October 31, 2006
Happy Halloween! Interestingly enough, this candy-fest holiday really does have something to do with feasting. Hallow’s Eve, as it was once called, is the precursor to All Saints Day. On November 1st, Roman Catholic tradition commemorates those people whose souls have been sentenced to purgatory. Like so many holidays we know and love, it’s a day of feasting. What better way to say, “Sorry you’re stuck in nullity forever…”?
I’ve been preparing for Halloween for about 5 days now. Not by choice, but rather by job description. Being a dance teacher of young munchkins, I (disdainfully at times) participate in all the traditions that children know as part of their life. This includes having dress up classes and parties for my classes on the week of classes prior to Halloween, and of course, on the holiday itself. I pass out black and orange goodies and pumpkinface stickers, play Halloween freezedance games to scary songs, and try my best to look unique when it comes down to it.
Today I hosted a Halloween party at Center Stage for my students who normally have classes on tuesday. It was an hour long, and only about 10 kids came. We had a great time, and today I was the Gypsy Queen!
So, feast away young munchkins, and don’t forget to bring me some extra candy!
October 24, 2006
On the mornings that I’m not hopping around like a frog, slithering like a snake, or jumping around like a monkey, I still return to one of my most pleasant memories of Cambridge. Not by reminiscing, looking at pictures or thinking of such things, but by reliving the mornings that were so peaceful. As I sit here in the backyard of my parent’s house, my laptop feeding off wireless, with cigarette in hand and coffee by my side, I have that familiar feeling - minus all the noise.
My motto of September was “time passes slowly”, or so it seemed. With some emotional grappling, and major adjustments in life, work, and style, time was on my side, and a little too much so. It’s funny how when one is in what you think to be an ideal situation, the feeling of never having enough time sets in. However, once that situation is pulled out from under you, time slows down, or so it seemed. As I’ve found my groove, so to speak, the time has been running quicker. Perhaps at a good pace now. I can see the end of the tunnel for things that have just begun. But this isn’t to say that one should sleepwalk through life, just to get to that place that she hopes to be. Instead to conquer it with a vengeance. I suppose, in so many words, to make the most of it.
We are heading in to the 5th week of Nutcracker rehearsals. I’ve only been present at 3, because my role as Assistant Director has restrictions. For what I hope to accomplish, I’m giving what I need to be giving. For what other people expect of me, it may be said differently. In so many ways, jobs come down to money, and with money comes a measurement of time. But why state the obvious, child? Because the personal comes in to play as well. Working with a group of people who I have known for 3, 5, some 10 + years, time and money has a whole different meaning. But that pull to keep a value on my time is strong. And if nothing else, it seems like the “right” thing to do. Using computers to measure our time with web-based software like dotproject is a good place to start.
Then it comes to other things in life, where time is measured in money, but for these things, the money doesn’t matter. I’ve been working on Shebrew lately, doing updates for new issues, and putting together a small photoshoot gallery to give a sweet farewell to the lovely summer months on the East Coast. Fall is here everyone, and this week’s theme is “Home.”
In other news, I just finished the book, Tuesdays with Morrie. I told my sister about it last night, and she said that it was on the 10th grade summer reading list last year at Melrose High. Morrie, a teacher, had so many beautiful things to say, and some that I took with me to teach my classes last night. Inspiring to say the least, and perhaps summed up in one of his many beautiful thoughts…
“Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too–even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.”
September 27, 2006
Southpaw: A person who is left-handed primarily uses his or her left hand, more so than the right hand; a left-hander will probably use the left hand for tasks such as personal care, cooking, and so on.
According to the official “Left-Hander’s Calendar”….
Because a southpaw’s brain tends to be more resilient than a right-hander’s, left handers frequently adjust more easily and quickly to difficulties they encounter.
