Category Archives: The happenings

Going-ons.

What’s up

My blogging has been so inconsistent this year which I blame on the high stresses and demands of grade 12, and I would like a chance to explain myself to the few (you know who you are!) who have been so encouraging about my writing and whose responses bring a smile to my face on a weekly basis. So here are the happenings of my current life:

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The booklets they send make you feel accomplished, haha.

I applied to five Canadian universities and received acceptances for Life Science at the University of Guelph, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo (co-op) and Health Sciences at McMaster University. I picked a general undergrad program because I know I love science and biology but still want to explore and discover in what field I will find my calling. In the end it came down to UofT or Mac, as I got into quite prestigious programs. The VicOne Stowe-Gullen stream is a first year foundational program for biological sciences integrated with art study in philosophy, literature, statistics, etc. and accepts around 20 students per year. Health Science at Mac accepts around 150 students and is closely linked to the medical school. It was a difficult decision but I decided I am not sure I wanted to streamline my studies to medical school so soon and accepted UofT, who also gave me a full scholarship for my first year of study there. However, future planning doesn’t end here as I am deferring this offer for…

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In case you didn't know how awesome it is. Photo clearly stolen from Nancy's instagram.

Ballet. You can study for a long time, but your body is only young once. I had to face the fact that if I did not pursue ballet NOW, I would be giving it up as a professional career choice. The difficult thing about dance is that employment is unpredictable and there is no clear path for where your auditions will lead you and for how long you will continue dancing in one place. I decided I was not ready to sacrifice this art form that I love so much. Because I like foolproof plans, this decision was the most difficult I had ever had to make, maybe I will write more about these reflections as a twelfth grader in the future.

And there are final exams in a week! It will be Calculus and Vectors, Music, Advanced Functions, English, Biology, and Chemistry. With last lessons concluded just a few days ago, so studying and scrambling for these last few assignments will be very fun (they say optimism creates more optimism and I sure could not have too much of it at this point)!

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At least summer's finally here!

I am also part of an initiative to share dance to public audiences by creating a collaborative work of live art with a composer and visual artist, combining dance, music, and painting – all original stuff by young artists. It is happening next week and will be really cool!

There are also a bunch of events: grad brunch, school BBQ, council meetings, choir summer concerts, year end recital…

All leading to GRADUATION!!!
Which I have had absolutely no time to think about. I think when it rolls around the corner I’ll just be relieved everything is over and it will suddenly hit me that I am finished high school forever.

Wow.

Thanks for reading my absolutely narcissistic post of the year,
thebookybunhead

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Winter in April Playlist

23 songs for a white chill mood with a warm hot chocolate and happy heart. They never fail to put a smile on my face, happy easy listening:

Sous le Ciel de Paris – Jill Barber
Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel
Junk of the Heart – The Kooks
Baby It’s Cold Outside – any version
Benny and the Jets – Elton John
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Pick Me Up – Hollerado
The Girl from Ipanema – Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto
Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
For So Long – Andy Gibbs
The Golden Age – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Wouldn’t it Be Nice – The Beach Boys
Jammin – Bob Marley
September – Earth Wind and Fire
Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae
The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
Masque Nada – Sergio Mendes
Solace – Scott Joplin
Blackbird – The Beatles
Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
You And I – Ingrid Michaelson
Oxford Comma – Vampire Weekend
Go Outside – The Cults

Yes, the styles are completely jumbled. But I like variety when I’m listening to music. Inspired by “The Modern Philosopher”, who like most of Canada, is experiencing Christmas weather again, at a very wrong time. Let me know what you think if you decide to have a listen!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Copenhagen: A Summer Exchange

Copyright thebookybunhead 2012

From the moment I stepped out of the airport, I knew that my second time in Europe as a professional ballet exchange student would be no less than wonderful. Everyone was very welcoming and even Copenhagen itself seemed to greet me with its warm colours and lively streets. The next two weeks would be spent dancing with the Royal Danish Ballet and exploring the sights and sounds of the city!

We had ballet classes in the morning, one with students of the school, and one with professional dancers of the company. It was nice to have the variety of levels and intensity every day, as well as to meet many great people. We also took some other classes such as repertoire and Pilates, with Bournonville being particularly fun as a trademark Danish style with its charming expression and agile steps. It was an inspiring and exciting experience to take company class and I admit it made me feel impatient that apprenticeship starts a year earlier there!

We watched company rehearsals, and though it was too early in the season to see a performance, we got a tour of the beautiful, golden, traditional theatre and saw excerpts of ballet pieces in an annual outdoor show that promoted the Det Kongelige Teatre. It became chilly after sunset, yet the audience of thousands stayed sitting on the grass wrapped in blankets until a standing ovation at the end of the night; it was a kind of cultural appreciation I was quite impressed with.

