Posts that are kinesthetic-ish

Compagnie Kafig (old notes writeup)


Found an old essay I wrote for dance class at Purdue some years back, and thought – why not? I’ve been trying to remember my love of dance and movement more and more lately, so I figured I’d share.

Last Friday, I went to see Compagnie Kafig’s Convocations performance of their works “Correria” (Running) and Agwa (“Water”).  Compagnie Kafig is hard to characterize; they’re a sort of all-male hip-hop street dance crew, but their range of expression goes beyond the stereotypical b-boy moves, costuming, and music. The dancers all had gorgeous isolation technique – crisp, clear, and used in fascinating ways to great visual effect – and instead of trying to conform them into an identical corps, the phrases built on their individuality.

As its name implies, “Correria” was about running – it started with two men on their backs with white-sneakered feet pedaling in the air, swiftly joined by more chanting men running around them in circles. A series of solos punctuated the piece; one solo, the first of the evening, was a gorgeous extended sequence of isolated movements that made me want to copy whatever the dancer was doing for his mobility routine. Another notable solo in “Correria” was done by a lanky-limbed dancer in a white shirt and long striped socks. The piece took advantage of his individual body – long and almost gawky in the costume, but articulate and clearly comical as he dropped into a series of hip-hop poses while lip-syncing opera music. It ended with a tongue-in-cheek reference, with fingers “running” in the air.

“Agwa,” on the other hand, was danced with, around, and between plastic cups of water. One extended phrase repetition involved two men, one standing and dragging the other through their legs and feet on the floor; you could see the difference between a short, stocky dancer (the evening’s first soloist) and a long, lanky dancer (the opera hip-hop soloist) as they crawled and slid around two other people. It also featured isolations of body parts in a way that changed the scale of the dance; after backflipping, hand-standing, and whole-body-shaking their way across the stage, the dancers flopped on their bellies and used their fingers as running “legs” to dance around the now-huge plastic cups that had seemed so tiny next to their gigantic bodies a few moments ago. I would be remiss not to mention the amazing precision backflips between all the cups – although when I saw the piece excerpts played silently in the dance division hallway, I would never have expected baroque-ish music to be the auditory setting for that phrase.

In terms of choreographic elements, we saw pretty much everything; there was some unison, a lot of beautiful soloing, and moments of canon – for instance, when the troupe went into push-up position, one by one, with each dancer’s feet on the previous dancer’s solos. Yes, you have amazing abs and core strength, guys. Yes, you may show them off. As each dancer whirled his way through moves and inversions, I couldn’t spot a single instance of head-tail disconnection or core collapse. These guys have abs.

My overall experience was one of inspiration and envy. These guys have such fine-grained articulation and control over their entire bodies; they play jazz with their muscles, showing off their individual personalities. The use of unexpected costumes (knee-high striped socks), props (dixie cups and truncated stilts with shoes at the end), and music (seriously, opera?) was a genre-defying comical poke I very much enjoyed. I could have done with brighter lighting, though; the dimness often obscured the clarity of the movements.

As a female dancer, I also wonder – what would this sort of dance look like with women’s bodies? I’ve seen videos of b-girls, but they’re all “standard” hip-hop videos, none of this genre-bending, socially-satirical choreography exhibited by Compagnie Kafig. I’d love to see more things in this vein, set on an even wider variety of bodies, and for a range of skill levels. When Streb visited last year, they showed us the “beginner” versions of their hardcore circus-style dancing so that we could slowly work our way into their sorts of moves if we wanted. What’s the equivalent for this?


Music and movement as a reboot/shuffle button for my atypical attention inertia (ADHD)


One of the ways in which I understand my ADHD is that my brain has an atypical, wildly varying, and unpredictable amount of attention inertia. It’s hard to get my brain to focus on command, both starting and stopping. It’ll focus on what it wants to focus on, when it wants to focus on it… it’s a tremendous charging boulder that I can’t steer directly — but I can carve the landscape around it to funnel it more towards the spaces I hope it’ll go.

One of the strategies I have for working with my ADHD is discovering the effect that music and movement — even in small doses — can have on my attention. They can jolt my attention inertia out of a stuck place. Movement and music are a partial reset/reboot button for me, brain-wise. They don’t magically make me able to focus on a specific target, but they can shake my attention out of where it’s currently stuck. It’s like a random shuffle button — maybe if I press it, the next thing will be what I wanted! Or maybe it’ll be a place where I can start and then go where I wanted! Or maybe it’ll be some totally unconnected place that won’t work, and I’ll have to press “shuffle” again!