I know the “Left Hander’s Calendar” is totally biased. They want to keep people tearing those days off! But the real research seems to coincide somewhat with this optimistic generalization stated above…
Left-handed persons are thought to process information using a “visual simultaneous” method in which several threads can be processed simultaneously. Another way to view this is such: Suppose there were a thousand pieces of popcorn and one of them was colored pink. The right-handed person — using the linear sequential processing style — would look at the popcorn one at a time until they encountered the pink one. The left-handed person would spread out the pieces of popcorn and visually look at all of them to find the one that was pink. A side effect of these differing styles of processing is that right handed persons need to complete one task before they can start the next. Left-handed people, by contrast, are capable and comfortable switching between tasks. This makes them appear (to the right-handed majority) as if they do not finish anything. Alternately, left-handed people have an excellent ability to multi-task. Perhaps the anecdotal evidence that suggests they are more creative stems from this ability to multi-task.
All of this comes down to thinking about what these past 30 days have done for the mind, body, and spirit of this southpawed bear. All in all, things feel pretty weird. Not bad weird. It’s just hard because I’m always thinking of other people, and rather than quench this thirst or curiousity for what I always knew in seconds, minutes, hours, maybe 1 day…I’m just left sitting, and thinking…and dancing.
Work has been off to a pretty fantastic start for 2/3’s of the week. The other 1/3 of the work week has been a little iffy. Starting off a couple mornings with a room full of 2 year old munchkin babies whom, for the most part, scream and cry for their mothers, is…well, less than ideal. Scientists call this age, “preoperational”, meaning that at 2 years old, a child can start to recognize mental thought as something other than motor skills. Basically, they can use their imaginations. However, my definition of “preoperational” really means….”before operating”. Meaning, they can’t operate, and are very very egocentric. You can’t blame them, the poor little munchkins. But really, in some ways you can. Give me a room full of whiny teenagers, I’ll whip em in to shape. But a room of crying 2 year olds? Yea, I’ll whip them in to shape too! (but i won’t like it.)
But really, the bulk of my multi-taking left-handed brain is not focusing on these primordial humans. Trying hard to focus on the positive things, my Chuvah and a plan…a plan for success without losing my gord.
June 6, 2006
Recital Time.(See, Recital 1989) How do I describe it? It’s often known as “crazy” (i.e. insane). Or as my friend said on Gtalk the other day, “Oh snap, so you are in kook out mode.” I have a list-a-mile-long that is actually getting shorter by the day. My productivity levels have gone through the roof in a very physical sense. The digital end of my life lessens as the physical increases. Personally, I like both but there’s something extra special about the physicalities of running around, getting psyched, working the body, spending time with the friends and colleagues, and cleaning dances to be ready for the stage. It is my life, and I love it.
Mostly, recital time always brings me consistency. Alot can be inconsistent in life, whether it be love, relationships, good and bad hair days, splenda or sugar, Pall Malls or Basics… I tend to thrive off the constants, and there are some constants that I have been extra thankful for…the studio being one of them. What would I do with myself? The studio is like my heart and soul, and I’ve always used dance as this emotional release. Not in any super spiritual way, but moreso in the releasing-endorphins-from-movement sense. It’s really effective, I’ll tell ya.
Looking towards the future, things are looking up. I get to do more shows! Melrose Youth Ballet, which you heard about back in December ‘05 Yes, that’s me dressed up as a Victorian mother on stage, but this year there will be no waltzing, no curling of the hair, and no pretending to be prim and proper. Hell no peoples, I’m officially Assistant Director of the entire operation. It took a year of being their bitch to gain their confidence in me, but that’s okay because it’s all in the past. Here I am today with the mad skills of putting on shows, and they got to recognize big C when she brings down the house!
It really was no miracle. What happened was just this. The wind began to switch - the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.
