Category Archives: Socials

Replying to Comments

So I’ve gotten a comment which I feel I can’t properly reply in more comments. So here we go.

Mr. Jackson: “I’m also curious about what you took away from seeing what you could of the ‘post secondary world’ through Jamie’s sisters, as well as your own observations for the day. What are you excited about for yourself, looking a few years ahead: are there aspects of campus life (or post secondary in general) that you’re curious/excited/apprehensive about? What prompted these thoughts for you, either on the trip, or before?” -SFU Exploration

After seeing the ‘post secondary world’, I’ve taken away a lot about the life of the student, I guess you could say. I always thought that once I enter that world, my life will basically become new. I’ll stop dancing, spend all my time in the library doing work, stuff like that. Seeing how universities are run changes that idea. I’ll probably always take advantage of the outdoors or study areas over the library and also use areas like the pool and gym for exercise on campus.

Looking ahead, and realizing that this could be me in a few years, definitely provokes new emotions. As I said, I’ve always planned on stopping dance once I graduate, however I’m already on year 11 of 13 then. It makes me sad to think that in three years I won’t be dancing however I’m worried I won’t have enough time. I’m excited about all the clubs and new experiences I’ll find myself encountering. I’m curious about how much time I am going to have and how busy I’ll be. I’m going to need to have a job, get my homework done and keep fit, while still have time for myself. I’m used to having a lot on my plate with the schedule I have now, but how much stuff would be too much, how much would be too little?

These thoughts are sparked by conversations from Katie about how you can spend a whole night doing homework as well as how many people don’t take classes at my studio after graduation. It is started from my own perception of my time as well as my families. My mom already thinks I have too much on my plate; however, if I take on any less, I’ll find myself bored in the calm months.

So that’s a little more information to follow my SFU post. Thanks for the comment!

BiBLOGraphy

Over the course of the eminent project, I didn’t use that many sites, however I will give you the ones I used.

 

Misty Copeland

This website is very good. It has good information on her life and repertoire. It also had great pictures and allowed for contact. I used this website mainly however I paired it with her Wikipedia page to cross check and expand.

Misty Copeland Wikipedia

I used this website along side the site above. I used it mainly for cross referencing facts, however I also learned more about her home life and things that weren’t publicized on her official site.

ESPN Interview

This article helped me to learn a lot about how Misty felt being the only African- American. It gave me a lot of incite to how she viewed things and it brought up items in which I later looked in to.

American Ballet Theatre

This site is the official site of the American Ballet Theatre. I used it to look at the dancers there as well as look into their education and training programs. I used the sub sites within this site.

Pointe Magazine

This article was helpful as it gave incite into some of the hidden exclusions of todays companies. It didn’t really assist me in furthering my project but it was good basis information.

Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children

While this book didn’t help me with my project per-say, it gave me a lot of basic information on peoples’ perceptions of themselves and how the paradigm within which they live affects how they see themselves.

And Finally Bunheads

This book is a book of fiction, however the author was a professional dancer in the New York Ballet for 9 years. I can imagine that this book is based on things she saw within the company, if not experienced herself. This book sparked inspiration for my project as it should me hidden things that happened within a company and opened my eyes to the fact that body acceptance within companies isn’t necessarily put aside when you get your foot in the door. Also an amazing read for any dancer.

Well those are the main sources I used on this project. Hopefully they help someone.

Night of the Notables: A Night of the Past

Night of the Notables is over! I can’t tell really if I’m happy or sad about this. It was a great night with many memories, laughs and new experiences. There were so many awesome things about the night that I want to share so I think I will…

The evening started with speeches. Now, up until that night, I had no clue if I was excited or nervous. During diner, I was definitely nervous. Backstage, nervous.   The doors opened and I started to buzz with anticipation, either to get on stage or to get off. Then Jamie walked on stage, starting the first speech, and I was excited! I couldn’t wait. And when I went on stage, it wasn’t some blackout speech where I walked off stage saying “What happened?”. I was thinking and present the whole time. It sure will be something I will remember and carry with me for a while.

 

After all the speeches were done, there was a panic as everyone ran to get to and set up their learning centers. As we ran down the hallway, a mixture of pointe shoes, ski boots, runners and heels clicking on the floor, I could only think about how funny we must all look to a passerby who didn’t know about Night of the Notables. It made me laugh at the thought of a ballerinas, skiers, runners and pioneer looking people all running through the school halls.

The rest of the night past fairly quickly, followed by selfies and polaroid photos before and after closing circle. It was a night to remember.

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I’d say that I met all my goals for the year’s project. I was happy with what I learned and was happy with how well my speech went. In future, I would look at information from more sites.

