Sunday, September 28, 2008


Despite my already-heavy class load, I actually added one on this week, the advanced hip hop class on Thursday nights. I was told that the class was at the level and speed of people who are/ want to be professional hip hoppers, so I avoided the class. A few of my roommates and friends take it though, so I poked my head in the other day - it looked super-fun and like something I could handle, so I took it this last week, and it was awesome! The summer between HS and college, and between freshman and sophomore year, I actually took a lot of hip hop, and wasn't bad at it. There was a lot of stuff that was super new to me in this class, like house dance (basically super-funky and energetic movement to house dance music). I had never heard of such a thing and people thought I was crazy - I thought it must be an up here thing, but it turns out not - I was looking at the Zenon fall class schedule, and they now have house dance classes - definitely going to have to take them! I feel like I handled the class really well. It was really kind of hard energy-wise to add on a class at the end of the week, but I am so glad I did, and I am definitely going back.

As for the job, I started on Sunday with an orientation. Our theater is within the Epcor Center, a complex that has within it six different theaters/ organizations and is located downtown - pretty sweet! I left resumes several places in the complex, and got my job with Alberta Theatre Projects, a producing theater that focuses mostly on contemporary works that focus on Canadian history, issues, etc. They also have a big family holiday show and a new works festival - quite varied. I had orientation on Sunday, which was for paid front of house staff as well as volunteers. We got a tour of the evac routes, and the rest was just reviewing policy. I had my first shift last night, and I arrived 45 minutes early on my own accorded because I was worried that I had not yet seen the theater or know the seating chart, where the bathrooms, are etc! The head usher, Andrea, is super sweet and showed me around, oriented me with the seating chart, answered all my questions, and I felt a lot better about being let loose on the patrons that night to provide customer service. It has been so long since I have done anything customer-service oriented (about tw months!), which has felt strange considering that for the last year, I dedicated hours to the stuff. I was surprised to find last night that I had really missed it - I enjoyed seeing people to their seats, making small talk, handing out programs. It was nice to see that I actually really do like to give people an enjoyable experience, when it comes to something that I appreciate myself. Another sweet part about the job - we get to watch the show. So basically, for the majority of my hours, I am being paid to watch theater - awesome. I pay insn't so great (minimum wage), but it is the arts, and it sure it better than nothing. I had a great time last night, and I am looking forward to/ already feel welcomed into a community other than DJD, so it is nice to have somewhere else to go, to belong, to which to contribute.

I just finished another FANTASTIC sociology book - "The Great Good Place" by Ray Oldenburg (PHD Sociology from the U!). The book is about what he calls 'Third Places.' IE, you have home and work as two main places in your life, and there was a time where it was quite common for people to have a 'third place' like a pub or coffee shop or bistro, within walking distance to home or work (most likely home) that would serve as a wind-down, but mostly a chance to be connected to your community in an informal yet deep kind of way. He describes how the onslaught of suburbia, whose structure and ideology does not allow for such third places or for them to be walked to, as a major player in the disappearance of these places and this kind of lifestyle. It was a super interesting read that I just plowed through. It certainly made me further wish to not have a car when I return home, and made me realize how much I have appreciated having a pub, gorcery store, liquor store, all the necessities, within walking distance. When it comes down to it, having a car can often be much more of a hassle than a convenience. I mean seriously, why hop in your car, park, then walk to the place you are going when you could just walk?

Since 'Rise of the Creative Class', I have read 'The Life and Death of Great American Cities' by Jane Jacobs (this and the previously mentioned book came out of the biblio from Creative Class), and 'The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce,' fiction about a man who inherits a wine cellar and becomes consumed by its contents.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts from week 4

This is my first post in several days, probably my longest streak of not writing since having been here. I think a lot of my energy this week was poured into writing about a few new choreographic ideas, one for which I already have dancers, rehearsal time and a performance objective. Now I just need to find out when the audition is for said performance objective, 'Alberta Dance Explosion.'

