What kind of man

Every once in a while, I stumble upon a song that instantly becomes my new music crush. As you may have noticed. (If you feel the need to be kind, you can now pretend to be surprised and say ‘No! Really?’) A few weeks ago, not to say a month, I accidentally ended up watching one of Florence & The Machine’s new clips, and it caught me straight away. Not only the song is really good, but the video just makes it better. It’s well composed and beautifully made. The combination struck me.

Which wasn’t really hard, because the song is about a difficult relationship. Seeing how things have been going with The Boys lately, I feel something inside scream dramatically ‘O MY GOD YES’ at the lyrics. The video includes a lot of touchiness, like when some guys takes Florence’s face in his hands – that kind of touchiness. Next to that there’s also more explicit touchiness, but all brought to you in such a way that it’s never really uncomfortable to watch.

In short, I’m just very fond of this song and video.

Now, inspired by this video and by my most recent adventure with A Boy, I came up with a few things you can do when things go wrong.

What To Do When A Guy Stops Talking To You Or When Things Go Wrong In General

1. Don’t even do the effort of thinking there is a logical explanation

People, unfortunately, are not logically thinking creatures. If only! I often think there’s some understandable reason behind things, because I like ratio, but let me tell you that that’s too much to ask sometimes.

2. Take a ballet class

Thank god for my ballet classes here. My muscles and stamina obviously need it… Also, ballet demands control of yourself. Of your muscles, of your thoughts, of everything. And you need to maintain a straight back all the time. Somehow it makes me feel very powerful, and that’s not bad, is it?

3. Put on your heels

Sometimes, those 5 extra centimetres added to my 180 cm can change how I feel. I’ve told you that before. Especially with my height I sometimes feel intimidating. Which I don’t mind! (If I don’t want to be too intimidating, I just smile kindly at people.)

4. Bother those who should be bothered

After a few bootycalls in the middle of the night, I decided to take a small revenge by bothering him a few times, reminding him of the fact that he’s got some explaining to do, as he promised. I knew he wouldn’t, but at least I reminded him of it. There’s no way I will just keep my mouth shut and give the impression I accept this. My sleep is important to me, so if you wake me up in the middle of the night twice, you just ask for revenge.

5. There are other things

That are certainly more important to be worrying about right now. Something along the lines of presentations, tests, trips, money, and so on. These are things that cannot be battled by wearing heels or going to a ballet class. So I’m doing my best to focus on making everything go right. Which isn’t always as easy as it seems… But hey, we’ll get there.

Now, go ahead and watch this video, listen to the song, and enjoy the drama!

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To Dance Or Not To Be

One of the first things most people get to know about me, is that I am a dancer. It’s one of those most present, obvious things about me, apparently. NBI the dancer.

But I’m not taking dance classes anymore. I didn’t enroll myself, because of a few reasons. The first one, obviously, is that I believed I would be in Russia now. When I decided to stay, I only had one more week to enroll myself. But I also suddenly had to start my life in Belgium over again. The second reason is that I didn’t want to pay for a whole year while I could only attend classes for three months. And last but not least, they would be preparing a show, which I couldn’t take part in, because I will be abroad then.

Long story short, I’m currently not taking dance classes.

But how I miss it, how I miss it… Mentally, physically, I think I underestimated this. I don’t mind not getting up at 8 every Saturday morning, but that’s about the only bright side so far. I just really want to dance, I always feel the need to dance, but now I lack the space to properly do exercises. Every Saturday, every, every Saturday evening, I do dance in my room at home. It’s something. There is not enough space to do all the fun stuff though. No real jumping, no going from one side to the other while turning, no such things are possible.

There is also no good teacher who makes up new exercises, who corrects me, who makes good choreographies. What I do every Saturday evening is mainly to do something physical, to stay in shape a little, to not lose my technique and flexibility. Also, I do it to move. I still feel good when doing ballet exercises, even when space is limited.

I’ve come to realize that dancing makes me deal with things as well. It’s a form of meditation. You think of the music, the steps, all that, but you don’t really get the chance to think of the assignment you still have to do, that one thing you said to that person, what you still have to buy for dinner. And sometimes, when you’re really struggling with some issue, it helps to dance it out a little. Therapy in the dance studio. Yes, I know I’m getting cheesy.

I don’t just miss it mentally though. I’ve never had back aches so often, and I think I now where they come from : I move too little. The best cure for back aches so far for me, is to use my back, bend it, dance. It helps. Backs should be used often, and when you sit for too long, it will protest.