I just want to thank the grade nines for putting this night on and making it so good; I also want to thank all the other tens for being so supportive of everyone and making the night special!

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I hope to see all you nines rocking it on stage as tens next year!!!!

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Interviewing a dancer

Eminent is in three or so days, I’m a mix of emotions currently! Need to put them all aside temporarily and tell you all about my interview.

For my interview, I contacted my ballet teacher Laurel Cabrita. Ms. Laurel has taught me ballet for the past eight years and it is because of her that my studio has some of the strongest ballet technique from a non-ballet exclusive studio.

Ms. Laurel danced at the Pacific Ballet Theatre for six years. The company stemmed from the studio where she was taught.  Upon joining the company, there were about 12 dancers. Over her six years there, the company never grew bigger than 20 dancers.

This company was very small in comparison to national ballet companies. To add some perspective, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) where Misty Copeland dances currently has 16 principal dancers, 7 soloists and 59 corps de ballet members.  Because of its size, the Pacific Ballet Theatre’s selection of dancers may be affected less by shape than a national company.

Many companies, especially national companies, tried to aim for a Balanchine body. A Balanchine body has long legs, long arms, a long neck and a short, thin torso. This was mainly to create a look of unison within the dancers, causing no one to stand out in a good, or bad, way.

After talking to Ms. Laurel, I found out that body shape did affect and limit dancers, but not in the way I was expecting. Many of the root reasons for any body limitations were logistical and not aesthetic. Most common body limitations were height, weight, flexibility and ability.

For height, it affected partnering mainly. Going en pointe adds a lot of height to a dancer. Ms. Laurel, who was 5′ 6″, had to partner with males who were at least 5′ 11″ or else she was too tall for them, both aesthetically (with the partnering looking awkward) and logistically (not being able to spin properly because the male can’t keep her upright).

For weight, the two main reasons it limited was the strength of the males and how it affected health. If a dancer has heavy bones and muscles but doesn’t look heavy, she may not be able to be lifted by a male and therefore not able to do a pas de deux. If a dancer is overweight, and the extra weight affects their stamina and cardio vascular ability, then it is going to affect where they are in the company. When Ms. Laurel was in the company she was asked at least two times to lose weight. The directors never enforced it, but she was asked. There was only one girl in the company over the six years that was outright bulimic and anorexic. Some dancers took depositories, to make them go to the washroom, in attempts to lose weight, but it didn’t often last long. Many dancers smoked, sometimes even instead of eating but smoking was more common at the time. Teachers smoked in their classes. Of course, this was almost 35 years ago. Even over Ms. Laurel’s six years, the influence of weight got much better and has continued to get better after that.

Ability is the most limiting of the three, however some ability limitations could be altered slightly. If you aren’t the best turner, you probably won’t do Gamzatti’s variation from La Bayadere, which has saut de chats, double attitude turns and pique turns. Same goes for jumping. If you can’t jump, a jump section will be very difficult. Of course, you can train yourself to improve your jumps or turns. Some limitations you can’t really control is turn-out, flexibility and ankle strength.  Being someone with very little turn-out, I can say steps like en boîtés are very difficult. Variations with high kicks or ponchés would be difficult for people who have limited flexibility. Pointe work isn’t possible for dancers with weak, inflexible ankles or tight or weak Achilles tendons.

Even though all of this is true, ability comes over look. Maybe in a national company, if two dancers have the same technique and quality and only one has a Balanchine body, look will come into play. But if a dancer is amazing at portraying a character, it won’t matter if they don’t fit the image. Quality and technique can allow body image to become less important. Stage presence can help a dancer to go far.

In the end, what the dancer can do is all that really counts.

Document of Learning

Eminent night is a week away as of tomorrow and I couldn’t be more scared excited. Just today, we figured out our speech order. I think I’m 5th,? I can’t really remember. In all honestly though, I can’t wait. One of my IEP goals is to become more confident with my stage presence and public speaking. I feel that this will really help me take a step in the right direction. (Unless I bomb my speech and develop terrible stage fright as a result, but I like to not think that way.)

My project is turning out really well. Something I said I wanted to learn more about is why society cares so much about our look and build. While I didn’t really figure out why society feels that way, I figured out why it matters for dance companies. Your build affects the way you move therefore limiting your options. Examples include weight and height limiting partnering and physical ability limiting steps. I’ll expand on that in my interview post. Your look really only matters if you are trying to get into a really prestigious company, because they have enough dancers that they can aim for unity in look as well as technique.

