Day 26: End of Phase 4: Conclusion

Yesterday (Friday) was my final day at the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Intensive. Bittersweet. Honestly, this month has gone by much too quickly.

20130803-064100.jpg

I did my usual morning ritual, and headed for the studio much earlier than necessary. I did this only because I had bought gifts for my closest friends at this intensive, Erik and Diana, the two who I would but the most to help me and they always did without complaining.. As well as the instructors who taught us for the four weeks: Helen (yoga), Linda (Horton), and Meredith (ballet and rep). These three wonderful instructors helped me shape myself into the dancer I became yesterday and I couldn’t be happier with it all. I got to the studio 3 hours in advance to write them ‘thank you’ cards to go with their gifts.

I also got there early so I could absorb every detail, every feeling and every idea that I have had at this wonderful studio. The bubble bump in the floor on your way to studio A and B near the water fountain.. The way the stairs crack and pop on your way down, making you think that it’s your feet… The center barre that always has a leg fall off..the huge whoosh of a noise that occurs when you turn on the restroom lights. Etc.

Eventually, I warmed up and went over some choreography with the others. Which led us to our final ballet class at the intensive :-/

At 11:45am, we started ballet with Terry. Of course, I stood next to Diana since this would be our last ballet class together (hopefully, just for now). Barre was O-k, I wasn’t focusing as much, but when center came I got my groove back. I believe that everyone danced their hearts out, I know I did. I just did it and I went for it. I felt very alive! Class was one hour and forty five minutes. It was a pure joy to see everyone in class for the last time.

Lunch was next. I met Diana’s mom, who is VERY sweet and amazing. I also got to hang out with Fuka and Erik during lunch. I secretly think that Fuka makes fun of me all the time.. πŸ˜‰

When I got to the theater I started to warm up. Around 3pm or so, I got a text from a random person online. I had went online and asked a complete stranger and his girlfriend to watch the show, and they did! It was nice. I continued to warm up.

4pm was the start of our show.. Sadly it just flew by way too quick. I could discuss all my mess ups, which there were plenty of, but that’s not fun. Actually, I feel like this is my best performance yet. I was very present to everything that I was seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking, etc (thanks Summer!). I soaked up every minute of my time on stage and now all those memories are nicely stored in my brain. The best part is that during the performance, I felt it: yoga, Horton, ballet, Pilates, improv, limΓ³n, partnering, and contemporary rep. I felt the accumulation of all that I’d been taught come together into this beautiful performance and my body. It was very intense.. Kind of like 360*dance.

The reception afterwards was nice. I spent my time with Diana and Erik the most, but also got to talk to everyone before they left. Goodbyes are hard. I said my thank you’s to the directors and faculty and had a great evening. I think the hardest goodbyes were with Erik, who is just a bundle of positivity and always willing to help… And Diana. She’s been my guardian angel. I really care about her very much and I can’t believe that she’s going back to Mexico today. I know I probably annoyed them both but they put up with it and became two great friends. I cried when I said goodbye to her.. It’s strange how close we get to people.

This has been the BEST summer experience of my life. It’s been rewarding and just an amazing growing experience as a person. God…. I just wish I could start over, I wouldn’t change a single thing!

I was able to spend the night at a friends house, and now today I have a bit of time to say goodbye to my favorite city before I head home. Update later today.

Viva la Blue Group!

20130803-070410.jpg

Ruben

Day 25: Last Thursday: Dress Rehearsal

First of all, I forgot to mention that yesterday before I began the day I ran into a ballet instructor I had when I took class at the Lou Conte Dance Studio 2 years ago, which inspired me to further my technique! I thanked her and that was that!

Today we had ballet with Glenn at 9am, even Meredith took the class. In dance, you have good days and bad days. Today was an off day. Not sure why, but I wasn’t on my leg and everything seemed even more challenging. I’ll do better tomorrow.. I know today is not a reflection of me as a dancer but more of a state of mind of the day. They combined half the red group with us. I got to take ballet with Diana which was great! πŸ™‚ One hour and forty five minutes.

Creation rehearsal for one hour, followed by lunch with Diana.

Lastly, we had dress rehearsal for the show.. Kind of stressful since all material should be complete and perfected and presentable. There is no turning back now. Tomorrow is my last day at this intensive and I am going to give it 1000%!

