Hooray for dancin!

This past weekend was filled with lots of dancing and it was ah-MAZ-ing!  I got to play around in some classes.  Then Zohar School of Dance held a free dance concert for the community to not only encourage and promote dance but to celebrate the love of the Art.  There were students from the elementary schools that Zohar works with that were featured as well as a few routines from some of the students of the school.  

Not only was there the dance concert at Zohar, we were invited to Western Ballet to perform a few numbers for their concert too!  Not bad for a Saturday.  It was so much fun to be surrounded by dancers.  To see them stretching and performing a variety of genres, was like sort of stepping into the life that I dream of once upon a time.  

Then on Sunday, for the sjDANCEco event in Santana Row, we got to shake a leg up on that stage too!  While it wasn’t my favorite performance of the weekend, it was still fun to be in the mix with ballerinas and ballroom dancers and to sidestep behind  a couple of belly dancers before heading back to work.  It’s like what I wish the world were like.  So many different acts, but all with one common goal: to share the love of dance.  Of course were this to apply to reality, it would be to share the love of humanity.  But that’s a whole other tangent.  

I have always been a big believer of constantly keeping up with classes for your craft.  If you can’t take a class, read books, watch performances, or research it on the web.  But do something!  Also, I am the first person to say that I am not a dancer.  I can move and do it well, but I always feel like I lack the technique required to be a great dancer or to be called a dancer.  So I have been working with Daynee Lai-Krauss and Ehud Krauss the founders of Zohar to be the best dancer that I can be. I love that the classes are always fun but challenging.  And the other students are so laid back and mellow and fun!  

Now, while I’ve been known to shy away from religion, I can’t think of a better word to call Daynee and Ehud, but angels.  In the few months that I have been working with them, I have not only found a great studio that I am comfortable in, but they are a constant source of knowledge and support.  And it’s not just them.  All the teachers that I’ve taken classes from have been to great.  I feel like I could be a dancer one day.  Maybe sooner than I expected.  :-)!  With my mindset that I want to be good at everything, I still get frustrated when I don’t understand something very quickly, like a combination that quickly switches direction.  But the important thing, as I was telling one of the new people in the class, is that with every thing that you really love to do, especially if it’s a challenge, is to keep on trying.  Sometimes, when I get frustrated, I leave it alone and come back to it.  That’s all fine and good if it’s knitting or a paper you have to write.  But in a dance class, you have not only your teacher, but fellow students who will be happy to break down the steps for you.  Your job is to be calm and open enough to accept the help and guidance.  I used to have a problem with that, but it’s not as bad now.

Tonight’s class was especially needed after a trying day at the nursery.  The combinations across the floor were a little trickier that usual, but it was the most amazing release of tension and stress once I got into the zone.  So the moral of the story, kids, is once you find your passion, whatever it may be, make an effort to constantly stay in touch with it. It will be a great source of happiness when the rest of the world is making you weary. 

P.S. Zohar is being honored with the Unity in Diversity Award because of their IndepenDANCE programs.  The party is being held at 70 W. Hedding St. in San Jose from 10-2:30 on May 1.  Congrats to Zohar and Daynee and Ehud!  It’s a well deserved award.


Am I being too picky?

I seem to have a reputation…

I don’t mean it in a bad way.  At least it isn’t a bad one at the moment.  However, if this trend keeps up it may be a curse…

I am a huge Arts cheerleader!  I always want people’s creative endeavors to succeed.  That includes companies as well.  It’s always hard when you walk away disappointed from a production that didn’t have what you were hoping it would.  Being the cheerleader that I am, I used to always be eager to help out when needed.  I would work it out so that I can be of some assistance to someone somewhere.

For the second time this year, I have already been offered a featured bit in a show that I didn’t audition for. Both offers were for song and dance roles.  The first, I couldn’t take because it would interfere too much with my 9-5.  And since they have always been to incredible to me, I figured sacrificing a few months to commit to the nursery  was the least that I could do.

So when something like this happens, the offers, that is, I look at a couple of things.  I like to see what it is that I am getting myself into.  I mean, a few years ago, I would have said, sure no problem and pitched in.  Now, I am trying to put together a quality body of work and I want to break outside of the casting mold that I seem to fit so snugly into.  Part of that requires that I think more carefully about what I commit to.

First, I look at the show.   Is it something that I know?  If not, I read about it and try and find the soundtrack, if it’s a musical, and/or script.  I see if I like it.  Is it something that I can see myself not getting bored with?  Will by the third week I begin to feel like “Oh gawd, I don’t wanna go to rehearsal.” ?   If so, then that puts an end to the search for my answer. However, if I am excited about the role/script, then I proceed to the next level.