One thing I am going to have at my learning center is my pointe shoes. One thing I find truly amazing about Misty Copeland is that she was only dancing for three months before going on pointe. I was dancing for 7 years before I went on pointe (of course, I had to also wait to be old enough). I’m going to bring my pointe shoes because it helps to show strength of feet and ankles.

Something I hope to show is how Misty Copeland got so far even though she came from very little money and was African-American. I want to show that with the support of her teachers and the connections they provided, she could succeed. This will probably be most prominent in my speech.

I also want to comment on Nazlie’s project. I recently heard her speech on the woman who runs Rookie. It blew me away. During her speech, she didn’t ever really move, using no body language to aid her, however it worked in her favour. I believe this is because her speech was formed as a letter to her eminent person and letters are not often associated with body movement. She caught my eye because she spoke with such passion in a way that was relatable, and because she was talking about body images and the affects society have on us. This is something, as I mentioned earlier, that I wanted to know more about.

So now I’m going to go read Nazlie’s blog and go discover what Rookie is all about.  If you’ll excuse me…..

Speech Draft

Hi so this is a draft of my eminent speech. It’s at about a minute timed so I want to add more but I don’t know what…. If someone wants to edit and help that would be great!

[Runs on stage, excited]

They want me for Clara in The Chocolate Nutcracker!? I don’t even go to their studio! My teachers must be talking about me more than I thought… Oh I can’t wait! But, I’m not good enough am I? I only started pointe 2 months ago. Heck, I only started dancing 5 months ago. I mean, I know my teachers called me a prodigy when I started but I was taking a free class at the boys and girls club near the motel where I lived! You can’t blame me for not believing them. Plus I’m growing out of the typical ballet body. I guess I kind of need to be African-American to be in the Chocolate Nutcracker but I’m getting too tall, too developed, too muscular looking. Maybe it doesn’t matter as much as I thought. Maybe my teachers are right. Maybe I will go far. I will make it. Maybe a prestigious company will stray from looking for that long legged, long armed, short and thin torso, Caucasian soloist. I mean, I’m good. Plus being African-American won’t keep me out of the corps de ballet, will it?

 

SFU Exploration

Hey everyone! So on October 30th, we, as a class, went to SFU for the day. We started with a solo spot, super cool, followed with us exploring the Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. The museum was really interesting and I loved looking at all the aboriginal designs in the things like bentwood boxes. For lunch we went to an Indian

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buffet place. The food was really good. Afterwards, we split in to two groups for tours. They were lead by Katie and Zoe Fajber, Jamie’s sisters. The tour was really interesting and it was neat to hear about different parts of the school. We ended the day at the library, where

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I got a book called “Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children.” The library it’s self was super interesting in how it was laid out and organized, as well as a little overwhelming with the sheer amount of books there.

I started the day with a plan to get a book and to bond with classmates. I also wanted to see the campus, especially because I am considering going there. I planned on taking loads of photos for both me and my blog.

Looking back, I learned a lot about universities and the opportunities they provide from both Katie and posters around the

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school. I learned a little about university life from a student’s perspective as well. Overall the day was very inspiring in that it opened my eyes to a new world in a way, or at least a different perspective of the world. It gave me a look into the paradigm that is a post-secondary student as well as showed me amazing sights in the architecture and feel of the building itself. In relation to my word from the beginning of grade 9, open, it opened my eyes and mind to a new way of thinking and gave me another mindset to consider when I meet people.

For more photos, check them out in my flickr album.

Eminent Introductory Post: Misty Copeland

misty portraitMisty Copeland is the 3rd ever African-American female soloist at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT).  She has 5 siblings and a mom. Growing up with very little money, she started ballet at 13 at a Girls and Boys club in LA. Instantly, she was marked as a prodigy. In 3 months, she was en pointe. 8 months after starting, Misty performed Clara, the main female in the Nutcracker, with the San Pedro Dance Center. 2 years after starting ballet, she was awarded first place at the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards. As she matured, Misty grew out of the traditional ballet shape. She developed bigger feet, more muscular legs and a larger bust. Despite this, Misty was accepted into the ABT’s corps de ballet at the age of 19. At the age of 24, she was promoted to the rank of soloist. She was the first African-American female soloist in 20 years, and the last African-American male soloist that had been with the company had left the year before. Over the years, Misty has performed many roles including Firebird in The Firebird, Lead Harlot in Romeo and Juliet and the Fairy of Valor in The Sleeping Beauty. At the beginning of this year, Misty became a sponsored athlete with Under Armour. She is now a part of the “I Will What I Want” campaign run by them.

