Week 8a: Project 606

Today, other than the extremely long and exhausting work day, I was given the ability to go see my friend, Lauren, perform! I mentioned her a few weeks ago (when Raoni and I went to her house for pancake brunch along with Beasts of the Southern Wild), so you would already know that she is an amazing person and dancer.. yep yep yep! πŸ™‚

I got to meet the amazing Robbie, Lauren’s fiance. He is a pretty wicked cool guy, and after getting to know him a little better, I’d say he and Lauren are a match made in heaven. They are both some pretty stellar people!!!! It doesn’t get any better than them. It was so clear that he was in such deep love with her, just by the way he spoke about her and how his face would express certain things when he’d tell me how they met πŸ™‚ Very cute.

Okay, so here is my review on the dance company, Project 606, show Momentum:

The show took place in an art gallery, the Ballroom Dance Chicago, which is a beautiful space. It had mirrors (for ballroom dance lessons) and columns throughout the center (which did obstruct some of the viewing, but it did make it for a more interesting show). The floors were a beautiful sandy wood, and the rest of the building was very contemporarily set: cemented, red bricks, art pieces hanging everywhere, etc.

The Daily M n t n u s Grind: Choreographed by Jenny DeMuth, I found this work to be the most interesting of the evening. Although not my favorite, even though it was a great work, it did find its way to be the more interesting. What I mean to say is that it had the most unique motif for movement initiation and it also had very interesting follow through. I found it quite funny, at times, and other moments I found it to be very fun. It definitely had a theme, which kept coming back repeatedly, and then it would branch away into larger, almost African-like vocabulary of movement. All dancers performed very well. The costumes were perfect: boring. Ha ha ha. Not in a bad way, but I found them very stale, which completely added to this work (you’d have to see it!). In the end, as I said at the beginning, this is one has the award as most interesting work.

During the intermission Robbie gave me his interpretation of what he thought it was reflecting. He is quite a dance genius because after he told me, then I saw the big picture!

BACKBONE: This was my favorite work of the night, choreographed by the artistic director of the company, Meghann Mueller. Why did I choose this one as my favorite..? Well.. simply put, I just enjoyed it so much. I felt as though the dancers were a lot more involved in this work, both mentally and physically. I enjoyed Lauren’s performance A LOT in this work.. But I’ll write about her later in this post (I’d want to touch on her more closely, so I’m not as biased!). I did feel as though the dancers, as committed as they were, could have given a tad bit more. Otherwise, they were fantastic! Whatever this work was about, it WORKED! I immensely enjoyed watching it, and felt as though I was in it. Superb! Also, great music selection, very unique. The costumes were simple and effective.

During intermission I overheard a few females “giving their opinion” on what worked and what didn’t so far in the show. I did get a bit defensive on the inside (but didn’t say anything), since I thought the evening was going great.

Fixed in One Long Gaze (excerpt): This work was the finale of the show. Again, choreographed by Meghann Mueller, featuring previous and present members of the company. This was the only work with a prop, which I thought worked out very well, it was efficiently used. This was an excerpt of a much longer work, with a wide selection of music: from very classical to contemporary instrumental. The costumes didn’t seem to fit in with the space provided, although I’m sure they were fantastic on stage. I had a moment of glee during this dance when one of the females that was “giving their opinion” gulped during this dance.. that single gulp says SO MUCH. Plus, I feel that if a dance can have you talking, whether you’re crazy about it or not, then it did its job well. All dancers were fantastic in this dance. I will say that I noticed that there were similarities in the movement and initiation of movement from all the works, which is not bad at all, however, I would like to see some of the movement initiated from different parts of the body, or more use of the pelvis-region a bit more.

Lauren is a fantastic performer! She was in the first two works. Usually, I only get to watch her in class, which is good enough, BUT seeing her live (detaching myself from movement) and just enjoying her perform for the audience, which I was in, was such a treat! I was able to analyze and study what makes her exciting in her performance environment. In the first work, I loved seeing her apply what we learn in scholarship. I could see her using every bit of information in her body. Lauren is a devilish genius.. I noticed this primarily in the second work. While everyone else was willingly giving themselves away to the audience, which is very nice, she kept herself reserved from time to time. She would let us in, but only for a moment, as if she had calculated it perfectly. It was very exhilarating to want more from her, and when she gave it she gave it. It wasn’t until work became more involved that she let us in, especially during her solo. I enjoyed her patience because dancers are so reluctant to give themselves away, willingly, which most people expect, but to let the audience work for it… genius. πŸ˜‰ Bravo on such an amazing show Lauren. You are everything!

