Thursday, May 31, 2012

Full Circle: The Old Becomes New Again

So... I went to an audition recently. Like a real, dance audition for the first time since I was in college. The first time in this century, if you will. It actually took place a couple of days before the Rockford Marathon but it's taken me over a week to process the fact that I had the nerve to go there and try out for an actual local modern dance company.

I didn't tell very many people i was going. Really because I was trying to be nonchalant about it and I knew the second people started wishing me luck it would turn into a "big deal" and I'd get nervous. So I kept it pretty much a secret and went in there and did my thing and left.

Gratuitous mirror photo beforehand.

I didn't have any expectation that I would be the person chosen to join the company. This was more about me putting myself out there, challenging myself, and beginning to wedge my foot in the door to the Milwaukee dance scene. There were lots of emotions involved. Feelings and stuff.

I wore a bib number that wasn't at a race!

I'm happy with how I performed overall. I picked up the choreography they taught very quickly and was able to execute it well for the most part.  They taught FAST and it was exciting to learn something under pressure. My strong point has always been performance quality so I feel like I did well. We also had to do some improvisation in small groups, which was scary since I haven't done that in years and years and I didn't know anyone else there like a lot of the other girls auditioning seemed to. I tried to connect with the people in my group but this was definitely a weak point for me. Instead of pushing to stand out I know that I was blending in. I missed my homies from the Dance Center at Columbia something fierce.

Old School. Not nearly enough photos from back then. 

I wasn't surprised to find out I didn't get it. But I'm also proud of myself for not chickening out and making excuses: "I'm too old, not enough experience, too many years away from dancing, etc..."  If anything it's given me the motivation to improve my dancing and try again the next time a performance opportunity arises- either with this company or elsewhere. I'm already filling my summer schedule with technique classes and a choreography workshops. Now that I know where I stand and what I need to work on I feel like it's something within my reach.

(NOT the audition! They used this photo of me from class in a recent email about the summer session.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rockford Bonkathon- I mean MARATHON- Race Report

(A little copy/paste from Dailymile.)

Hooo boy. This was my third year in a row running the Rockford Marathon and it was... interesting. Temperatures hit 88 degrees by the end and I could FEEL it with every inch of my body- as evidenced by my time being more than 25 minutes slower than anticipated! I was *pretty* sure by the 10K point that a sub-3:56 PR wasn't happening, and by mile 10 it was a clear fact. Despite the fact that I held an 8:55 pace all the way to mile 13 (my half marathon time was 1:55, just as planned). I just knew it wasn't in the cards. It was so unbelievably hot that I never settled into a pace that felt good and easy on my body. It. Was. Work. The whole dang time. 

After we split with the half marathoners at 13, I thought maybe, just maybe if the heavens aligned and I caught some pixie dust from a unicorn horn that I *might* eek out a sub-4. But by mile 15 I was eyeing the ambulances at the aid stations longingly. I pictured myself bailing and catching a ride an an air conditioned vehicle back to the start and I really, really wanted it. I can't even tell you how bad.
So I said thought to myself then: Can I really NOT cover the distance? Or am I just being crabby because I can't cover the distance in the time I set out to do? 

And the answer was the latter. So I took a walk break. And started run/walking. And stopping at every aid station to guzzle fluids like a fish. It seemed from the runners around me that this was a popular decision! And you know, once I made peace with this decision I was surprisingly ok with it. I didn't beat myself up about it. I knew I would complete the race.

I think this was the most physically miserable I've ever been in a race. But my spirits were high. I chatted with another girl who was in the same boat as me and we commiserated a bit as we walked up a neverending incline with the sun beating down directly overhead. 

The most amusing part for me was slogging along alone past the mile 24 marker EXACTLY when the clock ticked past 3:56:02 (my PR time from last year.) I literally laughed out loud because it was so ridiculous. 

Yeah. So it wasn't in the cards. But 1) I didn't die. 2) The medals this year were real, big boy medals for the first time and 3) I get to eat all the calories back either way! So I can't really complain. All I have to say though is Portland better be 45 and overcast in October!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I often find myself wanting to do too many things. This is nothing new. I spend a lot of nights staring at my Google calendar with squinty eyes trying to make it do things it surely can't. Like make room for more fun stuff I want to have happen.

I am aware that this is yet another one of my First World Problems.

Since I brought dance back into my life about six months ago I've been experiencing this to an even sharper degree. Right now I take a modern/contemporary dance class on Monday nights. This means I spend most of Monday afternoon staring at the clock impatiently and the hour after class in a sort of euphoric haze where I want to make out with the world. It feels SO GOOD.

Unlike Chicago, there isn't a huge modern dance scene in Milwaukee. This isn't all that surprising but it's frustrating for me as I would like to take class more than once a week and the studio I dance at only offers modern on Monday nights. (I could go into what 'modern' dance is as opposed to ballet or jazz but that would be a long, winded explanation right now. For now, just know that it's how I roll in the dance sphere.) Anyway, I wish the college dance programs here in Milwaukee opened their doors to community students like where I went to school back in the day. I want to give a major high five to the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago for giving me the experience of taking class next to working dance professionals in the city.

I guess what I'm saying is that right now I'm existing on the fringes of the dance community here. It's little bit like the feeling I had when I first staring going to races. I was sort of circling around the outside of this unfamiliar world, trying to figure out how to be a part of it.  Fifteen years ago I was completely immersed in dance so it's a different feeling being on the outside of it looking in.

Maybe I'm being a complain-y-pants right now. I just really feel like I want to augment this area of my life and it's proving difficult to figure out how at the moment. I have the time. I'm pretty confident I still have the ability. I would love at some point to even get the chance to perform again. It's been a long time coming back around to this point but now that I'm here I feel like I want to run with it. If I could figure out how.

I suppose even if I just get to keep feeling the way I do after these classes, I should be happy. Because it's pretty brilliant.