Today I got this phonecall from a mysterious woman from the temp agency that I supposedly work for. Oh, except for the fact that they never call me. And really, I call atleast every 2 weeks to check in about job openings. It’s really kind of worthless. But today they “found a perfect fit” for me. The person who reccomended me for the position was Joe, the man I met one on one with at my interview at the agency. The position was mostly administrative, working for the Harvard School of Public Health. I like Schools of Public Health personally. They fund a lot of research studies, and often times pay people to participate in them. I did a couple of them myself while I was in college. Also, the one’s I really like are ones that fund programs for the community. But I don’t know much about the Harvard one, I’m sure it’s fantastic. They needed someone to work in the department that deals mostly with “sensitive issues, such as death.” I would be fielding calls from patients/family members and other people who are near losing someone, or have lost someone already. Well, I thought, I’ll hear this one out. All the while thinking, “why me?” I know I’m a sensitive girl, but come on…
All in all, death is something I like to keep in close quarters. It has been ever-present in my life in the second degree for the past few weeks. And my heart can only reach so far, and it has been going out to friends and family for some time, and I want to save the good parts of it that are left to make more round trips when round trips are needed. You know, hearts use flyer miles too.
And to end, with a shameless shout out:Center Stage Dance Studio
presents its 9th annual production…
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Friday June 16, 2006 ~ 7pm
Winchester High School
80 Skillings Rd, Winchester MA
[be there or be square]
March 29, 2006
No, this time it’s not about Bird Flu. This cat didn’t come from Germany, and I doubt it’s been having sex with any birds in Melrose. Center Stage is perched on the hill. To the left of our studio is a woodsy area that goes high beyond the houses. “The studio cat” as we liked to call her was familiar with the hill for many many months, and as children shuffled in and out of the doors of Center Stage, “the studio cat” would make a daily ritual of coming down off the hill to greet everyone…
Day after day alone on the hill,
The cat with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still,
But nobody wants to know her,
They can see that she’s just a fool,
And she never gives an answer,
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in her head,
See the world spinning around.
Last summer was the first time us dancers came to know the cat. It was Summer Dance Camp 2005, and seeing as I opened the studio each day and directed the dance camp, I came to know the cat and so did the children. In the summer we leave the door open to the studio to let in fresh air (we don’t have air conditioning, and dancing for 6 hours in the summer heat can lead to…well let’s just say we need fresh air!). The cat would mosey in and out of the studio each day, peeking through the door in to the dance area. The children were wild, “the cat! the cat!”
Summer came and went, and our little friend would come around less often. You would think when winter hit that we would see this little face no more…but no! The Studio Cat spent the winter outdoors, visiting the studio…but somewhere getting fatter? I don’t know exactly what it was, but a couple of weeks ago I snapped. I couldn’t watch this muchkin kitty be homeless anymore! The Studio Cat started following me to my car at night, perching itself on the door trying to peek in the window. I even heard stories of it jumping on to the back of people’s cars before they would be driving away! Some would say, “It’s feral”…but I say, “this cat needs a home!”.
Enter the fiasco….
Ari was in Guatemala when my emotions started running wild for this cat. Last Friday I had a steak-filled dinner with Eliot and my family at the Outback Steakhouse. Our waitress was very nice to warn the table of 12 that “We use 17 spices when we cook our food, 11 of which are varieties of pepper.” Music to my ears, I ordered a prime rib valapos or something. It was fantastic. We got one of those onion bloomers, my Papa loves those. When he hears about an onion bloomer, he gets a little crazy in fact. But in all honesty, the Outback don’t know much about 17 spices! Don’t get me wrong, the food was good but it was not 17-spicified! Or perhaps my taste buds have been affected by so much hell at the East Coast Grill (oh but how sweet it is!), and my over-the-top spicings of my own home cooking, that 17 spices might taste like a lot to some people, but to me it tastes like a little pinch of salt. Yes, that’s what it is.
