Tag Archives: dance

Black Eyed Peas: Translation Album Review

15 Dec

RITMO:  Takes a sample of an old favorite and twists it.  Spanish. “Do it like whomp there it is” it’s  such a good reference.  Takes a lyric from the same early ‘90s time period of the sample.

FEEL THE BEAT:  I’m not familiar with the sample song on this one, but it’s also got some Spanish language as part of a modern twist.  Socially, I like the addition of Spanish even though I can’t understand any of it (bad Arizonan) because ‘Hispanic’ is the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.. I like the rap breakdown.  I like all the references, like J-Lo and grande that just take you back to the 1990s.

MAMCITA:  Good beat on this one.  The Spanish portion is fun to listen to, and dancy and sexy even with the language barrier.  The female parts are empowered and fun, not to mention an ear-worm.  More interesting word play, which is really smart.  “Sweat like wasabi” and “wet like tsunami” are two examples of smart writing.

GIRL LIKE ME:  Possibly the catchiest bit on the album is Sharkira’s wail on the “eye-e-eye”.  I like how the lyrics are very complimentary toward Shakira.  I like the check-ins of different types of Hispanics (what’s the correct term now, I read nobody really likes “LatinX” except Latin-trans).  With Selena’s name called out.

VIDA LOCA:  Everyone who lived in the 1990s knows this beat, and it’s sentimental and catchy simultaneously.  Also, taking some Ricky Martin lyrics for this cements the throw-back.  I do NOT, however like the, “it’s my life Bitch” peppered frequently throughout.  Whether it regards a female or not, “bitch” is a derogatory term for women, historically (or used to emasculate a man) and it drops the whole album a level for me.  It could have been anything different and still conveyed the point they’re trying to make.

NO MANANA:  I don’t really know the difference musically between all the different Latin groups.  This one reminds me of a Miami club though, very dancy.  The rap interludes strengthen the song.  And the distortion and slow downs are interesting.  The driving beat lends to the club feel.

TONTA LOVE:  There is not enough female rapping in music, so i like this.  It’s still soft-clubbing, but with a dreamy element that sets it apart.  The “la la la” “fa la la” and “cha cha cha” are effective attention-getting devices used to emphasize, and complete phrases.

CELEBRATE:  I’m pretty sure the sample song is a Gloria Estafan song, but there might be a 2nd sampled instrumental piece.  And here is some Spanish I can understand.  That vamenos andale` andale` is something Speedy Gonzonlaz would routinely say on Looney Tunes, so I can gather what the lyrics mean.  Not that it has precluded enjoyment of the album to not get the Spanish translations.

TODO BUENO:  If there is a weak song on the album, it’s this one so far.  I don’t know if listening-fatigue set in or if it says the same thing too many times, but I tuned out a little on this track.  I do like the extended rap portion.

DURO HARD:  An explicit song.  Too incessant.  Needs more lyrics.

MABUTI:  The sample is insanely catchy.  I like the car speeding noises and auto-tune for a millennial audience.  This is one of the songs that works best when updated and given a Spanish-language flair.  

I WOKE UP:  I like the name checks for the NBA players.  There’s the weed verse.  There’s the wealthy celeb verse. But it’s way too many repetitions of one phrase–to the point of annoyance.

GET LOOSE NOW:  The repetition is used to effect.  Hand claps and snaps give this song a street feel.  When they get faster, it increases the tension in the song.  It’s a simple word play (vs. singing, or even rapping) which goes with the sample “ooo yay”.

ACTION:  The trills and vocal snare ( tah tah tah tah tah) aren’t overdone as they usually are in songs.  The rap section is riveting, because there are references sprinkled throughout.  There are a lot of vocal (onnawannapias?) in this one that remind the listener of other songs that had that sound.  I think it’s another interesting way to reference other material, aside from sampling the song, saying those lyrics, mentioning pop culture from that time period.  This album features all of that, so it’s very inventive they can take it a step further.

