a year in review

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The semester is over, and as such I feel like I’m just a hop, skip, and a jump from 2013. I’m so excited to be spending my new year with some of my favourite people — vacation can’t come soon enough!

I’ve had a hell of a year. I realized this when I mentioned it to someone a couple of days ago: I have been waiting for the year 2012 since about elementary school. My idealistic 9-year old self mathematically figured out that I’d be done with college in 2012 and that that would be the greatest accomplishment of my life (no, my 9-year old self didn’t even have an inkling of the notion of grad school).

So I decided, why not take a look at the last year (mostly in pictures) and relish in what an amazing roller coaster of a year this has been?

Join me?

The year got off to a great start. In January I got back to school, auditioned for grad school, danced in a flash mob, baked like crazy, and had some rough times that the best friends I’ve ever known got me through. The year continued on this fantastic path with February and my birthday being perfect (dancing, Twyla, sangria). This month I rode in my first ambulance, which was terrifying and traumatic, but I can look back on the awkward medic who showed me and Emily his mouth tattoo fondly. Also, doing downward dog in the ER.

My foxy lady sisters received their rings in February. It doesn’t matter how many other red classes or blue classes there are, you guys will always be first in my heart

JanFeb

March rolled around and spring break was an adventure in Atlanta, with making pizza, exploring the city, and doing photo shoots in the park. The last weekend of March, Studio Dance Theatre travelled to the illustrious city of Albany, Georgia for some good ole dancing and horse metaphors. (Sugar cubes, anyone?)

In April I celebrated Bertha’s birthday with some furious scrap booking and I performed in my last ever concert at my undergrad. It was bittersweet. I was so privileged and blessed to have had four years of performing with such dedicated and artistically vital people. This month FLEW by.

MarchApril

May was probably one of the hardest months for me. Not only did I get myself into ridiculous situations that I should have had better sense than to have done, but I graduated from the place I’d known as home for four years.

Graduation always seemed like this elusive far-off dream until it actually happened. I couldn’t have been more joyed than to spend this day with my family, friends, and Agnes Community. The morning of graduation someone told me they’d light some fireworks in my honor, I couldn’t have been happier.

May

The whole summer was a whirlwind of travelling and exploring the world and figuring out who I am! I wrote about this last month I think so I don’t really need to indulge you anymore on that. I made some mistakes, I did some awesome things, I grew up. (Even though there’s still a lot of that to be done…) If you missed it, check it out in my thanksgiving post!

JuneJuly

The final leg of my summer was August — the month to challenge all months. I was in four different time zones, and six different airports over the course of the month. My sisterbear got engaged, I visited Seattle, I bought a car, and I started graduate school. Seriously, I don’t remember being still for more than a few hours over the course of this whole month, and I absolutely loved it.

Lucky for me, September was a month of recuperating and readjusting to the workload of grad school. I spent most of my free time in the library.

AugustSeptember

October and November blend together in my brain. I was in Atlanta, I was in Orlando, I was at school, and I was at J’s apartment.

I got to see both of my sisterbears this month and  Sandy ruined the family reunion that was meant to happen. I voted for the second time in November and had severe anxiety the entire week before the election, and I was moved and proud of all of the people that got out there and rocked the vote. It was a beautiful display of nationalism for the democracy in which we live.

In Atlanta I was graced with beautiful dancing, in Orlando I was checking out wedding venues for my sisterbear! In any other time I had free I was writing papers and doing all the research in the world. (and hanging out with my BFF Evie)

UseNovemberOctober

And now we’re here. December. We’re twelve days in and every day is a new adventure. I’m growing to love the bhum-thai that I am becoming, and I am learning more and more about dance, about the world, about politics, and about the connectedness of human beings.

This blog is a means to connect to human beings. Of course it doesn’t make up for getting out there and talking to people (which, let’s be real, if I get started, I never stop) but it’s a means to share and communicate with those around us (geographically, or on the internet).