All in all, it was a great show which I enjoyed very much. I am grateful that Lauren and Robbie for allowing me to come and watch. I am glad to know them, and to see their passion for each other. There was a very cute moment where I saw Robbie searching for Lauren and following her everywhere she went in the room while she danced. When she would bow, he clapped the most. Its sooooo endearing! πŸ™‚

They are performing again tomorrow, so I’d suggest that if you’re in the area and can make it, GO! It is a wonderful show, with such talented ladies.

For more information on the show, and the company, visit their website: http://www.project606dance.org/

Ruben

Week 5: Bolle

This past week has been very spectacular, on so many different levels!

Saturday:

I had the privilege of going over to a great friend of mine, Lauren (amazing dancer and person!), with my other great friend, Raoni (also amazing dancer and crazy but good person), to have pancakes and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild!! This was an amazing start to a great weekend. Β Lauren is a great cook, and her pancakes were spectacular! Actually, I am doing what she does now: adding nutella and/or peanut butter along with jelly to pancakes, rather than using syrup, which is not necessarily my favorite. πŸ™‚ Β I think we all had a blast! I worked the rest of my Saturday away, which was great because it flew by so quickly!

Sunday:

Not much to say, just worked. It was quite slow at the LEGO store.

Monday:

Started the day with Beruite’s ballet class, which was a great class, but I just couldn’t get into it. Β I got into the ballet, but my body wasn’t warming up, which kind of reeked for me this class. Otherwise, it was a phenomenal class, as usual. I just couldn’t get my body warm..

Next we had Lizzie… Oh my gosh, talk about tear jerker! She gave an extravagant class, with a lot of improvisation, followed by an extraordinarily emotional phrase at the end. It was a beautifully set dance to a very emotional spoken word song. I was holding back tears the entire class, but my nose wouldn’t lie.. it kept running the entire time. To me, this phrase was about body image and disabilities.. It reminded me of all the people I’ve known in my life with these issues, which touches me deeply within. I really connected with this work.

I finished the day with the slowest day at LEGO.. I was surprised with how slow everything was at the store. But, I got through it and went home to rest!

Tuesday:

Claire’s ballet class was great, however, once again I couldn’t get my body warm. I did appreciate her having me “demonstrate” the petite allegro. I obviously didn’t do it so well, and we kept starting over, and we did it snail slow..BUUUUUT, I did it πŸ™‚ I’m starting to get into those quick little movements.. It excites me so much. By the end of class my body was externally warm, but internally cold! She suggested that I focus more on rolling out my muscles first, a lot, then warming up, since rolling out the muscles will get the blood flowing to all areas of the body and thus produce heat when needed.

Victor’s class was very fun. He taught some new technique phrases, some more difficult, some more fun. I love his classes. He even had a new soundtrack! I really loved this so much! He always plays very nice, fun music, but his new soundtrack was super amazing!!

Raoni came over to watch Hunger Games and the Fountain. We had a sleepover, ate some pizza, and watched some Sylvie Guillem… πŸ™‚ It was super duper fun!!

Wednesday:

I took Claire’s advice and rolled out, which proved to be very effective in Laura’s class. I felt much more secure in my body, and mind. Β Laura’s biggest correction for me this day was to not look down, I do that A LOT. I guess its more of a confidence thing, which you need when dancing ballet. I appreciate all of the corrections I’ve been getting, since they help me out so much!

Kristina’s class was superb! We explored some more spirals, rib cage, and head-tail connection. Her class had me sweating like a mad man, but it also relaxed all my muscles while working them out.. It is very hard to describe, but I enjoy it πŸ™‚

Beruite’s class was phenomenal for me! After having Kristina, I felt more in tune with my body. She told me that my ballet posture had come a long way, which makes me sooo happy!!!!! Today I got my nickname changed from Remy (from Ratatouille) to Bolle (the amazing ballet dancer, Roberto Bolle), I am EXCEPTIONALLY happy with this. I got the nickname, not because of the dancing, but because of the face she says. Either way, I am inspired!! πŸ˜€

We all had our conferences with Claire this week, where she gives us a review on how we’ve been doing. I got my notes and will immediately begin to apply them!

Thursday:

We had Eric, from who-knows-where, who gave SUCH AN AMAZING BALLET CLASS!!! We focused on turns, tours, et cetera. I was able to barely manage to get a double tour!!! I’ve never been able to do that, but this class got me to do it. I was also more managed in the petite allegro. My second turns felt good in this class. I was very on my leg, and as extended as I could be. I took Claire’s advice and have been focusing on my 5th position, turn out, and fundamentals of ballet.

