Step 29: Docu-series: LetEverythingGO

Hello – friends, family and avid readers,

I have decided to backpack/bike from Chicago, IL to California this summer in celebration for my first contract.  *Note: as of today 2/27/2014, I do not have a dance contract, but hoping this will change in the near future!*  Basically, just within the last year, my life has been shifting constantly with new challenges and surprises.  I’ve seen my share of good and bad this last year, but I still feel like I’m missing something. LIFE. My goal is to take this trip back home – not only celebrating my hopeful contract (I really hope I get one, haha) – but also to get back at my roots. I am from California and its a sight I want to see with my own “real” eyes before I start the rest of my life.

I’m basically thinking that I’m going to let it all go, or at least put my life on pause, to take this journey. I will be trekking it through the US in hopes of finding dance and dancers along the way. I plan to find as many dance studios/schools and dancers with stories on my way home. I know, I know.. I’m crazy. If I don’t take initiative, I’ll never do it! So… I’m gonna do it! :-)

Mission:

*Bike/backpack from Chicago, IL to California (approximately 2.5k miles)

*Discover and uncover all dance along the way

*Find out who I really am..?

Challenges:

*Money – I will begin fundraising (like I did for my intensive last summer): if you wanna contribute email me! I am in need of a bike, money and proper clothing and equipment. :-P

*Housing – Choosing NOT to hotel. I’ll either do WarmShowers, CouchSurfing (like last summer) or camp. Contact me if you can aid in the housing along my journey!

*Food – I’ll buy it; pack it; maybe find generous people along the way! Contact me if you wanna grab a bite with me along my journey!

*Dance Classes – Ask/Trade   studio/school/teacher for classes. Contact me if you wanna host me at your school/studio or boogie with me along my way!

*Transportation – Bike, walk, run, hike.

*Electronics  – Oh well. Starbucks for charging? haha

*Luggage – Travel light.

*Company I AM looking to see if one or two people would like to join me. Although this is HIGHLY unprobable. Email if interested!

Craigslist, CouchSurfing and WarmShowers:

*Housing

*Food

*Generosity

Duartion:

*AT LEAST 1 month or more. Starting either in May, June or July.

Collaborations:

*I have been in contact with some videographers who will help me document the series.

*I’m hoping to collaborate with dancers, videographers, artists and people along the way to produce something beautiful.

Outcome:

*To show a different side of many states across the US.

*To show dance across the US.

*To show the beauty of the world and humanity.

*To produce at least 1 docu-series episode  per day of my travels! Featuring either the dance studio/school, improvisation, or even yoga/pilates.

*To find myself. :-D

Path:

*Which path/states would YOU like me to pass through!?!? Let me know!

Stay tuned on more on this endeavor! Please share this will all your friends and everyone you know! Lets celebrate dance, life and love of it all.

Ruben

Week 18&19: Stronger in Marriage

So, last week I was only able to do ballet class and Pilates. I had the Hubbard Street 2 workshop where we took ballet from terry, improvisation, and the HS2 dancers taught us small portions of two rep pieces. It was such an amazing day! Then we got to ask them about their experiences and such, which was very insightful.

The next day, Sunday, I was able to audition for Oklahoma City ballet, which was very scary since it was my first ballet audition and for a company! I noticed how tense and scared everyone else was, which helped me relax a lot – maybe way too much. :-) either way I had fun, but was eventually cut (much further along than I had thought!).

This past week has been great! Unfortunately, because my body felt a bit off I didn’t attend class on Monday; which was good because there was a snowstorm, practically! But for the remainder of the week, I took ballet, Pilates and contemporary. Thursday there was smoke at school so we had to evacuate the building. Contemporary was cancelled. But things are fine now, it was just a transformer.

This weekend has been quite special to me. I had the opportunity to come out to the suburbs to perform with Becky Mikos, a superb dancer and friend. I was so excited but I had heard horror stories about the suburbs. What I found was unexpected… I loved it. I felt so much stress melt away being here; in fact, it reminded me of home. Here are some pictures!!!!

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Two of those pictures were of willow creek, a contemporary styled Christian church where we performed for the Stronger series, our focus this weekend was: stronger in marriage. Tech and run-throughout went well. Performing three times: Saturday evening, as well as Sunday morning and late morning (9&10:45a)! It was such a beautiful cause, and we got much praise for it. A lot of couples crying, and coming up to us letting us know how we impacted them. It felt GOOD!!!

