Monday, 27 July 2015

2015 so far...

Wow-it's been a REALLY long time since I blogged. So many things have changed in my life and I'd like to take my time and write about each in turn...but not tonight. I thought instead I'd give you a quick run-down of my 2015 highlights so far! I will write more about each of them for sure-it's been some year so far and it's only July.

Well, the best thing in my life happened this year-I got married. It was truly the most amazing day. Forget fairytale perfection-this was disco dancing, body popping, food munching, laughing, crying, smiling so hard my face still hurts and absolutely everyone I love all in the one place. People keep asking if I'm sad it's over or if I'd love to do it all over again..the funny thing is that it was so freaking fantastic for the sole reason that it was a one off-so I always say no. Once is enough if you do it right-and we did.

This year has also seen me experience a lot of stress as my perfectionist tendencies have made me work my ass off to gain a place on the competitive Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I will write more about this process as it honestly sucked. It was so difficult and I came so close to having nothing-thank goodness I only had to go through it once....and no, I'm not being melodramatic.

This summer has been typically rainy and I have spent a lot of time on my own. It is just as well I love the rain and I have really enjoyed using a running training plan to get me outdoors and exercising, two of my favourite things. I do feel I need some more social contact though, as my job is quite isolating as well.

So, this is quite a chatty, casual post, but I thought it would be nice to make a start again at this blog and change the name to reflect the major change in my life-I no longer attend dance classes. That needs a whole post of its own too, but in short, I feel you should pick things up and let things go from your life as they give you pleasure or stop working for you. I have learned (often through exhaustion) that I can't do everything I want to do, and when an activity in my free-time stops adding something to my life (or worse, only takes from it), I now know I have to let it go. My time away from work is so precious to me and I've not been keeping so well this past few months, so I'm being certain to spend it taking care of myself, try different things and do things I enjoy.

Speak soon :)


Monday, 16 September 2013

London Trip May 2013: Viva Forever, Top Hat and A Chorus Line

My mum and I had our annual trip to London at the end of May this year and, as usual, we spent most of our time inside theatres watching musicals!

The first show we went to see was the much-discussed 'Viva Forever!'. A lazy script full of characters based on ones from television comedy shows, poorly constructed story-lines and deseprate attempts to make fun of popular culture. My point of view on these elements of the show agree with that of critics, however, what the critics have failed to appreciate is the cast, set, music, acting, singing and dancing. A Spice Girls fan at heart, this show was very enjoyable, included many of the Spice Girls' big hits and the singers and musicians made them sound show-stopping. The acting and dancing were energetic and exciting and the whole show was really good fun. We were dancing in the aisles, spicing up our lives girl power-style. Magic.

The second show we went to see was the Olivier award-winning 'Top Hat'. Stunning, traditional musical comedy poured from the stage from curtain up. The band were terrific and dancing energetic, characterised and typically 30s. The costumes and set were wonderful, and all of the elements of a fantastic musical theatre show fitted together perfectly. It had the 'feel good' factor and filled the gap within the theatre world at the moment where there are only a few old-style musicals with traditional charm and humour. I was so sad to hear that this show is to close as it was truly the best show I've seen in years.

Our final theatre-trip of the London holiday was to see 'A Chorus Line'. I had heard a lot about this show, including the fact that there was no interval! My mum was quite tired that night but managed through the one-act show due to it's engaging content, fantastic score and well-scripted characters. This show had thought-provoking content, taking each character as an individual including great songs, striking monologues and, at times, quite crazy dancing! The ending was so fitting to the role of a chorine and, although it was set in the 70s (or 80s?), so many of the stories are so relevant to people today. I was laughing, crying, stunned to silence and energised beyond belief all in the one show. I hope I get the chance to go and see this show again...really soon!

Bring on London 2014 Mum :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Scottish Ballet's Highland Fling- Matthew Bourne

My mum and I went to see Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling performed by the Scottish Ballet in the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. I am still very excited when Scottish Ballet do contemporary ballets as I think it has really brought the company on in the past few years and attracted more people back to the theatre which is great!

Highland Fling was a lovely "wee ballet" with a plot to rival an episode of Jeremy Kyle, set in the east end of Glasgow. Beautifully danced, particularly by the lead male on the night we went, Owen Thorne, who seemed completely natural as the part of James. When dancing with The Sylph (Bethany Kingsley-Garner), they drew me into their weird, sometimes grotty world and transformed the classical ballet expected from this company into Bourne's vision of La Sylphide, Scottish style.

At times it was gory, inelegant, truthful, dirty and rough...but wow it was striking. Go see it if you have the chance. A great job done by Scottish Ballet, bring on the next one!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Ruth Mills Dance Spring Intensive

This wasn't my first experience of dancing with Ruth, but it was my first time at one of her intensives...and my girls weren't telling me was everything I needed and more!

The technique classes were exhilarating  exhausting, inspiring, energising, demon-butt-building, side-stretching hours of bliss. Starting with Mills' own technique and then moving onto release gave a great start to each day, my body soon remembered where those muscles were that I only use when I dance.