I am glad that my friend from my last host is meeting me today to have dinner. I didn’t know he’d still be in town, hopefully he’ll be here tomorrow to watch the show! πŸ™‚

Here is a profound quote I saw in the boys restroom at the theater:
He who binds himself to a joy,
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternitys sunrise.

Night.

Ruben

Day 19: End of Phase 3

TGIF.. Or more like too sad Friday! My day was pretty awesome today!! Did my early morning ritual, as I have been doing everyday and got to the studio with some time to get to Target to buy some special groceries for tonight’s dinner.

We started the day at 10:30 with Physical Therapy lecture: conditioning. I thought the class was going to be a drag, since they were going to have us work out a bit to learn the ways to condition, but it was VERY fun. I learned new ways to use therabands to work out arms, turn out and feet. I also learned more foam roller techniques, as well as stretches. This class definitely got me warm for ballet. One hour.

Next we had ballet with Terry. I enjoyed having ballet with him again. He gave great corrections for turning, among other things, but it really helped out my turns! It felt good to improve on something during a class. I also realized that I need to point my feet using the instep (a correction that Meredith gave everyday), it makes the leg and foot stronger and longer; also, that when doing petite allegro, like glissade or assemble, I must brush the floor and use the power from underneath (again, another Meredith correction)! One hour and thirty minutes.

Yoga was pretty sad today 😦 it was our final day with Helen, the most amazing yogi mentor I’ve ever had!! She has been so wonderful, as I said in the previous post. If there are any people from Chicago reading this I’d suggest taking yoga with Helen, it’ll change you in very profound ways, she usually teaches at CorePower in Lincoln Square, and other places! In today’s class we did Yin yoga… A very powerful practice, also painful. Basically, you allow your body to melt into ‘simple’ stretches, such as forward fold or pigeon, for five minutes or longer. The key is to let go of all the thoughts of pain, all muscle and mind control. You just let it happen! It was a very emotional experience to let it all go and just be. We got massages with essential oils, which rocked! I just wish we could take her home and just have her fill my life with zen. I dedicated the first half of my practice to my ex, and the second half to myself. I am in love with my life and inner being. I love who I am, and I wouldn’t change anything. πŸ™‚ one hour too short! 😦

Lunch.

We saw 27’52” by Jiri Kylian. Powerful, amazing.. Breathtaking. Meredith was in my favorite section of this work: a duet with heavy machinery sounds. It was very brave and invigorating when one female company member did a duet with a male, while being topless. The piece has its title since its 27 minutes and 52 seconds, in case someone didn’t know that. The piece revolved around the deconstruction of the stage, something that isn’t often shown!
Here is a clip of it:

We reviewed Casi-Casa with Jason. Today we split up into groups and put two phrases together by having the groups do these different sections simultaneously until it joined into beautiful unison. It was so great to watch! One hour.

Lastly, we reviewed with Kelly her solo from Too Beaucoup. Today she asked us to be more indulgent and weird. It was FUN! I enjoy this solo work. It’s almost as good as biting into a juicy peach with saliva and drool all over! πŸ˜‰ one hour.

I brought my dirty dance clothes home, and invited Diana to dinner. I had my host and Diana relax as much as they could while I cooked for them. I made enchiladas for them!! Here is a picture of my cooking, and my host with Diana eating it! πŸ™‚ it was nice to have two very nice people hanging out and eating with them. I hope the rest of my life is this fun and fulfilling.

20130726-225416.jpg

20130726-225447.jpg

Friday is our showcase! I hope I get great roles πŸ™‚ I’m so sad that its all over in a week.. I wish this could last forever :-/ I will make the most of it next week!!

Ruben

Day 18: Death is Only a Door

Hmmmm… So today was pretty hard, but before I get into that I’d like to say I had an amazing day! Last night I spoke/hang out with a guy staying at my hosts house for the night. He is a very talented musician, and very sweet, we stayed up until 1am! It was nice to talk to someone about the intensive, and have them be so interested in what you’re doing! Of course, all my hosts have been very excited for my experience, they’ve all been amazing. My host now has a new song every morning for me to feel inspired so I could have a good dance day, it’s very kind. I was a bit sad that the guy staying the night had to leave in the morning..