NEWS TODAY:  A Covid-19 song was tacked on to the end of a finished album.  It doesn’t go with the rest, which is very homogeneous.  Though, I can tell the song was stuck in, it’s a nice ballad, with relevant lyrics, and it’s timely.  It would have been nice to seperate it in some manner, like making it a secret song–which WOULD have gone with the theme of this album.  The 1990s were full of secret tracks.  There also could have been a voice memo telling the listener, this wasn’t really part of the album, but the band felt it was imperative to include it, because–2020.  I’ll just imagine that was there…

Every song could just blend together on this album.  The theme is perfectly executed, where the individual songs can hold up on their own, but the album could be played and the listener might never know when one song ended and the next began.

Work dance breaks

27 Mar


My Perspective on Cats: The 2019 Movie

21 Dec

Yay!  I got tickets to see Cats on a Caturday!

#1:  Before you go in, do a little homework so you understand what is happening (though this iteration does a much better job of making things clear and spelling it out then the prior version).  I listened to a podcast I found on Spotify:  Storyhole 43 Cats (The Musical).  Also, a video on YouTube was informational and humorous:  Let’s Talk About Cats.  It’s the one by Caitlin Koi. You’ll be happy you did.

#2:  Get into the spirit of the thing!  This movie is intentionally campy.  It’s supposed to be fun and silly, so watch it in that mindset.  I personally, did my best cat eyemakeup, put on some eyeliner whiskers, wore old Halloween tiger ears, and got into the spirit of the thing.  I also had a whiskey milkshake at the theater, which didn’t hurt.

So my opinions about the new movie:

I liked what they did with the scaling of the set.  It’s especially noticeable during the ornery siblings (Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer) song when they’re messing up the house.

Obviously, my very favorite cat was Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina.  She was cheeky and cute and naughty and great-per the usual.  Her part is too short and very late in the movie, but don’t worry, there’s more to enjoy.

They added (lengthened?) “Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat” a song for the railroad cat, Skimbleshanks, and it was in my top songs for the movie.  Also,Steven McRae,  who played Skimbleshanks was by far the best dancer in the entire cast, having both difficult ballet pirouettes AND a lengthy tap number.

Speaking of ballet, Victoria the curious, new cat does some pretty spectacular dancing throughout the movie (I would have liked to see more in the 2nd half) and was fun to watch.  The part was played by Francesca Hayward, an English ballerina and a principal dancer in the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden in London.  Hayward is a triple threat!  She does a wonderful job embodying her role through dance and song and just–enthusiasm and a say yes attitude conveyed during the whole thing.  I liked how the character isn’t reluctant or standoffish to join any cat during their introduction, even to the point of helping steal and ruining furniture.  It’s nice to see someone so non-judgemental on the screen.  I did not find her white face racist, but I do think the innocent portrayed in white and sinister villain in black is sorta racist, but those are also known symbolic colors (even taking race or humans out of the mix) since forever…

The villain, Idris Elba as Macavity, has one of the most beautiful costumes, but I would have loved to hate him.  He did a good job as the threat to the Gelical ball, but I wasn’t screaming at the screen or anything.  He could have gone meaner…

I got used to the costumes.  Yes, the proportions are weird.  They have fingers and noses of the human variety.  I could have forgiven that more if the makeup had made any effort at all.  Like, Jennifer Hudson had white smeared under her eyes and brown on her lower face.  That’s it.  It’s one of the laziest makeup jobs I’ve seen.  Like, my Halloween costume for work had more facepainting effort.  They really could have (and should have) stepped it up if the fur didn’t cover most of the face.  Like, do some fancy makeup/face-painting for fucks sake.  Though, I will say any man with stubble or a beard looked better than the rest because the fur technology blended a little better and wasn’t so stark of a contrast.

And to back track just a beat (pun), Jennifer Hudson’s Grizabella spent the whole movie with snot under her nose-yuck!  Her character isn’t very fleshed out and the poor gal barely even stood up throughout the film.  I guess she did the best she could with the material she was given, but I have to compare her performance to Taylor Swift’s.  The Bombalurina character was probably equally small of a role with  minor character development, but Swift really made something of her small moment–where Jennifer’s was kind of a dud.  Even the singing was somewhat meh  except for my 2 notes (intentional):  How can she sing so well from a crouched position?  I was wondering that during the movie.  And she does show she CAN belt it on the re-chorus of Memory.  But that was fleeting.

