Step 28: Week 1: New Scholarship Student

Oh my gosh, so I just started the scholarship program –> completed my first week of required dance classes from the training program. Unfortunately, can’t update daily YET because the place I’m living in has now wifi 😦

So, at the moment, I’m living with English, a wonderful ballerina who is also in the program. She’s a great dancer and person, I’m quite lucky! I just had my interview with the LEGO store! Hoping I get the job, crossing my fingers. So now onto the juicy deets about the scholarship program:

We take a required advanced/professional ballet course each morning, followed by a advanced/professional contemporary class and on Fridays we also take a scholarship Pilates class. Following these required courses, we are allotted unlimited class access, free PT, a free pass to each of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago shows, free workshops, free lockers, etc all for $30 a week and a required chore (sweeping or cleaning one studio). It’s pretty sweet! 🙂

Monday:

We had ballet with Beruite, who is one of the toughest ballet instructors ever had! She’s amazing, but after no dance training in the previous two months, this was a failed attempt. It’s not easy to go from zero to professional in ballet. My body had forgotten the simple things such as balance and waltz. I hardly had the strength to raise my leg beyond a tendu! Her class was fast moving and physically/mentally challenging. Quickly taught combinations, difficult phrasing.. God it hurt all over!

Next I had contemporary with Lizzie. She gave an amazing class, where I felt more comfortable. She gave amazing insight, like not letting your insecurity show and dancing from within. Her style is very juicy and grounded. I really enjoyed her class! But it was very challenging!

Later that day, English and I took intermediate ballet… Also very difficult. My muscles started to give out, and trying to remember what ballet terms where was a bit hard! When I got home I was in more pain than I had ever felt! I could not believe it! It hurt more than the intensive! Don’t go from zero to hero, trust me!

Tuesday:

Advanced Pilates kicked my butt! Took it before ballet to get me warm… And it did just that.

Being extremely tired and unbelievably sore, we had Claire for ballet. She is the director of the school and program. Her class, also challenging. I felt a bit more in my body, until I saw Meredith in the window and rolled over my foot across the floor trying to impress. :-/ ha!

Next we had Victor, who taught a Cuban contemporary class. It was very challenging, but he was amazing and so was the class. He had fun music. His class was Horton-esque, in the sense that it was challenging and a pure technique class. Loved it.

Later I took yoga, which helped me release a lot of tension. It wasn’t an easy class..

Wednesday:

Ballet with Laura. She was very sweet but her class, also hard. I felt a bit more into my body… Kind of. She was sweet and gave great combinations. I really loved her. I learned that going into attitude by rond de jambing the leg through arabesque would give a true attitude, without the raising of the hip! She’s a genius!

Modern with Kristina was different. It was very similar to NRD, very modern. She was so sweet and a bit out there, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if she wasn’t. She has a warm heart and has Laban training. I loved it. Very dizzy from all the rolling!

I took basic Pilates, it was just as hard as advanced Pilates, if not harder! But it was great to get the basics and mechanics!

Thursday:

Thursdays are guest ballet day. Today we had Ben. He was AMAZING! It wasn’t classically classical ballet, but it was still amazing. It seemed like ballet for contemporary dancers. It was a hard, and he was AMAZING! I hope eh subs again. I felt more good in this class.

We had Frankie, very famous by scholarship, and hew as great. His class was a faced paced contemporary. Quick combinations followed by a duet creation amongst the students. It was very fun!

Friday:

Ballet with Claire was no joke today. She helped me with my turns/developpe. I was so nervous when she was helping me out… She’s a great ballet instructor! She gives amazing corrections and is so full of warmth. I love her!

Next was modern with Erin! She is HILARIOUS! Horton with Erin, which is always difficult, no matter what level Horton you take. I loved it though, very much! She had us laughing the entire time!