DECEMBER

Thank you, all: the ones who are here, the ones who have gone, the ones I’ve just met, and the ones that have stuck by my side through everything.

You all have made this year beautiful, and amazing, and sometimes heartbreaking, and most of the time absolutely joyous.

I’m looking forward to the next year of adventuring and seeing the world!

Love, B

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after

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After the party is the after party. Thank any and all higher beings that that logic doesn’t follow with finals. After the finals there is a PARTY, not the after finals.

Finals will end today with the click of a little button in my email labeled “Send.” Just one completed paper to turn in and then I’m done! I can’t wait until I press that tiny button and begin the singing and dancing and flash mobbing anywhere and everywhere.

(Side note: I’m listening to pop-song mashups right now and I can’t even focus on what this blog is supposed to be about)

thinking-web-pic

hmmmmm….what was I thinking

 It may or may not be lost for good, but for anyone taking finals — good luck!

Hopefully I’ll give ya a real post later this week!

Love, B

flash.

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As a scholar of dance, I often must recognize the changing way that dance is being presented to our society. In my American Dance History 3 class (1950-tomorrow) we have studied a variety of venues and styles of dance and how they shape the perception of dance to Americans.  Not only do we look at concert dance (Cunningham, Balanchine, King, Taylor, etc) but we’ve also looked at dance in social settings such as Woodstock, Disco, and The Twist. This is the class in which I researched body language, movement analysis, and the recent presidential election — you see, we’re learning how to see movement everywhere.

For our final, I’m currently researching Flash Mobs (which MLE knows I love so so much). It wasn’t until today that I realized that not everyone feels as strongly as I do about flash mobs.

what

I was having lunch in my office today with some of the other grads and I mentioned that I had spent an hour last night laying in bed, watching flash mobs, and every time got just a little bit teary eyed at them. J and V seemed very taken aback by my statement. “Why were you crying?” they asked me.

Why was I crying? Some of it has to do with the fact that my solution to not getting any sleep because of finals is crying, but it’s not just that.

It’s not just that at all.

Flash mobs are an amazing display of a group of people who are very different, lead different lifestyles, and sometimes don’t even know each other coming together briefly for a common, shared, positive purpose. They’re coming together through movement. How beautiful is that?

t-mobile-liverpool-flashmob

It doesn’t matter who you are, what your gender, sex, orientation, race, ethnicity, body type is, or what you’ve done in your life. All of these people come together for one thing — a type of celebration. The Fox show Mobbed features flash mobs celebrating relatives who were once estranged reuniting, young and old couples in love, people getting jobs, and all kinds of celebratory news.

How could that not make you just a little bit teary?

Behind every flash mob there is a sincere kindness and generosity to share in joy with other people. It’s about human connections and how we form them through dance and movement, which is this thing that is simple and complicated. It’s the first thing we ever learn to do: before we know words, we know movement. We learn about the world around us through movement.

Maybe I’m a total sap, but flash mobs will always, always make me the slightest bit weepy — they’re beautiful. It’s easy to feel like the world is filled with hate, and war, and sadness, but when you look closely, as one of my favourite movies reminds us, love actually is all around.

love, B

thankful

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This isn’t unusual for me, but because I do it every year, I want to do it this year as well. I have quite a lot of gratitude regularly, but I like to take this time to share a list of things that I’m thankful for right now, in honor of America’s Thursday holiday, Thanksgiving.

I hate to be prosaic but the top of my list is always being thankful for the people in my life: my family, the people who put up with my eccentricity; my best friends in the entire world, who pick up the phone in the middle of the night when I’m drunk and being obnoxious and I know full well they’re doing the same thing; the animals in my life that make me smile, like Shanti, Elle, Cinder, Dude, Khya, Kona, Xena, and Hercules.