Second, I look at the creative staff.  The Director, Choreographer, Music/Vocal Director(s), Stage Manager, and the Producer.  Have I worked with each one before?  If so, what was my experience like?  If not, am I familiar with their works?  What was my gut reaction to their works?  Instinct it the best decision maker when you are ever in a jam.  My problem is that I am such a cheerleader that I will overlook my gut reaction and pay the price later.  But I am not here to be negative.  So let’s move on…   Whilst I have been so terrible about keeping everything written down, like I promised that I would, I do keep my ears open about who’s doing what and what others thought.  It’s important to learn not only from my own mistakes, but also others, if I can.  If I have a gut feeling about any of the above, I step away from the project.  If I am happy with the people, I check out one more thing…

I lastly look at the company.  What’s their reputation like?  Do they have quality productions?  Do I have  a history with them?  If so, what’s that like?  If not, what’s the word on how they treat their actors?  There’s nothing worse that joining a company only to find that the work you put into the production, on your own time, is not appreciated, or worse, completely ignored.  Thus making the production less about a collaboration and more about “do what you’re told” vibe.  That’s the crappiest way to experience a theatre.

As I said before, I sadly declined the first offer because I wanted to focus on the nursery.  This second offer was different.  I looked at my list above, checked my gut feelings, and I have to decline once again.  I feel just awful about doing so, but if I am not going to be at my best, I would be a hinderance to their production.  That serves neither the show nor myself.

The hard part is actually telling the people that you are going to pass on their production.  Especially if you like the company.   This is where my fear comes in.  Because I’ve now turned down a second offer, will I begin  to get a different reputation?  I’ve never been one to act like a snob or ego-centric because I feel like that puts an actor at an arm’s distance from the audience when an actor should want to connect wholeheartedly with them.  Will people now think of me as “acting as though I am better than…”?

Here’s to hoping that I haven’t burned any bridges.

My father’s son…

My trip to the ER

I don’t know how to “rest.”

Actually, I’ll be honest.  I don’t like to do it.  I know that it’s important to healing and your overall well being.  Sometimes, though I feel like it’s a type of laziness.  I like to say, “I’ll sleep when I am dead” or sing♬I’ve got a lot of living to doooo…♫  I feel like life is all about experiencing things and creating things, even if you don’t share them.  It’s those things that make you a better person than when you woke up that day.  Spreading love and joy is just all part of the fun.  I don’t want to be the person that says, I wanna do everything, but I’m too tired to do anything.  SOOOO ♬I take a deep breath and I stick out my chest and I’m off the the races again.♫  I’m a strong willed person and I (this is going to sound terrible) feel like the way my parent disciplined me built up my tolerance for pain/uncomfortability ( I know it’s not a real word, but it’s out there now!)  So what’s some minor thing like “tired” compared to seeing something new?  I’ll take the new any day!

I’ve written about my father in the past, first in an attempt to purge and now to compare this nearly absent parental influence that clings to me.  My dad currently stands under 4 feet tall and weights about 130 pounds.  He used to be just slightly shorter than me (5’6″) and have a stockier build from being a mover.  I can remember a day, when I was around 14, that one of his friends joked that my dad was now the shortest person in the room because I was taller than him.  With a laugh, he gives me a small shove.   I have done that shove to so many people that I carry in my heart.  So if you get one, it’s all about love.

I feel like I am watching him waste away.  My mother is already making “preparations” just in case.  The thing about my dad is that this whole mess would have been avoided if he had just heeded what the doctor said.  “After your physical therapy, rest up and don’t strain yourself.”  Pretty simple stuff.  He had something happen to his back that has just created this snowball effect of rapidly declining health.  And like I said, if he would have just rested like he was supposed to, all would be not as bad.

Now, as I was shuffling about in my house while I was feeling like I just wanted to die from this infection or virus, I realized that I was making the same noises that my dad was making on my last visit with him.  I always knew it was going to happen one day!  😉   Finally I was forced to rest.  My body shut down so bad that even the saliva that I was generating didn’t want to stay in my body.  I went to the ER and I even heaved up the saline that they put in my via IV.  I think all my muscles have tensed up a billion times in the last 8 days.  My kidneys were/are sore.  Even now my shoulders and arms feel slightly numb, as though they are just completing the “pins and needles” stage of being asleep.  My skin feels like an alligator and my face is peeling like I’ve got a sunburn.  When I could sleep, it wasn’t for very long.  I think my max was 3 hours.  I would go from being in bed to lying on the chaise in the living room or right on the floor near the TV.  And always so cold.

Now, I have used the excuse, “I’m tired so I think I’ll just stay home.”  It’s not really the case.  I may have had an anxiety attack but  I am never really tired.  Out of breath, maybe, but never tired and if you hear me say that, I give you permission to slap me in the mush.     But this offer is not backdated.  Hahaha!

So bummed because I had a review for San Jose Rep’s God of Carnage scheduled for the podcast, and tomorrow is the last day to see it (Do see it!!  It’s hilarious!!) .  But as you can see I’ve been put behind schedule.  Booo!!  Stupid virus.  I hate you!

Thank you to all the wonderful people for the well wishes on Facebook and Twitter.  If you think I am going to rest now, well…let’s just say I won’t not consider it.

I wish you all amazing health!!!