A lot of little nothings that are not in any way about April 1st

Last Saturday, Noah and I were driving behind this car and we were all turning left onto St. Rose and I watched in horror as it accidentally turned to the left of the concrete median (so, into the wrong direction of traffic). St. Rose is a state route that's something like ten miles wide, and it was at night, and there was no traffic going in either direction at the time, so it's kind of understandable that someone could make that mistake, but all the same, I was panicking for him [1]. St. Rose is also a state route that has a speed limit of 55, which means everyone goes at least 70, and I kept thinking this was a horrible fiery death in the making, and Noah had to listen to me anxiously call out to that car: no, no, you're going the wrong way, come back! Because wouldn't that be the standard instinct? To get your car onto the right side of the road ASAP? Especially on roads where there's only a center lane and not a median? Except there *was* a median and you can easily blow a tire trying to jump one of those babies, but the thing is– this guy, with the lights of cars in the distance gradually approaching him, instead did something that I thought was fairly brilliant at the time: he flipped a U. And I know it's not rocket science and a lot of you are probably thinking, yeah, duh, I would have done the same thing, but would you? Really? Before even considering jumping the median? In the face of oncoming traffic pummeling toward you at 70 MPH, 113 km/hr if you're in Canada or Europe or the rest of the world that unitedly uses the metric system? I don't believe you, but whatever, maybe now you really will.

*****

A long time ago, Noah asked me which music gets me pumped. I didn't have an answer for him at the time (I'm bad at questions like that when put on the spot, but give me six months to a year and one day I'll randomly get back to you with an answer), but tonight, I could safely say that  Death Cab, Ima Robot, Ludacris and Missy Elliot are all pretty solid answers for me. And maybe Aquabats, NOFX, Offspring and Black Eyed Peas. I like the energy of techno but strangely mostly listen to it to relax and zone out.

*****

I got hazed tonight at lindy. It was one of those "The Ring" deals, something so terrible that it had to be passed on, and since I hadn't shown up to the venue in months, my turn was due. Probably there was also a little schadenfreude thrown into that, too. Man.

Oh, also:

NO GIVING UNSOLICITED DANCE ADVICE ON A SOCIAL DANCE FLOOR. Why is it the ones who do not obey this widely-accepted and practiced rule are also typically the ones who have no business trying to teach anyone how to dance?

*****

What *doesn't* butter improve? Other than cholesterol and your ability to meet your weight-loss goal? Seriously.

[1] Not sure why I thought it was a guy driving. Typically when a driver is being a dick, I assign male status, and when a driver is being wishy-washy or absent-minded, I assign female status. Way to propogate stereotypes, I know.

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Just be prepared if you want me to do consecutive spins

Being lovingly blitzed might not make me a better *dancer*, but it sure as shit kicks me into full-time subservient follow mode. If I can’t be trusted to twirl on a bar stool safely, there’s no way I can have the presence of mind to back-lead. I won’t even know where we are, exactly, on the dance floor– so, yeah, the odds of me making assumptions about where you’re trying to send me or what you’re going to do are nil.

Also, the kitchen now smells like tuna because I felt so sorry for Part II. I really need to set up office elsewhere.

There’s this girl, a ballroom dancer, who epitomizes everything that shies me away from taking up ballroom. I love ballroom as a dance genre– I love the lines and the grace and the costumes and the music– but I am not so huge a fan of the pretension and snottiness that all too often accompanies the ballroom scene. And this girl! She’s not even that good. I’ve seen her dance; her footwork and timing are there, but everything about her movements feels rigid and stiff and altogether too forced. Everything is *so* overexaggerated (even for ballroom), it’s like opting for JJ implants. You can see where she’s trying to go, but it’s so over-the-top that "fake" doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Which isn’t to say she won’t get better; she may. But at present, who the hell is she to criticize and look down on her fellow dancers for their mistakes and such? At least they look like they’re having fun, genuine fun, with it. If that’s all that’s important in ballroom, if footwork and timing are all that really matter, then boo to that noise. I dance for the freaking joy of it, not to get things exactly right and perfect. Boo.

