Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dance Dance Dance

In the middle of a two week contemporary dance summer school at Laban, a professional dance school in Greenwich. It is an absolute killer dancing six hours a day (!!!) but so much fun, and possibly the best way possible to do a two week intensive exercise regime. I do two contemporary classes, a ballet class, and jazz. By the time you get round to the jazz at 4:30pm everyone is so tired that it takes all of our lovely bouncy teacher's energy to keep us on our feet, as well as promises that "next week, you will all be like Rambo!" and "if it hurts now, that is good, it will stop hurting soon". I think anybody who really likes dancing has more than a streak of masochism. The wonderful thing is realising that your body does indeed get used to it. On Wednesday most of us could barely stand up without groaning, but by soldiering on through the deep aches in hamstrings/calves/quads/abs/back/shoulders/neck/everywhere, Thursday and Friday miraculously saw the aches diminish if not actually disappear.

Despite the physical activity being the most prominent part of the course, there is so much to be said for the dance itself. I do a gorgeous Cunningham contemporary class which is an oasis of calm and beauty in the middle of a hectic day, all 20+ of us reflected in the mirror as we plie and rise and carve out simple but perfect strong shapes in unison. And jazz at the end is just so much frantic fun, from grinning and posturing to get one through an ab-killing held pose, to the manic routines where your dog tired body manages to do it yet again (and again and again), and it's still a laugh every time. I'm so glad I signed on to do this, and meeting people from all over the world (from Korea to Iceland) who have flown in just for these two weeks of dance is an amazing opportunity. Although I long ago gave up any dreams of really being a dancer, I am very excited to be given a glimpse into the world of budding professionals and at Laban at least it's wonderfully supportive and not at all the cut throat place I always thought it might be.

Laban's crazy but very cool building:

In other news I just had a meeting with my PhD supervisor. Other than me being totally useless having not actually thought about PhD ideas prior to the meeting (...), it was okay -- although slightly freaky because he started going on about how if I want to set up my own field site in Malaysia (let's say), I would probably have to buy a boat (!!!) and hire a local fisherman to be my boatman and even possibly build a hut (not literally with my own hands, but close enough) in order to live on site. Heavy, heady stuff. Still, it sounds like an express course to growing up properly, I suppose you either sink or swim when you are out there in the field, and I am quite determined to only sink on purpose when I am starting a dive, thank you very much. This is the stuff of (slightly intimidating) dreams. Erm. :)