As we left the Outback Steakhouse, Art called. I was on the verge of being meat-delirious. I say delirious and not “meat-sick” because really I wasn’t meat-sick at all. But I had a lot of steak, some bloomin’ onions, lord knows how much rye bread, and a vodka tonic to top it off. So I was delirious, and wasn’t thinking crazy thoughts about the cat. I started the panic and wanted to bring the cat home that night. We got back to Melrose, and Angela and Jonny were asking about the cat (as they were all that day). And a sidenote to all of this was that the previous day I had rang the doorbell of the house near the studio where I thought the cat might have spawned from. Sure enough, Bruno said…”Yes, we do not want the cat. Take the cat.” Turns out his wife is pregnant, cats carry something that pregnant women shouldn’t be exposed to. But I know mad people keep their cats, so whatev.
Long story short, I didn’t take the cat home Friday night. I was delirious and emotional but Eliot and my dear Mum talked a lot of sense to me about lots of issues with the cat. And it’s a good thing because when the time came to ask “the whole house” about the cat, things didn’t go as smoothly as I thought they would. Everyone needed time to ask questions, think it over and consider their significant others reaction to the cat. It was the first time that living with a group of people really affected my ability to act freely. In some ways this felt bad, but in another sense I guess it was the first time that living with a group of people really felt like a second family. Conflict, tension, discussion and resolution…we should have gotten a spot on TLC’s show, Intervention.
Christina we’re here to talk to you about the cat. You have a problem, and you need to face it.
All in all, we got the cat. It’s a she-cat and she came home last night with me after I left the studio. Marcy was here to break the ice last night, and so she is so friendly but sometimes a little too friendly. It all started when Eliot got home from playing tennis. He was petting her in our room upstairs, and she started crawling up towards his face. And nibbling on the ears! In some kind of quest to show her love she loves the ears. If I knew more about her past, maybe I could try to explain this behavior. But we know very little about her past life. Maybe it’s a Portugese cat tradition, to nibble the ears. Her past owners are Portuguese. But here in the People’s Republic of Cambridge, our new kitty is all-American! That’s why we’re calling her Money.
March 17, 2006
This week was like grease going down the kitchen sink; slow, a few blockages, but eventually the sink was empty and I was just rinsing away the remnants. But we all know that grease is good, which is why I ate a hamburger, fries and onion rings at Bickford’s last night. A good friend of a friend passed away this week. I met him a few times back while I was visiting my old boyfriend at Umass. Since then, haven’t seen him but have heard through the grapevine that he was living with some old friends in Somerville, and was using heroin pretty heavily. He OD’d on Monday night. It’s not the type thing that I’m very affected by, but my heart goes out to my my old friends who I know had stayed close with him. He died in their apartment in the middle of the night while the rest of them were sleeping. I’m blessed to have never lost a friend at a young age, and I can only imagine it’s a very real and scary thing to have a friend who is young and asking for trouble pass away in such a way. It’s got to be grating on the mind to feel like you could have done something. I remember this book I read a few years ago, by Chuck Palahniuk in which he said, “All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.”
Dismal thoughts, but in a way exhilirating and true. I risk judgement from god right now, but dare I say that my life is anything but boring at the moment. I’m in transition mode, and getting geared up to work for a temp agency that only places jobs at Harvard. I’m looking forward to satisfying my job ADD disorder, and bouncing around for a while from academic sectors in the heart of Cambridge. I should be receiving some information in the mail soon too about some graduate programs having do with some fields in therapy - I’m exploring physical, occupational, and expressive therapy at the moment.
I hadn’t heard much about expressive therapy, except for this one article I posted a while back on Fair Mobility, about Integrated Dance.
Expressive Therapy is a form of treatment that essentially assumes that humans are naturally creative beings. The philosophy integrated dance, music, art, and even theatre in to treatment programs for more of a mental health angle. It’s much more rooted in the mental health field than the physical and the therapists generally work with psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, adult day treatment programs, schools, and clinics that provide treatment for specific groups of people such as families or those with addictions.
My primary interest does life in the physical and occupational therapy field, but this is something to think about. One thing that I’ve always tried to relate to my students about is the usage of dance as a way to “get away” from everything. Especially working with teenagers, I’ve had many break-downs in the dance studio. This might be because they come to dance after breaking up with a boyfriend, or losing a loved one, or super-stressful stuff going on in school or with their family. Being a dance teacher has presented itself with much more than the basic structures of choreography. I am the type of teacher who gets close with my students, we talk before and after class usually, and in a lot of ways I think this has aided in my ability to properly form my classes to fit personalities and moods.
