as hard as they did. I had some concerns about a few exams, but I'm feeling fairly confident about them after today. Tomorrow's rehearsal will be the deciding factor on whether to cut any dances or not, but I really don't envision that happening. I heard two of my students' theory today as well, and they're both more than ready for their exam already. They have flash cards! They take notes! It's cute.

In terms of my own dancing, I still don't have much to say. The only classes I went to this week were for Irish (my own class on Monday and newsockspooky's class on Wednesday, which I decided to crash because I didn't want to sit at home and do nothing, but I also wasn't up for Highland). That second class was fine -- I tried to teach myself steps while simultaneously hiding in the back, and that didn't work too well although now I can dance a weird hornpipe/treble jig/reel mashup. I can't really remember what part belongs to which dance. I actually couldn't even remember the last time I'd danced a treble jig. And then I didn't go to Highland again today. I'm not feeling it. I need to get excited about it again, but I'm not really sure how to do that.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By Tishwah Comments: 409, member since Sun May 17, 2009
On Sat Apr 21, 2012 09:30 PM
Start showing him shoes that have 9's in the triple digits!

Fluvogs are a life investment, it isn't like you are only going to wear them once after all.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:13 AM
This entry is going to be about dance, but first it’s going to be about food. It’s kind of no secret that I love food, and I get particularly excited about foods that are bright, bold statements on my dinner plate. I’m really tempted to pop into the grocery store after work to pick up some blueberries because this might be the answer to every plain bagel I’ve ever eaten. And I really want to try baking with beets to satiate a desire to consume pink foods and because I like surprise vegetables in my desserts. Anyway, the reason I’ve allowed myself to go off on this little food tangent is because I’m simultaneously typing this entry and writing out my grocery list (mostly staples like breads, milks, and pastas because I exist entirely on caffeine and carbs), and because I’m eating banana bread, and it’s also no secret that I love banana bread so much I could eat it all day every day. The key to a good banana bread is to forget everything you were ever taught about banana bread, and just add a lot of peanut butter. The desired consistency should be a PB bread with a hint of banana. We all know what our favourite protein is anyway. (Conclusion: if I didn’t dance, I would be really fat. Which is obviously why I’ve done a ton of dancing this week already.)

On Sunday, our school held its third exam rehearsal, and even though I was mostly there to give my dancers disapproving looks, I did end up doing quite a bit of dancing, and none was too shabby either. It certainly made me feel better about having spent the previous week being a lazy bum and hardly dancing at all. My problem foot started acting up again (it’s the same foot I’m always complaining about, and every time it starts to ache I think OH GOD IT’S DEFINITELY BROKEN THIS TIME). It’s old and arthritic and temperamental. The pain is mostly underneath my big toe and generally only manifests itself when I go up onto the ball (thank god I never have to do that), and wearing softshoes doesn’t do anything to lessen it. (Wearing dance sneakers, hardshoes, or step dance shoes does, however.) There was just the slightest hint of pain after Sunday’s rehearsal and significantly more pain on Monday after walking around all day at a conference in my prettiest pair of wannabe tall girl heels and then teaching a class and attending another. Last night I went to two step classes (to make up for repeated absences) and then was at Highland for over two hours (where I did all of my championship dances full out to champ speeds plus an Earl and a hornpipe) – I’m now sitting here wearing only one shoe because putting the left one on squishes all of my toes together and makes the big one throb. I hope I don’t have to go anywhere until it’s time to head out because I can’t very well start walking around in bare feet. Owwww.

Despite the problem foot, all of my classes this week have gone really well. I really like my new slip jig step and new hornpipe step in Irish, and I can do both relatively well (sometimes my brain doesn’t like to communicate with my feet, and then I just skip around doing jazz hands and pretending I’m a princess). At step, I got caught up on my new reel, so that I’m no longer lagging behind the 11-year-old who is my only companion these days, and I remembered another new dance well enough to get a compliment from my teacher. It was actually a two-compliment night for me, which is unheard of (normally I’m just scratching my feet on the floor with no discernable rhythm whatsoever and getting the usual “good effort!”) But last night I had to demonstrate part of a dance for my classmate because my teacher thinks I do it really well – she called it “very rock and roll” – and then I was very smug because it’s the dance she once told me I had to be more like seannetta in. I have been channelling my inner seannetta, but I don’t know if it’s done anything for my dancing – mostly I just want to drink tea and browse the internet for adorable shoes.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By seannettaPremium member Comments: 2130, member since Fri Jul 28, 2006
On Wed Apr 25, 2012 09:10 PM
^Ack, you weren't supposed to reveal the real seannetta, so I can keep fooling people with my industrious-dancer veneer!
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Thu Apr 26, 2012 02:04 PM
^ Sorry, what I meant to say is seannetta is the most hardworking and dedicated dancer OF ALL TIMES. Everyone should go read her journal and prepare to feel simultaneously overwhelmed and underaccomplished. (Do remember to come back, though.)
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By seannettaPremium member Comments: 2130, member since Fri Jul 28, 2006
On Thu Apr 26, 2012 09:40 PM
"That's better," she said, munching on another handful of jellybeans while sprawled on the couch...
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Mon Apr 30, 2012 09:33 AM
Edited by SeniorLady (72324) on 2012-04-30 09:38:24
I always worry about my weekends. I get excited when Friday comes around and brings with it the promise of lazy mornings drinking tea and reading The New York Times but all too often I find myself sitting on my couch on Sunday night, with only a few hours left before Monday morning, wondering why anyone would look forward to weekends in the first place when there’s absolutely nothing relaxing about them. This one was slightly better than most: I skipped my dance class on Saturday in favour of a much-needed nap (which was GLORIOUS), and Sunday’s exam rehearsal with our pre-bronze and bronze dancers was much shorter than the others had been, so I had a few extra hours in which to ACCOMPLISH ALL THE THINGS! In what I can only assume was some sort of uncharacteristic manic episode (normally I grumble through my weekend chores wearing a stern look of disapproval), I bought groceries and did laundry and cleaned my house and practiced dancing and cooked enough food to eat well over the next few days. Of course practicing dance happened simultaneously with cooking food, and I was peeling potatoes and frying up onions while going through my dances in socked feet on my kitchen floor. I did make the blueberry cream cheese I talked about in my previous entry, and it’s the most wonderful shade of purple. The Boy was out and about, so there was no one to get excited with except Stupid Cat, who was sprawled on a chair with her pudgy limbs all spilling off the sides of it, decidedly not caring about the pretty purple cream cheese that was kind of the highlight of my weekend. My life is very sad.

