Tag Archives: art

Foreigner in New York ( NaPoWriMo #21)

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Definitely one place to visit. Photo source: google.fr

We walked down the famous street absorbing the fluorescent confidence of theatres and billboards, of all artistic and not-so-artistic types.

“So this is Broadway,” she said, eyes flickering light from a blinking sign.

We had gone to see the Statue of Liberty earlier in the day.

Funny that one of the most iconic American symbols isn’t American at all.

“She is French, ” she had pointed out to me, “a gift from France.”

The Parisian actress and singer wanted to see Chicago before flying tomorrow.

Naturally the request had come fashionably late, so here we were looking for rush tickets.

Within running streams of black suits and clicking heels on pavement, are static queues circling squares and blocks.

Art students and cheap tourists among those in line.

We had been waiting for ten minutes when she announced, “I don’t want to be here anymore, too much.”

There was a brief sad glimmer of a glance around the hustle and bustle of eager faces ordering vinegar fries for the grand opening of the booth, before dark sunglasses dropped on her face.

With a flip of a scarf, hair, and heel she strode through the crowd and stuck a hand out over the street.

At least she seemed to like the yellow taxi cabs.

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My attempt at a “New York School” poems which the NaPoWriMo website describes as having a “conversational tone, references to friends and to places in and around New York, humor, inclusion of pop culture, and a sense of the importance of art.” So, yeah. I can hear the city and the accented voices in my head but it doesn’t translate onto paper very easily. And I have never been to New York so my imaginings may very well be the stereotypes presented in romantic comedies. So I made it about someone seeing the city with those stereotypes in mind. Pretty fun, would be cool to do something similar with Toronto as the inspiring city.

Thanks for reading,
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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That Cardigan (NaPoWriMo #6)

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Firehouse Centre for the Arts in Newburyport, MA

That huge green cardigan he always wore
When we went to the grey rundown park, wiggling through tubes
With peeling red paint stuck to squeaky sneakers
Crossing eyes and fingers to the  soundtrack of laughter

That velvety cardigan draped over the shoulder
Carelessly swinging as he sang, adding kicks and swivels under the golden spotlight
Shining off a purple braid, because that was when he liked his hair long

And colourful.

That wiry green cardigan wrapped tightly as he sipped black coffee
(I always have mine with at least two creams and one sugar.)
By a big winter blue window, nodding to the white crash of cymbals
In the only cafe in town that played rock music because it made us feel alive

That cardigan slumped on the floor, under a blinking exit sign.
I picked it up as I left the stage door.
His name on a star still burning in my eyes.

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So this one kind of went on a whim. Instead of taking nouns, colours, and verbs from a look outside a window,
I jotted them down while at a rehearsal for our annual music show. And the words in the list just fell into place in this casual way. Recently, my father lost his uncle living on the other side of the globe, whom I have only met once (with little memory) and who he hasn’t seen in I suspect almost a decade. The character in the poem in no way resembles this man, but these thoughts must have lingered while I was writing. You realize how much we cherish memories when that is all we have left of a human being.

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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Shakespeare Quote: Short Response

candle

Credit and link at end of article.

Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,

Not light for themselves; for if our virtues

Did not go forth of us, ‘twere all alike

As if we had them not.

This quote states a purpose of man’s life through a religious metaphor and explains the importance of sharing the ‘light’ with others instead of keeping it to oneself. Just as a torch’s purpose is to shed light on other objects, humans are called to be God’s instruments to spread goodness around the world. It is important to not limit one’s virtues to thoughts and ideas, but to show them in one’s actions in life. To continue with the theme of light, having a match in a dark cave and leaving it unlit would produce the same result of not having a potential light source at all. A person with virtues left unshared might as well be a person with no virtues at all.

Republished from English class 2012. Photo courtesy of J. Devaun.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Jack Diamond: A Brief Biography of a Canadian Artist

Source of photograph: utccanada.ca

Canadian Jack Diamond is an internationally acclaimed architect known for his simple and artistic designs. He was born November 1932 in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in 1964. He studied at various universities and received several degrees: Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cape Town in 1956; Master of Arts degree in politics, economy, and philosophy from Oxford in 1958; and Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. He founded his own company now Diamond and Schmitt Architects in 1975.

From then on he has created many structures around the world including the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton; the Jerusalem City Hall in Israel; the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; the Harman Centre for the Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the Southbrook Vineyards Winery in Niagara Falls. His works in progress include an addition to the famous Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg Russia (now completed). He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and given the Order of Ontario two years later.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada
Source: dsai.ca/projects/four-seasons-centre-for-the-performing-arts-canadian-opera-company

Jack Diamond believes in creating buildings that are not for flashy display; but that are useful for the people using them. He thinks not only appearance, but functionality. “We were just interviewing for a project at a university in the United States,” he said. “The president asked us, ‘Have you ever designed a building that causes a car crash? Because I’m looking for an architect who’s going to design a building that causes a car crash.’ There’s a kind of group who is looking for a building that will snap your head, literally grabbing attention. But does it have any deeper ability to contribute to the life of the university, to the life of the faculty, to the experience of students, to its connection to the grain of the community? Do any of those matter at all? Diamond + Schmitt does not do car crash.” Whether people agree to his designs or not, there is no doubt that Jack Diamond is a master of his art form.

