On my own

Mar. 22nd, 2015 06:10 pm
icepixie: ([Skating] Roca Sur love on the rocks)
So, uh, one of the two male skaters who are part of our adult coterie asked me to be his ice dance partner after the adult session today?

We had been talking about ballroom dance, because he does both the ice and ballroom versions, and then he dragged me out to dance around the open area next to the little food court in the rink. I was shocked at how much I remembered after nine years.* Then he asked if I wanted to skate with him.

Unfortunately, I had to inform him that I don't really have time or money to do both freestyle and dance, and I like freestyle much, much better than dance. Not to mention he takes his lessons out at the Franklin rink, which is a hell of a drive for me. He also really, really wants to compete at Adult Nationals, and I...really, really don't.

But we did agree to fool around with the early pattern dances at some future practice, just for fun. He apparently can't find anyone at his (very low) level who will even consider dance, or who has a ballroom background, and the women at higher levels are reluctant to move back. I'm surprised he hasn't managed to talk JB into it, since they're at about the same level in dance, but she's quite tall. That may be a factor. Or else she also doesn't have the time/money for both freestyle and serious dance.

We're also going to try to get a few other skaters together and go social dancing at the studio where he and his wife take lessons, so that will be fun. That's more my speed than ice dance.

I feel kind of bad for turning him down, since with the gender ratio in this sport I know there are tons of women who would kill to be in this position, but...I like the solo aspect of skating. I like spins and jumps. The early pattern dances that I know are SO. BORING. If I had infinite time and money, sure, but alas, I do not.

Anyway, speaking of spins and jumps, I remembered to hold the forward edge and then step up for the waltz jump and got some height this time, even on waltz-waltz-waltz combinations. I also got some nice hops off the toe pick/edge on the salchow. Alas, my toe loops had no height, but I did manage four in a row at one point.

I've managed to get my head around the RFI3 exercise P wants me to do as prep for real backspins, which translated to almost getting in the right starting position for the spin. Success!


* He was like, "You're great! I can totally tell you were trained by Russians! You have that frame!" I'm taking this with a grain of salt the size of my head.
icepixie: ([Fringe] Olivia looking up)
I wish this had been a thing when I was in the ballroom dance club at college. I guess the dancing reality shows didn't really get popular until after I graduated, though.

Tangentially, it's kind of sad to realize I recognize none of the names in that article. All of our little baby officers who were elected at the end of my senior year have been graduated for at least four years now!

*

I'm slowly admitting that the reason I haven't been writing much on the not!drawerfic has less to do with being busy (though that definitely contributed) than it does with knowing in my heart that I need to restructure most of the first chapter of Part 3. I've got a big event that really needs more buildup, as evidenced by the fact that the scene right after it is almost entirely composed of flashback, because I so didn't set up that event well. Sigh. At least I won't lose much besides my transitions, because see above re: flashback.

*

I've caught up with all the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcasts that I'm interested in. What am I going to listen to in the car now? :(

I have to say, Jib Janeen the Jupiter Spy miiiight just be my favorite character. He's definitely up there with Frank and Sadie, anyway. Speaking of whom, I really hope they have him show up to impersonate Frank at some point, and have Sadie see through him immediately. (I may have to write this fic.)
icepixie: ([Movies] Fred and Ginger heart)
I was watching this Scott Hamilton special from 2003, in which Renee Roca and Gorsha Sur do a program to a bossa nova. They have a section at the end where they're doing what basically amounts to cha-cha on skates, and I noticed that they make the exact same Cheesy Latin Face (tm) I do when I'm doing the Latin and Rhythm dances! Also the exact same hair-petting and finger-beckoning arm movements that are intended to be sexy, but which are so stylized as to remove all sexual connotation (though they still look pretty cool when done well). This is, I don't know, encouraging. Cheesy Latin Face still afflicts those who do this for a living!