When I was a teenager, I was going through the usual angst that teenagers go through. Rebellion if you will. Boyfriends, failing tests, studying, not sleeping, fighting with parents, didn’t we all? I remember so distinctly that when I went to my dance classes, I would really feel this sense of healing. It is somewhat chemically based, as movement and excercise releases adrenaline and endorphins in the body and brain, but anything chemical translates in to something emotional. Being human, we have the ability to take the structure of a chemical and form in to a cohesive definition. This can lead to abstractions at times, but when you really learn to understand it and become in tune with your emotions (brain juices), you can learn how to rationally deal with things. Being at dance and feeling the healing was not an active reaction to bad times in my life, it just happened so naturally. Being connected to this feeling, I think that I could really relate to the field of expressive therapy and it’s definitely worth exploring.
So last night I was chilling in the living room, working on the machine, doing laundry, watching TV, a fine time indeed! I was watching an episode of The Cosby Show in which Alvin and Sandra come back from their honeymoon, and alvin asked Mr. and Mrs. Hucstable if he can call them Mom & Dad. It kind of hit me that it’s a weird thing that spouses have this tradition of calling their in-laws by the Mom & Dad title. Like there is this sibling-connotation to two people getting married or something. I couldn’t help but try to quench my curiousity by looking on the internet for theories relation marriage to siblingry. It turned up nothing, really nothing, I even tried changing my search phrases several times. Funny little idea though, if you ask me.
March 9, 2006
My favorite part about having a blog is being able to read the minds of others. A glimpse in to what the pitter-patter of fingertips are yearning for. What information does your heart ache for? See, there is too much information about robots on the internet, so despite me frequent mention of robots, my love of the idea of humanoids, and my attempt at sarcasm regarding the invasion of said robots, I am never pinged by such inquiries. Instead I receive things like “brother sister wear leotards” and “krump dancing clips” and more often than not, somebody is looking for the “definition of pas de bouree.” But what is the one things I learned today? Perhaps it applies to this (healthy?) obsession with my keywords used on search engines. Well, it’s a lesson that proved itself, and then exposed itself in the rawest form!
I met with the cultural arts director at the JCC this afternoon. See, I’ve had this mom begging me to start teaching a Mother/Daughter Tap class. But she doesn’t know about all of the red tape at the JCC. She actually asked me if I could just charge her and the other mothers who were interested under the table! No no no, I’m not going to rip off the JCC! I get access to their gym, and this spring I am taking a clay pottery class for free. Perks are perks, not worth the risk.
So I went to see the Majestic Silka after my ballet class with the name and phone # of the woman. I also made a crack, something like, “Yeah, well make sure you have a while, cause she’ll talk your ear off.” Well, this sent Silka in to a diatribe of the difference between us in age and life. “No, Christina, see this is why I am 50 and you are 20-something…” Her final words of advice, “You don’t need to please everybody!”
Her trick of the trade is to make a phonecall, and upon the other person answering to say, “I’m sorry to be rude, but I have a meeting in a few minutes. I just wanted to return your call and talk to you about [state your purpose!]. Well, Silka didn’t have a meeting today and we ended up in talking about the future and Judiasm in her office for about 45 minutes. On my way out she told me that before I had come in to see her, she had written me back from the email I sent her last night. She said, just ignore it since we already talked.
Hah! Ignore an email? No, in fact I read nearly every email at least 3 times before it’s considered “read” in my book. So, I checked me email from Queen Silka. It opens….
quick note - off to meetings!
A dear Silka how could you betray me?! How you could reveal your secrets to my face, and then use them against me in an email? As if I could possibly keep you for an extended period of time when you are writing an email to me from your own personal space!