I’m not religious, but the great thing about willow creek is that it’s all inclusive! They don’t make you feel left out, and don’t judge. The sermons are more up to date and practical, by using passages of the bible and relating them to real life. The building is ginormous and beautiful. The stage was impressive. I was so lucky to have this experience.

Becky and I listened to the service after we performed the last time. I’m not religious.. At all.. But it was a powerful message. And I needed to blog this, to my ex:

Hearing the service, stronger in marriage, I feel that I never explained myself to you. Nor you to me. It puts me through so much pain to know we didn’t work out. Now that I’ve been in Chicago long enough, it has given me time to reflect on my life, especially those last few months when we shared a home with each other. Those were the best days I’ve had. I miss them, I miss you. I never stopped loving you and I still feel the same. But, I couldn’t ever go back because we weren’t fixable. I’m so sorry for everything. I was hurt by you when you lied and cheated. What you did, might not be considered cheating to you, but having a second life of intimacy of any sort with everyone but the person next to you in bed is cheating in my eyes.

I know I said I forgave you for everything but I never did. I probably should have. I was in so much pain, and all that time we were divided. We never ONCE came together and forgave each other. I put you through hell, taking away your liberties to appease myself, and that wasn’t right. I wish I would have acted differently, I wish I could have given you everything you wanted. Maybe I didn’t love you enough, or show you enough. Like said in church “you should ask those scary questions. And hear those scary answers.” I always asked those scary questions, but I was too afraid to LISTEN to your scary answers. I wish we would have communicated better. I wish we could have those moments back on the couch, eating biscuits, pizza, watching adventure time, and keeping Claudia (cat) away from the food. I wish you didn’t have to “work” on my graduation so you could’ve met my family. I wish we would have both been honest with ourselves and each other. I wish you could have talked to people through any means as though I was there; to avoid temptation. I wish we could have had decades and durability. I loved waking next to you each morning, and sleeping next to you each night. I loved hugging you tightly, even though you always complained about it being too hot. I loved waking you up dead into the night because we’d seen a scary movie and I thought there were aliens on our roof. I loved our runs followed by ice cream. I loved watching you dance. I loved being with you.

I see that we both had our own lives, as dancers. I chose to come to chicago and pursue dance – I gave everything I had up, even you, to be here. You did the same everyday I lived with you. I wish we would’ve known our time was limited. I wish I, or you, wouldn’t have gone for walks after arguments; we should’ve stayed and discussed it. I wish you would have moved with me. I wish I could’ve been there for you in your bad times, instead of holding what you did over your head. As much as we fought, you would’ve thought we put more emphasis on US. We didn’t take time for us. We didn’t forgive. We didn’t ask, listen or answer those scary questions truthfully.
Honestly, we didn’t try.

I think about you all the time now. I have nigtmares. I even have some suppressed memories – of us being happy – that come up more and more nowadays. It’s hard going through this. And knowing what I don’t have, and won’t ever have again, with you.

I’m sorry it didn’t work out. I’m sorry I didn’t give you what you needed or that I wasn’t what you wanted. I’m sorry we didn’t try.
I love you and will always love you. I hope you’re doing well, and that you’ve overcome all those obstacles you had in life. I hope you find someone who brings you those things that you need and want.

Love,

Ruben

Week 17: A Lot to Learn from the Youngsters

This week has flown by and yet been such a torturous process of recovery.

Let me rewind, I had felt great the Monday after the Giordano audition. So great that I thought, “hey, maybe I can go back to my normal schedule!” Unfortunately, I was not good enough. I was able to take ballet and contemporary on Monday. I was fine, yes! Tuesday I had Pilates, ballet and during Victors class I felt it again.. Shhhhhh&$!?!?&$$!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe that; halfway through class I was done – AGAIN!

Wednesday I had ballet and attempted Kristina’s class. I got quite far, but again, had to stop. Let me tell you what the WORST feeling in the world is for a dancer: when one teeny tiny body part is injured and the rest of your body suffers in dance. Even more so is when you gotta sit out and watch everyone else dance. It’s more painful than anything else!

For the rest of the week, I just took ballet. Except Friday where I took two Pilates classes.

I have also begun my work for DanceChance. Even though I’m an alternate I need to be ready, just in case. I’ve been rehearsing a duet with Kayla. It’s so amazing to choreograph again. This time, I’m able to explore more and dive deep into an idea. I alps noticed an evolution in my choreography, I’m quite pleased. :-)

Saturday I did… Nothing. I rested all day in bed. Best. Day. Ever.