I think I've almost (sob) collected every program and small group number they ever did. (I realized I had 99% of them when I was digitizing my tapes last weekend, so I figured why not see if I can finish it off? I am nothing if not a completist.) I really only lack five, and one of them I don't think was ever actually shown on TV. Another is one I swear I remember seeing, and which I have some confirmation actually aired, but I'm not sure anyone actually taped it.
icepixie: ([Farscape] Zhaan touch stars)
I did ballroom dance tonight! It was awesome! There's a group of about 100 that meets on Monday nights, when they have a (very, very basic) lesson in one dance that changes every month, such as tonight's west coast swing. Then they basically have a dance party afterwards. The age of the group tended well north of mine, but that was okay. Lots of people really knew what they were doing. And shockingly, there were more men than women. So I got to dance to every song I stayed for, mostly with one very nice older gentleman. I kept thinking, "I should leave...I have to get up for work tomorrow..." but then a waltz or an east coast swing would come on, and I had to stay. We did a cha-cha, and all the Latin abs/hip movement came back to me, and it felt so good. Plus apparently I can follow now? I used to be a terrible follow, but I did okay tonight. Not that anyone I danced with did very complicated stuff with me, but still.

Anyway, great fun. Although ultimately it's convinced me that I really need to pony up the bucks and find a studio that does group lessons, because I want more thorough instruction along with my messing around on the dance floor. And ideally those lessons would not be on Monday nights, ugh. Maybe I could do a few individual lessons until I fill in any holes that would keep me out of intermediate or advanced group classes? I don't know. Something to think about (and Google).

(Ummmm, let us not talk about how I also have the local Learn to Skate program up in another tab. I started to digitize some old VHS tapes this weekend, and all of them were of ice dancing--I was not kidding about the tape trading in the last post, y'all--and it made me want to do pale imitations of their moves. If I took lessons, those imitations could be ever so slightly less pale! And group lessons aren't nearly as expensive as I thought they would be. On the other hand, maybe I'll just screw around at a public skating session sometime and get it out of my system...)
icepixie: (Default)
Dude! There's actually a social/ballroom/popular dance reader out there! That is so cool. And useful for my paper, too.

Paper yay!

Mar. 7th, 2010 05:56 pm
icepixie: (Default)
Hurrah! I got a response from my prof about my planned paper topic. I can go ahead and write it. She agreed that the section I had planned on dance in 30s movie musicals might be a stretch, and that the material might work better as a gesture in the conclusion, but said to give it a shot anyway(!!!). Apparently there's a Katherine Mansfield short story that could go well with the Woolf novel I'm using, too.

This paper is going to be sprawling and gargantuan and awesome, and all about ballroom dance. I'm excited. Kind of wish I was up at campus so I could go right out, grab Vernon and Irene Castle's dance book and get started.

(Of course, first I have to get through my exam review. I'm about two thirds of the way through the Romantics--only Keats, Shelley, and a thickening of what I have on Emerson and Poe remain--and I'm hoping to be done with the Victorians by the time I go back to Knoxville on Wednesday. Then I need to spend probably a week sifting through what I know and what I don't know about the twentieth century, and figuring out where I want to steer the conversation to.)
icepixie: (Default)
Discofox. Exactly what it sounds like.

In the "related videos" with footage from the championships, I'm having trouble telling it apart from hustle. The steps in the linked video, though, are very obviously indebted to foxtrot. Just...done to disco music. My brain kind of hurts right now.

(I got there while I was actually researching something vaguely related to modernism. The resulting linkstream went something like the obligatory xkcd comic.)
icepixie: (Default)
This BPM-measurement widget for the Mac is WAY COOL. You tap the beat on your keyboard as the song plays, and it measures the beats per minute, then allows you to write it to the iTunes listing for the song. SO COOL. Grated, I have little practical use for it--although it might've helped narrow down the range of percentages to which I needed to speed or slow down footage in my recent vids--but I still think it's nifty.

(I've done enough rumba that I sometimes forget to tap on the "1" for songs in 4/4. Heh.)
icepixie: (Default)
I was not expecting this to work nearly as well as it does. (It does seem to fall apart a bit near the end, but the beginning is really impressive. You know, I think my cha-cha would've improved about a hundred percent had I been wearing tap shoes instead of Latin heels.)
icepixie: (Default)
This weekend, I corrected a grievous oversight plaguing my life: I finally saw a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers flick (Top Hat). The plot was so incredibly lame* that I wound up fast-forwarding through most of the talky bits to get to the dancing, which is magnificient. I wanna be able to do that.**

You can really see the influence they had on American Smooth dancing (my favorite of the four ballroom dance types). Like right here, in this clip from Roberta, there's definitely some American Foxtrot sensibility going on, even if they aren't performing actual steps from the syllabus. (Granted, there are sometimes little Russian-accented voices in my head yelling at them to stand up straight when they dance with each other, for the love of God, but then I remember that, a.) they were doing tap dance together more often than they were doing anything strictly ballroom-related, and b.) it's Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and I have absolutely no room to criticize.)