I laughed to both myself and Kris yesterday when describing my own plan for my Friday afternoon. His guess; I pick up a sociology book of some sort from the library and a bottle of red wine, I go home and make dinner, then settle in with my wine and my book. It was quite a good guess, and somewhat close, but not entirely correct. I had just picked up a bunch of jazz CD's from the public library, after which I hopped the C-Train to ride it all the way to the South end, and then to the North end. I realize in thinking about it how lame this seems, but of the guesses of my Friday plans and the relative acurateness of them, I think it is pretty obvious that I am kind of lame (but also that I like it that way). It is already getting cold, and I wanted to be able to see as much of Calgary as I can before it really sets in. Plus, when hopping the train at the same stop, taking it to the same stop, and returning to the boarding stop every day (sometimes several times), one gets curious about what it beyond those stops. It took me quite a bit longer than I expected, about an hour and a half to get down to the bottom, up to the top, and back to my stop. It was also quite the chance to people watch. There were a ton of people hopping the train to my normal stop for dance, Victoria Park Stampede Station, which is where the entrance to the Stampede grounds, and the Saddledome (their metrodome, used for concerts and sporting events) to attend the Flames game. Apparently, they are in their pre-season games. Who knew? Apparently everyone but me! I was going to switch in downtown to hop onto the part of the line that breaks off and goes NE to the airport (the regular North line goes NW to the University), but it had been quite a bit of time on the train so far and I was hungry, so home I went. I made the mistake of letting the nice weather when I was leaving the house at 3 deceive me into not wearing a coat. Despite my freezingness, I caved and walked to the liquor store on the way home to pick up a bottle of wine.

Things have been interesting in roommate land. We recently sat down to have a 'roommate meeting' to discuss our general wishes for how the house functions. And general was what it was. In an effort to not sound too demanding, I think everyone made generalities about the things they wished to see happen, when peculiarities were in the back of minds. This week that made itself clear, when there was a big misunderstanind over the situation of the kitchen. It has come to be understood that we all have different versions of 'clean,' and that we should try our best to be respectful of others habits, but when someone has a pet peeve that they cannot overlook, it should be put into the open and allowed to see if others are willing to latch on to it, so as to not flare a nerve. When living with several people, you of course need to adjust a bit, and I think that goes both ways - moving toward being more flexible regarding your own needs to accomidate others needs, as well as being willing to state when there is something of yours you wish to not compromise on, and seeing if others are willing to adjust to it. Long story short, there is a roommate who wants all the dishes in the sink to simply be put in the dishwasher, because she feels as though she cannot use the kitchen efficiently if there are dishes in the sink. She also wants people to whip off the inside of the microwave when things they heat splatter. This makes entire sense to me, as the microwave belongs to her, and she therefore has ever right to dictate how it is used. When it comes to the dishes, while I do not feel like I cannot use the kitchen if there are a few dishes in the sink, if it is a pet peeve of hers she cannot get over, I do not think it is too much to ask that people get into the habit of sticking their dishes right into the washer, if it is going to make general relations around the house better. If accomidation of a pet peeve harmed another person, obviously that accomidation should be thought though, but if it simply requires a few more seconds effort from the other parties involved, it shouldn't be a big deal. The amount of drama this request created was quite unnecessary, and I am hoping that everyone can simply maintain a level head with this stuff. I feel as though I have been acting as an intermediary, but I have refused to pass messages between people, and that I think is the biggest thing to avoid. I have been trying to remind people that if they have their own pet peeves that they wish to have accomidated, we should all be open to discussing them.

I received an email from Lindsay this week with a choice for a bridesmaid dress. I am getting excited - yes, even I like to look all pretty and girly, just not on a regular basis! The amount of weddings I have to attend next summer/ fall is crazy! I am actually worried that I am not going to be able to go to them all. There are three in October, and if I am in school in London, I am pretty sure it isn't going to happen - I cannot very well take off the whole month to come home for weddings, but I also cannot really pick one to fly home for and not go to the others! Here are the weddings I have, I THINK in order?

Lindsay Nolan
Jenny Robin
Megan Vitally
Kim Kramer
Adam Hayes
Katie Wilbur

Craziness. I am really excited to be home for the summer though. I am going to live at home until I know better what I will be doing in the fall, and I will not be paying rent, which is quite exciting. I thought the lease on our house here in Calgary was a full year (as landlords who are not on a campus generally do not even consider shorter lease terms), but it turns out the Becca worked out having it only go through May! That means I can quell my worries about having to pay rent all through the summer. That will certainly help my squandered financial situation.