Frankies class was a composition class again. Everyone created such amazing work, which I enjoyed watching and being a part of!

Work work work.

Friday:

Began the day with Claire’s ballet class. I felt super amazing today, since I focused on rolling out all my muscles, stretching lightly and warming up before class. Claire’s class seemed exceptionally difficult today, but I loved that about it! I loved every exercise that we did, so beautiful and full. I felt so much more accomplished, even though I know there is more to work on. I also appreciate all the corrections she’s begun to give me now in class. I know that this will push me further than ever.

Next we had Jackie again. I loved this class. I felt bad because Raoni and I turned at the same time but hit each others arms.. It hurt pretty badly. Her phrase was amazing!!!! I love having her.

Claires pilates class was detailed and difficult, just the way I like it.Β When I was at work, I sneezed and felt all my abdominal muscle’s tense and the soreness began… Even now, on Saturday morning right before clocking into work… I sneeze and they are extremely sore. Thanks for that πŸ™‚

I made pancakes for breakfast with nutella, peanut butter and jelly πŸ™‚

Week 4: The Hunger Games

Such an interesting week it’s been, but all full of good stuff!!!

Weekend:

Saturday I went to the DanceWorks Chicago workshop, which was phenomenal. Unfortunately, I was still not feeling it, so ballet didn’t come out so good, even though it was a great class.. But rep was fantastic! We quickly learned sections of three of their works, one of which was first set on Hubbard Street 2!! I enjoyed the “light tunnel” phrase, which had very interesting choreography. The last phrase was fun, but it was a jazz number and a female solo, so all I can say is that I tried my best. πŸ˜‰ I couldn’t stay after rep though, since I had to work at LEGO. 😦 I’d say the highlight of this day was seeing Sarah, a previous scholarship student who convinced me to do it, she now dances with them… She’s amazing πŸ™‚

Sunday was just another work day, not much else happened.

Monday:

We kicked the week off with Mrs. Beruite’s ballet class, which as always, is fantastic. She has such a wealth of knowledge, but unfortunately I still wasn’t feeling it. I tried to take in information, even though my body didn’t want to correspond. Being a dancer with no motivation is tough, it sets you back, majorly.

Lizzie’s contemporary class was kick butt!!!! It was nice to have her teach again. She gave such a beautiful combination which, to me, revolved around the focus of the eyes and opening doors. She gave us freedom to play with it and find new ways of doing things, so long as we hit specific cues. She also emphasized the separation between the strictness of ballet while dancing contemporary.

We ended this day with a photo shoot!!! It was for the Lou Conte Dance Studio. It was a very fun shoot. Five guys and two girls. I had a lot of fun shooting with a dance photographer, even though having Claire and him analyze our technique was very nerve-racking. Can’t wait to see the pics!!!

Tuesday:

Claire’s ballet class was great, except my body again and mind. The exercises at barre and center were so luxurious and wonderful if I could just get the motivation in my body!

Victors class was very fun and fluid. He challenged us with dive rolls today!!! Ahhhh I certainly love challenges, especially those that are a bit more risky! As usual, he made it all look easy while we all… πŸ™‚

Work ended my day today.

Wednesday:

Laura’s classes are usually some of my favorite, but today was the worst. Not the class, but me… I could releve or turn or developpe! My body completely stopped… And it was a great class too πŸ˜₯ it was here that I decided not to take it anymore. I am going to make a change! And change I did…

Kristina’s class is what my body years for midweek. I usually feel more accomplished and relaxed, also more in tune with my body after her classes. This is the class where I learn to enter… The twilight zone πŸ˜‰ kidding. It’s where I learn to dance three dimensionally!

After a new found flame within, I took Beruite’s ballet after… I rocked my socks in this class. Not only had I found my motivation again, BUT I finally finished my first ever FULL PETITE ALLEGRO combination!!!! I was so stoked! Not that I did it completely perfectly, but I was able to execute all steps until the finish line! Also.. According to Beruite, I look like ratatouille! Haha, she said that he’s a cute mouse and I will just say that I’ll take it as a compliment! πŸ˜€ I felt amazing in this class, really. Her speech at the end of class, about letting go of the idea of being perfect was what we all needed to hear.

Thursday:

We had a miss Courtney guest teach. My passion was back, so I felt great in class, however I just didn’t feel her style of teaching for me, personally. She was very mellow and didn’t give out many corrections, but that’s okay, class was good. And more importantly, I was back!