Speaking of YouTube, there appears to be some kind of fad over there for replacing the original music with modern songs (such as here and here) and...it actually works, once you get past the initial weirdness. I guess when the beats are roughly the same, you can kind of do whatever you want. (Or possibly just that particular number is so amazing it can handle any music you throw at it.)

There are also actual fanvids, such as this one, which was surprisingly well-done and even somewhat touching.

Anyway. Back to the thesis. I have new critical scaffolding that I like better than my old one, so I need to go and integrate that.


* Mistaken identity plots are my number one narrative hate. I truly, truly despise them, because they rely on characters being SO, SO STUPID.

** Also, Ginger manages to make being sung to by--and dancing with--Fred look like the most awesome thing in the world. Since he's doing the soloing, in theory my attention should've been on him, but no, it was all on her. I am duly impressed.
icepixie: (Rebecca Bond)
I'm contemplating switching from my current Adama/Roslin mood theme to the Sound of Music one here, but I think that every time I post, or reply to something on one of my entries, or see one on my flist, I'll probably start singing "The Lonely Goatherd" to myself, and I don't think I could handle that. I believe I shall have to make my own mood theme...Northern Exposure-related, most likely.

On the same theme, if you go to YouTube and type in "The Sound of Music," you get this. Eeek. Also, there are fanvids for the movie. I...okay, I love fanvids, but it's a freaking musical. And somehow footage from the movie set to...I think one of them was a Nickelback song, or something that sounded a lot like their usual dreck...is just...I...ow.

However, there is at least the Monsterpiece Theatre version, which is pretty hilarious. As well, there are clips from the 1956 German film, Die Trapp-Familie, which are very cool to see.

(Also, completely randomly but for the fact that it appeared in one of the "related videos" fields for the Ländler [which I would love to learn], here are two people demonstrating the Schottisch, which I'd always wondered how to do. Now I know. It's nifty! As well, there is also the Galop--which looks like the child of Quickstep and Polka-- and the Mazurka. There's a passel of vintage dances here. [I recommend the Amalgamated Manifest Destiny Quadrille.] Hmmm...I would love to find somewhere to do that where I live. I must investigate. Not only are the dances pretty awesome--I love me some quadrilles--but the dresses...well, you all know my adoration of hoop skirts, so no explanation should be necessary.)

ETA: Also, this. Bwahahahaha!
icepixie: (Dance Me to the End of Love)
Remember Igor and Svetlana, Kenyon's ballroom coaches that I used to talk about a lot? Well, someone has put up videos of them on YouTube! In particular, this Tango is pretty awesome. I always wanted to be even a hundredth as fabulous as them. Never quite succeeded before graduation. (If you view all that person's videos, there's one of the 9/11 dance [highly recommended; it is beautiful] as well, and some random other bits and bobs, mostly footage from studio classes or demonstrations. Oh, and some clips from Russian parties. I don't speak Russian, so I'm not sure what that's all about.)

I also stumbled across this video from the Two-Step World Championships. While my mind is breaking at the sight of typically hideous ballroom costumes with cowboy boots, that actually looks like it would be fun to learn. It's like the bastard child of line dancing, rumba, and swing. And it's not at madly fast speeds. Also, I have to admit, despite the fact that it's breaking my brain, the footwear looks a lot more comfortable than my spiky Latin heels ever thought of being.
icepixie: (Rebecca snerk)
One nice thing about work is that today it allowed me to make the following pun: "The circuit breaker section in this package really tripped me up."

(And it did, too. That one had all kinds of little pieces I'd never seen before and which would not pull up in the online digest, and...urg. Evil little section.)