Today I just had an 8am shoot for my first arabesque pic. Then I came straight to the Hubbard Street Intensive audition. I had to do a shoot with the little kids. Oh my, these kids had “fierce” painted on their faces and daggers in their eyes, at first, before it started. At least, that’s probably the way I perceived them because I was so nervous of being the “old dude”. Eventually, everyone calmed down and ballet class started. The room, packed. The temperature, humid. The class, informative.

Honestly, I learned a lot in this class. Obviously, the basics that Glenn always stresses, except that I was able to hone into these corrections because it was a basics/fundamentals focused class for the kids. You can learn so much from watching the youth. I loved the information I gathered and applied.

The rep portion of the audition was from “One Thousand Pieces”. Aghhhhhhhhhhh, so fun! :-) again, I learned a lot by watching these kids do the repertoire. Things I liked, things that didn’t fit my body, etc.

Overall it was a great experience. Gotta go to work. Gonna take it easy this week.

Auditions, yep, that time now.

Week 16: Mr. Conte & First Chicago Audition

So this week I have been ATTEMPTING to recover from a pulled groin/abductor. To do so, I have only been able to take one ballet class per day. That’s it. It has been quite difficult to watch everyone dance and be able to do more than myself; especially when I feel less and less fit each day because of this “resting” and “recovering” period. I did take Pilates on Tuesday and Friday, but both attempts were quite difficult and I didn’t manage to do it well.

I tried to make the most of my spare time this week by building Mrs. Claire’s elliptical machine. Its a bit shaky (I think because the materials are so light and it was on SUPER discount off groupon), but she runs smoothly otherwise, if I do say so myself. ;-)

This weekend has proven to be the BUSIEST weekend that I’ve had so far.

  • Friday: I attended DanceChance! Unfortunately, I didn’t participate (there was a mix-up), but it was a really FUN event to attend. If anyone is in Chicago – this event takes place on the last Friday of every month at Lou Conte Dance Studio at 7pm. It was a really fun event. Basically, every month, 3 choreographers are chosen – at random – and an alternate. These choreographers must find ways to gather dancers, rehearsal times, space, and create a work no more than 15 minutes; and they only have a month to do so. It is very interesting the works that were brought. They were so good and so fun! I highly suggest this event to those in the area. Best of all – its only $3!! And better yet, you actually get a Q&A with the choreographers afterwards. (In case you didn’t understand it, or you want to know more!)
  • Saturday: I had rehearsals with my friend Becky (a workstudy) for her church’s event: The Stronger Series. I also took basic jazz with Mrs. Shannon (which I highly recommend, it was VERY fun!). I scrambled to get a haircut + print out my headshot for today. Lastly, I got to meet Mr. Lou Conte himself! I worked the 40th anniversary party and got to hear all of his amazing stories and insight. What a wonderful event it was.
  • Sunday: I had my first Chicago audition: Giordano Dance!

The Giordano audition was quite a challenge, especially since I’m no jazz dancer! The audition, for me and a few other scholarship students, started with the class (optional) to get warmed up and into their style, then the real audition began. Ballet center was the first cut, basically some pirouettes and jumps. Made it, cool. Then we learned a phrase from their rep choreographed by Koresh, which was quite cool. Got through, phew! Next we learned a work, Jolt, which was super fast. At this point, it was just Marissa (another scholarship student) and I. I really had to pee, quite badly. But we both did Jolt. We were learning a salsa-ish piece when we were both cut. I was so proud of myself for making it that far in the audition!! It was very fun, but I’m a bit happy that I got cut. I don’t think I quite fit in with their style of movement. Not that I wanted to get cut, because a contract is a contract, but I know there were a lot of people who REALLY set their minds/lives on it and have worked in their style through classes and workshops that probably deserved it more. So in that sense, I’m happy for those who made it! :-)

One bitter thing I realized is that auditions are expensive!

 3.99 – headshot. 

   0.50 – resume + references (although, Federica – yet another scholarship student – was nice enough to print mine out!)

   15.00 – optional warm up class

+ 10.00 – audition fee

~40.00 for one audition. That kinda stinks. But I guess that’s life. Well, it was fun today but now I’m quite exhausted. I’m so ready for all of the other auditions yet to come! Stay tuned.

Week 14&15: Buddies and Injuries

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Haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I have been SO BUSY!

Of course, last week I continued the 6:30a yoga at Chicago School of Yoga. It went very well, except for the fact that I did not get much sleep at all last week. That weekend wasn’t much help either since I had another paid photo/video-shoot and work all weekend. Needless to say, this week has gone somewhat better.