February 15, 2006
Last week I was teaching at this preschool, not one of my usual clients. My friend Liz, who was teaching here is going away to Chile in a couple of weeks, so I took over her classes this month so she had the free time to get her things together for an overseas journey. In an email prior to my first week at the preschool, she stated:
…watch out for ruby, the red head, who sometimes hurts other kids especially while lying down on the mats.
Okay, I thought to myself….another crazy redhead, what else is new? Well little did I know what was in store! I arrived promptly at 3pm for my class, and the children were still napping (remember naptime in school?). Except there was one child awake, standing by the plastic toy-kitchen, wearing a long black cape with flames coming out of the top. The room was dark, and classical music was playing. The children asleep atop of their small preschool cots were small and peaceful. But the cape-flame child seemed bigger, much bigger. “That must be Ruby,” I thought to myself.
It came time for class, the children were groggy and Ruby was now puttering around the computer area. I said, “You must be Ruby.” She stares at me. “Do you want to come join our circle for class?” She stares. “You know Ruby, Miss Liz told me about you, and I would be so glad if you came to join our ciricle.” She smirks, but turns away.
So, Ruby sat on this minituare sized couch while we had our creative movement class. I kept looking at her, because really she was twice the size of the other children, and she was wearing a long black Dracula-style cape. Her hands were chubby, and her skin was pasty white, with cheeks to match her hair. Her name is Ruby. And she tried to carry away this tiny little child halfway through class. Madeline, a little munchkin who is taking class with kids older than her, doesn’t really say much. She just turned two. She is half the size of normal preschoolers, and about 1/8 of the size of Ruby. All of a sudden, we are practicing pencil rolls one by one, and I hear a squeal. I turn to see what’s going on, and Ruby is picking up the girl and trying to walk away!
Ruby came back, she sat back on the couch with her cloak, and only approached the circle at the end when I was handing out stickers. The world is a crazy place, and red can sometimes be a scary color, which is why I’m going green.
Thanks to my awesome and beautiful boyfriend Eliot, my room now has 4 beautiful green plants. He found time (from his many life adventures) to gather many house plants and showered our room with them yesterday. It was like a true awakening to see the green around the room, sending thrills through my spine! Okay, Christina, it’s only a plant you may say, but no no no. These are wonderful friends to bring clean oxygen to our environment, and pleasantries to our brains!
Really, I have been feeling like I wanted to make the room more comfy lately. I have a few ideas for redecorating the stainless-steel utility shelves that we purchased at home depot last year, and have a game plan to decorate one of the walls, which may or may not involve a large mirror (which makes a room look twice the size.)
These plants have brought a whole new element to life inside of our foxhole. The sun is shining in through the many deflected angles of neighboring buildings, and I can’t wait to grow with them. The question now is, does talking to plants really help them grow? Well, the answer is certainly yes, but blowing on them would do the same thing, or simply, talking to someone else while you stand next to the plant. When we talk to our plants, we give off pure carbon dioxide which makes plants healthy. It’s Life, and Life is good, any way you cut it…animal, mineral, or vegetable.
February 8, 2006
Well Google Video is taking like 5 days to “verify” my video. I had no idea it would take this long. Shortly, you will seeing the things that define my life, such as my weird sister, my instrumental grandmama, and some behind-the-scenes footage of the one and only 3rdarm.biz.
Today is Wednesday, somehow. I feel like the past 2 days just have beaten my mind, body, and some of my soul, all very quickly. And I’m just not ready to hit another day over the head. I’m trying to get used to a new schedule for my body. I’ve been going to the gym 3 x /week since last week. It feels amazing to be working out, and I can already see and feel a difference, but I guess it’s wearing me down a little bit physically because I’m teaching a lot. I’ve been drinking a lot of Redbull to keep me going, and I’m just worried about the crash and burn affect of too much activity. But hey, what’s life without some challenges? Either natural, or man-made. Sometimes it’s nice to hit the pillow and fall asleep real easy.