I have been finding great pleasure in things that I have formerly thought upon as aged and not for someone like me in their early 20's. Beyond that, I have been finding my tastes for what I used to like discintigrating a lot quicker than I expected. I get impatient with reality and pop-culture television, top 40 and pop radio, getting all dolled up just to impress strangers, etc. This kind of stuff actually annoyes me so much, and I have embraced my emerging tendencies much more in the light of realizing how little I now care for the above-listed things. *Sidenote: I have called and emailed Surrey twice with my questions about deferrment and when the hell they are going to put up their application for 2009, and have yet to hear back from anyone. It is annoying the royal fuck out of me. I am trying to not let this affect my opinions of the school, as I had such a great experience when they went out if their way to accomidate for my visit a few summers ago.

A few pictures I have taken recently;

.......................................... A view of my walk to the C-Train from my house; ....................................

............................................... Hertitage Park 'Aboriginal Encampment' ............................................

..................................................... This one's for you, Lindsay! ...............................................................

............................................. View onto Glemore Reserve from Heritage Park .....................................

Me in the General Store at Heritage Park (Further proof to Kris that I am in fact in Canada. Ha!)

........................................... Me and the 'Train Conductor' at Heritage Park ...........................................

.......................................................... A street in Heritage Park ..........................................................

I think that is all. Now, I am off to a supposedly wonderful, huge and cheap thrift chain called Value Village. From what I have seen of what people find there, and what I have heard of it, I am quite excited.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Hung over today.

Nothing really that intelligent to say about it either.

My house had a party last night for the people in our program, and though the crowd was small, we had a good time and drank our share - me, a bottle of red wine and a few shots of gin. Oi.

That's all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reading = thinking = writing....= more reading

Reading = Thinking = Writing.

For me.

A student of life. I may have mused on this previously, but it has been interesting, even in just a few weeks of reading the newspaper and books of my choice on a consistent basis, for me to realize how much such activities make me think and allow me to produce my own thoughts on the subjects I am tackling. I have been writing so much, not only in this blog, but in my regular journal and, in my artistic journal. I have really enjoyed creating my own curriculum.

Maybe the reason why so many creative people, and people in general, like to drink coffee, tea and other warm drinks in general is because they are consuming thermal energy. Transmitting of energy, whether outputting or inputting, is always spurring.

Free time - It has been being used to read the newspaper, read books, find music, observe and talk to people - this is not time-passing, but life-living and inadvertent research. These activities have gotten me generally thinking, and at that thinking creatively, more so than I have in quite awhile. While it is good to be doing things you consider valuable with your time, disallowing yourself to experience free time or unstructured time is actually backwards for people who do creative work such as me. I have actually already been dreaming about what the summer will hold for me schedule-wise. Serve doubles Mon Tues Wed, make 600 a week - 2400 in a month - put away half of that for about half the work I was doing last summer. Then I have 4 days every week to do with what I wish - which will most likely be a combination of reading, writing, observing, listening, taking dance class, creating choreography, etc. However, one of these four days will feature having no plans at all. And if I want to turn the four days into a week to go somewhere on a whim, I will damn-well do it. And this is acceptable because there are different things beyond this - a grad degree being the first of them.

Some interesting quotes from the book I am reading, 'The Rise of the Creative Class,' by Richard Florida:

"They like indigenous street-level culture - a teeming blend of cafes, sidewalk musicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the line between participant and observer, or between creativity and creator."

"...average American living standards have risen to such an extend that material goods no longer confer the status they once did."

"Eclectic scavenging for creativity is not new."

"Good conversation has creative possibilities. In my own work, I often learn a great deal from talking with people in coffee shops and other such venues. I pick up observations and anecdotes from people who feel free to ramble. I listen to their ideas about work, leisure and community and this stimulates my own thinking. The creative faculties are fed by meeting and talking informally, by chance, with a diverse range of creative-minded others."

