Thursday, July 29, 2010


Master city walker, this girl right here. I have been walking a minimum of 2 hours a day since I have been here. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk to HJS and 20 minutes back. Each day I try and take a slightly new route, adding one extra street. Today I walked around for some errands. I mailed back a huge bag worth of clothes back to Texas; turns out I packed way too much and needed to downsize. It cost a little extra dough, but I feel a huge weight off my shoulders (literally when it comes to traveling with a backpack!) Then I got an international calling card, only 20 euros on it, but it will be good for emergencies/if I make friends (which I haven't been too successful at yet, aside from my kind and cool flatmates). Whilest on this errand adventure I just kept walking and walking, taking corners, seeing new shops, churches, homes...I think I blend in, not looking too crazy or foreign, but on the inside I feel all fresh and excited.

On these walks I have discovered that Amsterdam has the coolest playgrounds EVER. A picture slideshow will soon be made a posted, revealing one of my favorite playscapes of all times. Kids here are lucky/awesome.

Martin Sonderkamp's class is fascinating and very challenging. He is very direct in pointing out out anatomy, and we are constantly grabbing deep into our sitbones and pushing thumbs into our trocanters and feeling the release and contraction of our hamstrings and deep-6's and all that jazz. It is nice to step back when training and just feel your own anatomy, and think "okay THAT'S is what I can't do this" and "maybe if I release here more, things will get easier." Very nice, very nice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Self-motivated Summer Intensive

To begin, a snapshot took whilest still in London. This is Kris Walker, with me in Brixton on my last day in the UK. Brixton is a weird place, weird but fascinating. If you look past Kris' coolness, and fixate upon the oober coolness of these two Johnny Depp/Blues Brothers hybrids, you will realize just how bizarre Brixton is. If you have the means to, you should visit.

Henny Jurriens Foundation (HJS): am amazing hub.

Today I took class with Stephen Pier, master faculty member at The Julliard School. He has danced with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, The Jose Limon Company...among a few. I got to start off my morning in this stark white room, eat a bowl of cereal (though not too much, my stomach was nervous!) and take a beautiful walk through the west region of Amsterdam to get to HJS. Then I was able to dance for the next 5 hours. It began with Stephen. I am clearly not a ballerina, but he still showed interest in my progress, as well as the others in class. He also noted that I have a "lovely back", a huge self esteem booster coming from his impecibly trained eye.

Next class was with Martin Sonderkamp, a freelance dancer based in Berlin. His class is release-based and very challenging. I felt very good about my university training in this class. Thank you, Andee Scott! There was a moment when he ever so delicately threw his body into the ground and made no noise at all. A year ago I would have been baffled, but after Advance Contemporary Technique with Andee my last year at UT, I knew just how to accomplish this! It feels good to be over here in Europe and to feel like my dance training in competent. Yay UT Theatre and Dance!

My final class of the day (the woman at the desk was shocked I would take 3 classes in a row, but hey! this is what I'm here to do) was with Martin Meng. Now this is an interesting story: Martin and I have crossed paths in the past. Two summers ago in Cyprus, Martin was the ballet master at the tiny tiny installation of EDAS (European Dance Art Salzburg). The three weeks spent in Cyprus alongside 4 other UT dancers and a group of 6(?) young Israeli dancers is a whole different there was a lot of unexpected circumstances and adjusting that was involved. And malnutrition. And diarrhea. But I learned a lot from Martin in those weeks. Teaching in strict Russian technique, he holds a completely different class than I am used to with the ballet at UT. I don't agree with it all, especially the idea of forced turn out and and incredibly stiff back. However, he helps me push my own length of limb and stretch my lines, something needed with my long torso and tiny stub legs. He also helps me in my balance. I know it sounds crazy to "balance from your fingertips", but the images he uses to explain balancing by stretching enormously through your pinky finger in your pique arabesque...Uhm, it freaking works. Love it. So we had a nice little reunion. He told me I looked good, I said he looked good. He said he hardly recongized me. I suppose this is good, as when I was in Cyprus I looked emaciated and was constantly soaking in my own piggy sweat.

The best part about Henny Jurriens Foundation: it shares the building with yet another dance center, Amsterdan Dance Centre. They have evening classes, all different types. I am going to check out schedules and fees tomorrow and will hopefully have some extra spare cash to take a few random classes here and there. Just bunk out at the studio all day...sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I am creating my own intensive workshop for myself. It feels great :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I am in Amsterdam! I am on Juliana Van Stolbergstraat, in Bos en Lommer. The room I am staying in is nice, white, tidy, with a happy Buddha statue and lots of interesting looking books. I am in a house with two others, one named Chema and the other Daniel. Andrea, the girl who offered her room to me while she travels, is a dancer, and this place is 10 minutes down the road from the Henny Jurriens Foundation, where I will be taking class for the next twenty days. I am getting a 30-day unlimited pass, and I will take 3 days classes a day (that's right, I will!)