I did commit to the 6:30a yoga only on Monday and Tuesday of this week. However, by Wednesday, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t handle waking up so early. I skipped yoga on Wed, Thu and Fri! But, my body and mind have felt so much better with the added rest. Unfortunately, I got injured a bit on Thursday and still decided to take ballet on Friday. Because of this, I couldn’t finish off my Friday classes and now I’m lying in bed (lazily) watching Lord of The Rings and eating chocolate cake + popcorn. I’m sure this isn’t conducive to my pre-audition regimen but I think I deserve it!

This week I have committed to taking at least three dance technique courses per day (meaning two ballet and one modern/contemporary) and a Pilates class when it fits the schedule. I believe the fact that I just abruptly did the second ballet class everyday (even after being exhausted and with little rest AND a morning yoga class each morning on Mon and Tues) is the reason why I am now lying in bed like a cow. But I like cows, so its okay!

Last week was very nice because I got to meet Maxine Patronik! Now you might be wondering why this matters at all. Well, Maxine is an incredible dancer who I met through this very blog! She actually started reading my blog, then contacted me, which eventually led to her adding me on Facebook, and lastly, her getting back home for winter break and taking Claire’s class with me!!! :-) Maxine is originally from the Chicago area, and so she has danced here before. She even has her own blog!! Check it out: http://truthofthemovement.wordpress.com/
She’s in the LINES Ballet BFA program. :-)

This weeks highlights:

  • First official week of doing the 2nd ballet class everyday!
  • Guest instructor – Monique – on Thursday. I love her class!
  • Taking HSDC Company Class THU morning because our studio was ice cold when we got there. (O.M.G) :-D
  • Pulling my groin. :-( (working too hard, possibly?)

Not much else to say. Auditions are right around the corner and once this injury/sprain/pull heals I will be so on it! :-)

My audition list for this season:

  1. Giordano Dance – Feb 2nd
  2. Oklahoma City Ballet – Feb 16th
  3. Visceral Dance – March 2nd
  4. HS2 – March 8&9th
  5. Thodos Dance – March 15th
  6. Milwaukee Ballet – March 16th
  7. River North Dance – March 23rd
  8. Minnesota Ballet – April 5th

I might add or subtract some. But this is the rough outline. So… Ya’ll have something to look forward to VERY soon. :-D

If you have any suggestions on any other auditions, or know of any that I didn’t post on here that I’m attending, please let me know!

Ruben

Week 13: Christmas-Wedding-Sketch-Shoot 2014

Welcome back!
I haven’t updated in a while.

I went on a hiatus because it was the Christmas break, which meant that we had TWO whole weeks of off training. My body really needed that. I did absolutely NOTHING! I know that sounds bad, but I think I recovered in areas that were in a bit of pain before. Although, I did lose A LOT of my physical fitness and dancer-related muscle.

The first week I would wake up and feel so much unusual pain in areas I hadn’t felt all Fall semester long! I think it was my body rejuvenating itself, the hard way.

I did go back home to California for the break, which was SO fantastic! It was nearly 80 degrees the entire week I was there. :-) (This meant that Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas.) But it was great to see all my friends and family.

On my first few days, I stayed with my best friend, Marco, and went to Doris Ressl and Royce Acosta’s wedding. (My first conscious wedding!) It was the BEST wedding EVEEERRRR!! If I ever get married, I want one just like theirs! I would say that his ring was the best male groom ring I had ever seen: it had a gear in the middle which moved the top and bottom bands. They had their wedding at the little dog park by their house in Long Beach, Ca. They also had a beautiful little lady making unlimited (note: the unlimited) crapes for the reception. I learned how to line dance from Doris’ cousin. And we finished the night with Marco’s enchilada casserole and Chanandra&Darrel’s peach cobbler! YUM.

Here are a few pictures:

Sonia, Marco, the pups, and the bride&groom:
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Wedding cake + lego cake-topper (courtesy of yours truly):
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Bride&Groom interpretive ritual wedding dance:
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ME and Abbey with the bride (we both caught the bouquet!!!!!!):
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After the wedding, I went to spend a few days and Christmas with my momma! <3
It was the best seeing her. She is so hard working and just an all around amazing mother. Seriously. I couldn't ask for a better role model, friend, mother, and mentor in my life. She is everything I want to be when I grow up. Luckily, she didn't work the entire time I was there, so we spent a lot of time together. :-) Most of everyone came over on Christmas Eve… Then on Christmas Day, my mother woke me up (like she used to when I was a little boy, by shaking me, hugging me, and getting me excited about something cool) and she took me on a little road-trip through the Yosemite Mountains (my first time). It was the COOLEST and most BEAUTIFUL sights to see, even if we didn't actually go in the park. That is a moment I'll never forget.