****This must be why I do this. Take for example two situations that I have found myself in within the last week. #1 - I get to talking with a guy in a coffee shop because he commented on my bike bag. This spurred discussion, which I found to be valuable at the time. Beyond this, we are now getting together to see a movie. This follow-up does not often happen, and I am curious about it. I did a lot of thinking on these chance sort of connections with people in August, and it has been the main source of my creative choreographic thought as well. Why do we, when a connection is initiated by someone we do not know, often shun that meeting during its moment especially, but also beyond allowing human connection to happen? Though we are more connected than ever, we are slo more private and closed-off than ever, with our PC's between us and real interaction. It was these thoughts that spurred me to say 'yeah, let's hang out,' when prompted. Of course, a natural answer to 'why do people not take these opportunities' is that these opportunities have real human consequences, because they involve real human people with real human feelings. Sure, it did not occur to me that this could be being looked upon as a date by the other end. Since making plans to attend a film festival, it DID occur to me, and I awkwardly addressed it with Kris, because I did not know if I should address it, if I shouldn't etc. What it came down to is open-ness I guess. I am trying to experience open-ness in meeting people as I live, but in the same vein, I want and need to experience open-ness with the important people in my life that are not chance-happenings, but rather, a result of cherished life-history. In conclusion, I decided to try and invite some friends along, so as to encourage the idea of chance-meeting and open-ness, but also to maintain the importance of real human feelings.
***The #2 happening this week related to talking randomly with others; today, I waited for quite a bit for my Ctrain home from Heritage Park. Naturally, I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me on my bench, who happened to be here from the Phillipines for an internship. The conversation was all fine a good until her out of the blue asked if I am married. I was caught extremely off-guard and made somewhat uncomfortable. From there, he ended up asking why my boyfriend did not come with me, and asked if I wanted to hang out with some Phillipino guys. I responded no thanks, that I need to be careful as I am out, traveling by myself. The conversation went off in a different direction for the time being, which was just fine considering that we were still waiting for the train. However, it spiralled backward when he asked again if I had a calling-card. I said, no. He said 'You don't want any callers?' and I said 'NO.' At this point, I am thinking, 'how much more obvious can I be?' We went our seperate ways as we boarded the train, and it then occured to me - much of this could be a different in culture. Maybe it is a normal and acceptable thing within Phillipino culture to ask someone point-blank if they are married. In fact, maybe it is considered unacceptable to being talking alone with a woman who is married, I certainly have no idea. I did feel a little bad after being somewhat curt with him, because it seemed that he has been a little lonely during his time here and just wants to make some friends (other than the colleague he lives with). It is difficult for me to level with my actions considering the possiblity of cultural differences. Part of me says that it is really unfortunate that such differences are frequently what is keep people from crossing into one another's lives, and another part of me acknowledged that the greater part of the conversation was simply quite uncomfortable, and if I did not wish to talk further with this man, I should not feel obligated. Naturally, the personal-safety element within me dominated this situation and I did not exchange information with him (yes mom, nod a sigh of relief :) ), but I still have sadness, amidst the annoyance, within the dregs of my mind.

"Just people-watching is arguably a valid form of cultural exchange."

***I know my mom would like this one, as people watching is one of our frequent activities together. Thsis quote, and its subsquent paragraph, made me quite happy considering that so much of my artistic interest lies in the observation of people within their societies and what function them being themselves and being truly human has to offer to said society. Rack this one up as another validity point for social dance theory and jazz theory. By the time I am done with this year, I have a feeling that I am going to have quite a bit of such evidence to serve as a fantastic basis for not only my thesis ideas, but articulate ways to defend my artistic choices to a granting panel.

A side note that has come out my observation of my own choices for interest pursuits in my open time; I like read wine, newspapers, public radio, news television, historic sites, reading books, going to museums - I am an old women! Though, I find it funny to think that. When I meditate on why it is people spend countless hours preening to spend too much money on ridiculous drinks at 'my pretty-ness is my worth' clubs just to listen to shitty, American top-40 songs, I feel sad. And then I remember that I to am 23, and simply have different preferences. It feels altogether even silly to me personally to acknowledge my love of such things, considering how I used to look upon them as bench-marks of age. Maybe they still are, but I just have one too many cycles to go through for a life I will consider adequately interesting?