Misty Copeland and I are not the same race or class and whether or not we are of the same religious faith is irrelevant. However, we aremisty c dance both females and we both are ballet dancers (granted she is much, much better than I am). We also have limitations within our genetic make-up that cause difficulty in making it professionally. While hers is her race, mine is my lack of natural turn-out and my bone structure. In the world of professional ballet, women are forced to fit a certain cookie cutter outline or they get cut out. Ballerinas worry about their weight and size, freaking out if they are busty enough to be wearing a bra at 19, 20, up to even 25 or 30. I want to use this project to help me understand why society cares so much about how we look and how we are built.

I know I would never be able to be a professional ballerina. I’m too wide, too busty, too tall, my pelvis naturally tilts forwards, my hips are physically turned in and I have practically no turn-out. On top of that I am naturally very inflexible and have slightly weak feet. Though most of these limitations are things I can’t control, I’m still categorized as not good enough. And though I don’t dance professionally, these limitations come into play in my every day classes to a certain extent.

misty poseAs I said, I want to know why these limitations matter to society and to the world of professionals. I want to use Misty Copeland’s experience as an African-American and someone that comes from a very low class to explore not only why they supposedly matter but how we can beat and escape these cookie cutters set by society.

My Historical Life

My name is Louise Duval. I was born on November 19, 1768 to a family of farmers. Though I was named Louise, everyone called me Lou. My sisters think that it’s just a cute nickname, I think I did too but looking back, I think my parents were trying to give our neighbours the impression I was a boy. The thing was, I was the fourth girl born to a family that needed a boy to work the farms. I had three older sisters, Renee, Gabrielle and Adeline. My mother, Mirabelle was in no shape to have a fifth child.

We lived in a very small town called Pettigrew, in a very secluded part of France. We probably wouldn’t even be on a map. Within this town, we had one of the biggest wheat crops and were a main supplier for the bakery. My father, Théo, started the farm with his two brothers but they had both gotten married and moved to bigger, better known towns to start “real lives”. We had a few cousins that helped us during the off seasons, but they had their own farms to tend to during the harvests. The same went for our neighbours, they had their own jobs.

Renee was eight when she started helping out our father on the farm. Sure she just helped with setting up the equipment and hand tools to Papa when he would fix the fences, but it wasn’t something that happened in France at this time. I was four, and even I noticed the sewing groups getting smaller, less people stopped in, and that there were glares sent our way when we attended services at church. The only reason that we weren’t shunned was probably because our farm was such a big contributor of wheat.

Gabrielle started helping out on the farm the following year. I would have thought that the isolation would have intensified but if anything it lessened. Maybe they just got used to there being girls on the farm. Maybe they realized my father needed help and had no other place to get it.

Adeline and I started helping our mother with the mending and the cooking when I was 6. Even at 7, Adeline was almost as good of a seamstress and mender as my mother. I was much better at baking, always helping Mother prepare the bread. Though personally, I couldn’t wait for Father to see me as old enough to care for the horses and cows.

Because my father had so much help with Renee and Gabrielle, it wasn’t until I was 10 that I started to help with the farming. I adored it and always volunteered to help. The people of the town didn’t seem to mind me helping as much as they did my sisters. Whether it was because this was the 6th year of girls working on our farm or because they called me Lou and tricked themselves into thinking I was a boy I don’t know. All I knew was that the town dynamic was going back to normal.

And then 1782 came. I was almost 14 at the time. I knew the farms well. I was out watering and feeding the crops. I noticed that some of the seeds hadn’t spouted. This far into the season, the wheat should have been way farther ahead than they were. I asked my father about them and we started walking the rows of wheat, analyzing it. By the end of the day, we had come to the conclusion at least a quarter of our crops were failing. And they did. We lost a quarter of our crops that year. This didn’t just happen to us either. This was happening to all the crops. The following year, Gabrielle helped as well. Renee would have helped too but she had gotten married and moved away. The atmosphere of the town had changed. Our neighbours no longer cared that we would work on the farm or wear pants around the house and fields. Even some of the other farmers were asking the females of the families for help with the crops after last harvest. It wasn’t uncommon for people to stop by and ask about the crops either.

Alas, this year was as bad as the last, with the following maybe worse. But we definitely grew closer as a town. When Gabrielle married and left after the second year of bad crops, it was just me and Father. Adeline hated working on the farm and helped mother instead. The town people knew of our predicament and wasn’t unusual for us to come back to the barn and find mucked stalls or filled feed buckets. But it was no use, by the time I was 16 we were producing half the wheat we used to. Our town was dying. We were malnourished, lacking money and running out of jobs. That is why, on April 15 1785, my father went up to my mother and said “Mirabelle, we are moving to Paris.”