Also fleeting was the comic relief at the beginning of the film.  Both fat cats added humor that wasn’t really focused on in the original VHS.  And I liked it.  Rebel Wilson was funny and Jennyanydots’ mice and roaches and clumsiness were welcome in my view.  Having watched the original film adaption, I appreciated Jennyanydots being fleshed out (ha) more.  And when Wilson does that footwork after Rum Tum Tugger’s song, well, color me impressed.  And James Cordon was funny also.

My 3rd favorite dancing was Rum Tum Tuggers 2 background cats, with all the footwork.  I think it’s Plato and Socrates but if they said their names at all, I missed it.  So I took my best guess from the Cats Wiki page.  Anyway, I need to get a YouTube and learn how to do those moves.

Let’s see I liked the dancing, I liked the songs (obviously Beautiful Ghosts that Taylor wrote) and recognized/re-remembered that several of those songs were in some childhood music boxes I had.

Overall, I really liked the movie, got jazzed up watching it, and want it to be the new Rocky Horror Picture Show-to indulge campiness and have special, fun screenings where people dress up.

When did 10:30 PM become the new 3 AM?

22 Nov

Written yesterday:

I am so non-functional today, and it’s 100% due to the fact that I didn’t go to sleep until 10:30 last night.  But my body still woke up at 3:30 AM as it is accustomed to doing these days.  There were nights in my early-mid 20’s that I was OUT until 3:30AM, then went to work at 7AM!  You know you’re 30 when you can’t stay up past 8PM anymore. . .

The reason I was up late was the Talent Show.  I was very nervous.  I hadn’t performed in 14 years.  I had never THE shirt anteriordanced in those particular shoes.  The tap on my left heel is stiff and I have to stomp really hard to get sound out of it.  My living room carpet muffled my taps, so if I wanted to practice clean-steps I had to do it in my tiny kitchen.  And the stage was in a room used as a classroom so I couldn’t practice there until our actual room reservation–when other people were already there.  So I was never able to practice both full movements, facial expression, AND clean steps simultaneously before I was actually in front of my audience.  And the afore-mentioned music-loudness issues.

rainbow 3 (2)I had started working on this dance, specifically for this occasion in August.  So I wanted to really do the very best version of the dance I knew I was capable of.  And when I got up there–it was magical.  That sounds super-cheesy and overwroght, but I really felt good about everything.  It all came together, and I actually had fun with it–instead of worrying–what move is next, put your arms here, keep smiling, breathe. . .  I just did it.  And truly enjoyed myself.  Which showed, and got the crowd excited.  It was, without exaggeration, the best performance of my life.  Better then team or individual shows or competitions in my prime of dancing.  Better then team or duets with our clogging class.  Better then previous talent shows.  And better then any band, cheerleading, or other performance.

The stars just aligned and instead of worrying about logistics I enjoyed the moment.  And I was proud that the dance was all mine.  My special song, a costume I had spent hours and hours working on (my anatomy muscle shirt, if you recall those struggles), my choreography.  I owned it.  And I love the feeling that I did the best I could.  And of course the surprise, excitement, and praise from the audiance.  I feel like those classmates and teachers see THE shirt posteriorme differently now.  And that feels great.

I had forgotton how much clogging meant to me.  Or maybe at the time, it never felt like the cool thing to do and I sort of took it for granted somewhat.  I feel a renewed excitement, and like this is one of the things that makes me who I am.  And I had forgotten.  Now I’m motivated to choreograph another routine.  I guess for next year’s talent show since I really have no other performance venue/outlet.  Maybe I’ll make my own clogging YouTube page.  Whatever it’s for, I’d like to start writing another routine and making it even more spectacular to top this show.

But today I was too tired to do much of anything.  I couldn’t focus, but I couldn’t nap either.  I tried 3 seperate times to sleep, but couldn’t.  And you know how not studying makes me feel so, so, so guilty and unproductive.  But now I have a week for Thanksgiving break and I promise myself I will really buckle down and do what I need to and work ahead.  So Today will be my break and my reward for doing the very best I could last night.


Talent Show: 11-20-13

21 Nov

Here it is: My clogging dance to “So Much to Say” for my Speech & Hearing Sciences Talent Show.


19 Nov

I guess that’s the wrong word.  I mean, it’s accurate, but sets a more negative tone then I want.  My mind is in a million places:

-the talent show is tomorrow!

