2010 Year in Review: Contest Winners!

15 Jan

Ladykitties and gentlecats, I have selected winners for the You Dance Funny 2010 Year in Review contest!  Among the array of entries that I oh so subtlety twisted your arms to get, these were the three that stuck out to me.  Two of them long, and one of them short, I value all of your feedback equally and have much food for thought in terms of future writing!  Please know that just because the contest is over that you have no opportunities to tell me what you’re thinking…comments are always appreciated and e-mails the same (even if I don’t get to them right away!).  Dialogue and discussion are incredibly rewarding for all parties involved, which is why I hope you’ll also take a moment to read how fellow readers have been responding to my posts…I hope you find them as enlightening as I have!

Winner: Mark

Photo Chosen:

Ballet Preljocaj in 'Near Life Experience' (Photo ©John Ross)

 

(In response to the post, ‘Muse Musings’)

This is kind of my favorite post! Not because it is so funny, actually, but because it’s a little more on the cerebral side. As somebody who grew up with dance as an integral part of my life I guess I just take “that grey matter—the substance between choreographer and teacher” for granted! But I enjoyed very much hearing how you were able to identify that…try to pin it down…very interesting!

Note from me: Short, sweet and to the point, I really appreciated this feedback because first of all, I kind of pulled that post out of nowhere, so I wasn’t sure there was even anything of substance in it, so I’m glad someone had a strong reaction to it, and second that the analytical aspects really resonated with you…I feel very encouraged to think deeply for future posts.  Thanks Mark and congratulations!

Winner: Catherine

Photo Chosen:

It seems Catherine and I (and many more) share some favorite dancers in common! (Photo ©John Ross)

Today I’ll be mostly talking about my favourite You Dance Funny post of 2010, and the winner is… 10th May, “Jerome Robbins’s In the Night“.  The main reason I love this post is that it introduces a ballet I’ve never seen before, entirely watchable within the post on Youtube, alongside a lively and observant commentary.  Strike one: I learned something! Strike two: I loved the ballet and got way more out of watching here than from Youtube alone (and heaven knows it is hard enough to link to short dance clips without them mysteriously disappearing, let alone a whole ballet).   Words like “inhaling and exhaling”, “floatacious”, “a hot mess” and “energy through the fingertips” prod one into watching more closely.  I enjoy reading your opinions even if I don’t always share them – the second pas de deux that you found “stoic, calculated and….a little abrasive” struck me as beautifully harmonious and moving in its portrayal of repressed affection (blame this on my period drama – loving TV habits) whereas when you wrote “I constantly wanted to yank her bodice up” for part 3 I thought, yes! So do I!!

In general this post also showcases two other things I like about your blog: firstly it mentions your latest DVD find from the library – this I love as for me ballet is strictly pleasure, and I have huge admiration for people who like to study it in a more scholarly fashion.  Even the most casual research really adds value to the enterprise and makes it easy for us to explore right along with you. Secondly, the lovely chatty intro “blurb” giving us entertaining insight into your life and mindset that day (“circling the shopping center like a vulture keen on carrion”) means that we get to know you and can see where your opinions are coming from, not to mention breeze through a pretty long post as easily as catching up with a friend.  This is a real gift of yours – writing in a totally informal way that is fun to read but with true balletomane attention to detail.

In summary: videos – good, opinions – good, chatter – good, research – good.  Oh, and knowing that you are also a student of ballet with a self-deprecating sense of humour is a bonus:)

Bravo and here’s to an even greater 2011!

Note from me: I’ve actually been thinking of revisiting a discussion on In The Night, as new videos have popped up (I think by a Russian company) and rumor has it Pacific Northwest Ballet will be doing it next season.  I’m glad you enjoyed this post because it specifically introduced a new ballet to you (as it did me!) and I’m also happy to hear that you disagree with some of my ideas too…that creates potential for interesting discussions!  Also, that my made up words don’t entirely horrify people.  Many thanks Catherine, and enjoy your prize!