My time here so far as also caused me to do a lot of thinking regarding what I would like to do with my artistic thoughts, passions and drive. I have of course had several ideas, but a few new ones have come to light in being somewhere and doing something new;

- Production company. Two of the guys in my program have a 'production company' here in Calgary, and their business is to basically hire out their hip-hop dancers to perform at clubs, openings, etc. This seemed funny to me at first, until I thought about it a bit more in depth - I have spend countless moments advising my family-oriented colleagues and family friends against putting their children in competative dance, because it is a huge waste of money, when there are tons of community organizations who are always looking for such performances for free, or maybe even a little cash. if anything, children should not be paying to perform. Sure, I can certainly level with paying for instruction, but certainly not to perform. In hearing about this production company, I realized that such a thing could be something I could do my own way. I could get a big roster of dancers and choreographers together, listed by specialities, and keep them on the hook for events I find. Nursing homes, community festivals, business openings and parties. It would almost be like an informal agency, but not for the purpose of furthering careers - for the purpose of doing what we love to service our community. I would like to make a note to myself to talk to Joey and Cody about how they got it all put together, and how they run it.


I love to be entrepenurial, but it is sometimes difficult when you create a need for the performance and it only gets to live a few days. On the contrary, a model such as the one discussed above would allow for constant shift and performance. I could get different people to choreograph tap, modern, jazz, charater, and have different people to call upon to perform said forms. I really want to think about this one!

Another creative idea - in my time here, I have been thinking quite a bit about what I miss about home. Most of it has been rural and country-living oriented. I have filled many a journal page considering my feeling of pull between rural and city living, for my loves of what both have to offer. I also got to thinking about how much 'old-time' dance forms fit to my interests in research and performance. Further, I got thinking about how the MN Arts Board used to have 'Rural Arts Initiatives,' grants that existed for the specific purpose of bringing different art forms to rural MN communities. Going to Heritage Park today, a historical village featuring historical buildings to create a replica of a founding Canadian community and to communicate to modern people the way of life during that time, I realized how much I care for small-town living. The interconnectedness of the people, the hard work, the entrepenurial quality, etc. Though much of a rural life style is not something that I would choose for myself, I highly value said lifestyle, and like to contemplate it, further it and visit it. I had thought of the possibility of rural arts initiative before, but figured I would have to function as a teacher, and I was deterred. However, in thinking about it again, I was just thinking within the wrong teaching light. I do not love to teach technique (at least not to children), but I do think I would love teaching composition, or at its basis - creativity. I then also thought, 'why just children?' Such an initiative would NOT have to be just for children. It could be opened to all ages, and simply split into several sections for accomidation of age. Or even better yet, why split them? I have been getting really interested in ageism lately, and why not make it a point to make it an inter-generational class? It would take some planning, but why not? It could even be structured to be combined for some parts of the class, split for others, so as to encourage an efficient use of time. I would like to;

RESEARCH FORMER PROJECTS - Missoula Children's Theater?

I would form and title it as something like this; 'The MN Movement Creation Project.' Use 'Dance'? Use 'Choreographer'? I am not entirely sure, but I would want it to be a project that could involve all people, in specific all ages and genders, and would allow for people from rural MN communities interested in dance creation to get their hands wet in it. What would be even better would be low-cost (so as to accomidate for the needs of many rural people), and annuality. This way, people who are really interested in choreography and have no other resources, particularly children who have a deep interest and want to continue cultivating it, have an opportunity. Sure, there are plenty of dance studios, but not many of them offer composition classes or chances to showcase choreography. In other words, the need is there. The touring aspect is very interesting to me, because I love to be in transit, seeing things. From what I have heard of it from Shannon and Kris and Heather, I should really look into the organization of Missoula Children's Theater - a touring unit that seems to have a season. The sessions could last for a week at a time (maybe from 6-9 at night or something. though I would have to look into realistic it would be to think that people would dedicate that amount of time. I just do not feel like much could be accomplished in less time. Maybe it could be tues through Fri 6-9, culminating performance on Sat at noon or something. I would want to structure the experience as improvisation classes (intergenerational?), and then composition classes, with reading on the origin of creativity, and excersizes to develop it, and also - peer feedback? We would need a session within the first day about offering constructive criticism and observation, and then it would be lovely to integrate this into the classes, as an important part of being creative with movement is being able to process it, and to then communicate about it. The choreography sections would have to be limited to solos, duets and trios. Maybe even just solos, so we do not try to accomplish too much within too little a time. Although, creating units of people to work together (no more than three) with shared work time could allow for people to create larger pieces outside themselves, as well as people to spur off and share with. We may also want a session on music - how to find it, and what the presence of it entails. Costs would be minimal, mostly just staff. Myself, and depending upon the size of each group, between 3 and five additional teachers? We could try for homestays, or would just have to find cheap hotel housing. Beyond that, we could find a HS gymnasium for the performance and classes for free (most likely in summer than, yes? Particularly considering that we would not have to compete against kids school activities either). Other costs - hand outs for the classes. That is literally it. Wow, I am pretty much writing a business plan right now. Good thing it is documented - it will be easier to come back to when I am trying to write a grant, yes?

