The Countdown Has Begun

It is now May 5th.  Our show is May 22nd.  We have our first full run through on May 10th – that’s 5 days away.  FIVE DAYS!  I have only one more day to work on my piece before that.  We then have one more week to finalize costume details, fix any little bugs, and launch ourselves into hell week.  Erm, tech week.

I will attempt drive-by bloggings until then.

In the meantime, I would like to share with you the sneak peak video I made and posted to YouTube over the weekend:

Enjoy!

And if it leaves you wanting more, and you are in the Denver/Boulder area – May 22nd at 7:30pm – ONE NIGHT ONLY.

Click here to buy tickets!

Sometimes I Adult

(OR)  Randomly on Friday

Randomly on Friday – I am proud of myself for my mad adulting skills.  (Also, I honestly appreciate that “adult” has become a verb.  I know there is the camp of people who dislike it, but I think it is more accurate than calling oneself an adult.  We are not truly, completely, “adult” – we have moments of childishness and immaturity, and moments when we buckle up and take care of business.  I have moments of being an adult, but I am not one every moment of the day.  Therefore, “adulting” more accurately describes my pattern.)

Randomly on Friday – I completed my daily French lesson early, in the time I had between getting the child on the bus and getting myself to work.  I felt really productive first thing in the morning – and that rarely happens.

Randomly on Friday – A friend added me to a Denver based face and body painters forum, at which I squeed audibly because this blows my mind.  I am constantly surprised by how connected this community is, how supportive, and how there is a group of people that do everything I want to do.  Cyr – yep, there’s a group jam.  Juggling – group jam, preceded by game night.  Dancing – so many groups for that.  And now, face painting.

Randomly on Friday – I have been networking my little tush off, putting in bids for gigs and sending out promo material – kicking butt and literally taking names.

Randomly on Friday – a Chicago blues dancing friend is in town for an audition, and tonight we are going dancing.  I have been excited about it for days.  I need to dance – not the choreographed group stuff I have been working on, but the deep and soulful, intimate dancing that I miss about Chicago.

Randomly on Friday – one of my best friends booked his flight to Boulder for my showcase next month.  I may have jumped around the house for a few minutes when he confirmed his plans.  One thing I dislike about being an adult is having my friends spread around the world.  While it means I have friends in cool places that I can visit, it also means I don’t see the people I am close to very often.

Randomly on Friday – I still need help funding the tail end of my tuition and gear payments.  If you have anything to spare, I would appreciate it so much!  I have literally been scraping the bottom of my bank account for the past two weeks just to put food on the table.  Visit my GoFundMe page by clicking on this link: http://www.gofundme.com/annasaerialdance

Randomly on Friday – Tickets for our showcase have gone on sale!!  If you are in the Denver/Boulder area, you should come.  Buy your tickets now, because we are going to sell out.  There are eight aerialists each with iron wills and amazing routines – we are totally selling out.  Here’s the event page, and this is where you BUY TICKETS.

Randomly on Friday – April has been kind of a crummy month for me.  Anything that could go wrong did.  I’ve been struggling to pick up the pieces, create some semblance of order, and continue moving forward.  And I mean really struggling.  I’ve plastered on a smile when I’m in public and broken into tears as soon as I get home, or as soon as someone has been nice to me and asked me what’s going on.  Yesterday was a fairly good day, and it feels like today is going to be as well.  Chin up, Buttercup.

Beginning The Countdown

I have been fairly MIA in recent weeks.  Our training, commitments, and personal lives have simultaneously exploded into a frenzy after the realization of how much time we actually have left in the program – 6 weeks.  When I am not working on my final piece, I am cramming in as much training on my secondary apparatus and trying to take as many extra classes as possible, while still searching for contracts and planning what happens when it’s all over.

My attention was directed to work shopping my final piece in hopes of  having something presentable for the critique process, which took place two weeks ago.  I was worried I wasn’t going to make it through my piece, since every time I had tried to run it before the showing, I stopped halfway because I had either sunk too low on the chain, or simply ran out of strength.  Almost every day, I curse at myself for deciding to concentrate on a chains piece in the last 2+ months of the program.  Not only that, but I have chosen one of the more difficult ways to hang the chain as it requires a lot of brute strength, endurance, and pain tolerance, coupled with the desire to be “delicate flower” and not a hardened biker chic, and I’ve definitely pushed myself so far over my own physical limits that my body is cracking slowly.  (I took a rest day yesterday in an effort to patch those fissures, primarily the ripped callouses of my palms and punctuated bruising on my shins)

The week of routine showing/critiquing followed the Liz Lerman Process – a method of giving feedback that removes as much subjectivity as possible out of the feedback and is designed to promote thought in the artist.  For instance, rather than saying “i liked when you did transition A,” an audience member would say, “When transition A happened, I felt (insert colorful descriptor here)”.  Similarly, the artist had several questions prepped for the audience, such as “Were there any moments in the choreography that did not follow the same flow as the bulk of the piece?” or “The overall mood of the piece was intended to be angsty, does my costuming reflect that?”.  After this, the audience has a chance to ask questions, but again, removing any subjectivity/opinion/biases.  So, rather than asking “Why?” the audience would ask “What was your intention?”  At first, remembering the language was hard, and some had a more difficult time than others when it came to withholding opinions.  For me, if I really enjoyed an element of a piece, or a piece in it’s entirety, it was very challenging not to say “OH MY GOD THAT WAS FANTASTIC YOU ARE SO AMAZING!!” and remember to phrase it via Liz lingo: “This moment in the piece made me feel ecstatic, excited, nervous, and so very very proud of you!”

