Archive for the ‘General’ Category

April Showers

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

April is really living up to its stereotype. It has been a rainy, therefore, a sleepy couple of days. It is hard enough having to be productive with only two weeks of classes left, but this weather just does not help the situation. Studying is so much more enjoyable when I can lay on the Pentecrest with an iced coffee in hand. Instead, I have been doing a lot of sitting at my desk watching the rain come down, as I try to keep my eyes open.

Yesterday, I was pretty sure I was going to get swept up in the crazy storm. It literally came out of nowhere. Within five minutes, the sky became completely black. I was actually outside running by the river when the extremely loud sirens went off. I had an internal struggle of whether I should cut my run short or just power through. After running for another five minutes to the sounds of the siren, I headed home early. I was nervous because I assumed the sirens meant a tornado was on its way. Though, I am glad I turned back when I did because within five minutes of returning home the rain hit. I don’t even know if I could even call that rain. It was more of a legit downpour. My roommate’s window was open for a few minutes during the storm and she had a puddle on her desk. Holy cow.

But the beauty of rain is that it makes our campus look gorgeous on the sunny days. The grass will be so, so green. In the meantime, I will be constantly checking the weather forecast for our next sunny, warm day. I think it is going to be a while… good thing it is almost May! Adios, April Showers 🙂

Watching from the Audience

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

In my three years at the University of Iowa, I have danced in ten different performances. I have performed works from the faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and even guests of the University. Though, May 8-10th in Space Place Theater my own choreography will be performed in the Undergraduate Dance Concert. My piece, Mindful Sensibility, is a duet that I have been creating and rehearsing for the entire semester in my choreography class. A choreographer class is required for all dance majors. In this course, the instructor teaches the students different ways to generate new dance material, a myriad of choreographic tools to use in rehearsals, and assigns projects to work on throughout the semester. My instructor had us make one piece. I had the decision to pick as many dancers as I wanted, what music I wanted, and a concept we want to explore. Once I created my piece, it had to be adjudicated by three faculty members and from there it was decided on whether it will be performed in the Undergraduate Concert.

It will be weird to sit in the audience and be on the other side of a dance performance. I think I will be more nervous to watching my own dance than performing onstage myself. Only two and half weeks to finalize my piece before the show opens. The Undergraduate Concert is at 8pm, May 8-10th. It is free for Iowa students, and it will make a perfect study break before final’s week!

The final 5 weeks!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

This past month has flown by. March has come and gone, and I didn’t blog once. You know I am extremely busy, when I haven’t blogged for a few weeks in a row. So, in the past month this is what I have been up to…

  1. Spring Break! Unlike the hoards of Iowa students who hit up the beach. I attended the American College Dance Festival that was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It lasted for the first half of spring break. It was bitterly windy and cold, but considering I spent the majority of it sweating in a dance studio, I did not mind the cold temperature. This festival allows colleges to present pieces of choreography to be shown at concerts and they offer a plethora of dance classes during the day. It was really exciting to meet dance students from colleges all over the midwest and make some awesome connections. The rest of spring break was spent at home in Indiana catching up with the family and pups.
  2. Run crew… I spend the majority of my blogs talking about different dance performances I am in, but a dance major is also required to work backstage in two performances. It allows us to learn the duties that the run crew workers deal with. It was awfully boring and made me envious of the performers. But check that credit off the degree audit! Boom.
  3. Thesis Concert. I most recently just performed in the Thesis Concert in Space Place Theater. Two of the MFA graduate students presented their final work at the University before they complete their last final weeks Uof I. It was a great cast of ladies I danced with. It was an emotional and thought provoking performance that was well really well received by the audience.