So if I can dance and move while working, this is great. At any point in time, I can flip on music, I can do air squats or dance around the room or do a couple Turkish get-ups… I typically only need a couple minutes for that to start jiggling the massive boulder of my attention in a slightly different direction. And sometimes “slightly different” is enough. And sometimes “slightly different” sends the boulder careening down a hill towards a cliff-edge while I run behind it screaming “Noooooo!!!” — but if I remember, I can hit the music/movement/shuffle button again and throw myself into a different place, and hopefully a better one.

The challenge is that this is typically not… a socially acceptable thing to do. Offices where I can go barefoot and move around and not be seen as “unprofessional” are few and far between. This behavior looks odd/useless to people who don’t understand that it’s a coping mechanism for me, because… why can’t I just sit down and focus?

Because I can’t. That’s not the way my brain is built. I can’t sit down and simply decide to think about a thing any more than I (as a deaf person) can sit down and simply decide to understand a person talking to me. But if the end goal is for me to work on thing X, to sit down and think about thing X — that, I can do… but I will have to go about it differently.

Yeah, this is sometimes frustrating… for all the obvious reasons, typically the ones we think of ADHD as a disability. But this is also me, and I would not think in all the ways I love to think if I didn’t have ADHD, too. Atypical attention inertia and the ability to rapidly switch between seemingly unconnected things can be a powerful birthing place for… what the world might usually call “innovation,” but feels to me simply like play. It weaves into my enthusiasm and my offbeat creativity and my ability to pull a million things together and hold tremendously complex new worlds within myself for extended periods of time.

When people ask me “how did you think of that?” — my answer is often simply “I don’t know… I’m not sure how not to.” But the flip side of that is that when people ask me “why can’t you just do (or stop doing) X?” where X is something related to regulation of attention, emotion, etc. or any of the things that ADHD tends to affect, sometimes my answer is also “I don’t know… I’m not sure how (not) to.” It’s the flip side of being non-neurotypical. You don’t think like most people, and this is sometimes really cool! And you… don’t think like most people, and this is sometimes really hard.

So I keep on trying to build worlds for myself, and ways to work within the worlds I’m given, and looking for people who can understand, or at least want to try. It’s lonely sometimes, and I need spaces like this blog (and my text-based internet of friends in general) where I can be myself and rest and soak in easy understanding and expression, and play music and dance to my hearts’ content without people looking at me sternly. This is one of the worlds that helps me go back out to the big one.


Starter back and shoulder workouts


For accountability and later amusement purposes, store here are my current strength workouts. Right now I’m cycling between back workout days, shoulder workout days, and rest days. 

Warm-up:

  1. Alternating jog/sprints for 5 min.
  2. Foam roll quads (vastus lateralis/side, and front)

Bodyweight circuit: 3 rounds of…

  1. Jump squats, 30 sec (exhale on jump, watch left ankle)
  2. Hollow body hold, 30 sec
  3. Plank to down dog, 1×12 (exhale on the transition to down dog)
  4. Plyo high-knee skips, 30 sec
  5. Flutter kicks, 30 sec
  6. Side planks, 30 sec per side
  7. Side lunge to balance, 10 per side (not alternating; the leg stretched out is the one that goes up)
  8. Transverse toe touches, 10 per side

Back workout:

Always do a warmup set with the empty bar or a light weight before beginning. When two weights are listed, start with the higher weight and progress incrementally down to the lower weight when form starts to fail. Alternating movmeents need both sides to complete before a rep is counted.

  1. Deadlift 105lb / one-arm bent-over row (not alternating), 30-25lb, 3×10
  2. Cable lat pulldown 27.5lb-20lb / alternating transverse crunches, 3×10

Shoulder workout:

Note: my shoulder mobility and muscle awareness is currently kind of crap, and they’re imbalanced and funky in interesting ways, so pay close attention to core engagement and movement awareness/quality and muscle engagement here.