The afternoons were themed on duets and partnering, and this is where I felt out of my depth. I have danced my whole life, but apart from rock n roll, I have always been alone. Working with someone else, with my eyes closed, feeling them move with and against me was a strange but amazing experience. At times it really didn't feel like we were dancing at all, I worried that I was moving awkwardly and nothing felt like it flowed. I believe that the satisfaction of contact will come with time, I just need to relax into it and respond creatively as I feel.

At the end of the intensive, Ruth gave a lecture on some things that have been interesting her, one being the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. My two worlds felt like they were colliding...finally someone who was living in dance was also saying they were fascinated by maths and physics. I get fed up defending myself to people who don't understand how you can be creative and scientific all in the one brain. So now I won't...if they don't find both intriguing and don't want to believe that they are interconnected then it is their loss.

The dance/science lecture set me up for the sharing which followed. Having missed the final morning, I didn't have a lot to share, but everything I had learned technically and mentally during the intensive allowed me to enjoy every second. I felt connected to the material myself and my partner had created and I felt confident that if one of us forgot what came next that we had each other to explore and figure out where to go next. I have never had that feeling before, in any previous sharing or performance.

The final icing on the cake was that a friend actually came to see the performance. None of the friends I have known for years seem interested in dance, so when my lovely artist friend Sarah said she would love to come I was so so excited. Having her there was amazing, and I learned about how she can work as an artist while I danced, using gesture drawing as her focus. The drawings were nothing like anything I've seen before. They were dynamic and intricate and I felt like they radiated the energy we gave when dancing.

This intensive opened my eyes to a new way of moving, thinking and feeling. I can't wait for more.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Class with Errol White

This morning and yesterday morning I attended class with Errol White. Both involved 2 hours of technique, with a solid focus on alignment, clarity of movement, space and moving with the music. The technique was somewhat based in Cunningham with a Graham-esque feel too (my spine hurts... A LOT!). It was so lovely to focus on technique and moving each part of my body both in isolation and as one. Never have I ever concentrated so hard on knitting my rib cage to my abdominal muscles and dropping my pelvis. I feel that I danced with more power than I thought I was capable of, and developed trust in my body that I could relax and throw myself into the space whilst being safe and held by my centre.

Sadly, I can't make it tomorrow morning, so thank you very very much to Errol White, you have really inspired me to work hard at my core strength, now that I really see how it feels when everything is engaged. Tortured fun......

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Barrowlands Project- 8th September 2012

I went to see Michael Clark's Barrowlands Project as I knew I few people in the community cast and I'd heard wonderful things about the choreography.

I wasn't disappointed. The performance was stunning, shocking, technically brilliant and visually spectacular. The community cast were a highlight for me, I'm not sure if it was because I knew people in it or not, though I do love mass choreography. Just seeing everyone moving together, crossing patterns, making geometric shapes and coming on and off the ballroom floor with speed and accuracy was really really exciting! The Barrowland ballroom made for an atmospheric back drop, perfect for Michael Clark's work as it has a sort of dark, slightly dingy-vintage appeal.

The music really suited the choreography, and the company made use of the space, creating depth and height to otherwise simple but effective movements. Female dancer Kate was a favourite of mine, her feminine strength and height (ok, I'm bias as a fellow tall person) were mesmerising, and she performed with such ferocity and control. All of the company had amazing strength, particularly core strength which was obvious from Michael's use of floor work and suspension. The hanged man had me holding my breath while the community section had me out of breath, trying to keep a track of what was coming next.

Wonderful setting, wonderful choreography, wonderful dancers....just wonderful!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Casus' "Knee Deep"- Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Casus are an Australian circus company, specialising in work containing acrobalance, aerial, dance and physical theatre. I had been recommended their Fringe show "Knee Deep"by my Dad who had read a 5* review a few weeks previous.

The venue was the Spiegeltent Teatro in Assembly George Square. A combination between a big top and a cabaret club, it had a great atmosphere for this intimate show. The venue was packed and although Casus were nearing the end of a sold out run, they seemd anything but tired.

I was overwhelmed by the delicate strenght of the sole female performer (Emma Serjeant), who stood out as a strong technical artist. I was excited to see such a powerful female presence in Casus' work as it contrasted with the over-use of females in circus as the elegant, vulnerable assistant, spending her time on the top of balances or being passed between male performers. The male cast members were equally as powerful (and elegant!) making Casus' performance refreshingly genderless, showing each performer for their individual strengths without stereotyping or making the obvious choices according to gender or looks.

"Knee Deep" lasted an hour, but not one second was wasted, with the highlights for me including the head balance on the static trapeze and delicate work on top of eggs. The range of skills mastered by these 4 performers seemed unlimited, and it is definitely one of the most captivating performances I have seen. I will definitely buy a ticket for a Casus show again if they return to Scotland in the future.