I woke up, had breakfast, showered, and went straight to the studio; much earlier since: it’s the early day, and the water pipe had busted so no water in the fountains (I had to go buy a bottle next door at the Target). When I got inside, I began to warm up, but there wasn’t enough time for that. Terry was supposed to teach class, but we had Meredith instead for ballet.

We started ballet at 9am, and it was a great class. I say that a lot, but I always mean it! I love her classes, I always see myself improving! I got to wear my NEW FLESH BALLET SHOES today! They were a bit smaller, so they fit my feet exactly and my friend Alicia showed me how to be lazy and tie the strings around rather than sow them on! Fantastic! Having better fitting and looking shoes makes a HUGE difference in the way you dance. I was more focused and I felt as though I did much better. Towards the end of class, Glenn came in to watch us go across the floor in our grand allegro. I always feel more pressure to do well when he’s around, and so I do! I think I did much better today, but this class wore me out! One hour and forty five minutes.

Next was Pilates with Kym. Her class was very killer, no joke. We did the ab series, which I do every morning and/or evening, but we repeated them from 5-4-3-2-1 times each…. Which means we did each segment 15 times. It was so hard! The rest of the class was also difficult, but in the end I felt much stronger. I enjoy Pilates, after its done of course, since it is very painful. One hour.

Yoga was amazing today. We had to wear blindfolds and earplugs in our practice today.. SO HARD, but very enlightening and empowering. Helen is definitely my most favorite yoga instructor ever. She is just very amazing inside and out, and has pushed us all far beyond our limits. I dedicated my practice to my ex, wishing them happiness, and to an ability to forgive and forget. I plan on moving on because living in pain is not fun, nor is it worth it. I shouldn’t suffer if I don’t have to, and in this case, suffering does nothing for me. I will be strong, even if it is hard.
I’m in the blue blindfold and red shorts! One hour.

20130725-213925.jpg

20130725-213930.jpg

Lunch. Took Helen’s advice and had moments of peace and quiet. It was nice.

Horton with miss Linda seemed as though it was going to be a slow painful day, since we were exhausted and had just eaten. We rolled into class, beaten up, and not wanting to move much, so here’s what she did: she gave us a floor barre warm up! It made me think of Doris (CSUDH dept of dance director), it was the exact same exercises, but I hadn’t done them in so long that it hurt! But it was nice and invigorating. Afterwards we did the real stuff. We traded in a nice warm up for a relaxed body while doing Horton. We ended with a very fun, high energy phrase. Miss Linda gives the best Horton classes.. I love doing table top turns and figure four turns.. So fun! One hour and forty five minutes.

Lastly we ended with Meredith who reviewed with us ALL that we learned from Little Mortal Jump, which is my favorite rep. I was able to get more into my body and use my emotions through my movement (not to be confused with giving ‘face’). I hope I get to do this rep for the showcase! One hour.

We ended up staying to work on our creation, which we did. One extra hour.

I stretched and got another mini private with the amazing Diana πŸ™‚ When I got home, the guy that was supposed to leave ended up staying until 9pm, which was great! He even gave me half of his food, which is so nice after a long day. He will be here in Chicago for a few more days before he moves to California, so I invited him out this weekend for a movie or something. It’ll be nice to get to know more about his creative process, since I enjoy his original music works.

Today, I was in control of my life, my body, my destiny, and my future. Although you can’t repair a broken heart so easily, you can prevent it from stopping your life. Everyone I care for gave up so much to have me be here, and I will make the most of EVERY minute. I still hurt, obviously, but I will find ways to let go of the pain and be stronger… Wishing them all the best in the world and all that I couldn’t give them.

Every ending is a new beginning. Or as its said in Cloud Atlas, Death is only a door.

Ruben

Day 17: Diving Deeper

Today started off a bit slow, since I was very sore. I ended up giving a lot of myself the day before in Glenn’s class, and rep, so I was very tired. I went to the studio very early, but passed target along the way and bought myself a pack of therabands, so that I could work on my legs. It’s the first time I ever work with a theraband, it was difficult, but felt great. I also did Diana’s exercises, as well as the ab series, of course. I felt great until the day started.