*****

That being said. Ever since midterm, my hip-hop instructor– how do I describe it? It’s not that he started being *nice* to me, because that would imply he was being unkind to me before midterm, which isn’t the case. He just started– paying attention to me? Drawing attention to me? He’d compliment me on my stretches during warm-up, or praise me after a run-through of whatever routine we were working on that day. And it’s not in a skeezy hitting-on-me way, there’s no ulterior motive here, but I’m not an exceptionally good hip-hop dancer, not good enough to be singled out in a class where there *are* girls you just can’t stop watching when they dance because their bodies, man, their bodies just *occupy* the music, you know? And this guy doesn’t do this with the other students. Which leads me to the conclusion that I’m like that special kid who is so, so hapless and incompetent but who has so, so much heart and perseverance that all you can do is cheer her on and act like she just won an Olympic gold even though all she actually did was remember to step out with her left foot and not her right.

*****

And speaking of occupying the music: I went to this dance recital concert performance thing, an end-of-semester show for the BFA Dance majors, and that one dancer was there, as both a dancer and a choreographer. I saw her name in the program and my heart skipped a beat. She’s still as captivating as she was last year, and her choreography skills are nothing to sneeze at, either. I am *not* a big fan of modern in general, but there were a few pieces in the concert I really, truly enjoyed, and hers was one of them. I don’t know when she graduates, but I sincerely hope great things come her way.

Somehow we all forgot about “Raise the Roof”. How’d that happen?

I’m starting to find that making fun of dancing is a *lot* more fun than dancing-dancing. Like, you know, Stirring the Jam and all those other ones. We threw in some more classics tonight, with the Running Man and… the Roger Rabbit? I don’t even know if that’s a real name or just something my addled brain is making up. I did get to do the Fisherman, which was super exciting.

One of the guys complained that it wasn’t fair, that even when girls pretended to dance badly, they still looked really hot. I find that statement to be highly questionable, but the fact remains: I am absolutely comfortable with deliberately looking like an over-the-top idiot on a dance floor. And I’m pretty sure that’s only because I’m quite self-assured of my legitimate all-around dancing abilities. I’ve spent enough time in enough classes and clubs and at enough events and et cetera and I’ve heard enough feedback to justify said self-assuredness. So, yeah. I’m the chick in front of the stage enthusiastically dribbling basketballs and shootin’ hoops from a three-point line, all the while making a thizz face, except I’m not Bay-area enough to actually know what the hell a thizz face *is*, so possibly not. Whatever.

I took it as a compliment and actually thought it was pretty funny, but I know a few people who would’ve been pissed

"Are you a ballet dancer?"

"What? Oh. Um, no?"

"Oh! Sorry, it’s just– the way you were sitting, earlier, and you had your foot pointed– and then now, just the way you’re standing, you just looked like you were a dancer. I mean, a *real* dancer."

*****

Also:

  • Tonight I was educated on the "penis lead," which apparently was showcased at one of the old Sin City Exchanges. I would never have been able to fathom up such a thing and even now, I’m struggling to envision it. Is it really workable? Really? Because… I just, I can’t. I can’t wrap my brain around it. It’s worse than learning discrete maths. And that’s saying A LOT.
  • "good dancer" != "good lead/follow", necessarily (like that, you nerdy CS nerds you? Did you like that end quotation mark placement/case-sensitive combo? I know you did)
  • Just ’cause they’re old and happily on the dance floor doesn’t mean nothin’. Just because they’ve been with this dance since its original glory days 60 years ago doesn’t, sadly, make them a Frankie Manning equal. I have a habit of flocking enthusiastically to the… er… more "elderly" leads at a social dance with such skewed expectations and more often than not end up getting yanked around (in Pasadena, my arm near about got pulled out of its socket for three full minutes).
  • So, actually, just in general: "length of time dancing" != "skill of dancing", necessarily. Works both ways.

Also also:

  • I have GOT to invest in a folding fan
  • I dance better in skirts. Which is to say, I have more fun dancing in skirts because my swivels are more swivelly and my turns are more twirly, and since dancing is 70% attitude (a statistic I completely made up but hey, sounds good, right?): I dance better in skirts.

Haven’t gone six hours straight for *months*

I’m a happy dancer. I don’t know how not to be—if I’m dancing with a good lead, I’m happy because I love good leads, and if I’m following a good lead really well? Even more cause to be alight with joy! And if I’m dancing with a not-so-good lead, I don’t want to make him self-conscious, so I beam at him encouragingly, because also, it’s social dancing and really, it’s about having a good time.

