Friday, February 15, 2013

Winter Grey.

Another wonderful life was lost in my tiny town in the forest today. A wonderful woman I had the pleasure of knowing for many years. She was a teacher with my mother, my sister's teacher and just a really good person.  She was from the old school of teaching: tough love with her way. She was honest, tough and worked her kids hard but I promise every student that came in to her class knew they were important and loved. The best kind of teacher, honestly. Got mix the tough with the love.

She passed away today, much too early.

This winter I lost another one of my favorite teachers. This tiny, powerful woman inspired me to become the best version of myself in high school when that's just about the hardest thing anyone can do. She forced me to refuse to conform to what other's considered to be norm, made embrace my theatrical side, believed in me and was my personal cheerleader. You know the saying "though she be tiny, she is fierce?" That was Mrs. L in a nutshell. She was one of those people that I got comfort from just knowing we were on the same planet. Thankfully, I took the opportunity to make sure she knew how much she meant to me a few months before she passed away.

I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks.

This winter has been so bleak in my tiny hamlet, deep in the Pennsylvania wilderness. The sky has been grey with clouds and honestly, I feel like we've all been grey in our demeanors as well. When there is less than 5,000 people, death, hardship and sadness affect everyone. We've lost 2 young men, both I knew and both on the brink of a good life, 2 fantastic educators both far too soon and watched so many hardworking men and women get laid off, lose their jobs and have to start over again. This doesn't take in to account all the people who passed on that I didn't know personally. Cancer diagnosises, even in babies, houses burned down, businesses's just been an awful winter.

We are ready for spring.

I am craving blue skies and green grass. A sweet breeze in my hair, blowing away this long, hard winter and ushering in promises of renewal, rebirth and change. Spring is hope. Spring is God's promises fulfilled. We need that in this town. We need that breath of fresh air. Please, Jesus. Bring the spring.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ballet Up to the Barre!

Hi there, Dance Mom Maniacs. Time again for another installment of Ballet Up to the Barre.

I haven't recapped the last 2 weeks because I was on my way to Florida one week and then coming home from Florida the second. Frankly, I didn't want to let thoughts of that Abby Lee crazy enter my happy state of mind in DISNEY WORLD. ;)

So let's see...
This week's episode started off with no one being at the top of the pyramid...Where is the magical, mysitcal Sophia?? Hmmm? Back to real life in LA? Not pretending to be Abby's student?
Gimme a break. Sophia, you are awesome. You are BETTER than being a pawn in Abby's game. You live in LA. You have opportunities. Girls in Pittsburgh do not have the same opportunities and need Abby's particular brand of crazy and exposure from the show. You don't.
So my girl Brooke didn't "qualify" for the pyramid this week.
Abby, shove the pyramid up your nose. I'm over it. It appears my favorite dance mom, KELLY, is over it as well. Who cares?! It hasn't served any purpose all season.
This week's dances are revealed:
Group Dance: Pink Lemonade
Solos: Nia, Kendall, Chloe
Now Abby is just being plain mean to Maddie. I completely understand and agree that kids need to earn a solo. I'm having this problem at my own studio right now. But Maddie has earned it. GIVE THE KID A SOLO, ABBY. Get a clue. Now it's just hurtful.
Nia's solo costume was stunning. She looks amazing in those purple/pink tones. Her dance was beautiful as well but a little predictable. I feel like Nia is capable of more unique dancing, like 20's Scat last season. She needs something deeper. She always does better when the dance has a theme!
Kendall's dance was cute. I thought the costume was very pedestrian after all the hoopla it caused! I say, as a dance teacher, if a parent wants to take the repsonsibility of hiring a seamstress and paying for a custom costume, HAVE IT. I have bigger fish to fry. We can chat about color or style, but other than that...have fun. Maybe Abby would understand that better if she had anything in her life to do except focus on dance...
That being said, Kendall is a great little dancer! I really can't say a bad thing about her. I'd like to help her with her step out back handspring but I'm a tumbling tyrant...;)
Jill, call me. My number is on Brooke's twitter. (AHEM BROOKE!) Drive 3 hours due north, straight through the forest. Ask Kelly. ;)
Chloe's solo was a rag doll theme. I really didn't get it. She danced it beautifully after all she has to put up with. I will say...Abby harps on Chlo for not having that left split and how it affects a bunch of other stuff. This is totally true. There are better way to go about encouraging her to work on it (like don't be a giant jack@**) but the point is true. It does pull her alignment negatively. I'm having the same problem with one of my best dancers right now...but we spent 20 minutes stretching speficially for that split last night and came up with a plan. She didn't cry or feel defeated...
Just saying.
Pink Lemonade was SUPER CUTE. I loved it. Loved the costume, the hair tumbling out of the hats (even though I despise hair down during dances), the choreography...excellent work Gianna! (Or Jenine or James...) So classy and good Broadway style dancing. Loved it. It deserved a win...
Especially considering the competition.
CATHY and her merry band of boys.
And you know I hated this.
Zak from Abby's Ultimate? Gimme a break. He's a very good dancer but again, this it totally contrived. It's dumb the producers didn't even address it or add it in to the storyline. There are plenty of amazing boys all over this part of PA and Ohio that could have joined the team. STOP WITH THE CROSS OVERS. No one likes it.
I thought the boys were individually amazing. But their dance was disjointed. Abby was right, there wasn't a lot of unison that was WOW worthy. The separate pieces were great but the puzzle as a whole was lackluster.
Would Kendall and Chloe even be in the same age group? Isn't Kendall 9 and Chloe 12? I'm going to check this out on Onstage's would really shock me if they were against each other for overalls. But as a dance teacher, I notice this kind of stuff all the time and always fact check...basically I'm a giant nerd. ;)
I thought it was weird that Chloe and Christy stormed out. Yes. Chloe dropped her hat. Did Christy expect Abby to not say anything? Come on. I know it isn't a big deal, really, but after being around Abby for so many years...Chloe should have apologized as soon as Abby came in and then moved on. Beat her to the punch.
Hinds sight is 20-20, I guess! Christy, I'd have stormed out months ago, so hey...good for you!
Next week looks like 6 times the amount of crazy...
#teampaige <3 p="">