The End, In-Depth Post #6

With just eight weeks left of school many projects are coming to an end, including In-Depth. This year has flown by so fast, I am struggling to process the fact that it will be May in less then 48 hours. That means we are just weeks away from Adventure Trip and, you guessed it, my final In-Depth night as a TALONS student.

In the past sixteen weeks I have learnt so much from both my mentor, Mika Backus, and dance instructor, Bev Soh. Together they have provided me with the skills and dance moves to choreograph my own routine, as well as follow along with a choreographed one. As mentioned in previous blogposts, I have used those skills to choreograph my own solo routine which I will be posting on my YouTube channel in the following weeks. Without spoiling to much, Mika and I have been working together to produce a faster, upbeat dance to the song ‘Dirty Mind ft. Sam Martin’ by Flo Rida.
Initially, I was a bit hesitant about the song choice, but Mika knew it was one of my favourites and motivated me to challenge myself with a trickier piece. At this point, to keep the suspense, I do not wish to spill to much more about the piece. But, to give you a sense of where this dance is going, I will add that I tried to incorporate many of the moves I have documented over the past couple months; including, the following five moves.

     New Moves:
1) Kick-hop Sequence
2) Swipe
3) Lean and Flex
4) Wave
5) Pop

On top of the solo routine, I will performing a trio with Anne Yolland and Alyssa Turcott on In-Depth night. This was also mentioned in some of my previous blog posts, but now that the clock is ticking, this routine has become my main focus for this project. The three of us will be meeting at 5:30pm this coming Sunday night to figure out all the details and make a rough outline of our dance. As of now, we have decided to each choreograph a certain time interval of the piece (tentatively set at 1 min. 30 secs. each), as well as change formations so each one of us has a chance to showcase what we learnt. After we finalize the rest of the details we will each to go our separate ways and practice independently before our next rehearsal to maximize our remaining time.

One topic I have not touched on as much over the course of this project is my workout routine. In my introduction post I stated that one of my goals was to set a workout/practice schedule after the lessons end (month 3 onward) to work on my time management skills. I have been struggling to find time to keep up with this; however, I have now perfected a workout routine that is both, flexible (fits within my hectic schedule) and an appropriate level of difficulty. As indicated by the word flexible, I do not do this routine at the same time everyday. This is due to theatre, TALONS events/meetings, weight training sessions, nap time, etc. Instead, I have been doing it on weekends and the two least-hectic weekdays of the week, whichever those may be. I have noticed that this has impacted my dancing significantly, and built up my stamina for longer rehearsals. To read through the workout routine more thoroughly, please click on the link above.

To conclude my final In-Depth blog post, I am very grateful to have had this experience and the opportunity to learn a new skill that I have only dreamt about learning until now. I would not go as far as to say I am a professional, but you could call me a master of the basics. Fingers crossed that I will remember these moves down the road, because who knows when they will come in handy. For now, I am excited to share the final product in a couple weeks and showcase my learning. Hopefully the suspense isn’t to much to bare.

Workout Routine, Bonus In-Depth Post

One of the key components to improving your dance ability is building up flexibility, strength, and stamina through a frequent workout routine. As much as I would love to wake up one day and become an amazing dancer, it doesn’t work that way. It works with hard work and perseverance. That means, setting aside a time multiple times a week to workout. Personally, I prefer working out weekends, as well as the two least-hectic weekdays of the week, whichever those may be. With that in mind, below is my six step workout routine:

Step 1) Warm-up: Light jog around my neighbourhood (5-10mins.)

Step 2) Abs: This step tends to vary the most, but typically I settle on 45 crunches followed by a 60 sec. plank. Together, these exercises strengthen both the core and lower back muscles.

Step 3) Biceps: In terms of biceps, my options were very limited because most exercises require equipment I do not own. In the end, I settled on 30 low-pulley curls. It is very similar to lifting weights, but instead you used a long elastic, or pulley, placed under the arch of your foot while you pull upward. This exercise focuses on your biceps, brachialis and your brachioradialis.

Step 4) Butt: For this, I use the very simple, yet very effective exercise known as squats. Typically I will do a total of 30 squats. unless the music is very motivational and pushes me to continue further. This exercise focuses on your lower body, more specifically you quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Step 5) Cardio: For cardio, I take a 2.5km bike ride on my basement exercise bike (5-10mins.) This exercise increases the strength of your heart and lungs.

Step 6) Flexibility Stretches: To finish off, I like to use a variety of stretches to cool down and work on flexibility. These include, back-bend, cobra pose, butterfly, and splits (or an attempt at the splits).

In conclusion, I prefer to keep my routine short and simple for scheduling purposes and because its an effective and affordable alternative to going to the gym that can be done from the comfort of my own home. Hopefully, this was informative and gave a good insight to my personal routine. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below.

Diamond Necklace Affair

My plan is almost complete. I have almost succeeded in getting the one thing my family only dreamt of. Riches. Many have labelled me as a thief, but I prefer to see it as taking back what should have been mine in the first place. For weeks I have been writing for Louis René Édouard de Rohan under the name of Marie Antoinette. When he requested to meet I set him up on a midnight date with a prostitute named Nicole le Guay d’Oliva. She was the spitting image of the queen. Rohan bought all of it, the romance, the secrecy, and the undeniable connection he thought he had with the queen. When it came time to write my final letter, I asked for a favour. I spent hours rephrasing the letter until it was perfect. This determined the success of my plan.

