Posts Tagged ‘Zohar Dance Company’

THe Hobbit 01

On Thursday,  I finally watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

It was so breathtaking! I loved the breadth of locations and the transitions from scene to scene.  While the character development was brief but adequate, I am hoping that the sequels will have more  info on the backstory of each of the charming characters.

I really wanted more of Radagan the Brown and his rabbit sleigh.  I WANT A RABBIT SLEIGH!!!! AND A HEDGEHOG!!!

I think the storytelling was well paced and the dialogue snappy.  The only complaint I have is the three trolls that stole the four horses.  I thought it went  a little too three stooges. And I know that this is a special effects heavy movie but I wish that it wasn’t so obviously digital at times.  Regardless of those little gripes, I really enjoyed watching this movie. It actually got me to think about the unexpected journey that I have taken this year. But first I have to give The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

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Four big ol’ smiling faces! Hooray!!

As I mentioned, the movie made me want to do two things.  First, it made me want to take an unexpected journey of my own.  It made me want to travel to somewhere, anywhere and see new things and meet new people.  I think that may be why I love to try new things.  I began thinking “shoot, I have almost a week off maybe I should try to take a trip somewhere.”  Then the reality that my car may not make it kicks in and squelches that idea.

The second thing that it made me think about was the journey that I’ve taken this year and where it has led me to thus far…

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At the beginning of the year, I got to be the MC for NotBlueAtAll.com‘s A Fatty Affair.  It was a blast.  I loved being a part of something that is encouraging and positive.  I loved it so much that I am gonna do it again come January! And you are all invited!  Its a self accepting event where there are no judgements, just each of us enjoying the beauty that is you as you are and empowering you to believe it.

Then,  feeling great from the Fatty Affair gig, I thought I would try my luck with an audition for San Jose Stage Company.  It was one of the few auditions that I really felt pretty good about an audition.  I believe I may be getting the hang of this.  YAY!!  I didn’t get in and I wasn’t expecting to since many of the people they use are Equity.

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Next, I was really focused on more dancing and I loved it.  I got to perform a piece choreographed by one my teachers, Daynee, in various incarnations.  At one point, I thought it was going to be  a solo since it started out as a quartet then went down to a trio with different people.  Then, we were asked to try it as a duet, but then we couldn’t nail down a rehearsal time, so it was nixed.  It was great to perform it during National Dance week in Santana Row and at Western Ballet’s dance show as well as Zohar’s own dance performance.

It was there that I met Walter Mayes for the first time.  Actually let me reword that.  I knew who he was and I’ve seen him before, and he kinda scared me.  You see, the first time that I was actually in the same room as him, he was physically throwing this little guy out of a house.  Imagine seeing this 7 foot man (if not that then very nearly) picking up this little 5 and a half foot guy and carrying him to the door.  He had this booming voice, and I thought to myself, “I am just gonna stand over here and stay out of his way.”  So when he came up to me after the dance concert, I didn’t know what to do.  He asked me to audition for Promises, Promises in the middle of the year.  I told him that I didn’t think I was going to and I gave him my reasons, but he insisted that I audition anyway.  Eventually I caved.  It would be a good learning experience to work with a new director.  Auditions came, I flubbed it and I secretly was hoping to be done with it.  But somehow, Walter offered me another shot during callbacks and I landed the role of Mr. Kirkeby.  So I had to wait until the end of the year to begin rehearsals (which are going on now).

While I was waiting for rehearsals to begin, I began to feel a little braver thanks to the conversation with Mr. Mayes.  So I auditioned for a brand spanking new musical about the buddha, but this time it was a woman.  I travelled to San Francisco and was there for a hot minute, and came back home with an appointment the next week for audition #2!  That was exciting.  Sadly, that was as far as I got in the process.  Not to worry, I didn’t fit any of the physical character breakdowns so I knew that it was ending soon.  But that little try helped me to see that auditioning wouldn’t kill me or maim me in any way, so my intense fears were completely pointless.