  1. Clean hang press 50lb / bench leg extensions, 3×10-12
  2. Shoulder press 20-15lb / inverse pike on incline bench, 3×10
  3. Superset 3×10 (do all three back to back before resting and repeating) of:
    1. Upright rows 7-5lb (start with dumbell handles horizontal, keep dumbells together, peel shoulders back and keep them down)
    2. Alternating lateral raises (keep shoulders back and down; bend knees and tighten core)
    3. Standing flys (start with dumbell handles vertical, keep elbows in)

Startup/shutdown and research circuit routines


One of the best things I’ve started to do consistently this semester is to think of my research work the same way I think about my physical training. I do equipment setup, cialis 40mg warmup, cooldown, and takedown for all my workouts and rehearsals… so why not for my scholarly life?

This isn’t an analogy. As an experiment, I’m taking it as literally as possible and doing my research as a workout, with various research tasks as a part of circuits that include planks, rows, turkish get-ups, and so forth.

Sample circuit: As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 2 hours (I usually get through 3-4 circuits).

  • Shoulder mobility circuit, 20 each of T/Y/L/Ws (similar to this set of exercises, but standing)
  • Read and sticky-note a chapter in the book I’m reading. If all chapters are sticky-noted, type notes from one chapter into my personal Zotero format.
  • 2 turkish get-ups on each side, using kettlebell of appropriate weight
  • 5 kettlebell haloes in each direction
  • Complete and send feedback/assessment on one student project (20 minute maximum; set a timer)
  • 10 straight-leg situps, 10 burpees; another 10 straight-leg situps, another 10 burpees
  • Write setup/context paragraph before one piece of data in a dissertation chapter
  • At least 5 minutes of recovery, during which I must drink water.

This circuit changes each time I do work, depending on what I need to get done. However, there are some consistent things.

Setup checklist

  1. Put on appropriate clothes (in my case, I need to be able to move my shoulders so they don’t get stiff; this might mean changing a shirt or taking off a jacket).
  2. Ergonomics setup: wristguards on, or monitor raised and external keyboard in position.
  3. Earbuds ready, music set up (FocusAtWill)
  4. Water bottle (+ coffee, if applicable) on the table.
  5. Notebook and pen open to the next blank page.
  6. Pomodoro timer (Toggl button) ready to go.
  7. “Locating” text document from the end of last work session open

Warmup (every time):  Once everything in the setup checklist is complete, I do this; it should take 20 minute max.

 

  1. Shoulder muscle routine (combination of arm circles and other light mobility work)
  2. Use “Locating” document and notebook/text editor to design the current day’s research sprints/circuits
  3. …then do my physical warm-up (a ~5 minute series of stretches, squats, etc. that I do each time)
  4. …and then sprints/circuits can begin.

 

Cooldown (every time): This should take about half an hour max.

  1. One short (10-15 minute) pomodoro to get to a good closing place on whatever I have worked on that day.
  2. Stop pomodoro timer, put away.
  3. Stop music, put away earbuds.
  4. Clear browser tabs and open documents on my computer.
  5. Gather up water bottle, coffee/food and walk to put it away. Before returning to my computer from this trip, I think about (1) what I need to characterize about where I’ve left off to locate myself, and (2) whether tomorrow’s-Mel needs to keep anyting else in mind.
  6. Return to computer and type those things into “Locating” text document for tomorrow. Make this the first thing I’ll see when the laptop opens.
  7. Close laptop. I’m no longer allowed to open it again for the day.
  8. Put away ergonomics setup.
  9. Arm circles,  trunk spirals, and cooldown stretch routine.
  10. Shutdown complete; pack everything inside my bag, clean up any additional items, and I’m done.

After The Rain, part II


Stumbled across an old dance class paper from about 2 years ago now. Still one of the best dance performances I’ve seen — partnering is my favorite aspect of dance, sick which is why I enjoy training in contact improvisation. In my primary/preferred dance form — blues — excellent partnering looks and feels like this… and “After The Rain part II” was the first time I’d seen ballet’s equivalent.

I have wanted to see this dance for a while – I’ve read about it, I’ve seen pictures of it, I’ve heard reviews of how beautiful it is – and I was not disappointed. This was my favorite piece of the evening.

My first impression was of sparse precision (synchronized dancers and canons, cool blues and a spare soundtrack) giving way to a relaxed and tender liberation; the shirtless man, the woman in a pink slip of almost nothing, the backdrop sunset-orange, the music gentle and chiming chords. It was like stepping into a warm place from the biting cold and suddenly breathing again.