I am actually very excited at this prospect. And in regards to purpose - encouraging people to think creatively in a way that they normally do not get the chance to, and such creative thought spurs people into being more engaged citizens, friends, lovers, workers, people who live. In addition, this provides a much-needed educational element to kids in rural communities who are interested in choreography, who often have to wait until college for such an opportunity, if that even comes. There actually is a NEED for this. I just got my day planner to turn some of these thoughts into to-dos.

The other big thoughts of the day; In talking to Sarah, I cleared up something rolling around in my brain - why apply to all these schools in places where I may not even want to be? I do not want to live in Florida, I do not want to live in California (though I would LOVE to live in Frisco), etc. I WANT to travel, and what better a way than school? I WANT to be able to work while I am traveling - what better a way? I need affordable tuition, etc. So many factors have pointed me directly to Surrey. To the point where I think, 'why even apply anywhere else?' I have come to the conclusion that I am going to send my app into Surrey and see what happens. Seriously, why worry on it so much? I will have a PHD to get as well, and I can do that at yet another place (probably Riverside), so do what is right right now, yes?

Well, that was quite a bit of writing a quite a jumble of thoughts for one sitting. But I am relieved to have them out and documented....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Additions and Corrections:

Also, as I wish to be a well-informed citizen who prompts others to be the same;

There is not only one Wal-Mart in Calgary;

I was bemusedly informed by Joanne, one of my instructors, who also happens to be the person who was most instrumental in my getting here, and also happens to read my blog!

I think I had made mention to a passer-by about trying to find a store similar to a Wal-Mart, and he mused that the one nearby our house is basically it for them in Calgary. I guess I decided, against my better judgment, to assume that Wal-Mart has not expanded its commercial grip much beyond the States. Apparently I was wrong, and for that I am quite dissapointed.

Not in my wrongness, but in the presence of Wal-Mart.

That is it for Additions and Corrections. For now.

New things to do

I have added a few other things to my Calgary/ Canada to do list;

I went to the bank after class today, only to find myself journeying to the C-train stop that is one up from my normal stop. In doing so, I took better notice of a cemetery that I had always seen, but never really gave a second thought. I had noticed on my walk to the train that the view of the city was quite nice, but figured it would be bettered by added height. So I walked up the fairly steep hill to the top of the cemetery, and noticed a sign for the 'Reader Rock Gardens.' I decided to check that out as well. The view from the top was pretty incredible, but dampened by the fact that there were large trees blocking the way to the best view of the city. I caroused a little, and discovered that the cemetery was not just on a hilly change in terrain, but literally on a mound - the other side opened up to a large view as well (South East, I am assuming). This view was not quite as exciting as the city scape (ie, it was a highway, some houses and businesses), but created the interest behind the terrain arrangement of the cemetery. It was tree-covered, lit with sun, and peaceful. I felt like I was taking in views and experiences that everyone below was missing.

I headed back to check out the Reader Rock Gardens, and it turns out that there is a restaurant/ cafe at the top of the gardens - super-cute with a great view of the city and of the stampede grounds (which up until that point, I had only seen the gates at my C-train stop. I am still utterly disturbed that I am not going to get to go to the Stampede!) I made sure to ask if they are open year-round, and of course it turns out that they are not - only until Thanksgiving. I thought it might be nice to go when Kris is here, but he will miss it by a few weekends. I will have to find a different reason to go.