Frankie’s class was great. Warm up then we spent the rest of the class trying to create a dance. It was very beautiful, and Hunger Games themed, I think! ;-D

Work, work work. But on my good note about work, after one day on register, I got a shout out by a customer online! I gave great customer service! Seven more then I get a free meal, or to make my own schedule. πŸ™‚

Friday:

Ballet with Claire wasFANTASTIC! I felt great, even though I wasn’t perfect, I felt great. Like a dancer.. A real one. She had me do a section of the petite allegro step by step, by myself, and it helped a lot! I also ALMOST finished another petite allegro! Booya! Very soon, I’ll be skippin and a hoppin! This entire class felt great!

Horton with Erin was great! She’s funny, and amazing and everything! I can’t believe she always has the power to make us so cheerful! Otherwise, her class hurts in a good way.

Pilates with Claire was painful, but I can see its effects in my dancing and body. Pilates is so essential to a dancers vitality and longevity.. It also completely skyrockets the technique! It’s amazing! And Claire is a fantastic instructor, we are so lucky to have her. πŸ™‚

_____________

Okay so you might be wondering why I titled this post “The Hunger Games”? Well, other than the fact that I just finished reading the first book (thank you CTA), I have noticed my life has been like the story… Meaning, I’m OBSESSED!!!!!!!!!!!

Firstly: I volunteered to come to chicago, from a very poor background with hardly as much dance training as the other scholarship students. I consider some of these guys to be from districts 1,2,3 and 4. The careers.

Secondly: I’ve needed tiger balm, excessive amounts lately, which is like the use of the medicine given by the sponsors.

Thirdly: I’d say I’m more of a peeta, a guy who is nice and romantic. πŸ™‚ and I have my rue, katniss, prim, and gale in the scholarship program.

Fourthly: I’ve been scarily low on funds lately, so much so that each time I spend I get closer to not having money to pay a bill… This is like the rations which leads to your name being thrown in multiple times into the reaping jar!

Fifthly: I promised everyone back home that I’d be successful. Of course I want everyone to be, but I promised that I’d be… I haven’t forgotten about everyone back home. I miss you and love you all, very much.

I have drive and motivation.

I am, Ruben, the boy on FIRE!!

Day 00: Yoga, Shows and the City

Okay, so I obviously made it to Chicago in one piece! I’ve already done quite a bit since arriving.

I got to Chicago around midnight, but didn’t arrive at my first place until 1-2am!! (Living in multiple places this summer, which is kinda great, so far!). I had planned to do yoga but I woke up late and missed it, but determined as I am, I googled yoga and came across CORE POWER, so I decided to give it a try.

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It was a studio located in uptown Chicago, and it was nice! Luck was on my side this time because not only was it a power yoga/bikram fusion studio, I was able to get a week of unlimited yoga (new student offer), along with a free yoga mat and towel rental! HAZA! So I did the hot yoga, which was intense since I had just eaten at subway a minute before the class (not a good idea). The facilities are amazing here, very state of the art, and the class was phenomenal.

After taking a shower, I went to explore the downtown area near the Lou Conte Dance Studio, where I’ll be all summer. I went downtown, and with the help of Michael C on the phone, discovered the library, AMAZING! I walked up and down Jackson and Adams streets. I found a place I had visited the very first time I came to Chicago with my friends Yvonne and Kamal. We stopped at a McDonalds to get ice cream, Yvonne’s first cone in years at the time, So I decided to stop by again today. It was nice to return to a place where it all began.

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Eventually, I made my way down to the art institute of Chicago, since I had many hours to kill before the HSDC show. I sat down at the steps since it had just closed. As I got there, I noticed a mother-daughter violin duet asking for donations for her college fund. I was so inspired and respected them both so much for sacrificing time and energy to do that, for something she really wants. I know it’s tough when you don’t have all the money in the world to pursue what you love, but she’s doing it and that’s amazing. They played very beautifully, too! That’s the mom (in red), and her daughter next to her. They were packing when I took the photo.

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When they finally packed up, I headed towards the UIC theater. I waited there for an hour for the show to start. I had to get away from large groups of people since I was alone and terribly shy. I overheard some younger audience members speaking about the summer intensive behind me during the show, which was kinda cool to know that they had came to watch it as well.

The show was spectacular! Every choreograph and dancer was so talented.
My top three favorites were:
Wedding Dance by Terrence Marling [marriage and commitment are very close to the heart at the moment],
Silver Soon by Johnny McMillan [strong use of imagery and powerful performance],
Maiden, Mother and Crone by Jonathan Fredrickson [made me think about mom <3].