Talent Show Flyerfall2013-1-1 copy

I am very nervous.  I’m surprised how much, because I used to perform a lot, and really important team competitions too.  I never used to worry about a small, show for fun.  I also never, never used to worry that the music would be too quiet to hear.  I am disproportionately preoccupied about this damn music level of tomorrow.  I have only 4 counts to make sure I’ll be able to hear it over my footwork.  And I feel like the whole thing will get messed up if I can’t hear well. . .  Also, I want to practice on that stage–though I rarely, if ever, got that chance in my clogging prime.  I am getting more anxious as I age.  And I will cry if I don’t do the very best that I know I can do.  I’ve been working on this since August and I really want to do my best work.  And a prize wouldn’t hurt my feelings, but I don’t NEED one if I’ve done the dance cleanly, with smile and arm movements, and WITH the music (that I can hear).

-My lips are getting off-the-heezy chapped

This happens every winter, and I wish it could wait until after the talent show.  Of course my face broke out just for the occasion as well.  At least my fever of Friday and Saturday went away.  I have no idea why I’m getting sore throat/fever spells with such frequency this fall/winter.

-I had been dreading work this week

And I do not want to jinx it in any way, but it’s actually going very well, and I’m coming home normal to happy instead of stressed, worried, tired, disgruntled, and frustrated as I had anticipated.  Maybe my life is turning around!!!!  Maybe.

-What happened to Sheryl Crow???

It goes without saying that I’ve been a long-time fan.  In 1995, she was one of the first 12 CDs I ever owned (thanks BMG!).  And I had her poster on the ceiling of my bedroom.  She used to be brown-eyed, curly, brown hair, and folk/rock/indy.  Things have changed.  Now she’s country?  And looks like a wannabe sorostitute.  And too thin for her age.  Don’t women know that losing weight after a certain age makes you look weird and wrinkly and unhealthy?  I used to really like her, but maybe I’ve changed my mind?  I’m not certain.  I think it would be better if she was more–authentic?  Is that the word I’m looking for?

-I can’t decide if something is wrong with Rusty (my car) or if I’m just paranoid

It feels heavy sometimes.  At first, I thought my tire might be low, and it would need repairing (again).  And of course I was nervous about that since it happened twice in a month.  But it’s been a week, and no flat.  So is it in my head–or is there something else?  Now, I don’t know if there’s a problem or not.  So I need to decide if I should take it in or not. . .

-How could I not mention this!

To mark the talent show location, which is in a sort of random place, unfamiliar to many–I got balloons.  How could I not know about glow-in-the-dark balloons??!  So awesome!  I’m totally excited to use these tomorrow.  I hope they’re not terrible environmentally unfriendly, but suspect they might be.  But I am really excited to utilize them so I woun’t look that up until afterwards. . .  And of course, Cool and I will keep a couple for ourselves.  Though I don’t know what 2 homebodies will do with glowing balloons.

-I forgot why I originally opened a new post

So that’s all I’ll say.

Clogging Cue Sheet–>Talent Show 2013

1 Aug

“So Much to Say,” Dave Matthews Band

Music Cut & Spliced by Kidron Cool

Choreographed by L^urel Leh7


are written above the lyrics they go with; step break downs in brackets to right>


L drum feet; RS [LT,RT,LH, RH] [LR]

L drum feet; RS [LT,RT,LH, RH] [LR]

1 count

time step (long) [L stomp (xf), RT, LT, R stomp (xf), RT, LT, L stomp (xf), R RS, L stomp (xf), R RS, LT, R stomp (xf), RT, L stomp (xf)]

16+1 instrumental intro

R joey; L joey

I say my hell is the closet I’m stuck inside

R tpl


L brush; R brush

Can’t see the light

Rooster run (3 skips, traveling L) [L DS, R D (behind), LT, RT (xf), LT]

2 basics

‘And my heaven is a nice house in the sky

L charlston

I Got central heating

L pot-hole; R pot-hole [L DS, turn heels out, turn toes out & heels in, L chug; R DS, turn heels out, turn toes out & heels in, R chug]

and I’m alright..