I remember the partnering – how skillful it was, but how it looked organic, not artificial or over-rehearsed. Their hands were just in the right place to catch each other; their glances, their clasps – they came together just at the right moment, not pre-anticipated, but not surprising. The physics of the lifts took enormous strength in legs and core and arms and everywhere – I could see that clearly – but they made them look so natural, strong but without strain.

The program notes suggested that the piece portrayed the “evolution of a relationship,” and I did see that ebb and flow; they repeated phrases and did variations, they went apart and came together, they counterbalanced and supported one another – but I didn’t see the “relationship” in the dance change significantly (it didn’t get “better” or “worse” between the beginning or the end). One thing I do remember was the very start of the pas de deux when the man is supporting the woman, and she makes a few tentative efforts to extend her right leg upwards – and then finally, she does it… and then later in the dance, she’s able to do it alone, without his support, in a very similar way. So I could see an evolution there, in the ability of the woman to do that strong upward and outward extension. Otherwise, it was a beautiful being-together that seemed to float in timelessness.

In terms of moments that engaged me, several vivid images stick in my mind: the woman caressing the man’s face, the man picking up the woman in a backbend and gently swinging her in a circle close to the floor, the woman cantilevered out from the man’s kneeling hip (what one review called the “Cadillac moment”), the man lifting the woman, spread-eagled and outstretched, full overhead and circling across the stage with her looking like a living paper cutout doll. It was just full of lovely moments; hair flowing, sweat glistening, two highly skilled people turning the focus of that skill towards being incredibly attuned to one another.

Thematic content here was relationship – I didn’t think it needed to be a romantic one, though. A close one, certainly – a tender one. It could be brother and sister, it could be dear friends, and it could be a romantic pairing; the themes of support and constant renegotiation and care for another kept on coming through in the way they looked and gestured. There was intimacy and closeness, both in the vulnerability of their costuming and the sparseness of the stage and the warmth of the light; these people were in a quiet space with each other, whispering alone together with their bodies. There wasn’t a need to externally perform or to prove anything. It was just two people.

And that did evoke emotions in me. Loneliness and love and gratitude; tenderness and closeness, longing, quiet smiling. I’ve had those tender moments with people very dear to me; I don’t have those moments here now, and I miss them and I hope for them again. Watching this dance was a reminder of that hope, those memories. Maybe that’s why I loved it.

They stimulated thoughts of times I’ve shared and people that I’ve shared them with. Cold starry nights in high school running in the open fields behind my friends and huddling in a pile for warmth while tinny songs played on somebody’s radio. Singing outside a buddy’s dorm room window while he played guitar. Quiet mornings in college waking up in the lab after a long allnighter pulled in shifts; the liquid morning and the intimacy of a sleepy team, bound tight by months of mutual exhaustion, smiling quietly at each other over orange juice and almost-working robots. Drives through the night from a blues dance marathon in Connecticut to a 5k race in Massachusetts; quiet evenings with unexpected friends while traveling around the world, a camping trip, a river walk, long strolls and conversations after conferences, standing at the window looking out at city after city twinkling, everyone asleep.

When the performance ended, I felt wistful, but also thankful. The piece was just the right length; short, delicious, fleeting. I’d love to see it again someday. It will be different then, and I will feel and react to different things when I see it a second time, because I’ll be a different person – I don’t know how. And the dancers will probably be different dancers, and the stage probably a different stage, and… that’s one of the nice things about dance. Every performance is its own experience.


Some early drafts of dances in my brain


Writing this partially so I can look back later and see how each of them turned out — I don’t know which ones will fade out and which ones will turn into something and actually get performed. I’ve noticed that I seem to work exclusively on character pieces to songs with lyrics and a strong beat, ailment so someday I may push out of that comfort zone — but right now, I’m happy.

Makers (working title) is something I hope to do for my “Race, Class, and Gender in Engineering Education” class in the fall with a cast entirely composed of female engineers (who may, like me, have no dance background). I want to explore how many female engineers “perform masculinity” in some way, and how exhausting that can be — so the entire cast is dressed in button-ups and ties performing aggressive, mechanical phrases in canon, and individual dancers and small groups intermittently collapse out of that into brief phrases from contact improvisation before dragging themselves back in. If ends up being really good, we’ll try to perform it at the 2014 American Society of Engineering Education conference in May.

The music for this is going to be an exercise in solo classical-style piano arrangement all its own; I’m adapting “Walk Like A Man” into a lilting waltz and “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” into florid arpeggios and mashing them together and I don’t know what else. The dance is more developed than the music, which I’ll ultimately need someone else to do.