I am thankful for last summer and this semester. I’ve been told that transitioning gets harder as you get older. High school to college seemed easy: I got homesick as everyone does, but I never felt incapacitated with uncertainty and fear of being forgotten or left behind. By the end of my undergrad I was feeling confused, and lacking clarity on who I really was and what it is I wanted and stood for. I felt like the fun. song “Some Nights” almost every day. The lyrics plead:

What do I stand for? Oh what do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…

…Well some nights, I wish that this all would end
‘Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again
Some nights, I always win

I’m thankful for this because last summer, which was so full of traveling and love and coffee, as well as this semester, which has been full of new connections, papers, and standing on my own two feet, has allowed me to figure that stuff out.

I’m less afraid of a lot of things, including being forgotten and not accomplishing everything. I have a better sense of who I am and what it is I stand for than I’ve ever had before. I’m thankful for clarity.

an extremely brief overview of summer12

I’m thankful for the weekend before last when I got to go up to the ATL and see Danceworks. I was incredibly overcome by joy and pride and love when I saw how much my friends and peers had grown artistically, technically, and emotionally in their dancing.

Steph, Nicole, Chandler, Bertha, Christiane, holy crap, you guys.

This reminded me of why I’m going to be a professor of dance one day — seeing these young women grow and mature as movers and artists is incredibly satisfying, and left me swelling with pride. I love you all so much.

photo cred. izzie

I’m thankful for my sisterbears, and especially helping one of my sisterbears plan her wedding! I’d never ever leave either of my sisterbears alone with the craziness of our parents trying to plan weddings, but I’m so excited to be a part of this joyous occasion. I miss both my sisters and I can’t wait to see them again, and have our whole family together in one place.

I’m thankful for dog parks, and late nights; I’m thankful for bethel, and dancing, and living the life. I’m thankful having both the opportunity and the means to go to school and study everything. I’m thankful that I have an able-body that allows me to dance, and exercise, and enjoy the tastes, smells, textures, sounds, sights of everything around me. I’m thankful for missed connections. I’m thankful that an agreement and cease-fire are being put into effect in Gaza.

I hope you all are able to take a few moments to remember what you’re thankful for, and have the opportunity to spend time this week with those you love, cherish, admire, and hold dear to you.

love, B

PS. THIS MEANS CHRISTMAS MUSIC TIME, EMIRY!!!!

where it hurts

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This morning as I opened the web browser at work I was assaulted by an article similar to this one about the conflict in Gaza. The headline reads: Death toll rises as Israeli military assaults Gaza Strip.

This is in no way a “news” or “political” blog, and to be perfectly honest, I can barely wrap my head around this conflict.

There are a few things I can wrap my head around, though.

1) I can wrap my head around the fact that Tweets like this are heartbreaking, and a family should never have to feel this way

2) I can wrap my head around the fact that it is fucked up that CNN had to post this article about children killed in this assault. Parents having to see their own children die. Nothing, nothing is worth that.

My heart goes out to the children and families in Gaza right now. To the reporters putting themselves in danger after Israel announced that they are cutting all telecommunication to and from Gaza. To people all over the world who have family that are caught in this mess.

Massacres happen this way. Genocide happens this way.

My basic understanding is that this conflict (as so many others) revolves around religion. I believe I will continue to struggle with reconciling this for the rest of my days on Earth, but how, how can you massacre and bomb civilians in the name of your deity? How can you take the lives of others in the name of organized religion? How does that follow any of the teachings of the religion that you practice?

I don’t know what reasons the people that are dropping bombs can produce, but I don’t know that I’d even be able to accept or empathize with them. Killing innocent people is never the answer.

My heart is heavy tonight looking over news stories and trying to figure out what it all means. I am sad that people, for whom this conflict means nothing, are caught in the cross-fire. I’m weary of the world in which we live. I am scared for the reporters and correspondants who are risking their lives because Israel cut off communication. I’m thankful that I, and my loved ones, are safe at this time, and I wish that for those in Gaza. I’m fearful that the death toll (which right now is 100 according to WP) will continue to rise. Finally, I am praying for a solution to come into affect as soon as possible.

Blessed Union of Souls told us in the nineties, but maybe we need a reminder: Love is the answer.