It was a logical choice. There were going to be a lot more opportunities in Paris. So we sold the farm and packed up. The journey took about two weeks. In that time, my mother got very sick. She died the day before we arrived it Paris.

Though suffering from the loss of Mother, we were able to start to integrate ourselves into Paris life. Paris was so much different than Pettigrew. While our father got a farming job just before the season, Adeline and I were forced to get female jobs. I guess after 12 years of having girls on the farm, I forgot that the rest of France ran differently. I ended up getting a job at a bakery and Adeline got a job as a seamstress.

Between me and Father, we got a lot information about the food situation. The crops in Paris were doing better than ours were however with the size of Paris, the people weren’t that much better off.

As the years passed, the crops got worse. The bread prices started going up because of lack of wheat. By the time I was 20, riots were happening because prices were so high. Paris was in poverty. Maybe people thought rioting would lower the prices, maybe they knew it wouldn’t but just needed to express themselves. Hostility towards the king started to grow as people saw that he had money. He could help us, but he didn’t. He sat in his palace while his people starved. Things needed to change.

At this time, Adeline had moved in with her new husband, but we still met up to talk every week. Things were moving quickly. The Estates General was called then the Tennis Court oath was signed. In November, my boss and a bunch of other women from the market marched on Versailles. I didn’t feel very strongly about the cause because I understood why the bread prices were growing so high, but I almost lost my job because I didn’t participate.

Things started to get out of hand. A lot of people shared the same state of mind as Bastien, Adeline’s husband. I agreed with him as well by now but some people took things to an extreme. There were many people who wanted the king’s head.

Events started to take place and drastic decisions were being made. The king was executed, much to my dismay. This signified the start of a change. People said that they didn’t want a king and now there was no way for France to have one. But, no one realized that the alternative could be worse. At King Louis’ execution we were left with power head, no one to lead France. And the alternative was worse. When Robespierre took over, a reign of terror begun. People were being guillotined for no valid reason, but no one argued because they would have been guillotined as well. My father and Bastien both were guillotined.

I was upset but Adeline was beside herself with grief. We decided to move back to Pettigrew to escape this madness.

The madness did disappear. Adeline and I both got married to people we knew when we were younger. We started up the farm again. The crops improved. Even though I didn’t need too, I helped our husbands with the farm work. The people of the town didn’t bat an eye. Even after we had left Pettigrew, females still worked and did men’s jobs. We started corresponding with our older sisters again and filled them in on our endeavours. I stopped helping on the farm when I had my two children, Xavier and Carine. Adeline had two boys as well, Eugène and Léon.

Many years past. I now write this from my bed as I am sick and clearly dying. Adeline past a few years back with both her and my husband gone as well. Xavier and Carine both care for me while they take turns helping Léon with the farm. Eugène has moved to America. He often sends me letters speaking his explorations. He has met this local group of native people and has started to hunt with them. He finds them to be skilled yet very primitive. They were shocked to see that he hunted with a gun but I hear that they are starting get used to the idea. I’m told that females also don’t hunt in America. Will that change as generations pass or will it always be seen as a despised thing for women to do men’s work?  I wonder if females will still work on the farms in Pettigrew after this generation is gone.

 

Links:

http://www.preceden.com/timelines/32587-french-revolution-10-key-events-timeline

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_French_Revolution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_French_Revolution

http://www.noahwebsterhouse.org/discover/kids-corner/life-in-1700s.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_France

http://www.towson.edu/polsci/ppp/sp97/realism/whatisns.htm

 

Charlotte Corday: I killed one man to save 100,000

Well, what an eventful end to my time in this revolution. Jean-Paul was threatening the republic too much. He needed to be dealt with. So I decided that what goes around, comes around. He stabbed us all in the back so I stabbed him in the back on July 13, 1793. Originally I planned on making a public spectacle, however his skin condition caused me to reorganize. I leave you with my Addresse aux Français amis des lois et de la paix further explaining my motives. Let me tell you this though. I killed Marat under the belief that his death will stop the violence that is happening in France and it will prevent the risk of an all-out civil war. My only regret is that my plan did not allow me to see whether or not my sacrifice was in vain. I was executed in the guillotine four days later. They gave me a trial where I explained that I killed Marat in order to save the 100 000 that I believed would one day die at his hand. Hopefully, when this revolution has died down and authority has stopped being challenged, France will come out strong with a Republic and no mass murderers in charge. I wish that I will not be forgotten after my sacrifice and though I did not mind dying for the good of the people, I hope that I will not go without recognition.