Watching (working title), a lyrical hip-hop solo with a lot of ASL elements, set to Straight No Chaser’s cover of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” I wonder if this will end up being the first solo I choreograph and perform; my body fits inside it like a glove. This surprises me. I’ve never performed a signed piece. Au contraire: I’ve stayed far, far away from them lest I get labeled “Mel The Deaf Person” — and the movement vocabulary is unmistakably feminine (and the song is about the male gaze, to boot). But it’s Mel-feminine, and when set to all-male a capella vocals, it somehow works. I need more arm and core strength; there are some shapes here I would like to hold with better lines. But I’m curious to see where this goes.

Coast-to-Coast (working title)a heavily blues-influenced hip-hop piece set to Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings’ cover of “This Land Is Your Land.” I’ve been tinkering on it since October and it keeps changing from a solo to a duet to a trio and back again. I really want to see Onyx (one of my cast members from “In The Stacks”) do this — she has a spunk and attitude that would bring this hilariously to life — so it’s likely to be a duet or trio at XWorks this coming October right before she graduates.

Transmogrification (final title, ’cause it’s awesome) is  a trio inspired by the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes and set to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.” It’s got 3 characters — Calvin, Hobbes, and Calvin’s Mom, and the boy and his tiger tumble all around the stage reenacting highlights of the strip (I love love love the Spaceman Spiff section). The running gag is that Hobbes is a lithe, acrobatic character (in contrast to Calvin’s twitchier, more pent-up, combative movements) — but when Calvin’s Mom is onstage, he (probably danced by a “she”) abruptly turns into a prop manipulable by the other dancers. I have no idea how I’m going to cast this.


Xworks concert Fri/Sat: neon yellow duct tape, fishnet stockings (grr) and dancing in a library (yay)


Functional post here, melanoma advertising the XWorks dance concert in Pao Hall this Fri/Sat (3/1-3/2) at 5 and 7pm both nights, $5/ticket. Pieces I’m involved with:

2x+y=4: Spaceship-engine sounds, gongs, black costumes striped with neon duct tape… Amy’s modern choreography has me doing inversions, rolls, and a small solo in the back corner. Rehearsal conversations became increasingly Dadaist as the semester went along: “Backpack, paddle-turn, toothbrush — back step… microwave!”

In The Stacks is a quintet with four dancers and a book in a library. Hey, what else did you expect me to do my first time choreographing? Peggy Lee’s cover of “Fever” is now about flaming intellectual obsession; Kristen, Onyx, Ruchika, and I throw jackets, fight over the book, and briefly re-stage the evolution of man while doing bluesy jazz. (And I will do my first solo some other show.) Many thanks to Kyler for his early help setting the piece… then leaving for a dance apprenticeship in New Mexico before we could do a duet. Which I will track him down for someday, mark my words.

Five Merry Murderesses is Emily’s take on “All That Jazz” and my first time dancing with jazz shoes on. And fishnet stockings, booty shorts, a bright red garter, and choreography directions like “…now hit your favorite burlesque pose!” After some blank stares, I learned that ”burlesque” means “now we will move our hips independently of the rest of us!” and “let us do our leg extensions and plies veeerrrry sloooowwwly!” and “we will never have our weight evenly distributed over both feet!” Pushing waaaaaaay outside my comfort zone here. (Also, who the hell invented fishnet stockings, booty shorts, and garters? Can I slap them?)

I’ll also be providing one of the voiceovers for Nina’s piece To Have And To Hold, thus checking off another bucket-list item (have speaking part in stage production — a sentence is a speaking part.) I need a lot of studio and dancing time to center myself this week, and am thankful that I have it.


O metabrain: choose the version of “Fever” I’ll dance my first solo to


Okay, noun folks. I’m choreographing my first solo. I might not get to perform it until the spring — or even next fall, depending — but having the guts to get up and do a solo is something I’d like to do. (Bravery exercises! Face ALL the fears!)

I want to do it to the song “Fever” — anyone who does swing or blues should know this song, and anyone who knows the lyrics should now be saying “Mel? You? Solo? To that?” Yep yep. (Face ALL the fears!) Okay, okay, there’s a twist to it that I won’t reveal now but which will make this all make sense once the piece is finished. But it is a pretty, um, sexy-sounding song, and… I’m actually honoring that.)

