Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miss curator-in-training takes on So You Think You Can Dance

The TV show that makes me regress into a squeally 16-year-old is BAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!


YAYAYAYAYAYAY!

Say what you will about the annoying judges and the built-in bias of the partner system, EVERY SINGLE SEASON of So You Think You Can Dance rolls out unbelievably beautiful choreography and insanely talented dancers. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to watch it and critique. (Thank you Breann, my high school best friend and national champion BYU Cougarette, for teaching me how to watch dance like a dancer. I now notice when someone doesn't extend all the way through their hands and feet, I can estimate the amount of control a dancer has in his or her spine,  and most importantly, I can and will fall in love with any dancer who tries and succeeds with a smile.)

The glory of the show lies in such ambitious dancers. They've been doing this since diapers, but they still have to grow into the dance genres they don't know (and let's be real: sometimes they downright suck. The Quickstep? Who even DOES that anymore?). They gripe, grind, sometimes break, but best of all, they come out swinging and we watchers reap the rewards. And the choreographers, the nation's BEST choreographers, roll out the most imaginative routines you can imagine, week after week. Addiction. A gleeful prison breakZombies. Happy feet.

As someone who is glued to her tv set during this show's summer run, I feel knowledgeable enough to compile a break-down post for you nay-sayers and on-the-fencers. Here's some of last year's greatest hits:

Robert and Kathryn do a truly unique twist on West Side Story (It won't let me embed, sorry!) Watch for when she uses his tie to flip him around- SWEET!

Still makes me cry: This dance tells the story of a guy taking care of his sick mom. Set to Coldplay's "Fix You." Robert is a fox.

Lauren was the winner last year, and this was my favorite of her dances. Keep in mind, she is NOT a hip-hip dancer, but you would never know from this video!!! Her uh, tumbleweed flips--- didn't know those were possible!!!!

I can never say enough about Twitch Boss- He is my celebrity husband. I want to make sweet sweet hip-hop magic with him all day long. I got to meet him in 2008 after the So You Think You Can Dance tour came through Salt Lake, and I bear hugged him and stammered out, "Twitch... I love you!" No lie. BEST. NIGHT. EVER! He should have won his year. He is by far the most talented and all-around likable performer the show has ever seen. Don't believe me?

WATCH:





SO.

D@*%.

LOVABLE.

I could go onand on. and on. When I get started youtubing SYTYCD clips, it turns into a two hour event.

The show always inspires me to download new music (its music selection is famous for being both quirky and in tune with the Billboards). The show gives a mark of distinction to any choreographer it asks to submit routines. Many of the show's numbers have earned their creators Emmys (My favorite choreographers: Desmond RichardsonWade Robson, Tabitha and Napolean, Shane Sparks, and Sonya Tayeh. "These Arms of Mine" is about soulmates who can't find each other and yet can feel them in their arms. Tear!) 

I'll leave you with my all-time favorite dance, both soulful and sick (Dancer slang for "unbelievably on point"). I have watched it probably 100 times and can picture it perfectly in my head whenever this song comes on the radio. Chelsea and Mark (Season 4) were tasked with dancing out true 21st-century heartache, depicting the way love dies when a partner gets cold and selfish. As the judges later remarked, theirs is an epic performance because they both exhibited the emotion of this story in their eyes as well as their movements: Chelsea the miserable wife and Mark the workaholic. Choreographed by my favorite husband-and-wife hip-hop duo, Tabitha and Napolean, here's the iconic Bleeding Love, which came out right at the hey-day of Leona Lewis' popularity:



I tivo the show each week, so if you're in Arlington and you feel the need to be a fan, as you should, come on down!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The rip-off of being a girl?

This is a slightly dicey topic, and I don't mean it to be, I would just like to solicit a few people's thoughts and suggestions. Lately I've been kind of bummed out by how unfair being a girl in this day and age, and, honestly, in this church, can be.


Please note- I am more often than not delighted with my life; the sweet caliber of dreams I have in store for my future and the wonderful caliber of friends and family I have at present keep me always filled with hope, always pressing onward.

BUT

when I see ex's and guyfriends who have the ability to just... DATE, as much as they want, when they want,

when I talk to my married girlfriends and see that they are genuinely frustrated with the way they've been told all their lives to get education and to excel, and now face seemingly endless hours alone with a small baby and a tv,

when I continue to feel like I'm just floating, with 1,000 possibilities for my future where I'd rather have just one or two or ten max,

I start to ask questions. Not despairing questions, just questions.

HOW TO DEAL should be the title of this post. Because dealing with STUFF is one of the most superb gifts of God, I swear. "Everyone has stuff," I've found myself saying over and over again this past month. How to deal with stuff with grace, wisdom, faith, and-- heaven help me-- a sense of humor, is so important to each individual person I know, and to the billions I don't know.