So you see, I’m made to dance. I’m not made to dance professionally, but my body screams for moving when I hear music. I still can’t go from point A to B without throwing in some arm movements or kicking legs. That’s what I’m made from still, that’s what I’m made for still. So I can’t wait to take dance classes again, to be in a dance studio again and to move, and to sweat, to feel elegant again.

I don’t want it. I just need it.

(To breathe, to feel, to know I’m alive – bonuspoint for anyone getting that Tool reference.)

Of course, no post on dance without a good video. This dance duet is so powerful, so beautiful, so heart crushing and impressive (all those lifts!). Warning: may beat you up mentally. But trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Is there something you cannot live without? What defines you for most people? Do you love dance? I promise not to hate on you if you don’t, however hard that will be 😉

Hunted down!

Great news: The Indecisive Eejit has hunted the music down! Wonderful, wonderful. I would like to thank everyone who has commented and tried to help me. I knew that asking help here would lead to something, like it has done before already. I can now present you the one and only piece of music used for the Simple Things pas de deux:

Silouans song!

 

You see, the harder it gets to find something, the more you want to find it. And now Juls has helped me out, I can listen to this music without the coughing and background sounds. I like this piece of music a lot. If you know some of Arvo Part’s music, you can immediately recognise it as his work. I’ve never known any other composer who works with silence like him. He builds in these quiet moments, where you almost want to hold your breath. And strings, how I love strings. It’s such beautiful music and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do, especially now it’s got a name!

Thank you so much, Juls 🙂

Side Effects

Note: fear no dance clips or dance talk! I will only talk about the weird things you start to do when you are a dancer. Because it affects your life in the weirdest way… I have been dancing for twelve years now, and let’s take a look at the weird habits I’ve got now thanks to that.

1. Looking at feet and legs and having full conversations about them

Nice feet and legs are important in dance. Archy feet are admired. So you can easily spot dancers: when you hear someone having an entire conversations on feet, it’s prettyy safe to say you found him. Plus: as a dancer you tend to look at legs and feet, whether they belong to a boy or girl, and judge them by how they’d work out in dance.

2. Random arm movements

My arms are my weak spot in dance, so I tend to train movements when I’m not using them. Mostly when I’m studying or moving from spot A to spot B. My family is used to that by now, but I sometimes forget that I shouldn’t do that when there are other people around…

3. Moving from spot A to B by pirouettes

Or arabesques. Or piqués. Or whatever. It’s very hard not to throw in some moves when you get the chance. Though just like the arm movements, you should watch out where you’re doing that…

4. “I can’t have short hair, how am I supposed to tie it up in a bun then!?”

Look. This is a nice leg and a good foot. Not hyperflexible, but with a nice line. From Pointe Magazine I believe. Ekaterina Kondaurova.

5. Appreciating the smell of hairspray

It’s the smell of performances, so it’s a good smell, because performing is fun. I really like the scent, though I’m probably one of the few people in this world…

6. Turning out your legs when waiting in line

Why not train your turn out when you get the chance, right? Turnout is not as easy as it looks. So when you’re waiting in line, it’s the perfect setting to train it. Unless you don’t like to get weird looks, that is.

7. Having an extended knowlegde of classical music and French

It’s not unusual to like classical music, but as a classical dancer, chances are high that you know more about it than your neighbour, to name someone. You hear it so often, dance to it, see performances with it, it’s just a common thing. Right?
Everything in ballet has a French name, so wherever you live, you will know a bit of French.

8. Judging music on it’s ‘danceability’

I tend to like music when I can dance to it. I know I like music a whole lot when I really, really, want to dance to it. That’s why dubstep is a no-go for me. You can only dance it to it when you’re high or drunk, which I am not. So what’s the fuss about then? I also see movements in my head when hearing music. Thinking about dancers can keep me busy until I fall alseep. Making up random choreographies to the music playing in my head. It’s very calming.

They should put a warning on dance. ‘Affects your life in a serious way!’

So what are your hobbies and what weird habits have you got because of them?

Inspiration came when discussing feet over here.

The World’s a Stage

With the exams currently happening and a lack of sleep, my emotional balance is a bit off sometimes. Mostly I’m just tired and sick of learning, but I know from experience that everything can become a huge drama if you don’t hold yourself back. And often, mostly before an oral exam I worry for, I tell myself one should always maintain one’s dignity and self-control. Like the exam is a stage, you’re going up, smile and wave, and if you need to breakdown, do it backstage.