2 basics


L charleston

Yeah yeah yeah

L pot-hole; R pot-hole


L tpl

Can’t see the light

half vine-pivot-stomp (travel R, turn half on stomp) []

Keep it locked up inside

R tpl (turn half)

don’t talk about it

high horse (turn full circle) [L DS, R DS (xf), R DS (ux), RT, R slide]


T-t-talk about the weather

L DS; R DS; L RS (complete turn)

<music gets faster>

catawba [L DS, R heel heel, L heel heel, R heel, L heel, L chug]


L buck joey

Yeah yeah yeah

R buck; L buck


R buck joey; tpl-cross

Can’t see the light

L canadian; R canadian

Op-en up my head and let me out…

buck gallop (to left)

A little baby’

achy-breaky [L DS, R DS (xf), R,L, R,L (shift wt on ankles)]


turkey [L DS, R dbl behind, L RS, R heel (to R), spin]


Cos here we have been standing for a long long time

R KY drag (travel R); R KY drag (travel R)

 R tpl


fave step [L canadian, RT, RT, R heel, L heel, heel, R drag back-L T tap; R canadian, L DS (twist L), L heel slide (twist R)]

Treading trodden trails for a long long time,


L twister [L dbl (twist L), R dbl (twist R), L dbl (both feet twist L), L heel slide (both feet twist R)]

Time, time, time, time, time, time

{slow jam} 

L grape vine w/turn (travel L); R heel, R heel 

I find… sometimes it’s easy to be myself

my-way (turn half) [R stomp (out to R), L (xf), RT, LT, RT (xf), R heel chug, R DS, L RS, L chug]


grape vine w/turn (travel L); R heel, R heel; my-way (turn half)

I find it’s better to be somebody else

STOP hands & feet [L DS, R (xf), R (ux), RT (behind), jump on both heels (hands in stop motion out front)]

L stomp, R DS, L RS, L chug


Simone Stomp  [L DS, R DS, L stomp, R stomp, LT, RT, L stomp, R stomp, LT, RT,]

I see you young and soft…

fancy dbl [L DS, R DS, L RS, L RS]

L canadian 

oh little baby

____?____ [R slap T, R slap T, R kick (xf), R kick (ux), L RS, R slap T, R kick (xf), R kick (ux), L RS]

Little feet, little hands, little feet, little feet–(same phrase)

L canadian

(same phrase)–little baby

cotton-eyed-joe turn [L DS (turn L), R Dbl, both feet stomp, R hop, R hop, (turn 3/4) both feet stomp, L hop, L hop]


One year of crying and the words creep up inside

Kokomo stomp (move forward) [L, R, L, R]

Creep into your mind–



So much to say, so much to say,

L stomp, syncopated step [R dbl (back), L dbl (back), R T, LT, RT, pause 1 count, RT, LT, L dbl (back), R dbl (back), R step, R RS]

so much to say, so much to say

hop-step [L DS, L slow hop (bring R knee up), R RS, L slow hop (bring R knee up), R RS]


_____  [R Rock-split L, L rock-split R, L chug]

{Refrain }

So much to say, so much to say,

scuff step [L DS, R scuff toward L foot & tap it, R RS; L DS, R scuff toward L foot & tap it, R RS]

So much to say, so much to say,

finish scuff step [R scuff to L foot; L scuff to R foot; R RS]

R DS, leprechaun jump [L click heels in air]


L basic; pause 1 count; dbl-dbl [L DS, R db-l (front), R db-l (back), R db-l (front), R db-l (back)]

R Rock- R RS, R slide L chug

‘Open up my head and let me out…

windmill [L DS, R DS (xf), R DS (un-x), R circle-loop behind, R circle-loop behind, R brush)]

R DS, L chug, chug


jump on both feet

little baby

do the splits

raise one hand


Trying to Forget

30 Jul

Thinking about clogging for my school’s talent show made me happy.  I was good at it.  It will be something fun–and not related to any long term goals.  It’s just stress-relief and showcasing my background.  And yesterday, work finally went well!  What a difference a  doctor makes. . .  Anyway, I never felt like a cool kid when I was super-involved with clogging.  We were not cheerleaders, nor ballerinas, or hip-hop dancers–all awesome in the wider world of grade school.  We were sort of nerdy, in my own mind.dancing

So much of the time I spent as a dancer, I wasn’t pleased when the routines pilfered popular songs.  I spent most of MY personal time (away from dancing) trying to disassociate each song I heard on the radio from the dance steps that went along with it.  The task proved impossible.  I couldn’t get the choreography out of my head.  Clogging ruined a lot of songs for me.  I just couldn’t mindlessly sing to the radio or bob my head on the team bus like the rest of my peers.  I would be thinking, “stomp, double step, double, hop, heel, kick,” and the like.  Or I would be thinking, “jazz fingers, head up, move forward, star formation.”  But never just enjoying the songs.