This coming week the teachers are badass. More to come tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Raki? None for me, thanks.

Second week of Laban began. We started off with a bang! I don't think I have ever done so many grand-pliƩ a la seconde in my whole life...

My advanced "release" technique class, beginning at 9:30AM and taught by a brilliant pint-sized ball of fire is not so rejuvenating as it might sound. She kicks my butt first thing each morning, with more squats, suspensions, speedy footwork and dropping than you could imagine. I love it!
After this I go straight to my advanced Limon class with Luca, another pint-sized and brillian (and adorable) young teacher who can't help but make you work hard.
Lunch comes around and then a nice Pilates class. And then the day ends with Capoiera with Will...a whole separate story. Exhausting? Yes. Invigorating? Yes. Possibly something I want to study deeply in the future? Definitely.

I had beer and dinner with Jacque, MJ and Phillipe (my cousin, aunt and uncle.) We resumed to the same place we visited this weekend; a cool, mildly fancy pub near Bloomsbury park, down the street from Jacques' flat. I had a PINT which is actually 20 fluid ounces, as opposed to the 16 fl ounces that we americans are used to. Boy oh boy, how I love the beer here! Yes. I am officially a beer lover now. Liqour? Alright. Wine? Pretty great. Beer? MORE!
After beers we proceeded to Tas, a Turkish food place nearby. I tried my first glass of Raki...pretty much not delicious to me, but I am happy I tried it anyways.

On the way home from dinner, after saying farewell to MJ and Ph, as they are returning to the states tomorrow, I took the Victoria Line home. Here I made friends with a starving actor from Dublin named Chris. He has been living in Brixton for the past half year (or something like that) auditioning and trying to get into the acting world. His story made me happy and reconfirmed that I'm not totally crazy trying to make this do-art-in-Europe dream happen.

This weekend I saw Hofesh Shechter's "Political Mother" at Sadler's Wells Theatre. I haven't got the energy or wrapped up thoughts to go into depth, but basically I was blown away and completely inspired at the quality of just about everything evolving around the show. I WANT TO DANCE FOR THESE PEOPLE. AHHHHHH. So slinky yet precise and glorious all around.
Here is a few links about the show:

The second is a review with a rather blunt ending/opinion, but the descriptions in between are well...descriptive.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Here are some visuals.
1) the view from Laban
2) the flat I am staying in
3) a studio at Laban
4) the nearby pub!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beat-box accompanist

This is the guy who plays for my Limon technique class. He beatboxes, live records and feeds it, adds some crazy piano and drums. He is incredible!

I wish I could remember his name...

Here is a tiny look into the flat that I am living in during the next two weeks. The flat belongs to some lovely friends of boyfriend to a friend of Soren...basically, I don't know these folk, but they have been kind enough to let me stay in their place in Brixton, on "Bob Marley Way" while they are vacationing.

The one downfall of this situation is that I am exetremly far away from Laban, the institute where I am dancing every day. Brixton is about an hour long tube ride, with 2 changes, to Greenwich, where the school is based. By the time I get home each day after dancing it is past 8pm and I am TIRED.

I finally got to the grocery store yesterday and bought, among other things, two necessary items: thick cut, traditional marmalde and Nutella. The Nutella is sumblime as always. The marmalade...gross. But I had to try it!

Happy points of this trip: mostly everything.
- The freedom of being alone, figuring things out for myself.
- Riding the tube, seeing a mass majority of London citizens getting up together every week day, getting on the mass transportation, off to their jobs. It is superb people-watching, and though I try to blend in with the unenthused, exhausted look like everyone else has, I am so interested on the inside!
- Everyone sounds like they are in a Happy Potter film. It's awesome
- Aside from "everyone", of course there are many foreigners as well. I sat next to two Danes on the tube yesterday. I could tell because they sounded like Soren :)
- The dancing! Holy moly, I can't forget about the dancing, which is why I'm here in the first place. My classes are crazy intense, and I am holding up well (aside from extremely sore thign muslces and a cronic case of jetlag). I am taking Advanced Limon technique, Advanced Release technique, a Pilates course, and an introduction into Capoeira with an oh-so-cool teacher. In fact all of the teachers are quite enjoyable. I haven't met too many friends, but I have been smiley and happy around the classrooms, and I think my presence is appreciated. That is all I ask for!

Sad points: Very few
- My alarm clock won't work, so I have had to figure out different methods of waking up. Not a very happy feeling the to realize this THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS. But I still made it on time.
- Despite how hard I tried, I still think I packed too much. My backpack was ridicuously full and heavy, and I know half the clothes I truly won't wear. Oh well. The worst part is over; me arriving in London looking like a complete foreigner with my overstuffed luggage, my passport holder on my hip, a detailed map and a very confused look. After I travel to Amsterdam, that feeling won't be happening anymore, as I'll be based in Copenhagen after that and hopefully feeling pretty much "at home".