Lastly, Pilates with Claire. Very challenging, and grueling, but doable! 🙂

That’s been my week! Tomorrow I plan to take basic ballet, and yoga on Sunday! That’s my ‘rest’. I’ll get back in shape in no time,

Thanks everyone for making this possible!

Ruben

Step 26: Humbling Experience

Hello all,

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So I have been working my butt off at my evening job, that one famous theater, on Hollywood blvd. To be honest, the work is not the hard part, it’s standing on $7, worn out, black-leathered dress shoes from Goodwill, kills your feet. It’s also unflattering to be seen with a favored kids large white button up along with my $5 two sizes larger dress pants, also from Goodwill. I’m a thrift bandit, but these items were very last minute and not necessarily by choice. The only aspect of my uniform that is somewhat okay is the bow tie, unfortunately, it’s a clip on.

The work involved so far:

standing for several hours on concrete floor, wishing people would show up and need my professional concessions knowledge, trying to convince people that the same panda bear cookies priced at $3.75 (also found at Target for $1) is not a rip off, and doing my best to resist the urge of wanting to walk out, uttering ‘C-ya‘.

It isn’t as bad as it sounds, at a fashionable $8/hr, we are lucky we get free movie privileges, oh and don’t forget the free popcorn and soda! I like it so far, the people are interesting and very kind, most of them. I keep telling myself that any amount of extra money is well worth it, to reach my Chicago dream goal. I worked at an AMC before, my first year in college, when I quit I swore I’d never have a minimum wage job, which is why this is a humbling experience. It’s tough, a recent physics grad working for so little. I look around this theater and cant help but think ‘these people deserve MUCH more than minimum wage...most of them‘.

There are kids (ages 18-20) at this job that inspire me. Most have moved from far places: Florida, Colorado, etc. to Hollywood, and got jobs at this theater just to pursue acting, filming, and such. I know that I’m at that point in my life where I am able to do what I want and follow any crazy dream.

I’ve decided to move on September 21st. They have flights from LAX to ORD starting at $98! I know I said I’d never fly Spirit, but I might have to… I still need your help with fundraising money for my mission, any amount will help:

http://www.gofundme.com/2wwe1w

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I’ve been doing all my regular exercises, but not much dancing, other than the occasional improv at Griffith Park. Dancing, it’s expensive!



I was about to attempt to buy my flight today, but something stopped me. Other than being so low on funds, the thought that I can just sacrifice all that I have for dance is astounding! I have TWO jobs, live in Hollywood, working things out with my partner, live in the same state as my mother and friends… If I move, I need to find a job, place to live, possibly lose my relationship AGAIN, and try to find ways to visit home. It’s tough. I’m still going to do it, but it’s difficult. I always have that little voice wondering if I’m doing the right thing.. All I know is that I’m doing it, regardless.

Tomorrow I start my second job. And another reason to make moving difficult. Humans create these bonds with one another so easily. I can’t say that I’ll miss LA much, not nearly as much as I will miss my friends and family..

It’s always better to try than not.
I won’t go through life asking myself ‘what-if?’
All I know is that there are several people who believe in me, and I’ll use that much to fuel my drive to succeed. Nothing will stop me.

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Ruben

Step 23: Dark Matters: Jobs=Body Toning

Hey all,

It has been a while since I’ve posted since I haven’t had much to write about. Everyday has been the same: I was attending rehearsals (had to stop since I couldn’t afford to keep going, and I needed to find a job first), looking for work, daily yoga practice, ab series, and daily theraband workouts.

I am happy to say that I have now found a job!!!!! I am now an entry-level employee at the TaxCredit Co., which is one block away from my house! That means that I don’t need to pay to get to work = saving money already! It’s a nice paying job, full-time, and even has medical/dental after the first 30 days. Luckily, I have also been interviewed for the Chinese Theater and Subway, to work TWO jobs, so I can make enough money to get back to Chicago ASAP! My plan is to work my first 8 hours early in the day (M-F), with the Tax Co and the other 4-8 hours in the evening(M-S)!