The next day my momma went back to work and I went back to Marco's since I'd be flying out a day later. I spent more time with Doris&Royce, which was so nice. (Like old times)

I returned to Chicago the next day, got here quite late and went straight to bed. I had Pilates the day after my return, as well as work. Eventually, later in the week, I found a Groupon for unlimited yoga at the Chicago School of Yoga: http://www.chicagoschoolofhotyoga.com/
I now go to the 6:30a classes before warm up and sometimes to the evening classes, too!

Monday showed me the WORST of the worst when it comes to Midwestern weather.
Tuesday was also quite rough. My friend Emely from work and I went to the 6:30a and got there a bit late. This was awful because we didn't get to take class and we had to hang out in the cold (eventually at McDonalds) for an hour. We started our new semester with 9a Pilates, then returned to Ballet and Contemporary. It was good to see all of my amazing instructors again. Although, it was rough to be back. All muscle and control I had was gone, but luckily, so was the tension. That night, all the tension came back though, during work. :-/ ha!

Wednesday: 6:30a yoga was fantastic! It really woke me up. Started warming up at 8:30a, followed by Ballet and Contemporary after. I was drastically sore from the day before, but Laura did help by pointing out a few of my many mistakes in class. I really love corrections, it just escalates your growth. Laban was just what I needed after extreme soreness.. But it just showed me how tight I had become after a day of dancing.

Thursday: 6:30a yoga, woke me up. I feel like the 6:30 yoga classes are a bit more physical since they treat it as the people's only workout for the day. Its hard having a challenging class, followed by a full day of dancing! Warm up, ballet and contemporary. We had Meredith for ballet, which was SO AMAZING. Her classes are one of my favorites, and her energy really inspires me so much! I learned a lot from this class (as I do from all classes). This evening, I went to take the inversions class at the yoga studio. I learned to do many new inversions, which was so awesome!!!!!!!! I was inspired by this video:

Friday: 6:30a yoga, exhausted at this point. Warm up, ballet and contemporary. Today we had a guest for contemporary, which was Rebecca Lemme. Her class was a SUPER released based, floor wildness class. I was EXHAUSTED halfway into this one. A lot of inversions. :-) Instead of Pilates, we had a Physical Therapy lecture/activity class. We learned and did, a lot of effective warming up exercises which can help prevent injuries and strengthen. We also learned new rolling out techniques, one of which HURT like no other!

After that, I rushed over to an interview I had. (Still no word back from them :-/) I grabbed lunch after the interview and went to perform at Chicago’s Annual Comedy SketchFest! I was performing with a group called THUNDERDOME: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thunderdome/222463937894033
They’re quite funny and such great people. This wasn’t the type of performance I thought it’d be, but it was fun! There was a lot of improvisation on the spot, due to lack of information, what they wanted and stage size/slipperiness. We did a dance to “It’s Raining Men”, a tribal dance, and a sped-up-clown-chase-song-dance-thing… Not what I expected, but again, it was FUN! Also great to be in front of an audience again.

Saturday: Had a photo-shoot early in the morning before work. Then I worked. Then I had another photo-shoot. The second shoot was a promotion for a run that’s sponsored by Miller Lite and themed of Rollie Fingers.
This guy:
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It was my first group shoot. And it was really fun. Me, one guy, and three girls. All wearing sweat bands, running shorts, shirts, long socks, curly mustache’s like Finger’s, wigs, beer hats, and sporting Miller Lite in some shoots. It was really fun to do this one.

Well.. That’s all I have for ya folks. Gonna watch my favorite web-series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl:

You gotta watch up to the 6th episode to REALLY get into it. It is HILARIOUS!

Oh and I have one more FUNNY video to show. It is a sketch on the Chicago-style Pilates class. Go to this link: http://clearlyinc.blogspot.com/2009/06/chicago-style-pilates-class.html?spref=fb

Ruben

Week 12: One Thousand Pieces

Hello,

I continue to take much longer to update with new posts because I have so much to do, especially as Christmas draws nearer. All my classes were phenomenal this week! The only change from this week to the regular week is that we had Monique (former River North dancer) substitute for Lizzie. Monique’s class was extremely demanding since it was an afro-contemporary jazz fusion class. Regardless, it was FUN!! I found my true port de bras, thanks to Mrs. Claire, during Pilates on Friday. It felt completely different, compared to what I have been doing the entire time, ha! We also had a potluck for the scholarship and work study students, which was very fun! A lot of desserts, and PIZZA, from giordanos!!!!! GAAAAAAHHHHHH, HEAVEN :-)

The best part of my week was seeing Mrs. Claire’s old video of herself dancing a number to “Georgia”, choreographed by Mr. Lou Conte himself, performed on television! HOLY COW! She is STUNNING! Note: If you ever get to meet Mrs. Claire, and you’re around her at an extremely exciting time, do try to see her dances, she is beyond words :-) It was very sexy, sensual and beautiful. Inspirational, too!