Throughout the afternoons walking the streets of Copenhagen, we discovered many parks, observatory towers, and pretty buildings, and realized it was impossible to walk a few minutes without snapping pictures of a cool fountain or statue. I had the chance to ride in a canal tour, go to two of the oldest amusement parks in Europe, look at art (including a Degas exhibition) in a couple of the many museums that offer free access, and just enjoy the street and night life.

I once read that Denmark was named the happiest country in the world, and I can say I easily believe it with the relaxed, “go-with-the-flow” atmosphere I felt during my stay. Everyone I met was so nice that I often forgot I was a foreigner, at least until Danish was spoken, which I found out has absolutely no resemblance to English. I was sad to leave but was looking forward to bring back everything I had learned to grow more as a dancer and a person in my final year at NBS! Between the ballet and the excursions with friends, I had a grand time in Copenhagen and hope to visit again someday.

So, this is part of why my summer was packed to write as much as I wanted. The first month of gr.12 has been so busy but I’m really hoping to get this blog up and active again.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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More summer culinary adventures

We spent a weekend up north at a friend’s cottage where we enjoyed a clear lake, beautiful view,  and of course, good food. Here are a few things we dished up :

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Stuffed and baked cheesy zucchini

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Good ol ‘ steak and potatoes

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Pizza and Caesar salad

Thanks for reading!
thebookybunhead

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Cooking day

Had tons of fun cooking with my family yesterday. Nothing like homecooked food with simple ingredients to put a smile on everyone’s faces!

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Coconut Baked Boston blue fish with mango salsa,  quinoa and chickpea lime salad,  and strawberry frozen yogurt.

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Brown rice edamame salad and baked kale chips.

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Sweet potato wedges.

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Seared sesame tuna.

Hope you enjoyed the photos. I know I said that I was finally back after post -exam avoidance of reading and writing,  but it turns out summer is very busy, even with the end of summer school. I will most likely be posting photos during the rest of this month and returning to responses in words when time allows!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Brain Melt: Another update, sorry

https://i1.wp.com/distilleryimage1.s3.amazonaws.com/dc419a32e32a11e2b67922000aaa047d_7.jpg

Artist on the Toronto streets, putting his brilliant mind to work much unlike the author during this past week.

My mind has been on holiday for quite some time now, but with the beginning of summer school comes a rescheduling of life, and blogging shall once again be a part of daily, or at least, weekly, routine. At the end of exams and school I automatically went into brain dead mode and indulged in not doing anything that required reading, writing, or any amount of focus longer than 10 seconds. Yes, it was that bad. But now I’m back!

Not that I’ve been completely wasting time, either. We went to the Toronto Pride Parade and Canada’s Wonderland, I enjoyed two barbecues, and even got to spontaneously sing at a parish’s farewell performance.

It’s been about a month since I had an accident dislocating my knee, and the injury is healing very well. It’s still a bit bit upsetting that it should happen so close to summer school (which I haven’t mentioned yet is dance only, and therefore just tons of fun) and my exchange to Copenhagen, Denmark next month. I might write some thoughts about it in an upcoming post.

I have also been thinking about, or rather my parents have been dropping some not-so subtle hints about what I have to do for my gr.12 year. I can’t believe I am graduating so soon and must plan for a career in both dance as well as applying for a few universities in a branch I must decide on shortly.

Lots to do, so let the summer begin! Thank you all you bloggers for continuing to share your experiences and for following my journey here on WordPress.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Just another person, Life, The happenings

Pencil Update: Poem

Funny and very true. Source: 9Gag

With my green pencil as a lucky charm,

Scribbling through papers in calm alarm,

Arthropods, hemoglobin, and evolution,

Ranting about post Of Mice and Men depression

The clock ticks faster when things get tricky,

Got dizzy from the little thing called stoichiometry.

Tomorrow after math will feel like I’m in heaven,

Finished (and hopefully graduated) from grade eleven!

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I haven’t written much because my mental pencil has been used up making review notes and writing exams this past week. I cannot wait to start reading the pile of books on my to-read list, and of course, to write! Just a few more days until summer!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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A single bazaar booth

Much bigger and sunnier than what I’ve written.
Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/481111172662500062/

In the dampened smell of barbecue leaking
out the Chinese restaurant door
The little woman sits in a booth under
four oversized umbrellas
Gathering mannequin hangers as mother asks,
“How much for this shirt?”

“Usually 20, but I’m closing now, so have it for 10.”
She speaks Mandarin.
Mom nods for the purchase as the roar of clouds echoes down the street
The lady folds the elegant beaded garment, smiles, hands us a plastic bag

We say thanks and turn around
Rain pours down.