This was the same package that had a panelboard schedule* with approximately fifty million little drawings, all of which came in out of order, and which took roughly forever to straighten out. I grow to dislike panelboards, yes, I do... (Think of it this way: imagine importing a 30-page story which you've never read into Acrobat, having the pages come in all out of order, and then having to use a tiny little page number in the corner to put them in order. Only it's not a number, it's something like 5KL1-Sect 4, and the next one is 3MR2-Sect 3, and you've got to put them in order according to a schedule from earlier in the package and not, like, alphabetically or anything rational, and do you see why it makes me a bit crazy? Although on the other hand there is feeling of vindication after I've sorted all the little buggers out, and that's kind of nice at 9:30 in the morning...)

*

This is a deceptively simple, yet astoundingly addictive little game. I don't know whether to hate you or love you, Peter.

*

I decided that I had to have the rumba RayK and Stell dance to at the end of "Strange Bedfellows," and it's actually on iTunes! Woo! It's so cool. *wiggles a bit* *has unfortuantely forgotten just about every cool move she ever learned for American Rumba*

* Panelboard = essentially the breaker box you have in your home, only bigger. Sometimes much bigger.
icepixie: (Dance Me to the End of Love)
Merry Christmas...Ballroom? The local PBS station decided to air footage from the open pro finals of Ohio Star Ball tonight, so of course, I had to watch. I think it was this year's, although possibly it was from 2005. There was lots of good stuff. There was of course the two twelve-year-olds who did a better Quickstep than I could ever hope to achieve in my life, and then a seventeen- and eighteen-year-old who did the most fabulous Jive (these were both exhibitions). One of the Latin finalist couples did a Samba showdance that was awesome. Lots of energy, and for once the costume added rather than detracted--the woman was in a shirt and a pair of pants(!) with gold fringe all over them, and of course the in-and-out movement of the abdomen made it all shake and look really cool.

For their second showdance, the American Smooth winners--who are from Nashville, of all places--did what was technically a Viennese Waltz, but they used music from Gladiator that seemed much more of a Tango mood. Hmmm. It was nifty, but a bit unsettling at the same time. In the They Wuz Robbed!!! department, my favorites in the Standard competition came in third. So sad. Their frame was head and shoulders (heh) above everyone else's. Like, I usually don't notice that so much, and I noticed theirs. They moved sooo smoothly, too. And they did a Foxtrot for their showdance, when they could choose any Standard rhythm, and hell, for that alone I'd give them extra points; International Foxtrot is hard. But I suppose the winners were good, too; they did a Tango/Foxtrot that was faintly reminiscent of the Matrix routine I saw the one year I went to OSB. It was nifty.

*

I am, er, thirteen episodes into my NX S5 DVDs. Self-control? What's that?

Babble )

*whines*

Sep. 14th, 2006 01:55 am
icepixie: (Mrmph ostrich)
Don't ask why, but I was looking at the course catalogue for this year. I found that Klein is currently teaching the "History of the English Language" course that I would have taken during fall semester last year, except that he changed it to a weird course on "Dialects of English," so I switched to Anglo-Saxon. ARRRGGHHHHHHHH, I HATE YOU, KLEIN, I HATE YOU!!!!! (Except I don't really, because you're Klein and I couldn't hate you if I tried, but...ARGH!)

AND Kinzer is offering the Victorian Culture seminar this semester. Which I also wanted to take last year. GAAAAHHH!!! WHY DID I GRADUATE?!?!?

Bah.

A ballroom quiz with a large, rather ugly picture )

But, but...

May. 4th, 2006 12:44 am
icepixie: (After the ball)
Tonight was my last official Kenyon ballroom practice ever.

How did this happen???
icepixie: (Default)
I have videos from the exhibition. Wheee, videos! I put them on YouSendIt, but on the off chance any of them get used up or expire before you see this (and that's a horrifying thought), there are also copies on my own webspace. For the sake of bandwidth, please try the YSI ones first. If they're not working, right-click and save the others. They're all about ~15-20 MB, and under a minute long.

Big thank you to Chandra for taking this videos. Only the last one has sound, because my camera is fickle about turning the microphone on. Not that it matters much, since the ridiculously high ceilings of the KAC eat all sound. Just imagine "I've Got You Under My Skin" playing for Foxtrot and 'Stray Cat Strut" for Swing.


ETA: YouSendIt files are down, just use the ones below.