Feeling bolder, I auditioned for the national tour of Green Day’s American Idiot.  It was just like any other audition.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and I think I was building it up way too much in my head. I didn’t screw it up, but I don’t think I was flawless either.  hahahahaha.  Live and learn, right? Again, I was a face your fear situation and I walked away the winner of that battle.  Then the audition well, dried up for a month or two.  So I was twiddling about with nothing but my 9-5 to keep me busy.

One day in my inbox, I got a notice for Santa Clara Players, a company I have never worked with. I considered auditioning, but I never heard of the show, nor did I like the title of it.  So I trashed it and paid it no mind. Things continued like normal until the day of auditions.  I did all my usual errands and went to visit my family.  Then on the way home, I was literally on my street, I decided to give it a shot.  I first got lost trying to find this place but once I did I couldn’t turn back.  So I walked in completely cold and performed a monologue I’ve had in my back pocket since high school but stopped using.  It got me my first leading man gig!  Of course he was like the 4th important character, but finally I had this type of role.  I cannot tell you how much of a booster that was.

During the middle of the rehearsals, I got an email from a friend to participate in a read though of his scripts so he can tweak and adjust them and address any questions that could possibly come up.  I have a draft of the post that was supposed to go up, but I didn’t finish it.  I will work on that tonight!  That was the first time I’ve ever been invited to give input on a script that’s just been written. I mean I’ve done it for AMT when I worked there, but that was because I didn’t have anything else to do.  Someone asked me, as an actor, to do this, so I was shocked.

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So as I am performing in Nana’s Naughty Knickers, rehearsals begin for Promises, Promises.  I didn’t know what to expect when I got there so I kind of kept quiet and watched the people for the first week.  Now having gotten to know many of them, I have to say, they are a fabulous bunch of people. Some I’ve worked with before, and some I am meeting for the first time.  But all are so helpful and friendly. Then to make the process even more painless, the staff is awesome.   Mr. Mayes is such a positive and detail oriented director that it makes you want to work that much harder for him. Lee Ann Payne our choreographer has made some adorable numbers, hard as all get out, but adorable.  Dan and Anita who handle the music and vocals respectively are so helpful.  This staff has been described as the “dream team” and I have to admit they may be right.  I am having a lot of fun so far and I can’t wait til this show gets put on it’s feet at the end of January.  You can purchase tickets HERE!  So get’em cuz we may just sell out! Screw that, we WILL sell out!

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Then a few weeks ago, there were auditions for Sugar.  I knew the movie Some Like It Hot which the show is based off of.  I really wanted to participate in this show and I wanted to keep this momentum of getting to auditions and not freaking out, so I gave it a shot.  Since I couldn’t possibly rehearse for two shows at the same time, I thought my chances were slim to none. I thought my song was good, the tempo was slower than I would have liked. The reading went fabulously, I felt, especially since they were laughing a lot.  So I got a call back for the two leads and a character that tap dances to his death.  The callback felt a bit rough, but I tried a ton of stuff even if it didn’t make sense, I wanted to push and not play it safe.  We must’ve read about 6 times a piece with different partners then switching the roles. Every single time, I tried new stuff.  I tried not to repeat what the other guys were doing, and I had to hope that it worked.  Then I was told that since I was going to be missing the first three weeks of rehearsal, the director really had to think hard about the ramifications of offering me one of these main roles.

AND I GOT IT!!!!

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So come the new year, I will be rehearsing two shows at the same time!! Gah!! I already began working on Sugar and the script is so funny and I feel so blessed and grateful that the director trusts me enough to do this.  But to be safe I have an understudy, Ian Douglas, who is a great performer.  Talk about pressure!!

So I look forward to seeing where this newly found “bravery” takes me.  Its time to plan for next year. And I am planning bigger and hopefully better!!