We had ballet with Meredith at 10:45am this morning, it’s been so long since we’ve had her. I missed her class immensely! I was trying my best to apply everything I’ve learned from everyone. I thought I did great but I know I could’ve done better, as usual but today especially. I will learn from this experience and move forward. I just need to stop making the same mistakes… I’ll get it! One and a half hours.

Next we had Horton with Miss Linda! It began rough and kept going rough because my tendinitis was acting up. I definitely could’ve done MUCH more in this class but I held back since I was tired, sore and careful of my body. The class was great, but it was very painful. We learned a lot of fun things, like hinges and the sort. One and a half hours.

Lunch.

We had repertoire with Jason again, where we learned even more from Casi-Casa . This section was really organic and nice. It was also very fun! I definitely enjoy doing Mats Ek work. I usually think I’m a magician when I do this section. πŸ˜‰ I was able to regain my momentum when I began doing the rep. Sooooo great! One hour.

We worked more on our creation for an hour. There are definitely some nice elements in our works. The girls are very much in charge. These girls are amazing, I enjoy learning from them.

We ended with partnering from Little Mortal Jump with a different group. I loved my partners, they were very great. Today Kelly and Jason really went into even more detail today. I was able to dive deeper into the duet today, since I knew it and was able to really perform at the end. I wish I could’ve done it more than twice. Jason and Kelly even performed for us, they ROCK!!!! Even better, I got to do a partnering lift with Kelly!! I was so nervous, but that made my day! πŸ˜€

At the end of the day, I stretched, rolled out my muscles, and bought some new flesh colored ballet shoes. I am excited to wear them for the remainder of the intensive! Tomorrow I will pick it all up and I will conquer my doubt and inability. I am still dealing with my personal life but I won’t let that overtake me.. I can’t change anyone or their minds or hearts, I can only make myself better and keep moving forward!

Ruben

Day 16: Ballet Blast

Today was a long day. But it was better, dance-wise at least.
I woke up and headed to the studio, but today, my host guided me to an underground Chicago tunnel way that led me to the train lines. I didn’t know it existed, it’s pretty wicked. I had to get to the studio early to do Diana’s workouts for my ballet technique, so I arrived at 8:50am.

When 10am came around, we had improv with Jason. We played Olympics/charades improv competition. It was fun, but we lost. One and a half hours.

Next we had Pilates, which burned a lot. I was focused, so I did better. It was a nice class. One hour.

Lunch.

Next was ballet with Glen (DIRECTOR of HSDC)!!!! He has an amazing ability to teach ballet. It was one of the best ballet classes I’ve ever taken. I used a lot of Diana’s training in this class and I feel as though I did the best I’ve done this summer. Also, in his class I felt as if I could do anything. I saw my improvement, HUGE, from when I took his audition ballet class! I’m happy with my performance and improvement. I even almost got the petit allegro! One and a half hours.

We had rep with Kelly (HSDC), she taught us her solo from Too Beaucoup.it was challenging, but so amazingly quirky. I loved the thought process and performance level of this solo. One and a half hours.

Lastly we had partnering with Jason and Kelly. We learned the HARDEST and most beautiful duet this summer! It was a duet from Little Mortal Jump. Breathtaking!

Personal life: more difficult than ever today, it’s not getting easier. I’m just glad that it didn’t affect my performance today in class. I just want this nightmare to end..it’s hard. I’ll keep treading.

Ruben

Day 15: Yoga: Moving on is Difficult

Today was a really bittersweet day. Good in that I started my third week, but hard because of my split up..

I got to the studio at 9:30am, since my great friend Diana gave me a ballet private (since she’s amazing). I learned a lot from her.. I mean a lot! She’s a phenomenal instructor. She was able to help me correct a lot, especially my tenseness in ballet. I really appreciate having her in my life. The private was an hour.

At 10:30am, we started our intensive with a PT lecture. Topic: Stretching. I really enjoyed it since they gave us another sheet with stretches for certain areas of the body. She also gave us a lot of exercises, and info based on our injuries. She was great. One hour.

Next we had ballet with Jason (HSDC). His ballet class was different, it focused on other areas we hadn’t gotten to in the intensive. Although, we didn’t get to jump much, but that’s okay. He was pretty funny. He kept saying he wasn’t good in ballet but I thought he was amazing. Miss Linda joined us for barre. I applied as much as i could from Diana’s private, which made it easier and less tense. One and a half hours.

