It was a typical Orange County night at the tail end of a long, lazy winter break. The plethora of yogurt shops in the neighborhood were closing, and even if you craved a Starbucks treat, it was too late in suburbia. The few dive-bars in the area boasted their usual divorcee crowd. My mom, dad and I finished a late dinner and now it was time to select our entertainment. Movie night at the Gray house is not only standard, but also probably the best post-nine-o’clock activity in town.
“What do you want to watch?” my mom asked, flipping through the movies in On Demand. She stopped suddenly, staring at me with calm yet focused eyes, “Do you think you can handle ‘First Position’?”
“Sure,” I responded casually. I understood why she was tentative to suggest watching a documentary about young ballet dancers, yet I was feeling confident. Friends and former co-workers had repeatedly suggested the film and I was in a safe, comfortable environment. I was all in. “Let’s do it!” I took a deep breath and settled in (Snuggie and all) to watch the story of six young dancers dedicating their lives to ballet, as I had for so many years. Keep reading »
Aside from it being Valentine’s Day, February 14 was also the day of the One Billion Rising campaign, which aims to end violence against women. Violence is cyclical, so it should be no surprise that many incarcerated women and men were also once victims of physical, emotional and sexual violence at some point in their lives. To combat the cycle of violence and break the hold that violence and victimization has had on their lives, male and female inmates at a prison in San Francisco took part in a dance project sponsored by the One Billion Rising project. Dance may seem like a rather ephemeral way to address such heady issues, but for the inmates that participated in the program, dance provided a metaphorical way to escape their own feelings of pain, victimization and shame and a powerful physical release to shake off the chains of incarceration. “We have mothers and sister and daughters and women in the world who are affected by this every minute of every day,” said one inmate of the event. “As a man, I promise you, I will stand up and be a role model.” Let’s hope that sentiment spreads. [YouTube]
As a girl who defined herself as a ballerina from ages three to 21, I’ve had the argument over whether dancing is a sport or art many times over. I don’t care what any guy friend says: it’s both. Hey, you try and make dancing on your toes look effortless!
An article in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald raises a whole new argument: is pole dancing art or sport? Casula Powerhouse Art Center in New South Wales thinks neither because t chose not to display a photo series of pole dancer Zahra Stardust in its women in sports exhibition, “Onside.” Photographer Belinda Mason was commissioned by the Liverpool art center to take the photos, which included shots of Brooklyn Jackson, a gridiron player, Melissa Combo, a longboard surf champion and Stardust in her pole dancing outfit, among others. Keep reading »
Cuban dancer and choreographer Juan Miguel Mas used to belong to a traditional dance troupe, but he rarely made it on stage because of his weight. “I created a character for myself to play, Giant Baby, and that was the first and only time I was allowed on stage,” he says. “I needed more opportunities to perform.” In 1996, he’d decided he’d had enough, and created Danza Voluminosa, a dance troupe especially for people who didn’t fit the mold of traditional dancers. Mas’ goal wasn’t just to use larger people to recreate the same old dance moves; he wanted to “create an aesthetic starting from their bodies that were more soft, more wide.” Keep reading »
Well, Amelia and Will, as Audrey and Matthew, have quickly emerged as my favorite couples on “So You Think You Can Dance,” but after last night’s episode, I wonder if they have choreographer Sonya Tayeh to thank, at least in part. She choreographed both couples’ routines last night and they were incredible. Watch both performances — as well as five performances from last week — above. Four dancers were eliminated last night, but I’ll keep my mouth shut on who went home.
“So You Think You Can Dance” is easily my favorite reality TV competition show — I think the dancing talent featured each season is astounding. I love that the show embraces all genres of dance and there’s a focus on for genuine expression, artistry, and creative above all else.
This season of “SYTYCD,” its ninth, quite possibly is the best yet and last night was the first live show featuring the top 20 dancers performing in pairs. Above, my five favorite performances: Amelia (love hearing Cat Deeley say my name each week!) and Will dancing hip-hop to the Cure’s “Lovecats”; Cyrus and Eliana doing a Broadway routine to a song from “Hairspray”; George and Tiffany dancing an amaaaazing contemporary routine from my favorite choreographer, Sonya; Alex and Daniel’s cool jazz routine; and Audrey and Matthew’s divine contemporary performance choreographed by “SYTYCD” alum Travis Wall. Who are you rooting for this season? [FOX]
I met Brian*, on OKCupid. He was a handsome blonde with fantastic taste in clothes. Heliked to cook, had a stable, admirable job, and played the ukulele on the side. It was all very cute. And so was he.
I imagined myself dating him for a long time, setting up a little homestead and writing songs together that we would perform and post on YouTube. He thought I was adorable and liked the way I fluttered around his apartment, all energy and smiles. I appreciated his gentle, almost Koala-like nature. It seemed like I had finally, after months of fruitless internet dating, found someone who I could really be serious about. Keep reading »
What happens when a girl, armed with only her iPod, decides to take her dancing out of her bedroom and into the streets, er, well, the mall? Hello Giggles sent correspondent Angela to the Galleria Mall in Sherman Oaks, California, to find out. [YouTube]