Louis René Édouard de Rohan,

I do hope we can meet again. I miss the touch of your hand as it caresses the back of my neck and I miss the soft touch of your lips against my forehead. My lips are forever sealed about our secret relationship. I will take every measure to make sure I can continue to write to you. I hope that you will do the same for me. To prove your love, I wondered if you would do me a favour. As you may know, the King generously offered me a special gift, a diamond necklace made by Parisian jewelers Boehmer and Bassenge. I could not accept because to purchase such an expensive item publicly would ruin my reputation due to the current dismal financial situation of our country. However, if you would act as my secret intermediary that would make me ever so happy. And to think, if it came from you it would be that much more special. Please give the necklace to Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Remy in a closed package. I do not wish to inform her of our plans, only of our love.

Marie Antoinette de France

That was the final letter I wrote to Louis de Rohan. His love for the queen blinded him from the truth, making my plan that much easier. He willingly did anything to please “the queen”, running around like a lost puppy looking for someone to give him affection. I knew could provide that, and boy was it easy. The necklace is now in my husbands hands. All the jewels are to be sold individually throughout Paris and London. Once every last one of them is sold, the monarchy wont be able to trace their debt back to us and I can finally live extravagant lifestyle I have dreamt of since I was a little girl. Money is freedom and the monarchy are about to learn how the rest of us have survived without it.

I feel no guilt using Marie Antoinette’s name to manipulate Louis de Rohan. I spent my whole life neglected, barefoot, and forced to beg for food while the monarchs thrived. One wave of a finger and they could have anything they pleased. But when I came knocking I was turned away and shunned. I thought if I approached Marie, being a woman, she would be more sympathetic to my plight. I was wrong. Some argued that Louis VXI did eventually grant me a small pension, but it wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart nor his care for the country, it was his obligation to me due to my royal blood. My father was the illegitimate son of King Henry II, and Nicole de Savigny. Thats when I realized they felt no sympathy towards my situation, they don’t care about the country’s well-being, they care about making decisions that benefit the monarchy. I on the hand care about making decisions that benefit myself and my husband and if that requires deception and lies, so be it. It’s time they get a taste of their own medicine.

Confident, In-Depth Post #5

After many weeks of anticipation it is finally time to reveal the completed dance to Demi Lovato’s ‘Confident’ choreographed by Bev Soh. Together, Anne, Alyssa, Mira, and myself have been attending dance lessons every Tuesday from 5:30pm-6:30pm for five weeks, as well as an extra filming session to produce this music video. Each week we learnt a 20 second interval incorporating many of the moves I have documented in the past four posts. As far as my first ever dance goes, I would say mission accomplished.

I would like to thank Mika Backus for providing me with this learning opportunity. This class exposed me to the basics of hip-hop in a safe and welcoming environment. In terms of other learning opportunities, she has let me take the lead in most of our lessons together to help me learn the moves I am more interested in and take this project in the direction I wish to meet my ultimate goal. This is a very huge learning opportunity because I have had the chance to learn anything I pleased and she is ready and there to teach me as my mentor. With that in mind, this also allows for accelerated learning, as I can direct the pace we go at in each lesson and slow down/speed up depending on the situation that day. She has also sent me many YouTube videos to view before our lesson to use our time more effectively and speed up the learning process. When it comes to reinforcing new learning, Mika has consistently started our lessons by reviewing what we learnt at Room to Move (Confident choreography) and reviewing the moves that we learnt at our previous lesson for my solo routine. She has also taken on Alyssa and Anne periodically to give us the opportunity to learn and grow as a group.

Mika and I knew each other before the project, so when we meet we talk about almost anything under the sun. Our main topic being hip-hop of course. We discuss dance moves, pre-choreographed routines, my routine, Bev’s choreography etc. She explains the steps of each move in slow motion, as well as demonstrats to the beat of the music, so I can immerse myself in the move when trying it. Dance aside, Mika and I love bonding over Starbucks, or coffee in general for that matter. We have discussed the new spring drinks, old spring drinks we have missed, and upcoming sales/deals. This provided us a common ground to bond with each other and build our relationship. Having known her before, we also frequently discuss other school events/drama/projects, so we can plan our lessons accordingly. Mika does a very good job taking into account my stress level and schedule and has consistently remained available for me whenever I have time.

In the mentoring relationship there are many more pros than cons at this point. During the first few lessons, Mika and I struggled to balance pacing, but we have now reached a consensus and developed a regular routine when we meet. Working through our conflicting work styles has definitely benefitted our relationship and made us closer as a mentor and mentee. We have a very open relationship, and I feel comfortable asking Mika anything. There is never any awkward silences or break in conversation. I believe this is due to our trust and faith in each other. I am very thankful to have found a mentor that I share such a god bond with.

I have learnt a lot about Mika over the past couple months. For instance, her favourite Starbucks drink is a Vanilla Latte. Aside from that, I have learnt that she is very passionate about salsa. Of all the dance styles that one is by far her favourite. She also loves giving back to her community and volunteering for various different events as she is very social and loves meeting new people. In return, she has learnt about my hobbies (eg. curling) and favourite Starbucks drinks. I am confident we will keep this bond after this project and I now feel very welcome when I am around her. Can’t wait to see whats next!