So the mind and body are so interconnected that I have the drive to be physically going going going, but my brain is melting!
The question someone proposed to me was, why is it so important to work for a non-profit? Well the thing is, it’s not so important, but I think it’s inherently good, atleast from the ones I’ve looked at. A couple months ago I applied for a part-time position with the BU School of Public Health. The job that I applied for was field work. The person in this position would go to cities in and around Boston, health fairs, high schools, job fairs, town meetings, hearings, anything really and just ask people questions about their health concerns in the community. What does the city need for teens, elderly, kids, everyone. Then that person would report back to the School of Public Health with ideas and proposals for creating health programs and inititatives for that community. From there, help with grant proposals, and formulating solid program ideas.
I loved the sound of that job. I mean, really I wanted it so bad. But I didn’t get it, and I was really bummed. So, I want to do something like this. Not necessarily health-field related but definitely something along the lines of field work. Maybe my scope is too small, but I feel like living in Cambridge, and considering the dense cities around me, non-profits that are working in and for the communities that they thrive in are the best way to go. So, I’ll be done with this creative movement stuff in 3 weeks at the most (hallelujah!) and that’s just enough time to start looking for a new job.
I really do like teaching the munchkins, but the dance studios that I teach at will fulfill this just fine. Monday at the JCC I had this weird and amazing moment with my students. They are all either 4.5 or 5 years old, and it was towards the end of class and I was giving them stickers. This class has 5 students in it, 3 of whom are from Israel and have lived in America for 2 or 3 years. They speak Hebrew, and often times chat in Hebrew. Two of the students said something to eachother and cracked up laughing, and I said, “hey, what’d you say?!”
One of the students, what a hot ticket, said, “Ummm, I don’t speak English very well.” That little bugger didn’t want to tell me what she said! So, okay it was funny. But I said, “No, Gili, you have to teach me some Hebrew words!” So, she said, “Okay, do you know how to say “flower” in Hebrew?” “No, how?” The pronunciation was like, “paylauck”. So, I repeated, “paylauck.” Then Shai, the one with this beautiful thick accent repeated the word with a sharp roll of the tongue and that amazing throaty “chk” at the end. I said really loud, with my best tongue and throat, “paaaaaaaaaylaaaauuucchhhhkkk”. And we all roared laughing.
They loved it! And really, this was one of the first times that while teaching and being with little kids that I felt like we were all on the same page. I wasn’t humoring them or making them laugh like a teacher would, we were just on the same level, laughing so genuinely with one another. It’s hard to explain, but it really hit me.
So, yes I love teaching the munchkins and I will continue to do so at the JCC. Mornings at the preschools on the other hand, I’m just done with that.
I think because I work with so many children, I sometimes feel like their protector. I want to protect their bodies from injury, so I teach them healthy ways of moving without the risk of injury. I want to protect their self-esteem, so I incorporate so much enthusiasm and encouragement in to my classes. I want to protect their fragile minds, so I work really hard to keep my classroom friendly, and if two students are harboring any bad feelings towards one another, I work to show them that we are a team, and to be a team we have to understand our classmates and help eachother to progress.
January 31, 2006
Okay, so it’s been a while. I’ve been in this funk…just a matter of not having enough calcium, or perhaps enough sleep?
Yesterday, a case of the Mondays. In the words of Arthur Mullen, I served 90 people yesterday. Except instead of serving, I taught 9 classes throughout the day, ranging from 9:30 am until 8:30pm. In a somewhat successful effort to drag myself from the warmth of my cacoon, I woke up Monday morning and went through the usual routine of making coffee and getting ready. I even managed to put some clothes in the wash (the finale of a 24 hour process I had started Sunday afternoon).
When I arrived at the preschool 15 minutes early for my class, I realized I forgot to get the house boombox from Ari, which she took on the retreat she was leading for her students. Since the boombox that came from the company was broken, I had to teach 4 creative movement classes without music. Well, it was creative alright. We sang songs such as Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (with the untraditional reprise, Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose), Itsy Bitsy Spider, and If You’re Happy and You Know It (Clap your Hands), among others.