There are a couple of steps in my new stepdance reel that I don’t really get, with one being particularly counterintuitive for me because I want to jump then leap and not leap then jump. (That same reel also has a step that’s not unlike inverted toe-and-heel in my sailor’s hornpipe, and I mess that one up every time.) I figure if I just keep drilling both, they'll eventually just happen. I have a bigger problem with my new dance, the two-step, because I don't get that rhythm at all. I’ve been practicing that one too, but I don’t know what it’s supposed to sound like, so I’m not even sure I’m dancing it correctly. When my teacher does it, it’s lightning fast, and I can’t process what’s happening, and when I ask her to count it for me, she counts the beats in the music, which doesn't help. So I'm a little puzzled over that one.

The Boy and I have picked a tentative wedding date (I say tentative because we're not 100% sure we want to go with the venue we've chose, and we need to check with our relatives to make sure there aren't any major conflicts). The date is approximately 15 months away -- no one will be able to say we didn't give them enough warning. That's a huge step, in any case, like HOLY COW I AM ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By seannettaPremium member Comments: 2130, member since Fri Jul 28, 2006
On Mon Apr 30, 2012 07:31 PM
It might help to just think of the two-step as a slow reel. Because that's essentially what it is. You can do the two-step steps to a regular reel, but you'd need to do them faster.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Mon Apr 30, 2012 08:06 PM
^ I'll try that, thanks. I certainly don't want to do the steps any faster than I have been, however; they're already too fast for my brain to process. I need snail speed. Injured snail speed!
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Tue May 01, 2012 09:41 PM
Last week's step dance triumph was short-lived; this week, I seemingly forgot how to do everything. Not only that, but I GOT CALLED OUT ON IT! My teacher has watched me make up steps and forget entire dances and be basically mediocre at everything for a year now without comment, so it kind of caught me off guard when she decided I should know exactly what I needed to work on. AND THERE IS SO MUCH OF IT. I need to keep my heels off the ground; I need to be more confident; I need more attack; I need to use my arms; I need more presentation; I need to improve my rhythm; I need to listen to the music better. I must have looked really dejected because she said I was a beautiful dancer, and she gave me a pity certificate, but not without adding, "I'll give you this one, but it can probably be better." Gee, thanks. I do want to know what I need to work on because I genuinely want to be better, but I'd prefer not to be hit by everything all at once. That just really sucks.
re: Countdown to the end of the world. en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8074, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Thu May 03, 2012 09:31 AM
I can finally say I’m making progress – slow, hardly-noticeable progress, but progress nonetheless – on my teaching exam: I’ve opened the hornpipe book! And started memorising material from it! I had about 90 minutes before dance last night, and I knew that if I went to a coffee shop, I would be distracted and wouldn’t get any work done, so I sat in the hall outside the classroom instead, and that actually worked really well. I made it through the basic foot positions (other than those described in the Highland text, so inverted first, inverted second, forward second, inverted fifth, and forward fifth), the basic arm positions (akimbo, folded, shading, and interlaced), and the eight arm actions (hauling, pulling ropes, gathering in, pumping, casting, farewell, look-out, and hoisting). The hornpipe requires a lot of precision, and I have a lot of work ahead. Even with fewer than 20 definitions so far, I’ve already encountered instances of steps or movements I’d been dancing incorrectly. (Thankfully, none of these I’ve had to teach yet – I absolutely hate when I find I’ve taught something incorrectly!)

For the sake of not forgetting everything I’ve tried to teach myself so, here are all the hornpipe steps. There are 16; however, there are three ways of dancing the first step, and the 12th and 13th steps have alternatives. The steps are 1- Circle (also 1- Accented Rhythm and 1- Polka); 2- Shuffle Over The Buckle; 3- Diagonal Travel; 4- Farewell; 5- Scissors, or Sailor’s Buckle; 6- Gathering In; 7- Look Out; 8- Crab Walk; 9- Heel Pull; 10- Pumping; 11- Low Cutting; 12- Rocking (&12 alt); 13- Inverted Toe-Heel in 2nd (& 13 alt); 14- Run & Cable Haul; 15- Forward Crab Walk; and 16- High Cutting. Dancing the steps won’t be nearly as daunting as I had previously imagined: I have seen every step performed at one point or another and have danced all of them, albeit not necessarily to tempo or with music, with the exception of only two (first step with accented rhythm and 14th step). I’ll have about 30 minutes before teaching tonight, and I’ll use those to walk through as many of the steps I can starting with those two. If I’m feeling especially productive, I might also run through a couple of my step dances, focusing on keeping my heels off the ground and dancing in time with the music.

In wedding news, the Boy and I are going to put a deposit on our venue next week, which will essentially seal the deal for our wedding next summer. That’s still 15 months away, which makes it a little surreal at this point, but parting with a big chunk of our money will likely change that. And it will totally validate all the time I’ve been wasting every evening looking at dresses on etsy. Like this one. And these four other ones.
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