My answers to such questions have been jolting, half-answers, but maybe they're meant to be that way, as this is all a part of growing up and getting wise:

"For there is much which lieth in futurity" says the Savior to the first prophet of this dispensation while he sat in Liberty Jail. (D & C 123:15)

"Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Mordecai muses to a pensive Esther as she considers whether or not to risk her life for the sake of her people. (Esther 4:14)

"Let us lay aside every weight..., and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" cheers Paul to the Hebrews who were unsure of their place (and pace) in the march onward as new Christians. (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

I sat in on a stake conference broadcast in New York City this morning. Do you know what M. Russell Ballard told me? To cultivate gratitude first, hope second. One can change any situation by finding the implicit blessings to be thankful for within it. He cited a wealthy friend who in one night saw his entire factory, the source of his and many of his extended family members' livelihoods, burn the the ground. He knelt down and, weeping, thanked God for the safety of his whole family.

With gratitude comes a clearer vision of blessings we want in the future, things to hope for. I hope for a future where I learn to be unselfish, where I teach people about art and Jesus Christ, where I am married to someone who will "return my love abundantly," and where I become a mother of challenging, but beautiful, little people with incredible spirits.

Wait, what was I whining about again?

:)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yarn Bombing: The Feminine Graffiti

I'm in love with this story. One of the knitting gangs is even called "Knitta Please." I know one of my professors at GW is really watching the craft movement closely for her research, which makes me think this phenomenon is not going to fade away. What do you think? Is it art????

Here's a happily-orchestrated video of one of the knit-artists bombing the Bull on Wall Street, worth a watch:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pollyanna Eyes

Lately, I have been trying out small ways to better my life (as much as I hate to admit it, I've even been browsing those cutesy "500 ways to brighten your day" blogs). As you may well know from reading THIS blog, I am an idealist, and as such, I have the bad habit of forgoing daily enjoyment for the sake of worrying about how I can better the world in the future.

Recently, my delightfully wise BFF told me she makes her decisions based on the criteria, "Will this make me happy?" and that was like a revelation to me. "You can DO that??? But... what about Ethiopian orphans? Washington politicos and their lack of touch with reality? The absence of basic art appreciation in America? What about my family???"

All in good time, my pretties. All in good time.

The following are the effective tricks I've been trying out to just get happy! Daily! I dare you to try one out. Or send me a new challenge I can try.

- Talk a stranger every day (Going two weeks strong with this and I'm likin it, and my neighbors and a few cashiers all now like me)


- Eat something green daily

-Take note of what your face looks like when you're home alone. Try to brighten that up by keeping your face how it looks after you say "Cheese Whiz"

- Make up impossible stories inspired by real life (I'm currently envisioning an epic battle between the DC and the VA squirrel populations. The dark and swarthy black squirrel who presides over my backyard is the hero)

- Find a good recipe, go grocery shopping only for its ingredients, bake, and give to friends

- Volunteer to babysit for married friends for free

- Enjoy quality time with a wee one, get down to their level (literally... try being 2 feet tall again. Gives you more empathy.)

- Start a savings account and add something, anything, to it bi-weekly

- Make your bed (this small act of orderliness totally makes a difference in my chi! And this coming from a girl who NEVER, EVER made her bed before age 18)

- Recite a positive mantra to yourself in the morning (it feels corny, but I go with the Young Women's theme. If that fails, I also have a Valentine's Day card I reread,
You really deserve the best! You are so beautiful, wise, and intelligent. Steadfast, true to yourself, hard working, COOL, INTERESTING :), lovely, and courageous- truly a great and wonderful person! I love you more than you know!
Sisters are so useful)

- Be honest today. With yourself, with God, with others


- Drink lemonade instead of water


-Use superglue to hold together your favorite shoes and REFUSE to stop wearing them (this one did not come from anyone else's list... it was inspired by my beloved Payless-Steve-Madden-Knock-Off-Silver-Ballet-Flats, age 7)


-Like Pollyanna, find something to be glad about

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not quite career advice, but perhaps a sign that I'm headed in the right direction

This just in: This world-famous newlywed earned a degree in art history. If she can do it, I can do it. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lullaby



I can't sleep tonight, although the video above is helping. Today has been the first (and hopefully only) day of my life made absolutely fabulous by the death of another human being. Say it with me now, "OSAMA'S A GONER!!!!" Did anyone else get teary-eyed watching the people celebrate into the night at Ground Zero?

It's my little brother Marcus' 22nd birthday. I made strawberry-oat muffins at 10:30 pm this evening to commemorate his life. I ate them with relish (figuratively, not literally- ew) at 10:31pm to keep the party going. I miss siblings. It's one of the hardest things about the East Coast.

I miss art. I miss learning about art right now. One of the walls in my room is stripped bare in preparation for an art project, because I need something to fill the creative void. I've got some good ideas a'brewin.

I have great roommates. Whether they are trusting me with their real thoughts on life, love, and family, driving me places, bringing me home Cafe Rio, or unwittingly setting a good example to me by unobtrusively serving and loving the people around them (I SEE YOU THREE!), they make life out here a lot more bearable.

And with that, I close my lullaby post- it doesn't mean much in the long run, but it's bringing a little softness to the end of my day.