Onward and upward, my friends!!  I hope that you too take a look back on your 2012 and see the unexpected journey you have taken.  Have things turned out as you hoped?  Have you learned something new about yourself? Leave a message below.

After 16 years at the Cubberley Community Center, Zohar needs a few repairs. Please help make the studio safer, cleaner, and more dancer-friendly for all!

I think I’ve mentioned many times that I am a student at Zohar School of Dance.  I’ve been there for nearly a year now and I cannot tell you how much I enjoy it.

Since I’ve been attending classes here, I’ve heard about this lengthy ongoing process that’s kept the companies renting space at the Cubberley Community Center unsure if they would continue to have a “home.”  A few times we, the students, have been asked to come to hearings to support the studio maintaining its place.  As I understand it, it was announced a few weeks ago that Zohar will keep its space for at least another 3-5 years!  That’s definitely a cause for celebration.

While all this is fantastic news, the decision has been made that the facility could use some repairs.  As I am sure you all know, funds for non-profit companies have been tougher and tougher to come by.  And Artistic non-profits take the hardest hit of all.  So I have decided to turn to you, my dear, dear friends of Dance and fellow Dancers to ask for your help.

On Labor Day weekend, Zohar would love to kick off its “Facility Facelift” campaign.  There are a few ways to help.

1.  Time – If you happen to be free on either Saturday or Sunday, September 1st or 2nd, we would love to have some extra hands on deck to help with a number of tasks.  It could be anything from framing pictures to clearing chairs to assembling furniture or helping to repair our dance floor.  The fun begins at 1:00 pm on Saturday.  If you are handy with power tools and have some, we would REALLY love to have you come out and help.

2.  Wish List  – In the studios there is a message board that has our instructors on it.  Under their pictures, there is a “wish list” of items that each teach would love to have at the studio.  It ranges from things like CD racks or fans for cooling down the studio.  Simply pull off the tab of the item you would like to “purchase” for the studio (by donating that dollar amount)  place your name and contact information on it and place it in the little black and white box on the check-in window’s counter.  If you’d like to come into the studios to check out the board you can find directions here:  zohardancecompany.org/directions Maybe you can squeeze in a class while you are here!

3. Individual Donation –  Zohar accepts donations 24-7 via their website zohardancecompany.org/donors.  If you can’t help out with your time or by buying a wish list item, any amount that you can donate will go toward the improvements and will be GREATLY appreciated.

4. Sharing – We know that there must be people out there that are able and maybe if you simply share this page with your friends and families, maybe we can reach enough people that are willing to help.  Zohar offers a number of community programs that are focused on youth and people who may not have the chance to be exposed to dance.  The earned income of the dance studio mainly pays for those programs and leaves just a very very small portion to help with this project.  If  you would like to learn more about the outreach programs Zohar offers you can find that here: zohardancecompany.org/outreach

A number of us students are happily rolling up our sleeves to help with this project but it would be such a quick project if we had the help of the community.

Please consider donating or sharing to help us make these improvements.  You will be celebrated as a staunch supporter of Dance by the faculty, students, and Board of Directors on the message boards!  Not only that, your donations are tax deductible!

I truly thank you for your time and leave you with these last few words:

“The next time you look into the mirror,

just look at the way the ears rest next to the head;

look at the way the hairline grows;

think of all the little bones in your wrist.

It is a miracle. And the dance is a 

celebration of that miracle.”

– Martha Graham

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”Dancing is a very living art.

It is essentially of the moment, although a very old art.

A dancer’s art is lived while he is dancing.

Nothing is left of his art except the pictures and the memories

-when his dancing days are over.”

– Martha Graham

 

 

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.

 

This afternoon after leaving Yamagami’s Nursery, I hopped in the car and set out for the theatre and this afternoon’s matinee.  But as I was heading southbound on Hwy 85, I began to feel sluggish and a case of the “boy am I tired’s” hit me like a ton of bricks.  My body was sore from the Zohar rehearsal for the winter showcase and from the week off of the show, and from my gym workout after a 3 week break on Saturday.