Now that I am done with the Thesis performance, that is three less rehearsals a week that I  have on my oh so busy schedule. But don’t worry, any extra time on my hands is soon to be taken away because the first round Gala Auditions are this Wednesday. Dance Gala is our biggest show of the year in October, and the dance department wants to get a head start on the rehearsal process. Very exciting but a huge time commitment 🙂

Only 5 more weeks this semester, and then I am officially a senior in college (which is nuts)! My summer plans are in the works. It is going to be a dance filled summer at the American Dance Festival at Duke University in North Carolina. Before I can get too excited of the summer, I need to study, study, study, and as the weather gets nicer the harder it is to sit at a desk.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

College living is not always the most convenient time in a person’s life to eat healthy. Late nights at the library calls for a sugary, caffeinated beverage and a bag of munchies. Balancing homework, classes and a social life leaves not a whole lot of time to cook a real meal. But this semester I have been defying the odds set against me!

My situation is probably different than the stereotypical college student. This is due to the fact that I enjoy eating healthy and really don’t like fast food and junk food. What makes it difficult for me, is that I lack the time to cook and prepare any meals…. or so I thought.

I surprised myself by the amount of time it took to cook these meals, and how much I enjoyed doing so. It started with making “fancy” salads. These salads would just include different ingredients, like cucumber, avocados, almonds, fruits, etc. From there I started to buy more raw food during my weekly grocery shop. It is so easy to whip up a delicious and filling salad in the same amount of time it would take to microwave a lean cuisine.

Once I got sick of salad, which did not take long, I began to make delicious stir fry with quinoa, veggies and chicken. I also have used lettuce wraps, instead of a tortilla. Eggs are always a go to food item to have in the fridge. Eat them scrambled or hard-boiled, and always delicious. Last week I knew I would not want to cook any food once I got home from all the late night dress rehearsal for the Faculty/Graduate Concert. So, I made a crustless quiche on Sunday, and had that for dinner and lunch for the week.

There are so many great recipes online, many are geared towards college students, too!

Artsy Fartsy

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Halsey Hall, the dance building, is a pretty eccentric building. The students, faculty and professors that are within those brick walls are some of the most creative, unique and interesting people on this campus. As dancers, we are used to never wearing shoes in Halsey and we also wear some pretty ridiculous outfits in order to stay warm during the cold winter months. A pretty standard “dancer” outfit would be shorts under a pair of sweats, a tank top with a long sleeve t-shirt on top, with another shirt or sweatshirt tied around the waist. Of course, thick wool socks are a necessity to completing the outfit. If a non-dancer were to walk into Halsey they may potentially see some skipping or dancing in the hallways or hear loud noise above coming from the studios on the second floor. But this semester, Halsey has managed to become even more of a unique building on the Iowa campus.

The theater department, due to construction, now has classes in Halsey Hall. Screams, sobs, and excessive laughter can be heard from the other side of the building. Blindfolded students are being led around the building. Students are talking to themselves as they rehearse their monologue for their next class. Crazy stuff is happening this semester, and it is awesome I get to be apart of this amazing nonsense!

Shameless self promotion time…

The theater department just had their opening night for their new musical, Makeover. I have not seen it yet, but I have heard amazing things about it. Check out this Iowa Now Article!

Something I am more familiar with is the Faculty/Graduate Dance Concert. It is next weekend, the 13, 14,15th of February. I am performing in two faculty works for the performance. It is also perfect date night material with your Valentine. Dinner and a show 🙂

Eloy Barragan's "45 Seconds - Cuando el Silencion Gritan"

Eloy Barragan’s “45 Seconds – Cuando el Silencion Gritan”

Eloy Barragan's "45 Seconds - Cuando el Silencion Gritan"

Eloy Barragan’s “45 Seconds – Cuando el Silencion Gritan”

Sore, Frozen and Happy

Friday, January 24th, 2014

For most students, the first week back is a harsh realization that they are going to have a lot of work to do in the upcoming semester. After having a few weeks off, studying and note taking becomes everyones main hobbies. The idea that the first week is simply syllabus week could not be farther from the truth. Yes, we go over the syllabus in every class, but on that syllabus lies a timeline of all the assignments, tests, readings and essays that have to be done. Can you say stressful?

All the boredom I had during break in no way geared me up for the long days this semester. And I should have known lounging on the couch watching two seasons of Scandal on Netflix would not help me in the dance studio. My muscles are aching. Everything is sore. But I can’t complain I’d much rather rehearse for dance, hours on end, than take another math class. Yesterday I danced for about 8 hours. Ouch.