And it was a wide range of songs that transcended genres.  All of Elvis, “The Sign,” “Everybody Dance Now,” Twilight Zone,” “Mr. Vein,” Boot-Scoot-n-Boogie,” “Twist & Shout,” well, I couldn’t even begin to name a quarter of them.  If it was popular–there was a dance that went with it.  It really put a damper on my full enjoyment of music Laurel's pics 429for the longest time.

Thirteen years (What?!  Wow!  How did that happen?) after my last clogging class, I can’t for the life of me remember many steps at all.  I worked so hard for so long trying to forget–that I most thoroughly did.  And what a shame!  Now I’m trying to make up a good show dance, and I have only a few steps at my disposal.  And those are the most used stand-bys, nothing flashy or awesome.

Also, I can’t remember how to write the cue sheets in the simplest way, so as I’m looking on YouTube and trying to write the footwork that goes with the names I’m likely to forget, it’s taking a long time.  And I’m not sure it will make sense later.  This may be the most difficult routine I’ve tried to choreograph–and it’s Laurel's pics 762because I just can’t remember. . .

I do find it amazing, really, really neat, that my feet seem to remember the footwork though.  As long as they call out steps, and show feet, I can jump right in and do all the steps/dances on YouTube that I’ve found.  So that is pretty awesome.  I guess that’s more muscle memory than my brain?  Maybe deep, down under a lot of layers, I remember a lot of stuff?  At least my feet know what to do if my brain refuses to function how I want!  I wonder if I could pole vault still?

Get Serious about the Clogging Essay

13 Dec

This thing is all but due, and I am still in the brainstorming stage.  I need to get busy.  Like yesterday.  To do:  Answer the question (see below), shorten the essay, and provide showing statements about the characteristics I want to convey.  Easy peasy.

Knowledge or creativity in a field: Describe any of your special interests and how you have developed knowledge in these areas. Give examples of your creativity: the ability to see alternatives; take diverse perspectives; come up with many, varied, or original ideas; or willingness to try new things.

tongue, Muscle of the tongue


At least I didn’t have to do the above dissection and anatomy & physiology study of every animal species.  OK, I can DO this.  Writing is the easy part of school.  And writing about a topic of my choice, about me–should be the easiest thing ever.  Do it, do it!  And honestly readers, I just wanted to use this photo because I just found it again, and I think it is awesome.

You will quit pasting the snippets you already wrote in different orders, and answer this question!  Here goes:

Knowledge or creativity in a field: Describe any of your special interests and how you have developed knowledge in these areas. Give examples of your creativity: the ability to see alternatives; take diverse perspectives; come up with many, varied, or original ideas; or willingness to try new things.

I was a rebel just for trying clogging.  My school friends were all involved in the more socially acceptable, and notable endeavor of ballet.  They wore pink tutus and displayed careful femininity.   I was always different, and my choice of dance genre reflected that.  Cloggers did not wear sheer, pastel wrap-skirts or practice soft body-lines and decorum.  Clogging, a dance with Appalachian roots, featured stomping on double taps.

While my friends were able to take dance lessons in our small town, my mother and I drove a half hour, working on that week’s spelling words and eating a dinner of string cheese and an apple as we went.  Once inside the larger city’s blue two story Pinkerton’s Studio of Dance, all of the lean and graceful ballerinas could be seen leaning nimbly on the benches in the hallway.  Jazz dancers in black spandex pants and soft shoes stretched on the floor.  The tap dancers with their shiny black shoes did homework on the stairs between classes.  And then there were us cloggers.  We had a hardier build, and were loud compared to the lithe, graceful dancers within Pinkerton’s walls.