I moved on from Star Wars and onto original Planet of the Apes (which I have the entire collection back home, with my best friend Marco, but didn’t bring them since I have no tv nor do I want one).

I shot a couple of videos for people to help me with my technique, earlier in the week, so here they are:

En dedan turn: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152440262039908&l=931250423499404087
Saut de chat/Jete: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152440263134908&l=2868583035186852492
A la seconde turns: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152440265389908&l=2400487923976261380

If you have any corrections, hints or advice, please do let me know. :-)

The most exciting part of my week was getting to watch Hubbard Street perform One Thousand Pieces, which I had been waiting for ONE YEAR to watch. I originally watched this video:

This performance was… ughh… I cannot put into words what it did to me, to be honest. It was far beyond what I had ever expected it to be, and I expected A LOT. I mean, I expected perfection. This was the best performance and show I have seen in my life, so far!!

So, basically, this work is choreographed by the fantastic Alejandro Cerrudo (company member and resident choreographer at HSDC). This work features both companies, Hubbard Street and HS2,one-thousand-pieces-5

in an evening inspired by Marc Chagall’s American Windows:
Chagall 'America Windows' to be Temporarily Removed May 2

The entire evening also featured musical works by Phillip Glass, who is amazing! I must give a HUGE shout out to the set and lighting designer.. And of course, the COMPANY!! This entire night was like NO OTHER.. Without ruining a lot, I just want to say that there were PLENTY of surprises involved in this show. Stellar dancing.

I must say that I got misty eyed and shed a few tears during both halves of the night. I was also gasping a lot, because of all the surprises. I was in awe with all the changing sets and lighting. It just has to been seen. There was a moment when I looked onto the stage, during a set change and the floor had “clouds” in it (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you saw the floor during the performance). It reminded me of the scene in Donnie Darko where the evil bunny tells him to flood the school, funny! The entire night had so much stimulation, in EVERY GOOD WAY, but my heart stopped toward the very end in the second half of the evening when there was a duet, and the music slowed waaaaay down, and the couple on stage had such a delicate way of moving. It really made me emotional. They went from very strong movement to almost being careful not to “hurt each others feeling” kind of soft, it was so touching.

If you didn’t get to see it, or if comes to your town, I URGE you to go see it. Whatever you have to pay, it will be worth SO MUCH MORE. :’)

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 1000 Peices

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Week 11: Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

This past week has been a very extensive and eventful week full of a lot going on. I do have much to tell.

Dance-wise, its been fantastic. For the most part. Beginning my week I took extra classes, and stretched a whole ton on Monday. This led to an aggravated amount of soreness throughout the rest of the week, so bad was this soreness that I was unable to fully dance on Wednesday and couldn’t show up to morning ballet or contemporary on Thursday. (I made it up by going to second ballet class on Thursday). Also, in the first ballet class on Monday I landed on my second toe during a grand jete.. Yea, I know, it sucks. Its still quite bruised and hurts a bit, but I’m good for the most part. I mean, I can dance.

I did feel myself improving the entire week, after the soreness. I also had the pleasure of watching Hubbard Street at the Art Institute of Chicago. This was the funniest and most entertaining performance, for Christmas, I have ever seen. They were interpreting their vision of the Creche, which is a new display at the Art Institute (which is FREE on Thursdays for all Illinois residents, I HIGHLY suggest)! I thought I’d be watching a very pretty dance (and who wouldn’t want to?!) but they were interacting with the audience, yelling, improvising, and just having a great time. They turned the entire stage and audience into a living Creche. It was the highlight of my week. There isn’t anything they can’t do! They even had a Q&A for all those who wanted to stay afterwards and know more about the process or the dancers. This upcoming weekend is ONE THOUSAND PIECES, do not miss out on this chance to watch! You will not regret it. http://www.hubbardstreetdance.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=proditem&id=213:winter-series&Itemid=58