New Mariinsky Theatre

New Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia
Source: dsai.ca/projects/new-mariinsky-theatre-russia

Republished from a Geography research assignment in 2010. Being a dancer, I chose to display two performing arts theatres, but Mr. Diamond does a very wide range of work.

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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A Work in Progress (with Guest Artwork)

ballet3invertedballet2inverted

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

It has been a very busy week preparing for our annual showcase. Long days leave us with hanging limbs, aching muscles, cracking ankles, and lots of homework waiting in our school bags. And I love it. Even when it means the rest of Canada is celebrating a long weekend while we have rehearsals in two out of the three days.

Don’t  get me wrong, I enjoy being lazy. There truly is nothing like lounging around on a couch reading a book, watching nostalgic television shows, and blogging away here on WP, but being busy is satisfying. Having work and goals leads to personal growth that makes us feel like a contributing part of society. Vacation is great, but I think, as human beings, if we had all the time in the world we would still find some project to work on, because we are naturally curious that way.

In ballet, it is much the same way except we can’t decide when we dance from when we want to, but also when we need to – it’s about discipline as much as desire. Maintaining strength and stamina is especially important the days leading up to a performance because often, muscle memory isn’t enough. After getting into the routine, our bodies crave the exercise, and sometimes even the soreness, strangely enough.

Ballet is a never-ending process of discovery. Each day, we get into class practising the same movements we’ve been doing for years. But then again, it’s never the same because bodies change and we are constantly finding new ways to engage our muscles and refine our artistry. Perfectionism is a raging epidemic in dancers because everyone is in pursuit of pure, classical, virtuosity. There is an internal hunger in all of us to reach the ideal, ballerina whose picture only becomes more perfect the closer we get. It’s what keeps us on our toes.

The older I get, the more I realize you cannot have a successful career unless you are head-over-heels-flat-on-your-face in love with ballet. Work is paired with passion, and learning about the art form and yourself is just as important as the performance onstage. With the words from my teacher, I’ve realized that there is never a finished product and that we are not “finished dancers”, especially as students still in a school. There is always more to learn and more to improve on to fulfill the potential that sometimes we don’t see in ourselves. And this does not only apply to ballet.

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http://greenembers.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/ballet1inverted.png?w=179&h=319
I would like to acknowledge Bradley for his beautiful sketches (that he drew for me a LONG time ago) and that inspired me to write this post. Please check out the original art and his blog here!

As you’ve read, I have incorporated an excuse for my inactivity in this post and am itching to complete all the ideas that I had a few weeks ago in my What Now? list. There is a lot of school work to be done this weekend, and as I’ve mentioned, rehearsals, but I am determined to write at least one little something each day.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Allegory in Short Film: Neighbours (1952)

Stop motion by Norman McLaren:

In the award-winning film “Neighbours”, concrete elements are used to powerfully express abstract ideas. The fence plays an important part as both a set and prop, and presents an allegory that is linked to the timeline of events in the film. The fence’s role and purpose change throughout the story, and its degradation can signify the transformation of the men’s relationship. Friendship between the two was found before the existence of the fence. The fence first appears as a territorial mark between the two properties as the two men claim their land. As the argument escalates, the pickets are used as a weapon as the men start a light duel. The fight worsens, and the blows hit by the wood get harsher and more deadly. As war is declared, the fence’s original purpose as a boundary is terminated and its destruction symbolizes the breaking of a barrier. The splintered wood decorates the coffins of the two men, portraying peace once more, and the end of a terrible fight. The fence’s state changes and each different stage can be related to the cycle of human relationships and the fomenting of war.

Published from November 25, 2010.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Inspiration Collage: For a Special Someone

“Rise above it” Fine Art Print by Amanda Cass

“Rise above it” Fine Art Print by Amanda Cass

Life is like a camera

keep your head up....

yesss

Adventure

"days are only as grey as you allow them to be."I really need to see this tonight.  Time to start over.

Shel Silverstein

Dedicated to that special Someone: I hope this has spread some sunshine for you and that you know  there are many who are always here for you.

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All these posts are taken from Pinterest, which unfortunately does not always have the best cited sources. For those that do not recognize his style, the poem on the left is written by Shel Silverstein, one of my favourite authors in elementary school. The new genre of combining images and quotes is a great way to inspire and would be fun to create, I imagine. I love collecting so I can read through them in low times.

Life can be tough, and comfort can be found in this medium. Hope some of these resonated with you the way they did to me.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

5 Comments

May 8, 2013 · 12:02 am