Photos from dance class tonight w The Collective (collective-dance.com).

This is why I love @baltimoredancecollective

Snippet of a run thru with @baltimoredancecollective

"Sure, we’re portrayed as evil backstabbing bitches in movies, and we’ve all run into a few nasty dancers (and dance teachers). But the truth is that most of the dancers I meet are really, really lovely folks. We’re passionate about life and the beauty that dance adds to it. We’re supportive of one another because we know how tough the field can be. We’ve learned empathy, kinesthetic and general, through the act of dancing with real people in real space and real time, face to face and heart to heart. We’re invested in our communities, artistic, local, and global, and are eager to serve through education and artistry. We’re not putting glass in one another’s pointe shoes or sleeping our way to the top – well, most of us aren’t, anyway. We’re cooperative, engaged, eager – the kind of people you want on your team – and we learned it in the studio!"

In Defense of the Dance Major | shannondoolingdances

I love Ina

Oh, Ina.

You comfort. You console. You smile and encourage. You have a weekend-only husband. You throw handfuls of saffron into dishes like confetti on New Years Eve.

You’re my hero.

You use real butter, and a lot of it. 

If I don’t know what to make, I visit your site. If I do know what to make I look you up too, my search history filled with “Ina Garten Chicken”, “Ina Garten Cinnamon Rolls,” “Ina Garten tax preparation software.” 

You’re the Barefoot Contessa, but I bet you have a closet full of supportive footwear.

You flipped houses and earned an MBA while working for the OMB, during the Carter administration, no less.

You have probably never Jello-d anything.

You answer my questions like I’m your friend, your inept, hopeless in the kitchen friend that you’ll slowly and surely help and insist the final dish is “fabulous.” Even if it’s not. You might tell Jeffrey about it, tucking into your perfectly roast lemon chicken and laughing because I thought “spatchcock” was a bad word. But you know, you say, she really is darling. Just needs a little help, like all of us do. And Jeffrey nods, and you retire to your separate studies and you wrap up your copy of “Foolproof” in perfectly twee butcher paper and  old twine that held that week’s cheese order together and write a little note, in perfect cursive: “This should help! xoxo Ina.”

You prefer an olive oil that costs $23.96 plush shipping and handling. But I don’t care, because you also recognize Hellman’s Mayo as a superb ingredient, and would probably elbow drop anyone who recommended Miracle Whip.

Just like I would, Ina. Just like I would.

"

And the point about tradition was better made by Emily Oleson, a white dancer with a punkish haircut who, during the concert’s second half, freely combined Appalachian clogging with hip-hop uprock and the Charleston.

Though ad-libbed, intermittent and off to the side, Ms. Oleson’s dancing was a vivid embodiment of the Chocolate Drop sound and the historically hybrid American vernacular. “She does what we do,” [Rhiannon] Giddens said. So does [Twyla] Tharp, though she has done it much better than in “Cornbread Duet.”

"

Emily Oleson, an MFA grad from the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, gets a shoutout in the New York TimesOleson performed alongside Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild* from the New York City Ballet in a dance choreographed by THE Twyla Tharp. That’s a tough act to follow, but sounds like she lived up to it - and then some.

*Fun fact: they are a real life couple! But what’s going on in that picture? “Robbie, please - your dance belt is showing.”

I was lucky enough to be an early reader of Andrew’s book years ago when it was his MFA thesis. We worked together, and it was the kind of night-shift job with a lot of downtime that led to discussion and arguments and the best Franzia-and-pizza-parties once the shift was over. One of our coworkers called him “Sunshine” and that’s a pretty apt description of what it’s like to be around him. Less in the cheerful, polly-anna-ish way (although his smile and eyes could light up a room, that handsome devil!) and more like a sunrise - slowly casting light and understanding when things are confusing, scary, or both. His writing is the same way. Now, his debut novel is on Amazon for you to check out.
Well done, sir.