Also, last night, when I got home from a long days work I was able to watch the CSUDH dance concert’s LIVE streaming of Origins. I enjoyed myself watching all my old friends dance, so much! I really enjoyed the energy of the African, Hip Hop, Bollywood, and Belly dance. Those were a lot of fun. I thought Ken Walker and Nathan’s works were very nicely done! I completely understood what they were getting at, and thought it was lovely. I was astounded by Marco (my best friend), Jeff Hendrix and Doris Ressl’s works!! Marco did a contemporary interpretation of the traditional-folk dance of the deer, which I had seen the solo being worked on when I returned from the HSDC Summer Intensive, except he added a few more people to help develop this traditional tale. Jeff’s work was about the Holocaust, showing shocking images of the event (along with quotes) in a video, but the dance was a jazz-ballroom fusion to a beautiful traditional blues-y song. Doris’ work was a flawless trio, set on two faculty and an alumni. This is my favorite of all her works, thus far. The costumes, lighting, and choreography, it was all there! Bravo to ALL of my DH friends, I miss you all so much..Very happy I got to see you all and all of your growth. 

Lately, I have been watching all of the Star Wars epsidoes: I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. I just finished VI. I must say that it got me quite emotional. Something VERY strange happened this week. So here is the back story: I don’t quite remember my father much, from when I was younger, so I don’t really know him at all. I was raised by my loving and AMAZING mother (and wouldn’t have it any other way, for anything in the world). Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been in contact with one of his daughters, who sent me a couple of pictures of him (since I have never seen him). It was quite strange to see how he looks, I mean I’m not too familiar with the feeling of having a father or anything. The biggest thing that happened is that I spoke with my mother about this and she said I should talk to him and get to know him, since he is my father, so I gave his daughter my number to give to him. She said she would give it to him when she saw him. Later that night, while I was sleeping, someone called with a private number and left a voicemail. The voicemail said: “Hey mijo, I love you.”. I am more than certain that this was him, and it is a very WEIRD feeling, I’m not so sure how to react. He, or they, haven’t called back since.. A part of me was excited, and yet, another part of me was a bit confused. What should I do? So many emotions going through my head and heart. Do I forgive and hope he calls again, then build a relationship.. or do I build barriers because he never tried to make contact with me growing up?! Ahhh… I just finished (2 mins ago) episode VI and watching the story of Luke and Vader, I can’t help but feeling like Luke. 

This song gets to me. I suggest you close your eyes, open your heart and listen to it. See how it makes you feel:

I am a Jedi. :-)

Week 10: Workshop and Black Friday: The good, the bad and the ugly

Okay, so I had an amazing start to the week, and then it all went downhill from there.

Monday-Wednesday:

Beruite and Claire’s classes were pretty stellar! I felt quite powerful and amazing. :-) Pilates with Nicole on Tuesday was also fantastic. Unfortunately, I was only able to take barre (and even then I was quite sloppy) during Laura’s class, so I can’t say much about it. :-( I became quite ill on Wednesday morning, which lasted most of the day. I had a stomach bug, and by body was quite achy. I had to sleep, at school, after barre.

Lizzie and Victors classes were great! Lizzie taught an amazing phrase, which is my favorite yet. Victor taught a new styled class, at least it felt that way. Again, sadly, I was not able to take Kristina’s class because of the illness.

Each day after contemporary we had workshop with Robyn Mineko Williams, former HSDC, and one of their amazing choreographers. She was a scholarship student when she was younger, which is quite inspiring. Her workshops were improvisation and repertoire based. The great thing about the improv was finding the movement quality for the rep. Since it is quite challenging. We learned rep from Fluence (her Fall HSDC work)!!!!!! I indulged in it each day. I rested enough on Wednesday to still be able to take it! I learned a whole lot and feel that I grew as a dancer. Here is a video of some of her work, Grey Horses:

Thanksgiving was great! I spent it with scholarship student, Federica. She’s the best ever :-)

After thanksgiving, the weekend seemed to go downhill from there. BLACK FRIDAY. This day was extremely stressful and the biggest challenge yet,

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People, there is no need to be mean to anyone, just because you’re shopping. I mean, I can’t count how many times I got boxes thrown at me at register… Oh oh and credit cards tossed at me too, even though I’m not supposed to swipe them. Sigh. Unfortunately, I had an interesting situation:

I went to a thrift store after work on Friday and I was in a lady’s way. The isle was quite small and she said “can you please move?!”. I got very frustrated, and wanted to say something, since I had been yelled at all day by greedy customers, but I just moved and apologized. At that moment I saw her shopping cart was very full, and she had her two children with her.. I realized she was honestly shopping for her family! My god, how awful I felt! I hope she didn’t think I was mean to her after all. She was buying her children stuff they needed and Christmas gifts.. It broke my heart. While I get yelled at by DUMB wealthy and ungrateful LEGO customers, there are people who can’t afford much. I understood she was probably stressed and just wanted to do the best for her family.. <3 much love for them, I understand their situation.

