It’s been a decent while since I’ve blogged. Every time the spectre of a week passed without blogging raises its head, my mind goes to the many entries I’ve read stating that a good blog needs to be updated regularly. Unfortunately, I’m just not geared that way. I can appreciate that people that are paid to write professionally (even if only on a free-lance basis) need to be able to get the machine working and produce, but I don’t enjoy writing when I’m not inspired.
In addition to inspiration, I need time to sit down, think about a concept, and then flesh it out before I can even begin to write about it. In school I was absolutely one of those students that constantly got frustrated when a teacher taught us the correct way to go about writing an essay (brainstorm, overview, etc. etc.), I would follow that plan and get a poor grade, and then next time whip something up the night before and get a better grade. Just like that, the negative behaviour was enforced. Nevertheless, these days, with concepts that I consider reasonably complicated to write about, I find these techniques essential, and am glad that I at least paid attention in class, even if I didn’t implement the lesson being taught at the time.
As far as normal life is concerned, things have been busy (aren’t they always). Taxes, chores, and taking on any additional extra work that naturally comes out of having a spouse in school full-time have all eaten into my spare time. No spare time, no time for solitude and contemplation, no time for inspiration, no time for writing.
Beyond the day-to-day things, I’ve taken on a few new things in my spare time. One of them is pursuing some volunteer work with the group that is putting on the West Coast Music Festival in Whistler this year. This is a new festival, but one that I’m very excited about and would like to be a part of from the ground up. I’m also still considering volunteering my time to aid in the management of our local Victoria Electronic Music Festival this summer, and so this is eating up some spare cycles as well.
Lastly, something new has come to fruition that I’ve been waiting on forever. Last year I briefly took some hiphop dance classes, in the hopes that it would provide some inspiration for the styles of dancing that I really want to keep pursuing, which is popping and locking (and all the other funk styles under those umbrellas). I liked the hiphop classes, but they weren’t really what I wanted to be learning, and I just wasn’t willing to sacrifice the time to do something I was only tangentially interested in. However, Brooke (the owner of Vibestreet Dance, and a generally all-around cool girl) sent out a group e-mail recently that mentioned popping classes. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been waiting for over ten years to take a popping class in Victoria. I’m not exaggerating – our urban dance scene is simply that weak on the island.
The classes start this Monday and will go for 6-7 weeks. We’ll see how things fare, and if I’m enjoying it, I’ll sign up for more and keep going.
So, this entry has already digressed from my original topic related to work, so we’ll switch this into a general update and I’ll continue on this path.
I invited my friend Graham
to join me, but he declined, suggesting that the class would be too basic. While I think that he’s correct (at least, as far as what he’s willing to devote his time to), I’m comfortable with this fact. My popping has been self-taught right from the beginning, aside from two workshops that I’ve taken. The workshops have been fabulous, but you can only learn so much over the course of a day or two, and if there’s one pattern I’ve noticed about progression and improvement, it’s that you will forever be hampered if you don’t start out with the right fundamentals.
I’m hoping that I can learn and crystallize some of the things that I’ve always advocated other people starting out learn, but have never been able to train myself to practice correctly, such as: Fresnos, Twist-o-Flexes, Correct isolation for various pops, and so on.
All of these are extremely important techniques from which you can improvise the rest of your dancing around. When my friend Michi
was initially starting out, I made a point of giving him feedback when he wasn’t correctly carrying out these fundamentals, which in turn let him avoid the same mistakes and bad habits that have become engrained in my own dancing over the years.
My expectation is that I will be both incredibly frustrated, and incredibly enlightened. The frustration comes from trying to unlearn the bad habits I’ve acquired and replace those with the correct techniques. The enlightenment will come from the feeling of finally learning how to correctly apply these techniques and then to use them in later dances.
I was thinking this morning about why squash has really taken off for me, but dancing has not. Dancing has always been a passion of mine, and even when I was in middle school, I had a yearning to learn how to dance, but no idea where I would actually go to take classes (too bad too – what a difference that early start would have made). The conclusion I’ve come to is that for my interest in dancing to continue and stay strong, I need to find a culture for it.
When I first started dancing and practicing, it was just Graham and I. We kept this up for a while, but grew weary of it. Then I discovered raving. The rave culture has plenty of very valid, very negative connotations associated with it, but the one truly positive one that I found was that good dancing was respected. Bad dancing was also respected, unfortunately, but there was still an elite group of people that you would see time and again at these parties and that you would recognize and bust out with.
Once I outgrew the rave culture though, there was nothing less to spurn me onwards and keep me going at it. I can go out to the bars now and then and find good DJ’s to dance to, but there’s nothing inherent in this situation that encourages someone to keep improving. People at the bar like to see good dancing, but there’s no need for me to improve beyond a certain point – the moves and routines that I was using ten years ago still earn praise, and so there’s nothing driving me forward.
Does this sound silly? Shouldn’t you do something out of the sheer love you have for it? Yes, to an extent. But we are all humans, suffering from interest and passion that waxes and wanes. Maybe it’s just me, but if I want to keep up with something, I need a culture behind that to support it.
So, that’s the other thing I’m really hoping I can discover with this dance class – a culture of other people that are interested in the same styles that I am, and that will imbue me with a desire to continue progressing. Will it happen? I don’t know. Sometimes these things occur serendipitously, without you being able to force them. I’m not going to these classes expecting anything other than a starting point and a way to learn the fundamentals. But, I’m going to keep my eyes open for further opportunities and new sources of inspiration.
Stay tuned – I’ve got at least one more entry planned for this weekend, this time to actually write about what I’ve had on my mind related to HR practices, and Monday night will likely have a new blog entry explaining the first popping class, so that should be an interesting read.