The process took an entire week, and was a big physical and mental drain on all of us.  Immediately following my showing, I scrapped about half of my choreography as well as my entire costume and started anew.  The piece of feedback that really struck me was this biker chic/Western vibe I was giving off, which is exactly the opposite of what I was going for.  Rather than being the dancer that manipulates the chain, I want to be the vine that grows around it, portraying a soft, yet free-willed movement that overcomes the relentless barricade of emotions.

fragments

Still, it’s all starting to come together, and I am working on convincing myself that even as time ticks down quickly, it’s all going to fall into place as we approach show time.

Hanging in There

I am the type of person that needs to have a physical day planner to survive life.  Not only do I need a physical book to log and look at, everything within it is color-coded, so that at a glance, I know exactly what is happening and what the priority is.  Blue is for school, green is for work, yellow is for due-dates, purple is for pay days, and pink is for extracurricular.  My book is mostly blue, followed closely by green.  And pink and purple feel almost non existent, while the yellow is always surprising (my rent is due today? what?)

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I’m not complaining though, because seeing all that blue means most of my time is spent hanging around – quite literally.  Out of curiosity, I counted how many weeks we have left in the program – this epic 9 month adventure we undertook.  The quickly dwindling number was bittersweet.  Nine months is not a long time at all, yet the days have all blurred into one and I feel like I have been here for ages, so having a blank schedule again sounds rather appealing.  On the other hand, aerial dance gives me so much inspiration and appreciation, I cannot imagine doing anything else.  The completion of this program results in our mama bird coaches pushes us out of the nest and telling us to fly with our own two wings, yet I still feel like a baby aerialist.  I have started putting together my promo material, updating my CV, and tentatively stretching and spreading my baby bird wings in hopes of landing a summer contract.

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While I am currently in the process of creating work (a chains routine and a static trapeze routine), I feel like I spend a lot of my time actually doing this – hanging off of my equipment comfortably as I socialize and contemplate what I’m doing.  I filmed one of my practices a week or so ago, and laughed myself silly at how I spent more time casually sitting on the bar than doing the conditioning I had come for, as well as how much more comfortable I am hanging out up there than on the ground.

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Determination: A Definition

Can’t

That’s not a word I use often, unless it’s in a phrase such as “I can’t resist this temptation.”

It is easy to give up, or refuse to try, using the blanket excuse “Can’t”.  It’s a giant stop sign over your life, and most commonly it is used for little things like “I can’t afford to take this class” or “I can’t do a pull up.”  Yet stories of sheer will overcoming obstacles are numerous – people who are told  they may never walk again that grit their teeth and say “Oh, yes I will” – and do it.  One of the girls in the training program with me literally broke her back and was told she would never dance again, yet her determination to prove them wrong not only turned her into a professional belly dancer, it has gotten her into an intensive training program.

I have had many things happen in my life where the word “can’t” was used by many people in my situation.  I come from a kind of messed up and dysfunctional home life (although we try to forget that that’s what it was like) – my parents split up when I was a toddler, both struggling with personal demons, I had experienced the pains of growing up between two households below the poverty line.  As a child, I dreamed of taking ballet classes, but we couldn’t afford them, and we tried every avenue we could think of.  I have 5 siblings, and some dreams had to be put aside to make ends meet.  (As I got older, I started finding ways to do what I wanted, working as much as possible to fund my school trip to NYC on my own, for instance).  When I was 16, I became a teen mom.  I was told by many people in my life – even the social worker – that I would have to drop out of high school.  Instead, I gathered up my paperwork and went to my school office and asked “How do I graduate?”  Not only did I graduate, but we found a way for me to do so at the end of my junior year.

And, instead of thinking I was done with my education because I was a single teen mom, I was determined to go to college.  I found scholarships and loans that would cover most of my tuition, one of which provided a life coach to help get me through and on to the next chapter of my life.  I received my degree with only a small amount of student debt.

None of this was easy.  There were times when I would sit in my room and cry hopelessly because the challenges I faced seemed insurmountable.  I remember sitting down with a friend and having a rather frank discussion about how I didn’t think I could be a parent, and how I was thinking I should have put my child up for adoption.  There were many points where the thought “I can’t do this anymore” crossed my mind, and I swiftly pushed it out.  In my teen years, I didn’t think I had a choice.  It felt very much like something I simply had to do.  I think a great deal of that push came from societal values of going to school and getting a well paying career.  Emphasis was on education and not on happiness.  I do not regret my decision to go to college at all.  I met so many people through my years in school that I am very close friends with today and people who helped shape my career as it is now.  If it hadn’t been for university, I wouldn’t have met the juggling club where my circus path started, and I wouldn’t be on this great adventure right now.  But I have learned that years of unhappiness doing what I thought I had to for stability and an uncertain future wasn’t worth it.  Three months into living in Boulder, working my little tail off to pay my bills, and spending every other moment enveloped in the circus world here has made me incomparably happy.  I look forward to every day, as hard as I know it’s going to be.

This is where I could use some help though.  Tuition for this Aerial Dance Professional Training Program isn’t cheap, and I’m supporting myself and a child through it.  I’ve set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover tuition and equipment costs.  I can do this, there’s no doubt for me.  But having some of the costs covered through this campaign will allow me to focus on training, act development, and necessary rest.  Consider this – a $5 donation covers one of my drop in classes.  $60 covers a private lesson.  Can you help?

http://www.gofundme.com/AnnasAerialDance

 

I am determined to see my dreams to the end.

And I challenge you: remove the word “can’t” from your vocabulary, and surprise yourself with how much you actually can do.  Start small – don’t try to climb a mountain if you’ve never walked a mile before.  Find tasks that challenge at the appropriate level, and don’t be afraid of falling.  Sometimes, you grow wings and fly.

http://livesoftheaerialists.com/

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