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Life is hard, I realize that regardless of our evolution into society, it will always be a survival of the fittest. We work to live and we live to work, but we musn’t forget to be generous and kind to each other because those moments are what we remember through time.

Happy birthday to my mother who never turns a year older!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Best Week Ever: Memories of a Ballet Festival

balcony jump - AI13

Some of us thought a jump shot on a sunny balcony would be cool.

It’s not any day you meet and perform with over a hundred fellow dancers from 10 different countries. Actually, it was a week. So naturally, I have an urge to write about this unforgettable experience. Amazing. Inspiring. Awesome. Enlightening. Bomb-diggity. These words can only begin to describe what hosting a giant, international ballet festival at our school was like.

Nearly everyone arrived early on the first day for orientation. It was a confusing ordeal at first, as students wandered around trying to find their partners who may or may not still be in bed. Or, having found them, realized their partners  had already been taken on a tour meaning they were left feeling quite useless, standing around like a lamppost. My partner was a pretty, Indian girl who will be in the corps of the San Francisco Ballet next year and who had no trouble engaging in conversation, which made it easy for me. From this first introduction, I realized how many different experiences were being brought by everyone, and was sure it would be an interesting week!

Being the second of this tetra-annual event (think Olympics, except with dancing, and a celebration instead of a competition), we had an arsenal of organizational experience that we launched into some virtually foolproof plans. Firstly, each of us was partnered with a student from a visiting school, and each school had a contact person. It was a system of relaying any concerns between student, teacher, and artistic director of the schools without multiple people trying to fix the same problem at the same time in their own way. Binders were prepared containing weekly schedules, pamphlets on public transportation and restaurants in the area, cell phone numbers of every participant, even directions on how to get to every studio. Food was also stocked up with snacks of fruit, yogourt, cheese, and crackers and tables laid out to fill “Town Square” as we call our school’s main hall, where 180 people would eat every day. It surprised a few of us when visitors exclaimed, “Do you get to eat this every day?!” pointing to the row of hot food and salad bar.

We started each day with a ballet class, each one with a different teacher and with a different set of dancers. Throughout the week I was scheduled to be taught by teachers from the School of the Hamburg Ballet, Dutch National Ballet Academy, New Zealand School of Ballet, and Houston Ballet Academy. To think that to take this week of classes otherwise I would need to travel across the globe! Although each class was set differently, with a variety of teaching style and focus (for example, upper body expression, or petit allegro which is quick beats and jumps) it was interesting to see that many corrections were the same, just told in a different way – dance truly is a a universal language.

In the first few days, “Traditionally Timeless” was rehearsed: each school would perform a piece of repertoire that reflected their culture over the course of two programs. Each was the most exhilarating three hours I have never seen on stage. It was amazing to see everyone represent themselves and their school with so much integrity, and the diversity of styles and skills opened my eyes to how much more I have to explore in my art form. Counter-balancing acts, pure classical virtuosity, abstract, theatrical, and humorous contemporary, and impressive shows of strength in pas-de-deux – the shows had it all!

In total, there were 18 schools that participated and we had the privilege with mingling with what is, literally, the next generation of the ballet world. As mentioned, our daily ballet classes had new combinations of dancers every day, so we danced with the world, did a bit of unavoidable “sizing-up”, and collected lots of names that would surely pop up again in the dance world. It was also good practice for auditions to have to jump in and learn a class with people you hardly knew.

Another set of programs was performed in the second portion of the festival; these were named “Fast Forward” (they really liked the alliteration, didn’t they!) which featured student choreographic works as well as a live streaming project. These all had international casts, with a random scramble of dancers that had learned the dance through videos from their home country. And there were approximately four days to put it all together.

“Stream” was a 20 minute fusion of classical and contemporary styles and used projections of water and the dancers from Amsterdam on two big screens on either side of the stage. White was worn so that images would be projected onto bodies when people were dancing behind the screens. It really was a cool effect. It is amazing how technology can enable dancers from across the ocean to put on a show together with a lag time of .0-something seconds. It was a big achievement on the part of the choreographers, stage crew, cameramen, technology crew, and everyone in between.

We met many modern dancers from Juilliard, Palucca Schule, and Codarts who impressed all of us with their movement quality and style. It was improvisation as we had never seen before. And of course, they were all so nice. We got to know this cast of 35 or so people quite well since we had “Stream” rehearsal nearly every day. It was fun to learn how to communicate through language barriers and shocking for many of my friends who realized many Europeans not only speak their native tongue but also speak better English than most from North America, excluding their accents. I feel a lot of the times we are too casual with speaking properly, but that’s another topic. Other than the Cubans who spoke almost no English, we exchanged many words with everyone and nevertheless gained a valuable, international network of dance connections.