The soreness I feel is nothing compared to this crazy cold weather. Living in this tundra that we call Iowa City sure does make for some great fashion statements. Walking around campus yesterday I had 3 shirts on, 1 sweatshirt, 1 pair of shorts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of socks, winter boots, scarf, hat, huge puffy coat, mittens, and my hood on. People were very creative in how they were able to stay warm. Scarves wrapped around their faces. Sunglasses instead of ski googles. Staying warm was such a priority that the ability to see where I was waking was forgotten. I was looking down as I walked from class to class, and so was everyone else apparently. I ran into multiple other cold Hawkeyes rushing to class. Also, you would think that cars driving would stop at crosswalks to let frozen students get to the other side, but sadly that rarely happened. A big pickup truck would have taken me out if I didn’t stop halfway through the street. Come on cars, you are sitting in a warm vehicle!!

Anyway, like every other semester… It is good to be back in Iowa City. If you are not as lucky as me to be in this great city, check out this link of a few awesome things everyone needs to know about Iowa City. How lucky am I that I get to spend 4 years here 🙂


Surviving Finals Week

Friday, December 13th, 2013

This time of year at Iowa is… well, frankly, it is the worst. The light at the end of the tunnel is slowly getting closer, yet, there is no celebrating until the light is shining right in your face. The shock of winter smacks you as you open the door. The frightening temperatures calls for endless amounts of hot chocolate, cozy sweaters, and a movie marathon. Sidewalks can be slick with remnants of the first snowfall. Professors are wrapping up their courses, which means finals, papers, and projects are piling up. With the end of the semester so close, here are five tips on how to stay focused and successfully survive finals week.

  1. Stock up on coffee. The caffeine does wonders, but the warmth of a cup of coffee will ease the below zero temperatures. If you absolutely hate coffee, drink tea instead! Tea can have just as much caffeine as coffee without the bitterness. Sipping a warm drink in the winter while studying will keep you more focused and AWAKE! Oh and snacks work too!
  2. Study breaks are key. Do you have a lot of late nights of sitting at the library and IMU with your face in a book? Try changing locations. Get up and walk around. A quick handstand at the library or IMU is seriously the best. Maybe it is a dance major thing, but it will get all the blood flowing again and you will have a burst of energy, guaranteed.
  3. Keep it in perspective. It is easy to stress out about your workload, but try to take a deep breath. Just think, in one week finals will be over and winter break will be in full force.
  4. Go to the REC! Exercising reduces stress and releases endorphins. They offer so many group classes, between yoga, zumba, cycling — there is something for everyone. Sweat the stress out, and you can always treat yourself with a smoothie on your way out!
  5. Keep organized. Read your syllabus and then re-read your syllabus. Chances are your questions of final assignments will be answered there. Use your planner. Write down everything you want to accomplish, and then feel the sweet success after your cross it off. Organization also includes your bedroom. Make your bed, put your clothes away, do laundry, wash dishes — you will be surprised how much more productive you will feel in a clean room.

Good luck on finals, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

If you need a serious study break, come see the Graduate/Undergraduate Dance Concert Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Space Place Theater!  I am performing in “Hua” choreographed by Jingqiu Guan, but I was able to watch the other dances last night at the first performance. The dancing is phenomenal and the artistry is inspiring. Here are two photographs from our dress rehearsal with me and fellow dancer, Sean Laughead.

"Hua" choreographed by Jingqiu Guan

"Hua" choreographed by Jingqiu Guan

The Hardest Week of the Year

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I sat down in the second row of my Topics in Mass Communications lecture. I was seriously struggling to keep my eyes open, and my notes began to resemble a kindergartner’s first attempt at cursive writing — AKA not legible. My brain is mentally taking in the information, but my body is fighting insomnia. The only thing keeping me strong and somewhat attentive is knowing Thanksgiving break is so, so close. It is not just me complaining of my lack of sleep, like usual, but even my professor for that class agreed. He said out of all the weeks of the year, this is the one everyone is on the express route of the struggle bus.