We had yoga next. Hardest class to ever get through… I couldn’t help but cry. Luckily, nobody noticed. I felt as if a part if me was missing. Of course, I didn’t have the necklace on. That hurt. I dedicated my practice to them.. I still love them. I just wish someone would tell me how to be, so this wouldn’t have happened. I feel as though I wasn’t enough… One hour.

Lunch.

We had video class. We saw Little Mortal Jump, I cried again. Such beautiful work, such emotion… And yet I feel so alone. We also saw Too Beaucoup, which was silly and cool.

We had an hour of rep with Jason. We learned more of Casi-Casa. I loved the new section but all this was a distraction, for the entire day. One hour.

We ended with Meredith reviewing rep. Again, difficult with all this going on. One hour.

I see that my missing half has moved on. Or so it seems to look like it. It hurts, and moving on is the worst part. I just need time, I guess. I just wish…

Ruben

Day 12: End of Phase 2

I can’t believe I’ve lasted this long! Honestly, this week has been full of a few days where I thought that I wouldn’t be able to get through it all, but I’m here and I made it to the end of the second week so far. We are now halfway done with the intensive, and it ain’t getting any easier, the complete opposite actually!

I had to leave a bit earlier today, to get breakfast since I didn’t have any at home today. I grabbed some Subway before getting on the train. I got to the studio around 8am, went to Target next door to get more food, then went inside the studio to warm up at 8:30am.

We started with ballet at 9am, with Meredith. She gave a great class that focused on all the little things that I need work on. It was nice to work in that light today, especially since its the killer schedule! I was working so much in class that my shirt, sweats, and hair were DRENCHED! It was awesome. I need to keep the consistency of my technique/port de bras in center as I do at the barre. She gave me that same correction today as yesterday. Hopefully I get it right before I see her next week for class again. On the bright side, I did much better in the petite allegro! Inch by inch wins the race. One hour and forty five minutes.

Next we had Pilates with Melanie again. She kicked our butts, and abs today. One great thing is that I felt myself use all the right muscles and not the hip flexor during developpe in an exercise! It was great, I need to take that into ballet class, seriously. My right hip flexor keeps straining and I’m not sure how to stop using it! One hour.

I thought yoga would be nice and easy today since it was Friday, but we had no luck. Actually, today was the hardest yoga day yet. We focused on a lot of push ups. A lot of triceps workouts. A lot of abdominal work outs. A lot of butt work outs. And some chanting with breathing. It was a very funny painful experience… Not funny haha, more like I can’t believe we’re doing so much….haha. We got through it, I think. One hour.

Lunch was nice. Except each time we have lunch our bodies cool down waaaay too much, thus making it hard to return.

This ‘cooling down’ effect is no worry for the great Miss Linda. She whipped us back into a hot sweat in two minutes of her Horton class. Today was difficult… We did much more than expected. We also did push ups… Which after yoga and Pilates, was a bit of a pain. We worked on low laterals, which are difficult. We ended with a great phrase that was high energy and fun. At the end, half the class went together as the rest of us clapped for them,,.. Miss Linda is a phenomenally fun and funny instructor. Great class. One hour and forty five minutes.

We ended the day with review of Jonathan’s rep. It went well. I loved that he gave us freedom to make choices, he also challenged us to think about why we did every move….hmmm sounds like something Mrs. Summer Brown spent a great deal of time teaching me πŸ˜‰ I love choices and cause/effect!!!!! One hour.

I’m going to rest and reconvene tomorrow. πŸ™‚
don’t forget to send me mail! Address is in Day 9, at the very end!

Ruben

Day 10: Male Duet

Today was the middle of the week. Wednesday as many like to call it. I didn’t get any sleep due to the multiple nightmares I had. So I woke up half-asleep, which seemed to be the theme of the day. It was difficult. I left for the studio slightly earlier than needed to try to wake my body up, for more energy…

We had improvisation with Johnny at 10am. He led a great “whatever”-feel improv class, it was awesome! Unfortunately, it was hard to get into the swing of class at first since my exhaustion and lack of energy was too much to handle. Eventually I got into the swing of things. I was partnered up with the amazing Alicia (pronounced Elysia), when Johnny led us through this intimate duet improv. It was an amazing feeling, since it didn’t feel like two people existed, just one. I guess that’s how true partnering should feel, always. It was great! We did tons more stuff but we ended with this so you think you can dance styled improv: one person improvises for the camera, the camera person (or director) chooses different angles and concepts to try. It helps with the 3-D dancing that is sometimes lacking in people…FUN! One and a half hours.
Here are clips from the improv class:
improv 1
improv 2

Next we had Pilates with Melanie. It was challenging, and with the way the day was going it was almost impossible! I learned a lot, but I can’t say it felt right. One hour.