Egyptian protest in Cairo.

To me, this is a problem:

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, on Sunday threatened to expand the assault on Hamas-run Gaza as the Jewish state pressed ahead with a fifth day of strikes, killing six people including four children as truce efforts intensified. (here.)

This cannot continue. Let us continue to hope and pray for this conflict to end.

Love, B

I’m sorry that I never met you, and I’m sorry that we never touched.

When you’re broken, you forget there’s so much more. 

coco

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I’ve always been fascinated by Coco Chanel. My earliest memory of encountering the idea or brand “Chanel” was my through my mom, who, for a brief time, wore Chanel No. 5. Though I have clothes that I love to wear that are nothing like couture, I still have always loved flipping through the pages of fashion magazines, figuring out what people in high fashion are wearing, and essentially, learning how to dress myself over the years.

(I seem to be under the impression, however, that my career trajectory will lead me to wearing leotards/work out clothes all the time sooo…yeah.)

Tonight was Happy Dancer Slapsgiving. No one got slapped, but slapsgiving is so much fun to say! Thankful, thankful, thankful for all these wonderful people! After most of the other grads had sauntered off home, I was still full of energy and absolut. One of my peers stayed over to watch a movie after dinner and we ended up watching Coco Before Chanel. 

I love this film, which is probably why I own it. But I haven’t seen it in a long time, and whenever I watch a movie that I love with fresh eyes I fall in love all over again. Magic happens before my eyes. This movie was no different. (duh)

There is an incredible appeal to Coco Chanel — fashion designer, limit-pusher, entrepreneur, and over all bad ass woman from the late 19th century to the 1970s. For the love of Auden, she remained unmarried for the duration of her life!

She reminds us that a woman should be classy and fabulous, that we cannot beat at a wall expecting it to turn into a door, that being different can make you irreplaceable, and that fashion plays an important role in the sociopolitical issues of our time.

If you haven’t seen the film, I highly encourage it. And if not that, when you find yourself in times of trouble and insecurity about yourself, think of what Coco said:

I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.

Incredible woman. Right there. If you’re interested in seeing more of her work, the Met has an awesome online archive here.

Love, B

bewitched me

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Hi all,

Just a quick reminder that my survey monkey is still open! The amazing responses I’ve gotten so far are leading to generating lots of material — keep responding! Take the survey here. I’m genuinely looking for gut-responses, there’s no definition of lie, you don’t have to denote the people you lie to, I’m just curious what people aren’t completely truthful about.

Back to our regularly scheduled programing…

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” — Jane Austen

Jane Austen is one of my favourite writers. To this day I collect editions of Pride and Prejudice that I find in used book shops, and when I go to different cities or countries I look for copies that aren’t printed where I live. My favourites are the ones that have inscriptions in them. [cough cough christmas is less than forty days away]

In one of the (many) creative writing classes I have taken someone looked at me and said “Why would anyone want to take a Jane Austen class? She just wrote glorified, Regency era romance novels. There’s nothing special about them.” I, of course, took the Jane Austen Lit class offered at my undergrad, and while I vehemently disagreed beforehand, the class itself justified my extremely visceral response to an ignorant statement.

Jane Austen wrote female characters outside of the prescribed roles that they were meant to fill. No, none of her characters became politicians or took over the world, but the notion that a woman could refuse marriage, travel on her own, and even still find a husband after her reputation was tarnished was a radical idea.

I would venture as far as to say that today writing novels about gay women in politics is a similarly radical notion (though this is changing rapidly as we speak).

I took great offense to the dismissal of one of my favourite writers because not only does she have a beautiful narrative voice, but the subject matter itself matters to the history of women writers.

I don’t want to turn this into a research paper about the validity of Jane Austen scholarship (don’t worry, I’ve written that paper) but this was on my mind today, and seeing as I don’t want to start a final paper, here I am.

love, B

P.S. can emiry come over and watch der movie with me?!

look at that female character being little miss sassypants