I walked into the mirrored room and put on my worn, white practice shoes, tying the purple sparkled laces extra tight.  The toes of my shoes were black from working on my buck steps and a hole was just starting to form on the ball of both shoes, since the majority of the steps required slamming the ball of my foot to the floor.  Since most of the other types of dance required leotards for practice, the studio was uncomfortably warm for my tee shirt and gym shorts.  I was sweating already.  Our teacher switched on a country song to warm us up.  It sounded extra loud and twangy over the soft, classical echoing down the hallway.  We had to have loud music to hear the beat over our tapping.  We danced “Twist and Shout,” one of the first songs you ever learn as a clogger, and went into “The Sign” by Ace of Base.

Though it was no fun to be the only girl in my peer-group that was not a ballerina, I do not regret my enthusiastic participation in clogging.  While my friends were pointing their toes, I was working my calf muscles and strengthening my lungs by doing a series of fast double-steps, stomps, and windmills.  Instead of learning the strict choreography of the Nutcracker year after year, I was using my mind to memorize not only countless steps, but a wide variety of songs, as well as designing novel routines.  By missing that extra time with my schoolmates, I was learning to work with a diverse group of people in a team, adapting to variable audiences throughout the Western United States, and taking instruction (and criticism) from clogging teachers and judges.  Being an individual and participating in an alternate form of dance as a student, show dancer, competitor, and instructor for eight years enabled me to accrue many more life skills than sticking with the group in a more acceptable past-time.

symphony hall 3It needs more work, but this may be the track I will follow.  It answers the question at least.  I am just finding it very difficult to edit anything out, because clogging was such an important aspect of my school life, and it all seems imperative and telling about my character.  We’ll see if I still like this one tomorrow.  Maybe next year I’ll randomly write all of my essays based on clogging so I can include everything!



Chopping the Clogging

4 Nov

This is so difficult!  I think in trying to narrow and keep it entertaining and show-case certain sholarshippy characteristics I have omitted some pertinent facts and timeline and history.  I really need to get a move on with this essay because the deadline is fast approaching.  So sorry, readers, but here is another outline/brainstorm of my last scholarship piece of writing.

Brainstorm of what Clogging Made me:

responsible, dedicated, practice, commitment, flexibility, team-work, show, positive, teacher, patient, choreographer, student, fast learning, excitement, travel, priorities, time management, organization, performer, following through, memorization, balance, calm under pressure,

Logistic things I need to make sure to sneak in:

-clogging is like tap dance with double taps.

-Appalachian roots

-I started as a 2nd grader

-clogged for 8 years

-did performance/show and competitive dancing

-taught clogging for 5 years

Possible Outlines:

1.  Chronological–>indicate what I missed–car ride–practice–blend competition pre-song and festival charateristics–finish with how I experienced more important then show I missed.

2.  Dramatic–>start with pre-song–go back around to how I had to prepare with the practice–talk about car ride–then address what I missed–wrap up with super characteristics.

3.  5 Paragraph Essay Style–>Talk about TV show–in last paragraph that compares my friends and me, insert the longer pertinent paragraphs of practice, performance, etc.

I like this as a possible intro:

1.  the blue two story Pinkerton’s Studio of Dance.  All of the lean and graceful ballerinas leaned nimbly on the benches in the hallway.  Jazz dancers in black spandex pants and soft shoes stretched on the floor.  The tap dancers with their shiny black shoes did homework on the stairs between classes.  And then there were us cloggers.  We had a hardier build, and were loud, and well, not as proper, compared to the lithe, graceful dancers within Pinkerton’s walls.  I walked into the mirrored room and put on my worn, white practice shoes, tying the purple sparkled laces extra tight, and stomped the double tap on the floor for good measure.  The toes of my shoes were black from working on my buck steps and a hole was just starting to form on the ball of both shoes, since the majority of the Appalachian-based steps required slamming the ball of my foot to the floor.  Since most of the other types of dance required leotards for practice, the studio was uncomfortably warm for my tee shirt and gym shorts.  I was sweating already.Our teacher switched on a country song to warm us up.  It sounded extra loud and twangy over the soft, classical echoing down the hallway.  We had to have loud music to hear the beat over our tapping.