If there’s one thing you learn from dancing, it’s to keep going no matter what’s hurting, no matter how tired you are. Unfortunately this virtue mostly only exists in me when I’m in a dance class, and not so much when I’m studying. Though I must say I have become pretty good at smiling and waving when I actually really want to cry. I used to take the test when I was really angry, then I’d go to a mirror and smile as charming as possible.

But the same counts for physical pain. I remember hitting someone during my last show and it hurt like hell even weeks later on (poor me). What to do what to do? Easy – you smile and that’s it. The world is a stage and even when you hit someone, or someone hits you, you have to smile and keep going. I know it’s easier when you’re really on stage and there’s music playing, but in the end you’ll be the one curtsying elegantly, so you win.

Ballet has this really good tool to help you train this ability. They’re called pointe shoes and make you dance on your toes. Really on them? Yes, on top of your toes. Is that uncomfortable? What do you think, darling? It’s not the most comfortable thing ever, no, but when you have the right shoes and they have been molded a bit, it’s actually not as bad as you might imagine. I had my first pair of pointe shoes when I was 13, but I didn’t have class, so I trained a bit by myself. They got too small, but I still kept using them. This year though, my teacher decided we would have pointe class, so now I’ve got a new pair which really supports my feet and look great.

Me is happy!

015

Am I a ballerina now?

Getting pointe shoes is a big step for every dancer. It’s like a dream coming through – even if that dream kills your toes. It’s the cherry on the cake. Because really, pointes give a kind of magic you can never really get without them. They make you look so light you can just dance on your toes like it’s nothing, while in fact it needs year of training. Also, in ballet lines are very important. When you’re not on pointe, your line always gets broken by your toes sticking out. Eech.

020 - kopieFor those wondering, it are Blochs serenades. For others wondering, that’s the door to my room. I don’t think the floor is real wood, but it is very cosy.
Now, where was I? As you can see lines keep going in these. Together with the ribbons showing off how small and nice your ankles are – I must admit I like slender ankles – it makes you look very elegant, perhaps fragile, while in fact you are really strong, especially in the legs, and your toes probably look bruised and battered. But you know, it’s all about illusions, as you might remember.

002It might be due to the many years of practice in the too small pointe shoes, but I’m actually quite okay in them. I managed to do a double pirouette already, I am able to do some rather inelegant fouettés, and the hops Giselle does across the stage (hops on pointe indeed!), I should be able to do those too. Though of course I only practised everything in my room. In our dance class we’re doing the obligatory exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles, but I’m not patient enough – I actually want to dance in them!

Now the only thing left to do for me, is to be ‘discovered’ by a ballet company and become the ruling star there. I feel like I’m getting closer already… But above all I get to learn to stand on my toes and smile though they feel a bit crushed. However much they get to hurt, you just keep going because it looks good and is fun somehow, and in the end you will get to curtsy, just like you deserve.

018If you’re wondering now whether it was all just an excuse to show you my feet in pointe shoes, well, it totally was.

Evil is the new sexy (part 2)

I don’t feel the need to be evil as much anymore since it stopped raining and the sun every now and then shows up, but still, there are too many good examples of evilness to just let go of the subject. Don’t miss out and read this too!
First, I want to show you a short dance clip from So You Think You Can Dance – the Flemish-Dutch version. This clip is about a writer and his muse, with Mad World from Gary Jules. Look at the setting, the clothes, the light! It’s one of the best pieces in that show as far as I have seen. But more importantly: look at the evilness of the girl. She is really good, really playing with him, and obviously in control. I’m still impressed every time I watch it. Look at the way she uses the table, her movements are so… great!
But I’ll stop talking, here’s the clip. (For those of you fearing dance: it’s only a short clip!)

Slightly unrelated, but I find this song a bit funny. He sings ‘When people run in circles it’s a very, very mad world’, and at my high school, people actually walked around in circles during the break all the time…

Okay, breathe again, the next part is not a dance clip, but a scene from Inception. If you haven’t seen this movie, see it asap. Seriously. Mal is an evil character in it, but that’s because she only appears in a dream version of herself. Scary, but with that dress and that look pretty impressive as well. But very, very scary above all…

Oh dear, oh dear. I’d be running for my life… Even though this is only in a dream!

If you start to think this is only a fiction phenomenon, think again. Have you ever heard the name Lyudmila Pavlichenko? She’s considered one of the best female snipers in the world, with 309 kills. She was a Soviet sniper during World War 2. It seems that she’s quite respected by everyone, of course in the first place by the Soviet Union, but she also traveled a lot and was greeted enthusiastically. I mean, I do respect her talent for shooting, but on the other hand it’s a bit of a scary talent… (Though I would like to learn how to shoot a whole, whole lot. I just wouldn’t be able to kill people. But things are different during wars of course.)