Our main socializing time was lunch hour. I had always told myself I would be the person plopping myself down at a table of foreigners, but I learned it’s not as easy as it looks. For the most part, students from the same school stuck together, so it could be a little intimidating. What I also learned is that having the courage to put yourself, as an individual, out there seems friendlier than approaching others in a group. By the end of the week, we were all quite comfortable with starting spontaneous conversation with anybody and could only wish that we had more time to hang out as our days were packed with dancing and rehearsals.

Wrapping up the week was a conference that was titled “Creative Challenge” after its topic, since “conference” seems to bring up the wrong sorts of ideas to young dancers (you pictured stern faces jotting down notes in an auditorium, didn’t you?). It started off with an interview with world-renowned modern choreographer, Wayne McGregor, and our main speaker, former Principal of the Royal Ballet, Deborah Bull. It was so cool to hear him speak about the projects he had done and how he built his company, but I don’t know if it was fatigue or the extremely hot temperature of a packed theatre, many of us started nodding off after 45 minutes, which was too bad because it is such a special opportunity to be sitting with two significant advocates of the dance world.

So the break-out sessions came at a good time. We split into groups in different studios to brainstorm ideas for a dance project that: a) is performed in an unconventional venue (meaning outside proscenium theatres) and b) collaborates with young artists from various disciplines (ex. composers, costume designers, filmmakers, poets, painters). Due to the economic times and the trend that companies are hiring older and more mature dancers, developing entrepreneurial skills is valuable to create opportunities for oneself. The projects are to be broadcasted through the internet and a hub designed so we can update each other on our progress and learning experiences.

The idea is also a way to expand the reaches of the art form to the public since theatre tickets can be considered elitist, especially when it comes to price. Our group extended the discussion to how the audience can become a participant instead of observer, and to work with “non-performers” as well, perhaps construction workers, the blind, or mathematicians. Everyone had different ideas and was enthusiastic about the new endeavour, which is good, since our director was worried it might have been too far “out there” for the current ballet community.

Ms Bull said something that really resonated with a lot of us, “You may think of yourselves as students that are about to enter the dance world as professional artists in companies. But actually, you are the dance world.” I just thought, “Wow, I am a part of this family that I’ve always envisioned to strive for. And I am a part of the future.” When the conference was wrapped up, a roaring standing ovation rose and our director performed a spontaneous dance of joy to the cheers and hoots of two hundred young dancers, giving the documentary crew quietly filming in the corner the exciting footage they had been waiting for. It felt like the beginning of a revolution and I hope we always remember the indescribable solidarity of that moment.

If that didn’t wrap up the week with a bang, the closing party sure did! We danced the night away, simultaneously introduced ourselves and said farewell to people we had or hadn’t met yet, and even saw some of the top directors and teachers of these highly prestigious schools break it down on the floor! A slideshow of photos from class, rehearsal, and performances played and there were tables of food: desserts of macaroons, cupcakes, fruit salad, and tarts; a bar for the legally of age (saw a director sneak his student a drink – very funny), and savoury treats of sliders, shishkabobs, cheeses, you get the idea. It was a fun evening, bittersweet, but only slightly thanks to the wonder that is Facebook. We joke that we are set for life from our connections all across the globe now.

It is hard to sum up my thoughts for this festival. I met so many wonderful people and was inspired by every single one to always be the best artist and person I can be. We shared many memories in the seven days the world gathered together in Toronto, and I feel very lucky to have been a part of a learning experience that I will treasure all my life. It will be funny if the t-shirts we received become rare collectibles one day; maybe we will recognize each other from them, or the grey booties that we also got, when our paths meet again.

April – May 2013
Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Walks ’til Magic Hour

Source: photok12.org/?q=node/11

Oh glorious day!
Sunshine blazes through canopies of green, crowds filter into High Park
A blackbird calls, its red and white marks peeking through the brush
Algae foams above the pond, where breezes sweep through the gardens
Strolling a maze of hedges and wading pools
Sit with face to the sky, indulge in quenching fruit salad and gelato
Hike hidden sandy trails imagining a place without city noise
Emerge into picnics, lawn bowling games, and playground cheers
Snapping photos and laughing chats all the way
Have a mini barbecue in shady grass, with softened rays of the dying hours
Contemplating why we work so hard to seclude ourselves from nature,
When we love so much to wallow in it?

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Perfect way to end the long weekend: had an absolutely fantastic time with my family and my only regrets are that I had homework nagging the back of my mind and that I didn’t reapply sunscreen, not because of sunburn, but because it is too soon to already get this tanned. Summer feels so close but so far away, and I am feeling very unmotivated to go back to school and don’t-even-mention exams. I just have to remember to live every moment because before I know it, grade 11 will be finished.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Just another person, Life, Poems, Essays, and Things, The happenings