Saturday and Sunday was just as bad as Friday at lego. A lot of undeserving people getting more than they need. I'm awful, I know, but I wasn't ever wealthy or privileged so I'm quite biased. I'm just a realist. There were a few great customers, thank you for being nice. 6 in total for the entire weekend. 2 per day, average.

Ruben

Week 9: Do or not do..There is no try

This week hit me like a flash of lightning. Very quick, and with unexpected surprises. Not bad, it was actually a great week, but it was filled with learning a lot of lessons (the hard way).

Monday:

Beruite ballet class was successfully fantastic! I saw growth, and was very pleased (even if I was all over the place).

Lizzie continued with her phrase from the week before. Thankfully, I felt more comfortable this day to dive into the work and focus on refining and experimentation. She always says how class time is “lab” time and I couldn’t agree more.

Work.

Tuesday:

Nicole was stuck in traffic, but thankfully she was able to give us an accelerated Pilates class in twenty minutes! It helped.

Claire’s ballet class was great. A few (or a lot) of corrections given, but I love being corrected (a lot), I felt fantastic! Today seemed as though yesterday’s good juices were still flowing inside me.

Victor was back this week, and he gave such an awesome class. He mixed it up a little bit with his combinations, which made class much more exciting!! I really focused on initiating movement from my pelvis and allowing the gaga ripples or waves to affect my entire body. Oh yea!

Work.

Wednesday:

Laura’s ballet class went well. Focused on my back and arms, as well as turn out. I was trying to be as detailed as I could with my placement, alignment, and focus.

Kristina’s class was fantastic! She was focusing on various different aspects of movement analysis based off of her own experiences. We did a few more inversions, which I completely love doing! I wish this class was offered more than once a week at the pro level, and more than twice a week total.

Beruite’s ballet class was great, but I couldn’t help but worry about her. I believe she was in some sort of pain. I couldn’t imagine not having her classes each week. :-( I do hope she recovers nicely.

I went to get my first ever spa and massage experience. It was… heaven. Swedish massage. Ahhhh

Thursday:

Okay, so far, everythings been great…until today. Julie (director of DanceWorks Chicago), whom I had taken the workshop a few weekends ago, taught ballet today. This was the lowest point of my week. I’m not sure why, but this class did not enter my body. She gave a great class, but I was not able to get into it. Actually, I ended up feeling a little bad about myself. A sense of doubt or pain, of longing to be better.. This class didn’t end well with me. But I tried to gather it up for the next one.

Frankie’s class was very good. I felt like I was doing something well, but the thought and the overwhelming FEELING of the ballet class prior led me to doubt myself the entire class. This feeling actually overcame me for a little bit after class. Thankfully, I have fantastic friends here who were kind enough to give me hugs. :-)

Work.

Friday:

Seeking to redeem myself, I worked my butt off in Claire’s ballet class. I found inspiration from Yoda (which I’ll talk about later). I tried pushing myself in this class and found that I was quite successful, at least in my own eyes. I felt fantastic in this class and know that I will continue this trend from now on.

Gaga was great, but very exhausting! Its one hour and fifteen minutes of non-stop moving/improvising, then another half hour of choreography, or more improv. Today we worked on choreography, in pair, using the techniques we learned in class. I focused on light/heavy, curves, swirls, distance, and waves. It was a great class.

Lastly, we had Claire’s scholarship Pilates. We had more laughs than anything in this class, but it made it more fun. I do love Pilates!

I treated myself today to buying thrift store sweat pants, watching Catching Fire, and being restful with myself. :-)

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Okay, so I learned a lot this week. For one, not to take anything for granted. We only get one body, and after the spa/massage, I realized that we need to take better care of them. Even as dancers, we cannot just work our bodies like machines and expect maximum output. We do need to give ourselves days to express gratitude to ones self.

Secondly, I learned that I have no limits. Actually, I learned this Thursday night. From Yoda. I saw this clip, and it made me realize that he is COMPLETELY correct! We cannot just be “in the middle” with something, we either are or we aren’t. And I am.

Hubbard Street and HS2 are having auditions in March, and you better be sure that I will be there. I will work MY BUTT off to give myself the best chance that I can ever give myself of making HS2. There is time to grow and improve, and yet no time at all. I will stretch myself beyond my reaches.

At this audition, I go in as Ruben.