Forgive me one more dance clip, but this one in particular has to be mentioned. Most people have heard of Swan Lake already, but if you believe it is only about white swans running on stage, you’re wrong. This is a story of intrigue and deception, betrayal, honour, love! Oh the drama. In fact the main roles are two swans: the good white one, and the evil black one. The black one tricks the prince, makes him believe she’s the good white swan, and by that she nearly kills the white one. She’s obviously the more sexy one, the stronger one, she’s evilness pretending to be good.
My favourite ballerina, especially in these kinds of role, is Ekaterina Kondaurova. I’m aware that most of you probably don’t really care about turn out or perfect lines, but look at her eyes instead, her expression, the way she tricks the prince- it’s not just dancing, but acting as well. She’s so good with her eyes. It’s very real. You can put it in HD so you really see her face. It is especially that face of her that will trick you as well! So sit back and let yourself be deceived by the evil but sexy black swan, and see you next time for more evilness!

 

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” ― Martha Graham

Just one second in no man’s land, on the edge between dull reality and glittering illusion. Ready to run, but for just one more second waiting, waiting, until the music starts to play. Darkness. Silence. A deep breath for courage, a last adjustment of your clothes- and there you go. Off the deep end.

A few weeks ago, my dance school had its dance show. I participated in three choreographies and for one of them, I had to wear a purple tutu. With pink fake diamonds. At first, it felt a bit all too glittery, but as soon as you walk on stage in those, you feel awesome. I enjoyed it, the performing, the clothes, the music, everything. Shows have their very own atmosphere – think hairspray, water, sweat and the mess backstage. There is no feeling like being backstage at a show.  We sat in the wings, watching the people on stage performing. We get to see things no one sees: the spotlights at the sides, the back of the curtain, the stage when it’s empty.

It’s a promising sight, you know, an empty stage, or a stage that’s being prepared. It feels good to be a part of the ‘elite’ that gets to see this. And it feels like magic could happen. Add some lights, add some music and dancers, and there you go: a perfect illusion. A veil of beauty over everything. A stage is a chance to be different, to let go of everything, it’s just a chance.

And you can feel that when you are about to walk/run/jump on stage. That silent second in the wings, right before crossing the border, the moment I described above- it’s the moment you know you’re going to make that magic happen (or at least, you hope so). Though I didn’t really have stage fright anymore, you can still feel the tension. You’re out there, you know, and everyone is watching you.

But sometimes, the audience doesn’t even matter. Two years ago, I participated in the most beautiful choreography I ever danced in. When the music started to play, a spotlight was turned upon us, a sort of soft, eveninglike yellow light. We, as a group, started entering the stage. It felt as entering a movie. The music was so very beautiful and just sort of carried me away. I believe you can dance at your best when the music is the trigger of every movement you make. That’s what it felt like. And at that moment, honestly, the audience didn’t matter at all. What mattered was that the music was playing and I could only show its beauty by dancing this choreography, as if the music notes turned into energy inside me. (I know this sounds sentimental, but there is no other way of really describing it as it felt.)

My god, how I loved it. I was never tired of doing it, not even when repeating it over a thousand times in class. I still get goosebumps when I see the performance on DVD. It wasn’t the only beautiful dance I’ve been in. My dance teacher can make the greatest modern pieces you can imagine. It almost feels like an honor to be in one.

You all know I love dancing, but it’s hard to describe that feeling. It’s hairspray and warming up behind the scenes, it’s the back of the curtain, the music of the first act starting to play, the second before you enter stage and the music lugging you along. Something like that. And once on stage, you become that illusion, a smile, a character, and no one (not even you) cares about anything happening behind the scenes. You are meant to be nothing but beauty, the spotlights on you and the rest darkness – because once on stage, the outter world doesn’t matter anymore.

theater

Dance Day # 7: Explosions

It seems like we’re finally getting the spring we’ve been waiting for! At last we can go for a drink during the evening and sit outside without nearly freezing to death. We’ve got this square in front of the building where we’ve got most of our classes, so every hour we are free, we go and sit there. Sometimes with French fries. That’s a very good life, believe me. That’s what spring should be like. And then I’d just want to dance around like Natalia Osipova, explosively, cheerfully, just really happy with everything and jumping like gravity is a joke. She’s a stunning dancer who can make it seem as if she’s made out of energy, and she can totally bring a smile to your face.

