Treasure Hunting # 8 : The Hunt is On

It’s been a long time since I took out my gun to go on a hunt. The hunt for music, that is. I think I kind of forgot this more or less series. But I need your help. Recently I stumbled upon a video of a danced duet including my favourite ballerina (Ekaterina Kondaurova, if you’d like to know). I immediately recognised the music as being Arvo Part’s work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly. Even after using my high tech systems (Shazam, Google music recognise thing) I couldn’t find it. I’ve searched on YouTube for a while, but this piece of music seems to be hidden away.

So now I would like to ask your help. Do you recognise this? Do you know a way to find out what it is? Pretty please?

I think I have found the choreographer on Facebook, but I find it a bit weird to send him a message asking what that particular piece is. He’s Russian though, so it would be good to send him something in Russian. Still I’d first like to try it this way. The last time I asked your help, it worked, so I have good hope that this time you will hunt the treasure for me.

The music I am searching for starts at 2:03 and ends at 7:24. Meanwhile you can watch the interesting pas de deux. It’s a good pas de deux if you ask me – especially with such music!

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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.

Team building with Igor

I started Slavic studies at university quite out of the blue. There was no clear reason, no Russian grandmother of Polish boyfriend, it just seemed nice to me. Actually it went like this: I was browsing through a brochure of one of the universities and eliminated negatively. Medicine? No. Law? No. Science? No. Engineering? NO. Communication sciences? Perhaps… But there are already so many people doing this. No. Art sciences? Perhaps… But as soon as I discovered this also included knowing what copper is exactly made of – no no no. Japanese studies? Naaah, I have nothing with Japan. Slavic studies? Yeah, why not?

Considering how hard it is for me to take decisions, this was fairly easy. After I had found that and did some research, I stopped looking for other things. Partially because I felt this was a good choice, but probably also because I was lazy and I didn’t want to end up in a giant dilemma. So after let’s say searching for two, three months, I had made up my mind.

I went to university unprepared, and ended up in a class where everyone seemed to be passionate about either Russian or Polish. There were people who had family there, others knew the Russian alphabet and some grammar, some knew the history. I knew nothing. It was a bit ridiculous. But I went to university to learn all these things – I assumed it had no use to learn them in advance if I’d be learning them there. Call it lazy, but it paid off. Never do too much effort.

“Russian language to the best” or something like that. Source.

I quickly fell in love with both languages. I enjoyed the worlds opening up for me since I now understood some words. Love at first sight. Never did I regret my decision – it was one of the best I ever made. But this year, things changed. After a billion trillion exercises I knew nothing of, I kinda broke down and started hating Russian. Let me put it this way: let’s say Polish is a guy named Jacek, and Russian is a guy named Igor.
Jacek and I would be sitting in our garden, reading poetry together while listening classical music and some ’80s music. We’d have calm conversations and make delicious pierogi in the evening.
But Igor and I… We would be throwing plates at each other, screaming and raging, ignoring each other a few days and then slowly make up with a bottle of vodka and a balalaika playing in the background. For me, Russian has alway been the language of passion and heavy feelings- both good and bad…

You see, Igor and I, we need team building to keep the bond strong so we can be buddies for the rest of our lives. Which might sound ridiculous, but really, team building with your language is very important in case you want to graduate in it.
So here are a few steps in order to keep the love burning.

1. Fall in love

If you don’t fall in love at least once, it will be very hard to maintain and keep on going. Fall in love once and you’ll always know what made you start this – even when you almost throw up after making all the exercises.

2. Find a music band that sings in your beloved language

You will hear the sounds of your languages, which is great, and you’ll want to know what the lyrics mean. You’ll get used to certain ways of saying things, certain phrases and so on. (Warning: it is possible that sometimes in classe, you will feel the need to sing out loud when someone uses a phrases from a certain song.) Music really helps me getting a grip on Russian. The band I’m at the moment crazy about is Louna.

I love their jackets in this picture! She’s totally badass and has a very, very good voice. A crush on the second from left is optional (but kinda inevitable).

3. Buy a good grammar book

In case your syllabus isn’t all too clear. And honestly, chances are high. But a good grammar book gives you a feeling of certainty. You can always rely on it and all the information is nicely put together. I myself was lucky enough to buy one in a group purchase. I’m very grateful to the older students for organizing that purchase. My grammar book is my best friend at the moment.

4. Find an idol who speaks your beloved language

I found one, and guess what she does for a living! If you guessed ‘ballerina’, you’re very right. Ekaterina Kondaurova is my current girl crush because she appears to be an amazing dancer and smart, kind woman. In fact she has many things in common with who I am and above all who I want to be. Though there are many good, great, astonishing dancers, she caught my eye with her maturity and attitude (not only the ballet attitude). It would be totally awesome to meet her in real life!
The best thing about this, is that I watch her talk in videos on YouTube. By that you get to hear the sounds of the language again. Understanding natives speakers is the aim, so listening to them is a good exercise. It will only get more fun to hear your idol talking when you understand him or her.

5. Use it

Talk. Try to find people who speak the same language. Write. Listen. Do something with it and you’ll feel how much fun it is – regardless of all the frustrations it caused you to have, it will feel good once you can use the language. Then it becomes worth it. That’s what you want!

So, in case you want to learn a new languages, keep this in mind, and you will succeed.
I hope.

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!