I was lucky enough to be an early reader of Andrew’s book years ago when it was his MFA thesis. We worked together, and it was the kind of night-shift job with a lot of downtime that led to discussion and arguments and the best Franzia-and-pizza-parties once the shift was over. One of our coworkers called him “Sunshine” and that’s a pretty apt description of what it’s like to be around him. Less in the cheerful, polly-anna-ish way (although his smile and eyes could light up a room, that handsome devil!) and more like a sunrise - slowly casting light and understanding when things are confusing, scary, or both. His writing is the same way. Now, his debut novel is on Amazon for you to check out.

Well done, sir.

How They Met Each Other, a Baltimore Retro update

retrobaltimore:

image

Lawn Party in Spring, April 13, 1964. (William L. LaForce, Baltimore Sun photo)



A few weeks back, I marked the first day of spring with a post on Retro Baltimore featuring photographs of folks enjoying springtime weather with a picnic lunch.

Read More

Yo-pen Mic

Somehow today I ignored an important lesson from college: never stay in the same room with a guy in a tank top and an acoustic guitar.

But the bride-to-be at the bachelorette party I went to last night had, as the waiter noted, “Madonna arms,” and she said they were the product of yoga.

"Power yoga!" she specified. "Get a good flow going and it tightens you right up."

I used to go to an early morning class with an amazing Mamie Gummer lookalike. We stretched, we strengthened, she gives us a few light intentions and we are on our way before 7 am. Sometimes if we were lucky she’d rub some Tiger Balm on our temples. But I moved and couldn’t make the early morning time anymore, so I’d been out of practice.

So with visions of a Material-Girl upper body I went to a new-to-me yoga class. Not for enlightenment, just pure vanity. I guess I have Karma to blame, then.

I glimpsed a guitar when I got to class, but didn’t give it much thought. Maybe he had a gig! I mean, he had the kind of relaxed demeanor that can’t be kept down by a 9-to-5, man. He doesn’t work, he has gigs.

Class meandered. “umm….” he directed. “uuuummm, swing back and forth.” Great.

But due to the above-mentioned vanity and a discipline for class deeply ingrained from years of ballet, it’s not like I could leave. Just get through it, I thought. Do some good down-dogs into plank into updog and feel those arms tremble as you strive to wear a tank-top as well as Chris Evans. Just make it to Shavasana, or my second, non-body-dysmporphic reason I go to yoga. But Yogi had other things in mind.

"Sit in a comfortable position," he said. "And laugh."

Apparently, this is a thing: start fake-laughing and it will transform to real laughter and improve your mood. People do it. But he was guffawing. He was cackling like he had just seen the best prank ever - and at this point, I figured that was the case. Guy comes into a gym wearing a tank top and carrying a guitar and he’s in desperate need of a roots touchup and he says, “hi, I”m the yoga teacher.” Of course he is. Who would question that?

Finally, after our forced joy, we settled into Shavasana. It’s not exactly a difficult pose to master. You lay down. Boom. Done. However, I’ve read it’s the most challenging pose because the goal is totally relaxation. This is difficult to do when Yogi sees your vulnerable, sweaty bodies as his intimate audience to try some new jams.

I closed my eyes and saw the room lights dim through my eyelids. There was silence - he played something like “nature sounds of the Amazon” during class. So I relaxed and imagined the sound of the weights being slammed in the room next door as my worries falling away. Then Yogi strummed a few chords. It was nice, at first, then he started vocalizing.

There were no words, just some “oohs” and “aaahs” and “uuuggghhhsss” and sounds that got dangerously close to NSFW territory. 

"STOP NO STOP NO STOP" I thought as one set of chords ended, then started, into another concerto in which he swapped his baritone for head voice.

"Ok, yoga is about accepting other people as they are? So maybe I need to accept him now, and this is how he is serving and this is his talent so I need to take his energy and have it help my practice?"

Then the grunting/beatboxing started and if I’m supposed to lose sense of time during class I certainly achieved that because this version lasted approximately forever. 

At this point, there was no relaxing or taking energy or doing anything except wishing for this to end and figuring out how to not make eye contact on the way out. 

Maybe I should stick to running.

Tags: yoga workout

Hey buddy!

Hey buddy!