(Also, the music. Oh, god, the music! How can I *not* love the music?)

So, yeah. That’s how you can spot me on the dance floor—I’m the one grinning like an idiot, nonstop. And laughing. Loudly.

(My feet are quietly throbbing right now, trying to be as discreet as they can about the pain, which I appreciate, I do. Thank you, feet, for being so considerate. I’m sorry. Please don’t fall off. P.S.: You’re totally going to hate me by next week. Just a warning.)

Rock-step like a rock star

My first workshop was today and, oh, now I *really* can’t wait until CH.

Covered: int. Lindy combinations, aerials (which were *fabulous*), jam circle moves and ’20s Charleston. I faceplanted it on the (concrete!) floor in the third class– actually, more like boobplanted it, since my face never hit, and my knee probably won’t let me forget that for a good week. My thighs are pretty snippy with me right now, too, what from all the squat-preps for being projected through the air, which, seriously? I loved so much. Reminded me of all the years I spent obsessively adoring the world of gymnastics.

Memorable quotes: "Don’t be a fish!", "So it’s one-two-goosh; really try and get that goosh," and "So, question: do we rock-step like we’re rock stars?"

And now it’s into the shower, off to take care of some errands, then out for an evening of good times with great people. And if I get my way, there’ll be a late-night run to Prada ‘bertos involved for some luxury breakfast burritos.

Though I’d also like to point out that we did NOT get a tandem, because I’m not a pansy

Did I forget to mention that on Saturday, we went kayaking? In Mission Bay? And saw a canoe race? We did! We went kayaking in Mission Bay and saw a canoe race, from start to finish, and man did it take forever for "finish" to happen. I waved to a bunch of people who all waved back and the weather was nice and the guy who was working at the rental shop was really laid-back and friendly and only charged us for an hour because he (conveniently) had forgotten to track how long we were out there.

And we *meant* to take pictures, but neither of us a) wanted to risk taking our digital cameras out on the water and b) thought to pick up a cheap waterproof film camera beforehand. So I don’t have pictures to show you. So here are two pictures of two other people kayaking:

That’s what we looked like! Except our kayaks were blue and neither of us wore our life jacket, and also I’m not blonde and am maybe half the height of that girl, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt and is about twice the height of that guy. (He’s TALL. His height eats heights like mine for breakfast.)

Anyway. The point of all this is really just to explain why, tonight, at Henry’s Pub, dear and beloved Henry’s Pub, home of the Stilettos and home to good ol’ swingin’ rockabilly fun every Tuesday night, I only lasted one set and one break, net total of less than two hours, because apparently KAYAKING? KAYAKING WORKS YOUR LEGS LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. I thought my quads were just going to detach themselves and fall off tonight, fall off right on the dance floor. Who knew!

Still, it was worth it, if only for the canoe race. And for the diving fishermen by the rocks, one of whom caught a 40-lb. halibut. And the pelicans and the kelp beds and the everything else. It was a really nice afternoon, and if I had to sacrifice the functioning of my legs for something, I guess I can’t really mind sacrificing them for all that. Even if I don’t have any pictures to show for it.

Glamour and glitter, fashion and fame

I went to a departmental UNLV dance concert over the weekend– I’m going to spare you my languid take on modern/interpretive dance in general and instead just get right to my point: (colon following a dash– that’s mad crazy English major skills at work right there) there was a dancer who just took my breath away. I’m sorry to sound so "Center Stage," but you just *couldn’t*, oh, when she was on stage? You couldn’t take your eyes off her.

And it wasn’t that she was exceptionally pretty– pretty, yes, but the vast majority of the cast members were pretty as well– or exceptionally talented (again, though inarguably talented). She just had a stage presence that couldn’t be denied. Whenever she was onstage, I found I would have unconsciously leaned forward in my seat, enthralled and enraptured. And I heard later from someone who was doing makeup and costumes backstage that this girl was completely unaware of the effect she had on people while she was performing.

What is it about some people, that can command a room’s attention without the slightest ounce of effort or intention? What’s the foundation for that kind of charisma, the formula, the secret? It can’t be taught, but surely there’s a pattern in it somewhere? Why do some people just naturally light up a room, and how?