Lunch was a nice break, I overate, which made me feel good, inside… Until.. We had ballet, with Lucas (HSDC rehearsal director)! It’s the same Lucas that taught the HSDC master class at the music center last month, which I attended. His class was nice! It focused on elongation rather than poses, and nice use of the feet instead of just pointing. I thoroughly enjoyed his class, even if I was still digesting! One and a half hours.

Repertoire today with Jonathan (HSDC), was the hardest thing ever. The movement was gorgeous, it was his own creation from a work from the danc(e)volve show HSDC had in June. I enjoyed the creation but I couldn’t muster the energy to do it well. It was even hard to focus on what was being taught. I was so wiped out, it wasn’t funny. One and a half hours.

We ended the day with something that gave me a lot of energy, the one thing that always does: partnering!!!!!! I love partnering, but today had a twist… It was a male duet, which meant we did same-sex partnering! I enjoyed this immensely since its never taught, and Eric is a great partner. The movement was a little hard and strange to get into with all the hugging, and slow motion rolling with each other (since its a male partnering) but it does make for an interesting duet. This was a duet choreographed by Robyn and taught by Jonathan and Johnny. It was pretty awesome and I think we did great!

Now I’m home and I’m going to stretch and knock out soon! I’m going to make up for lost time today.
Till then, don’t forget to send me mail! The address is in my last post! πŸ˜‰

Ruben

Day 9: Nutrition

This morning I was so dead and out of energy, not to mention sore! Again, after breakfast I felt much better. I headed out to the studio and arrived around 9:30am.

We began with physical therapy lecture on nutrition. I learned a heck of a lot. I didn’t know that we had to eat more, as dancers. It’s dumb to admit it, but I always had a weight gain fear, even though its not likely my body will gain weight.. I also learned about the right types of nutrients and foods I needed as a dancer to keep me going. One hour.

Next we had miss Linda… But today she taught BALLET! And what a great class it was! She gave this killer, literally killer, adagio at center. She had such a nice way of explaining the art form. The sidewalk chalk was my favorite metaphor for rond de jambe’s. One hour and a half.

Yoga was soooo nice today. We focused on the breath and different breathing techniques. These techniques can be used for stress, liturgic feelings, anxiety, etc. We also learned about actively stretching during pigeon, and we were taught how to do this:

20130716-194101.jpg
I couldn’t do it today, but I will work towards it! I’ll get it soon! One hour.

We had lunch, and I ate my lunch and dinner :’/ I couldn’t help it.. I was just so hungry!
After lunch we had video, where we saw a bit of the SPECTACULAR One Thousand Pieces by Alejandro Cerrudo. Here’s a rehearsal clip of it:
It is a MUST see if you’re in Chicago in December!

Next we had rep with Johnny (HSDC) and he taught us a great phrase from Little Mortal Jump. He was so funny, but he really rocks his socks with how amazing he is! I enjoy working on this dance.. Such powerful music set to power movement. Just transcendent and its best. One hour.

We wrapped up the day with one hour of repertoire review with Meredith. We reviewed all three sections of Little Mortal Jump. She gave great insight, as simple as just listen to the music and hear the changes, swells, etc.. Dancing it was much different when you listen and make choices.

One huge shout out to my friend Diana Leon. I watched her doing the rep taught by Johnny and she blew me away single handedly! I was inspired by her naturalism, flow, focus, and intention. She clearly stands out in her group! Not to mention she is a ballet rock star! πŸ™‚ I tried to incorporate as much of what I saw from her as I could in my own dancing.

Ruben

By the way, you can all send me mail at:

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Ruben Medina
Summer Intensive 2013
1147 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

πŸ˜‰ just a hello letter would be nice!