Sadly, I haven’t been able to take ballet since I haven’t had the money. Maybe when I start working I will be able to continue to take ballet again, before I move back. The fact that I begin work on Sept 9th just means that it will take me FOREVER to return to Chicago! That is why I still am hopeful that you all out there will donate to my cause, so I can quickly return to Chicago and begin my scholarship program. I want to become the best dancer that I can be and I know that this program will excel me to dance heights I could never have imagined!

To get to my fundraising link, go here: http://www.gofundme.com/2wwe1w

So, onto a few other subjects. Crystal Pite + “Dark Matters” = AMAZING!!! (&cheap)
I watched Dark Matters from this website: http://www.ontheboards.tv/performance/dance/dark-matters
It is priced for only $5, for a 48hr viewing rental. Before I give my review of it, check out its ‘trailer’:

Okay, so my review of Dark Matters:

    I thought that this was an extremely compelling piece. It was provocative and astonishing, in the sense that Crystal Pite was able to embody the idea of “Dark Matter” into a dance; it was done very well too, by the use of the lighting, as well as stage, and the embodiment of this dark matter as a controlling force within the Universe. I have always looked up to Crystal Pite, as her work and she, herself, is world renowned, which is why the choreography was not at all lesser than expected. The dancers of KiddPivot are flawless and amazing, with ranging dance technique and uniqueness in each and ever performer, yet a sense of unison when needed, but not in a robotic sense, just a unity of personas. Pite’s movement is innovative, exploring each and all the crooks and crannies of the body.

    I would say that as remarkable as this dance was, it was not as astounding as the first segment of the work: the puppet scene. In an almost Pinocchio-Frankenstein story-fusion, the characters are so well developed and the stage is very present. The lead male and puppet take you on such an amazing – yet emotional – journey that explores the human condition and heart. I would say that the trailer is VERY misleading, but in a VERY VERY good way, it won’t disappoint.

    Sadly, my only critique: Because the puppetry segment was so detailed and involved, it caused the dance scene afterwards to have less of an impact on me. I am all for dancing, especially her work, but the theatricality and connection I had with this amazing story that combined fairy-tale with science fiction and physics was lost once the dancing started. Not sure if anyone else will have the same point of view, but I completely encourage everyone to try this one out and do know that the $5 you spend on this is well worth it! It is a streamed video, so make sure you watch it near fast internet. It is also only able to play with flashplayer, so no ipads or iphones, sorry!

Doing yoga everyday, I have noticed that I still haven’t taken care of the back side of my body. I really struggle with my body, wanting the ‘perfect’ shape, like everyone else. Sadly, I have always been very insecure with my lower and upper back; I’m not heavy or have fat there, but I do have a lot of extra skin.. So, my goal is to produce more muscle there, to fill up the skin on my back so it doesn’t appear to have ‘extra stuff’. I found this great website called Fitness Blender (http://www.fitnessblender.com), it gives great workout routines and such, but I want to ask all of you out there that have maybe struggled with this, or have more knowledge on muscle building, if you know of any exercises or anything extra I can do, I would greatly appreciate it!

Lastly, I have found several great dance training websites that I have been using this week to keep myself in line (since I do my theraband exercises and simple tendu, plie and fondu exercises at home). Dance Advantage (http://www.danceadvantage.net/) is one of these. It has a great article on how to properly do a tendu, giving great anatomic diagrams, and many other articles on subjects such as stretching, strengthening, alignment, teaching, etc.

Okay, well once again, I would really appreciate it if those of you out there that believe in me could donate any amount for my scholarship program (the link is towards the top of this blog). I am trying my best to get back, its just difficult. Also, if you’ve seen Dark Matters, or after you watch it, let me know what you thought about it (comment)!! Finally, if you have any advice on my back, let me know (comment), I don’t want to sound as though I think I’m awful or overweight, I’m not, I just want more muscle to feel like a fuller guy and be happy-ER with myself. 🙂

Thanks

Ruben