Foxtrot 1
Foxtrot 2
Swing 1
Swing 2

I'm the blonde with short hair. In the Foxtrot vids, you CANNOT MISS the pink dress. In the Swing clips, I'm in a black dress, and unfortunately towards the back, and often hidden by the random projection unit they had in the middle of our dance floor.

Things to watch for: my total screwup on the tapping step in Foxtrot, the ridiculous skirtspan of the pink dress, my WAY COOL landing of the leapfrog jump at the very beginning of the second Swing clip (shut up, I'm still proud), uh...yeah. Enjoy. :)

Exhibited!

Apr. 21st, 2006 11:33 pm
icepixie: (A/P connection)
I think, based on my two experiences with it, that when people ask Ballroom to do an exhibition, they really need to define what their idea of "exhibition" is. Perhaps also what their idea of "ballroom dancing" is.

So we danced at the very beginning of the trustees' dinner, while they were all slowly going into the room, or, rather, the glassed-in floor hockey rink where it was being held. (We just opened our new athletic center this semester. Everyone's very proud.) I assume you can already see the problems with this. Yes, we were dodging trustees and waiters as we Foxtrotted and Tango'd around an admittedly relatively nice floor, if one ignored the taped-down cable for the projector going through the middle of things. (Sadly, Ben and I ignored it too well and tripped ourselves up a bit on one circuit round the floor. Ah, well. No one noticed.)

No one paid us a whole lot of attention for the first go-rounds of Foxtrot and Tango, except for those who were walking through our line of dance to get to their tables. By the time we moved on to Swing, most people had filed in, which was good, and we actually got some applause at the end of it, although most people were paying more attention to getting to their tables and talking to each other than to us. But I totally landed the leapfrog jump in my Latin heels, which was awesome.

Then the president of the college arrived and was ready to begin her speech, so we got shuffled off unceremoniously without getting to do our Samba. Bah! Silly people. Don't they know Samba's awesome?

So yeah, we felt pretty dumb, particularly at the beginning, but the club gets some money out of this, so all is good.

The best moment actually occurred before the show. We took over one of the bathrooms just outside the rink for changing, and once we were all be-feathered and be-sequined, we were all hanging out in the hallway outside for a while, waiting to go on. All the girls are standing in a ragged sort of line (it's a very narrow hallway) chatting, with me at the end furthest from the front of the hall. Some lady comes by, catches sight of us, and while she's looking slowly down the line, she says, "Oh, you all look so--" audible pause as she gets to me and my neon pink dress, "...pretty."

Heh.

Chandra took several videos of me dancing, which I can totally put online once I swipe the last one off her camera. I'll be doing that tomorrow, so those of you who haven't seen me dance can now see me do the two perkiest dances in the world, with added vision impairment from the pink dress at no extra charge! Ginger took an amazing amount of photos, at least some of which ought to come out, so there will be those to come as well. Woot!

And now I go to get the enormous amounts of makeup off of my face. I can't believe I went out in public looking like this. *hangs head in shame*
icepixie: (Default)
As I suspected, I'm wearing what we fondly refer to as "The Pink Monster" for the trustees dinner. Hey, they asked for us to wear our big poofy Standard dresses.

Cut to save your eyes from bleeding )

Yes, it is in fact that exact shade of atomic pink. Most of our spiffy donated Standard dresses are better, or at least not quite so neon. Sadly, none of them fit me. Of course, "Matilda" also doesn't fit me, which is good, as it is..."hideous" doesn't do it justice, but it'll have to do. It is in fact both a Latin and a Standard dress, which means, yes, it has a rip-away skirt. Yes. The top/Latin dress portion is made entirely of large sequins. Entirely. They are teal blue, with a silver diamond in the middle. There is a little tail of dark blue satin and, because the "dress" only goes down to one's crotch, there's a little...front-tail? Frontispiece? Codpiece for girls? in the front made out of satin. Yes. HIDEOUS. It hardly gets better with the teal blue Standard skirt (with more silver sequins) attached.

So at least I'm not wearing that one. And this one's skirt spins out nicely; I must get at least a six-foot skirtspan when I'm going full tilt. That cross-body spinning step in Foxtrot is going to be entertaining, oh yes.

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