Now I need to pick a particular cover to dance to, and that’s where you come in, o people with more music knowledge than I.

I am looking for something slow, bluesy, simple — male or female vocalist doesn’t matter, but I want the percussion to be bursty and loud and sudden, especially in phrases like “Fever / <DRUM!> / In the morning” or “Fever / <DRUM!> / I’m a fire”, and I want the accompanying track to be sparse (in my perfect world, it’s just a vocalist, a drummer, and a bassist). And in case it makes a difference, I’m going to have to cut the thing for time, and will almost definitely be nixing the Pocahontas verse.

So far, the best one I’ve found is (I think) this Peggy Lee version — it’s pretty sparse, and I love the swinging female vocals, but it’s a bit faster than I’d like, and the drum is not as prominent as I could wish. (I guess you could mix it to slow the sound down and amplify the drums, but I don’t know how to do that.)

Alternatives: Elvis Presley’s cover is too big-band, and the original Little Willie John doesn’t have the percussion I want. The Ella Fitzgerald cover is lovely but awfully fast. The Rose McGowan cover has a great tempo — if anything, it’s a little too slow! but is only part of the song, and missing the percussion.

Go go go!


An interlude on physical status: I run fast after an allnighter


After sleeping (really, malady lying down — I’m not sure if I ever was unconscious) for the half-hour between 6:35 and 7:05AM, one health I went to the gym with an empty stomach and no hydration and proceeded to run my fastest mile time of the year (8 minutes and some number of seconds I was too tired to remember) while feeling like absolute physical shit: side stitches and physical/mental exhaustion causing a lower-than-usual level of exertion, a sloppy stride, and patterns of muscular tension (mostly in my neck) that I occasionally, tiredly, remembered to relax.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this, but it’s interesting to note that my physical best several months ago — after hiking across England but before I started dancing and hitting the gym on a frequent and regular basis — pales in comparison to my physical… way-less-than-best now.

I think I’m going to respond to that by drinking a lot of water to wash down my extremely healthy lunch and scheduling an afternoon nap into my day. Writing! Writing! I feel this massive flywheel turning; ideas are spinning out, if only I can type enough to capture them!


My first dance tech rehearsal: ZOMG THE COLORED LIGHTS THEY THEY THEY are awfully disorienting.


Things look different on a stage with lights. At tech rehearsal for Teena’s hip hop piece tonight, troche I stumbled through the first runthrough — the lights turned on! and there were colors! and where was I? and the music had a totally different quality played through the stage soundsystem than from a boombox nearby. I needed to reset, play the song inside my head, squint into the darkness when Mary Beth called out instructions (Bryce, thankfully, relayed them to me when he realized I couldn’t lipread outside the flood of stage lights).

Tech rehearsal for Kyler’s piece went off with fewer hitches, though the loudness of the music means I’m now entirely dependent on feeling vibrations through the floor in order to tell when to uncurl and scramble up after Lily. I used to be able to hear and feel her fall. Now it’s just the feeling.

It was fascinating to watch how disoriented I was. My entire visual environment had been thrown into disarray, and I live by my visual environment. I think I recovered fairly quickly, though. I learn fast. And by tomorrow night’s dress rehearsal, I’ll be okay now that I know what to expect, and I know to ask my fellow dancers to give me physical cues in the dark (shoulder-taps, not whispers).

I never thought I’d actually be dancing on a stage. I’ve worked tech for dancers before — I even got paid once in college when a troupe of traveling dancers came by and Steve Westwood and I signed on to work the show. The lights turned the stage into a different world; I still remember rolling and flying props onstage mid-song; scooting out a luggage for a dancer to catch and sit on, floating a balloon down for another to grab. They leapt and rolled and flirted and fought to brassy jazz vocals and soft piano music and everything in between. I’m used to seeing that from the sidelines — admiring, contributing, but not being out there in the spot.

It’s still a weird moment, stepping out and having the lights turn on. How did I get here? What am I doing? Gotta figure out how to console myself that I’m supposed to be there. Better yet, just focus on dancing. Deep breaths. It’s good. You’re learning!

Next up: more Readiness stuff. I am still writing! I just, y’know, had a full day of classes and meetings and finished all my homework for a week today; it’s been packed with non-Readiness from 7:30am-10pm, so I just started for the day an hour ago. Let’s see if I can close by midnight, get some sleep for a change.