4 classes in a row singing these songs, please don’t ask. After this marathon of nothing less than sheer ridiculousness I headed over to the JCC for my next order of business, 2 Baby Ballerina classes. I stopped at the Sub Shop to get a chicken salad sandwich, which was so great!
When I teach creative movement I generally dress kind of schleppy. I don’t wear my dance clothes because I’m usually rolling all over a church hall floor that is not very clean. So I had this t-shirt on, one I’ve had for atleast 8 years that has a little baby dawl tiger on it. It’s that soft gray material, the poly-cotton blend. That stuff is the best.
Anyway, when I go to teach ballet at the JCC or dance classes at the studio, I dress nice. I wear leotard and tights, I do my hair, I look presentable. I’ve learned over the past few years that the more put together a dance teacher looks, the more students admire that teacher, and want to keep looking at you when you are demonstrating steps. This is good because it keeps their attention and makes them want to work harder so they can look like you someday. Self-absorbed? Yes. Reliable Method? Heck yeah!
I came in the JCC, grabbed a Jewish Advocate and went in to one of the many secret conference rooms to eat my sandwich. Ahh, peace. A few minutes before my class was starting I headed to the bathroom to change in to my dance clothes, freshen up, etc etc. What’s this? No leotard or tights in my bag! Gosh darn, they’re hanging in the laundry room drying from the previous night’s laundry adventures! I had to teach my two ballet classes in those grungy black pants and that t-shirt which I have been wearing for the past week.
See, I have this obsession of immediately getting as comfortable as possible as soon I get home. I’ve been like this since I can remember. When I was little it was church, then dance, then family gatherings, then anything! No matter if it’s 10am, 2pm, or midnight, the first thing I do is go in my room, change in to sweatpants and some kind of super soft sweater or shirt, and put on new socks. Anyway, the tiger dawl shirt is my favorite shirt to change in to when I get home so let’s just say I wear it a lot and sometimes sleep in it.
So, I looked like a schlepp for my ballet classes. Okay, so I made up for it by teaching them kartwheels, which was super fun. The appearance thing is a big thing for a dance teacher though, it’s an image.
Luckily my last session of classes was in Melrose so I ganked some clothes from my mom and my sisters since we are the dancing family.
On my way home last night I had to return a phone call. The mother of one of my ensemble students called the studio and left a message that she needed to speak with me specifically. Her daughter, let’s call her Raj, is one of my top students but I have been very hard on her this year. She gives me about 80% in terms of her body, she executes steps but doesn’t always complete them with that extra OOMPH that it takes to make a good dancer. And her face is what I call, A Dead Fish .
In dance class a teacher has to come up with code words for things. There’s no time to say, “let me see the energy in your face!”. Instead I say, “Jonny, Dead Fish!”. Just hearing this makes them smile, so really it works like charm. Raj is a seriously Dead Fish and I have been working with her continuously for 2 years at trying to pull this energy out of her upper body.
So, when I heard that her mother called the studio and asked for me to call her back, I was thinking that Raj is unhappy in class because I’ve been so hard on her and I’m going to have to go through this long explanation-teacher-speech thing to her mother. Oy vay. Well, I left a message and she called me back this morning. Her reason for calling is even better than the Dead Fish issue.
Her mother wanted to know if she could miss her two dance classes tonight because it’s her brother’s birthday and they’re having family over the house. Raj was scared to miss because I’ve been cracking the whip in class and telling them that if they’re absent, I’m not taking time to re-teach things and it’s their responsibility to be in class and I need to see 100% from them. ROAR!
Well, I’m not really a mean tiger. I just play one in the studio. I called her mom back and told her that it would be fine, but I’m very glad to hear that Raj is taking class so seriously. If she’s worried about missing material, she can come 10 minutes early next week and my assistant can go over the new choreography with her.
Problem solved. Now, if I could only put some life in the face….