In hindsight, we only have three weeks of this fall semester left. Like usual, time is flying by. So hang in there Iowa students, stay strong and study hard. The light at the end of the tunnel is quickly approaching.

The rest of my semester entails one last dance performance. The graduate/undergraduate dance concert opens December 12th and runs for the rest of that weekend. I am thrilled to be performing one work in this concert. It will be a perfect study break from the craziness of finals week encroaching. It will a fabulous show, like usual.

Until then, have a great Thanksgiving!

Hey, remember me?

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

My last blog was written right before I performed Dance Gala. Now the shows are all over. The stage has been cleaned. The costumes are in storage. And rehearsals for the next performance are already starting. So you may be wondering what makes Dance Gala different, bigger or better than the rest? Well lucky for you I have the inside scoop 🙂

Dance Gala happens mid-October, but the dancers start working on the first day of classes. The first day of school in August is already exciting enough, and adding a huge audition adds some  nerves into the mix. At 5 pm in the gym studio in Halsey hall over 70 dancers audition to be part of Dance Gala. The number of dancers in Dance Gala depend on how many pieces are going to be choreographed and how many dancers the choreographers want to work with. This year there were 5 dances, so about 38 dancers performed.

Once the cast list is posted, rehearsals start the next day. We rehearse from 5:30 to 8:30 pm practically every day during the week. In rehearsals, some choreographers work in tandem with the dancers coming up with movement phrases. Other choreographers know exactly what they want and purely just teach the dancers. After the dance is set, rehearsals continue in order to perfect the dance. They make sure the dancers are doing everything at the same time with the same intention. It can be a pretty tedious process.

Before the dance moves to Space Place Theater, the choreographer has production meetings, where he or she talks about lighting, costumes, music, and the overall vision. The production teams all collaborate together to best enhance the choreographer’s vision. Then it is finally time to head to the theater. Even though the first show isn’t until a Thursday night, the dancers run through the show Sunday through opening night. We have lighting rehearsals and then dress rehearsals with hair and makeup.

Opening night is the most exciting feeling. For most dancers, it is the reason why they dance. Performing is the pay off for all the long rehearsals from the weeks prior. The show starts at 8 pm, the audience gets there around 7:30 pm, the dancers arrive 2 hours before that, at 5:30 pm. They have a dance class on stage to warm up their bodies and get acclimated with having an audience. Warming up is extremely important for the dancers. It will reduce the risk of injury, but also enhance the technical aspect of their dancing. After the warm up class is over, the dancers head down to the dressing room, where they get their makeup on and hair done. There is always music playing in the background to pump us up. We all are goofing around, stretching, or eating while we are getting ready. It is a fun environment to be in because everyone is so excited for the show to begin.

All 8 performances of Dance Gala ran smoothly this year. The show was well received, and I loved watching the dances myself.

Here are a few pictures from the show! Don’t forget to look for the Department of Dance’s next performance at Space Place Theater.

It’s that time of year

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Being a dance major, my blog posts usually consists of me going on and on about how much I love dance and UIowa’s department of dance. Well, luckily enough I am planning on doing some more shameless self-promotion. Now that this has been cleared up, let’s move on…

October. Week 8 of the semester. Students are cramming in study sessions at the new library for their midterms. Papers are being written with just enough time for a quick spell check. And the countdown to the three day Halloween party begins. Unless of course you happen to be a dance major.

Dance Gala‘s opening night is five days away. Dress rehearsals are happening. Costumes, makeup, lighting and music are being tweaked as final edits are being made to be performance ready.

Dance Gala is a two weekend performance in Space Place Theater in the basement of North Hall. I will be dancing in it, as well as many other talented ladies and gents. This year we were fortunate to work with two different traveling guest choreographers.

I love the show this year. I was able to watch a run through of it on Thursday. Every piece offered something new to the audience, and it was extremely captivating. It will be even more exciting to see it will full costumes and lighting.

So come watch some crazy good dancers and take a load off after all the stress of midterms.