But sure enough, as I get into place for the opening of the show, the lovely Roberta gives me a pep talk and I am raring to go.  And go we did.  Weeeellllllll, until after my first exit. Hahahaha.  When I come back on stage with Finch, we totally forgot what it was that I was supposed to say. Actually let me rephrase that.  I knew the line, but it always trips me up because the way that it’s written.  It’s written as “My secretary will take care of the forms and getting your particulars.”  For me, I feel like saying “My secretary will take care of getting the forms and your particulars.”  It’s that one little word: getting.  And what came out of my mouth was “My secretary will uuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..getting your particulars and filling out the forms.”  I swear that “uh” felt like the longest moment in the world!

Then I began to joke and say that I would make it a character choice and go on the rest of the show and use that randomly throughout.  Like, “Well, uuuuuuuhhhhhhhh, this is something.”  Or better yet, as I am singing: “A secretary is not uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh a toy.”

Just be sure that the “uh” sound like and old dry wooden door opening.  Had to make sure you had that imagery in there for ya.

Other than that, the only other thing that I can knit pick is that I was early during that same dance break that I rolled my ankle on last night.

The audience was small but mighty!  People came out in to the lobby in such high spirits it was wonderful to see and the hear how much they enjoyed themselves.  I am so happy, but with that in mind, we have to get the word out about this show to have our last two performances sold out.  So if you would be so kind and please write a review of the show on Artsopolis, I can’t tell you how much all of us in the H2$ family would appreciate it.  After today’s performance, I got to meet a number of wonderful people who did happen to enjoy themselves so a special shout out to Bijou and Bo.  A lovely young duo how were very knowledgeable about theatre and all the little things that we accomplished that some people may have missed.

If you haven’t been able to make it out to the show, I would personally like to invite you to come out and watch the show.  Also, let me know if you are coming so I can be sure to look for you after and thank you personally.   I hope to see you there on Friday on better yet, closing night!

On September 24th, from 8am-2pm, there will be a fitness wear sale over at the Zohar Dance Studios.  I have been in need of some more dance wear. I don’t know how many of you are in the same boat, or if you just happen to enjoy getting new stuff to add to your collection, but when Daynee made the announcement I must’ve looked like a meerkat.

I hear that the selection is really good, and the seller doesn’t only have dance attire.  They also sell some stuff to wear at the gym.  Stop by and pick up some great gear at discounted prices.    I know we all like a good deal, so the first place that I usually think of to shop is an online discount dancewear shop like Dancewear Solutions, Discount Dance Supply, or Dance Outlet.

The drawback of shopping online like this is that sometimes, I personally can never tell if I am going to like the feel of the fabric or if there’ll be enough stretch to something.  Then, what happens if it is all wrong?  Shipping something back is a beast in itself.  I’ve even had to pay to ship something back a few years ago.  Nowadays, the return shipping is a little easier, but it’s still a pain in the glutes if you have to exchange.  So, why not skip some of the hassle and stop by the Zohar Dance Studios this weekend?  You can touch and feel, maybe try on, I don’t know about that part for certain, but why should that deter you from coming on down.  Not only will your purchase save you some green, but the company that is selling the merchandise will donate a portion of its proceeds to Zohar!

And while you are there, why not join the modern class that begins at 9:30.  I think Lisa’s class is terrific.  When I can make it, I usually try to attend the Thursday morning class.  I can’t think of a better way to start my day off.

So come on out this Saturday from 8-2 and score some new gear. The studios are located at Cubberley Community Center at 4000 Middlefield Road next to the Charleston Shopping Center, between East Charleston and San Antonio Road.  Click here for some better directions.

 

Hope to see you there!!!

Please forward this to anyone you think may want to attend.  Thanks a million!!!