Winner: Karena

Photo Chosen:

I've seen this one before...is there anything more pleasing than four dancers in fourth position? (Photo ©John Ross)

 

I have a problem with favorites. For instance, when someone asks me what my favorite color is, I never know what to say. Are we talking color to look at, or color to wear? Am I wearing it as a splash of accent color, or as my main clothing item? And what’s the weather like, anyway? And favorite food? What meal is it? What have I been doing that day? Am I above or below my RDA of chocolate? So rather than picking a favorite post, I will just say that at the moment, in my current situation, given today’s weather and the fact that apparently I am a Leo instead of a Virgo (blasphemy! I am routinely harassed for how Virgo I am…), the post I feel like commenting on is February’s post on the Merce Cunningham show.

So first off, the feedback that you probably can’t make be widely applicable (I’ll try to be constructive in a moment). What got me going on this post were the two paragraphs about Karen and Dave’s pre-show talk. They made me all warm-fuzzy nostalgic about Karen and Dave (I miss them!) and how wonderful they are. I especially like the bit about Karen exemplifying dance as the fiber of one’s being. Yup, that’s her. Sadly for many of the readers of your blog, they don’t know Karen and Dave, so they might not realize how awesome that pre-show talk must have been. But it made me happy. Feel free to continue to write about them.

But another reason that I fastened upon this post is a quality that you have in many of your posts. You do this tricky thing where you bring a fresh perspective, the eyes of someone new to dance (or at least to a particular dance), yet also speak in a knowledgeable and well-researched voice. (Now if this were a school essay, I would rework that last sentence to make clear that what you are saying is well-researched, not the sound of your voice. Because I’m reading your writing. So I don’t hear your voice. But the sound of your voice may be well-researched too, I don’t want to try to say that it’s not.) I think a lot of people who haven’t seen dance spend a lot of time worrying that they will come up with the “wrong” answer when watching it, and then let themselves be intimidated out of watching dance. (Meanwhile, a lot of dance insiders tend to bring the baggage of their preconceptions to a show, and preconceive themselves out of watching the dance that’s going on in front of them.) I like that with the Cunningham show, as with others that you have written about, you can come to it saying “I haven’t seen it before, don’t know if I’ll like it or get it” and then are able to just pay attention to your reactions and run with them rather than run from them. Meanwhile, you do enough research about what you are watching that you can then proceed to put your reactions into a wider context, giving them background and support. I can see a post like this being a useful guide to someone trying to figure out how to watch and think about dance, while it is just as (even more?) fascinating for the knowledgeable dancer/reader for its astute and detailed observations about the performance. You do get a few demerit points for putting into words what I’ve been trying to say when describing Cunningham to people: “Life itself is a string of unrelated events that have no meaning and yet they do when we decide to attach that meaning. Cunningham merely provided the series of events while I attached the meaning. It was very empowering, which is the magic of being an audience member of a Cunningham dance.” But if you let me steal those sentences, I’ll try to be a little less bitter.

Note from me: I’m really proud of this post so I’m glad it stood out.  The stories Karen and Dave shared were just so beautiful and I’ll never forget how the epic the whole experience felt.  Also, that some of my posts on modern dance are enjoyable amongst the sea of ballet themed ones.  Here’s something I haven’t shared about this post though…shortly after the inaugural performance of the Legacy Tour, I received an e-mail from Carol Teitelbaum, the faculty chair at the Cunningham studios in New York, who told me that the post was passed on to all of them from someone at the Cunningham organization!  Of the thanks she gave, I was most touched by this:

It is gratifying that Merce’s mission is being so satisfyingly realized by his company that you could have the experience you did, and write about it so clearly.

Talk about feedback!  It was one of the first times I felt like I had really made a difference with my writing, and am so grateful that you saw something special in that post too.  Thanks Karena, and congratulations on your winning entry!

Well folks, that rounds it up…I hope you’ll keep this contest in mind as 2011 has begun.  There’s a good chance this will happen again.  As in, I’m totally doing this again in 2012!  So make it easy for yourself and keep your favorites in mind this year, okay?  Wink wink.

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2 Responses to “2010 Year in Review: Contest Winners!”

  1. Mark Panzarino January 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    I don’t know how I missed this posting! Wow, it’s really amazing how we all picked such different pictures, and how talented the photog is!

    I’ve just gotten my gorgeous print in the mail, and soon I’ll be making my own blog post with some pics of the pic! It’s spectacular.

    • youdancefunny February 2, 2011 at 12:18 am #

      Thanks Mark! I’m glad you’re enjoying your print (after all, you picked it, so of course you would!).

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