My top three most interesting were:
Divide for Better Reign by Richard Walters [amazing male solo, very athletic],
Opaque by Quinn B Wharton [loved the video, it was beautifully confusing],
A Winter’s Tale by Alice Klock [male duet, with interesting costume and movement vocabulary. Also used video game soundtrack, awesome!].

All in all, everyone was amazing. The show was funny, heartfelt, thought provoking and brilliant.

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Now it’s time to train, improve and get on that stage myself. πŸ™‚
Moving to my next destination in a bit. Wish me luck!

Ruben

Step 15: Last Class

I taught my final class at DH just now.
I uploaded the final class phrase that I created in the spur of the moment… It’s a mixture of some old movement that I had previously done and some that I created in the past. Thanks to all those people who came!

Enjoy!

Remember, donations are still accepted πŸ™‚
http://www.gofundme.com/2wwe1w

Thanks,

Ruben

New Fundraising Account

Hello all,

I have a new fundraising account. Please visit, share and donate.
Thank you all for the support and love.

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

Sincerely,

Ruben

Step 14: Documentary time!

I made a two part documentary of our concert at CSUDH. I entitled it “The Experience” because this has been a bulk of my experience while at my school: performing in the shows every semester. I hope some of the students at my school see this and decide to participate.

Either way, I thought it was pretty cool!
Check it out:

Donations are still very welcomed πŸ™‚
Thanks,

Ruben

Step 13: Concerts, Losing, and Waiting

I lost at the talent show 😦 But its okay, my improv wasn’t that impressive and it was very repetitious, but I tried my best! Here is the link to the video:
https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=561507127213262

This past weekend I had an improvisational performance for the Rod Butler Memorial at my school. The memorial performance is basically a show that the theater, dance, music and art department put on together to raise money for scholarships. It was pretty cool. There was church music, choral music, guitars with an operatic singer, a skit, some music videos, and then there was us. Our dance was structured/choreographed by Doris Ressl, and it was one of the most fun performances I’ve had! It was an improvisational dance, accompanied by the jazz band, who also improvised with their music. Amy, Mel and I danced with clay, forming it through our improv into cool shapes that will be heated up and put somewhere nice. πŸ™‚ I’ll post the video, if I can, when I get it.

This weekend we have our Spring Dance show, featuring the seniors of our department. Its my final show at DH! Equally as exciting is the fact that I only have to wait about…28 days to find out if I was accepted into the Netherlands Dance Theater Summer Intensive!!! I’m hoping for the best!

Donations still accepted πŸ˜‰

Thanks everyone!

Ruben

Step 11: Talent Shows

Yesterday I improvised for my schools talent show audition!!!Β It was pretty tough because I didn’t know what I was going to end up doing, but I think I did okay. πŸ™‚

I’ll find out if I made it tomorrow. Cross your fingers!
Here is the video of the audition:

Goal: $5000 (to attend one intensive, I’m trying to attend two)
Due: June 1,2013

Once again, donations would be really appreciated so that I can achieve my goal of doing a summer dance study program at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Chicago, IL this summer, and possibly the Netherlands Dance Theater Summer Program (if admitted) right after Chicago.
Any amount of donation, even if it is just petty change is a blessing. I can be reached at RMEDINA49@TOROMAIL.CSUDH.EDU

Thank You!
Sincerely,

Ruben

Step 10: Artistic Differences, New Experiences

Haven’t posted in a while, life has been happening!

I am no longer with Nickerson-Rossi Dance, there were artistic differences that could not be helped; it is for the best. The effect of this is that I will no longer be accepting donations through the NRD website, however donations could still be made to me through mail (and everyone knows I need these donations now more than ever! I would really appreciate this gesture, if possible!). Any amount of donation, even if it is just petty change is a blessing. I can be reached at RMEDINA49@TOROMAIL.CSUDH.EDU

Something amazing has happened! The very special group of people that make up Domino Affect Dance CoΒ have given me an opportunity to work with them on a project! This is all thanks to someone very special and generous. These people are all really phenomenal and just so positive and kind, I am a lucky guy!

Just focusing on my dance technique and being happy, which I am extremely happy!!! πŸ™‚ I am currently two weeks away from performing my solo, “Solo for Shoes” choreographed by Summer Brown, at the ACDFA-Baja Region festival! I am very excited and honored.

Here is a picture of me having a really amazing time at the Griffith Observatory this weekend:

Dancing under the stars

Dancing under the stars

Once again, donations would be really appreciated so that I can achieve my goal of doing a summer dance study program at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Chicago, IL this summer, and possibly the Netherlands Dance Theater Summer Program (if admitted) right after Chicago.

Thank You!
Sincerely,

Ruben