No next time I’m sitting on the square in the sun, I’ll seriously consider getting up and dancing around. Until I decide that just lying down with closed eyes is fun as well, that is ;).

 

The quality isn’t the best, but it’s so powerful and the tune stays in your head forever. I want that tambourine as well, and then I’d totally be going los. *tinkle jingle jangle*

 

And o, that fancy dress… Perhaps it has secret wings nailed onto it or something. She jumps higher than a real eighties mohawk. But that’s something for another post.

What does the sun makes you want to do? Lay back with a cocktail or jumping around because finally-it-has-come-omg-omg?

Dance Day 6 : What has changed in ballet?

Since a lot of people seem to search for information about what’s changed in ballet, I decided to do a better post about it than I did here. Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional dancer nor an expert. It’s but humble me, okay? Okay.

What’s changed? Well, the most important thing I guess, is the technique. Dancers have seriously improved their technique. For example, 32 fouettés are sort of obligatory in Swan Lake now, while some dancers (Maya Plisteskaya) used to do piqués as well. Ballet has, just like any other artform, imposed greater requirements. Lots of people on YouTube claim it’s a pity all dancers have become robots instead of charismatic actors. Watching dancers from let’s say 1940 you can indeed tell their technique would no longer suffice today. Are they really better actors? Are they really more charicmatic?
Who are we to judge that? I mean, stage presence was probably more important than it is now. Our view on ballet has changed – we want to see the 32 fouettés – so we expect a good technique. But nowadays, there are still dancers who are good at acting as well. Marianela Nunez as Odile is what I consider to be a good example of that. Not all dancers are good actors, agreed, but remember as well that there used to be lots of dancers, and not all of them were recorded. These days it’s easy to record a performance, you throw it on the Internet and everyone deems. But that didn’t use to be the case. Maybe only the best dancers were recorded. If you’d only record the best dancers of these years, you’d get a totally different view of the ways ballet has changed…

But yes, technique has become the most important aspect of ballet today I believe. Those who do not meet the physical requirements will not get a job. Stage presence will not get you there. But it’s definitely a pro if you’ve got it. I believe so at least. All of us deem these days. YouTube is full of people who claim to have the right to judhe and the knowlegde to do so. Ballet is no longer for an elite, it’s become something everyone can watch. But it’s not really a part of our culture anymore I think. At least here, in Belgium, people rarely go to the ballet. Especially now with all the crisis stuff, this cultural associations if I may say so, have a lot to suffer. Maybe wev’e changed ourselves, maybe we care less about this now. Has ballet become old-fashioned, Perhaps a bit. The stories are old, the music is very different from today’s music, etc. For me that’s charming, I like that a lot. But once, this was contemporary, and that’s no longer how it is. Okay, there’s this ‘neo-classical’ stuff as well, but I’m talking about Swan Lake, La Bayadere and other diamonds of ballet. Perhaps this world has become too different from our current world to really appeal to all people.

Still, there’s a lot going on in this world, it’s definitely not dead. It has changed, but change is normal and so is criticism. Have I answered your question?

For more Dance Days, check the categories!

Marianela Nunez as Odile in Swan Lake

Good things

Because good things must be appreciated.

– Some angel from heaven gave me great resumes of a very difficult subject we’ve got. I didn’t know how to start learning this stuff, but the resumes definitely make it a lot easier. I’ve started spreading them amongst my classmates, who are very grateful to me now, though I have said I’ve got them from my angel. Still, it’s fun to be thanked.

– Next week, I’m going to Swan Lake by the Moscow City Ballet, and this freaks me out a little! I mean, a Russian ballet group coming to dance Swan Lake – who would not faint at that? I’m looking forward to it, so so much…

– Also next week, a big part of our class is going to celebrate Christmas in Poland-style at the Polish embassy. It will be so much fun! I’ve got great people in my class, and it will be interesting to see how much (or little?) we can understand the Polish people there. I mean, I don’t really get any further than ‘Hey’ in Polish yet, but we’ll see – there’s a great chance it will be a remarkable trip.

– I’ve had two voc tests now, and both of them were really really good – luckily. I mean, these studies are heavier than I could have foreseen, but it feels good to know I’m able to succeed, or something like that.

– I’ve got a duvet cover with reindeers. How awesome is that??

– Toblerone. Blue cheese. Cappuccino. All present.

– I just got  a text message. Woot woot!

I can’t think of more things for the moment, but hey, there are already many good things going on. Let’s keep it that way. What good things are happening over at your life?