Eating my “dinner” of string cheese, a cracker pack, and an apple, I spelled the fourteenth word on my spelling list.  My mom was quizzing me during the twenty minute car ride into Carson City for clogging class.  We would not have time for homework after class, because it went right up to my bedtime, and tomorrow would be an early morning.  During my years of clogging activities, my family and I had to maximize our time.  Every moment was utilized, because with clogging and school, there was not a lot of time to spare.

For clogging performances, all the girls in my group had to apply blue eye shadow and bright red lipstick so our features could be made out under the harsh lights.  The stage makeup was ugly close-up, but you could see that we had eyes and lips when we were on stage.  We also had to wear our hair in high ponytails with the strands in back falling down in curls.  My hair wanted no part of these acrobatics.  My mother would put curlers in my ponytail early that morning.  While I patiently sat on the toilet lid, she would roll small strands of my hair in the spongy, pink curlers.  I hated pink.  Then showers of sticky hairspray would coat the locks.  Fumes choking everyone in the vicinity.  I would wear my pink curlers until I was in the wings of the stage, with my clogging instructor frantically yanking and untwisting the curlers back out.

Using my peripheral vision, I scanned right and left, to make sure I was lined up in perfect formation with my teammates. Despite the downward angle of my head, I could tell the lights were bright.  Staring at my own, freshly polished white leather performance shoes, I could only hear the chatter and rustling of the audience that had amassed in the large auditorium earlier in the day.  I tried to remain calm and collected, but I could hear my own tense breathing as I anticipated the first notes of “Twilight Zone,” which would cue the beginning of the dance.  Hoping the music would be loud enough, cued to the right spot, and playing at the correct speed, I worried more that the stage would be slick under my taps.  Experience and the knowledge the sticky Pepsi they had poured over the stage was sure to do its job and provide traction helped assuage my  nerves.  At least we are not dancing outside in the middle of a gravelly street in wind and rain or blazing sunshine, like we had to do for performance routines, I told myself.  I adjusted my arm just slightly, feeling the sequence of my fuchsia and turquoise lycra costume brush my shoulder as I did.  The grinding synthesizer echoed throughout the room and without thought, I stood straight, smile pasted on my garishly made-up face, and threw my arms into a left arrow to begin the dance.

Sometimes nerves would cause team members to wander off track and you would have to steer them back in the right direction. Pretending you were having fun and there was no problem or deviation from the routine was ingrained in all of us, as we had practiced showmanship along with the steps until it was second nature.  Luckily, during this performance everyone was in their proper place and remembering their cues and steps.  We did not have to employ any flexibility or perform damage control.

As I did the buck joey I knew there were only a few steps left in the song, one more line formation, and then we would do our final toss.  Then, we would have exactly three minutes to line up on the wings of the stage for our entrance to “When Doves Cry.” This meant running off stage, hastily throwing off our pink satin shorts and peeling off our pink and turquoise leotards and slipping into our purple leotards with the sheer purple split-leg pants.  Remember the headband, I reminded myself as I  completed the last vine of the song, making sure my right toe was pointed and that I elevated my knee as high as possible on the forward crossover.

My friends at school would talk about “The Simpsons.”  To this day I have never seen a full episode, so at recess when the subject would come up, I would be lost, and feel a little left out.  As my best friends laughed about Bart’s latest antics and Homer’s ineptitude, I would just listen, not having anything to contribute to the conversation.

While my friends were gathered around their television watching cartoons with their family, I was at clogging practice.  Or studying my spelling words in the car as my mom drove us to clogging practice.  Or at some performance at a festival in a park somewhere.  Maybe I was just out in the driveway, shoes on, practicing my steps for our newest dance.

Though it was no fun to be in the dark about the coolest shows of the time, I do not regret my enthusiastic participation in dance.  While my friends were sitting, I was working my calf muscles and strengthening my lungs by doing a series of fast double-steps, stomps, and windmills.  Instead of mindlessly watching the sit-coms, I was using my mind to memorize not only countless steps, but a wide variety of songs, as well as choreography that went with each different routine.  By missing that family-time in the evenings, I was learning to work with a diverse group of people in a team, adapting to variable audiences, and taking instruction (and criticism) from clogging instructors and judges.

Aside from not knowing who exactly Krusty the Clown is, whatever happened to Lisa’s saxophone, or if Marge ever got a hair cut, I think I fared pretty well with the life skills I accrued.