In conclusion, the two places added to my list;

VALUE VILLAGE (one NE of Chinook stop)

I thought on Wednesday I would accomplish my wish to go to Heritage Park, and while I did go to the park and trail, the actual historic city part of the park is only open on weekends through Thanksgiving. I am contemplating going tomorrow morning so I can catch it. Free history lesson? Yes please. As for the park itself, I had to hike up a bit of a hill (quite like the one I experienced today) and did not know what to expect when I made it to the top, which I am sure made what I found even better; a huge lake (the Glenmore Reserve). With its large walk-path and populous visitors, it reminded me of Lake Calhoun, only with mountains in the background - spectacular! I decided to take a walk around the trail, though it looked long and I was not sure where it ended. Just when I thought of turning around to go back, I stopped a woman walking by me to ask how much further it was until the trail would open up and I would see mountains again, and she mentioned that it was not much further. If you kept going to around the curve, you would hit the Glemore Sailing Club, where they were currently conducting lessons, and you can pull up a bench and watch. I did just that. It was amazing how clear their voices transmitted to one another over the body of lake. This experience ran me too more on my list;

GLENMORE SAILING CLUB (will have to happen soon, or in the spring)

In other news, I may have mentioned already in my last post, but the artistic director of the dance company pulled me aside a few days ago and asked if I would be interested in cleaning for her once in awhile, as she had beent thinking about how difficult it has been for me to find work. I thought it was incredible of her that she had thought about it. I passed my information along to her, and told her to let me know when she needed assistance. She is also the instructor for our Friday morning classes. The last few classes, we have been improvising for about 45 minutes, and then talking about our experiences, the music, etc. It has been truly amazing to have, scheduled into my week, a consistent time to be spent solely for the purpose of improvising, especially when so much other time in spent in the week perfecting techniques outside of your own body. It is almost to me, as someone who likes to be scheduled, organized and purposeful, like having the time scheduled in makes it legitimate. I tried this spring to schedule in improvisation time (Paula calls it 'daily practice'), but I found it exceedingly difficult for a couple of different reasons; 1.) I did not have adequate space in my apartment, 2.) I had no one to share it with, 3.) I did not have a moderator. These few factors seem to really authenticate the experience. Having the energy of others makes improvising much more fresh for me. This is similar to why, even though I am someone who likes independence and alone time, I like to share the stage with others - the energy produced between several people just heightens many of these experiences, and what they put out. I wonder what can be done to re-create such factors when I am by myself. It may come down to practicing weekly instead of daily, so I can have studio space (Dance Xchange?), that way the space factor is addressed. I could also add in the presence of a video camera to add to the 'moderated' feeling. Plus, I often have moments during improvising where I wish I could have captured it, because I realize it will never be recreated, not exactly. This was another suggestion of Paula's regarding daily practice. If you do not feel that the presence of a capturing device will dictate your ability to be free, go for it. The final factor - energy of others. Music. This connects directly back to a thought I had today - today was the first day we improvised to music with lyrics, and I noticed that it did not dictate what I did, but informed and inspired me as a second presence. I had been doing my 'daily practice' in silence. Maybe it sometimes takes having the presence of music to spur this along. It seems especially so, now that I am embracing my love of jazz and all that it represents, which is another tangent in itself.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I went out to lunch with a fellow Minnesotan yesterday (well, an implanted Minnesotan, but all the same). She was an art and theater major at the U while I was in my first years there, and noticed on Facebook that a friend of a friend (aka me) was moving to Calgary. She moved her last year to do the MFA in art at the University of Calgary. So we met up yesterday, and it was quite nice.

We got to talking about realizations you have when you uproot. I had never done a major uprooting, and I have questioned whether or not I can even consider this something of that nature, as I know I am moving back AT LEAST for the summer, and probably at that time indefinitely, as I will have spent my savings here this year, and will not longer have the money to prove my ability to support myself for another 9 months when I try to come back. I COULD try for a work or study permit, but I again think it would not pan out. Back to the point. Though I know that I am coming home for the summer, which takes a sense of adventure out of it all, I am STILL far away with a different lifestyle for quite a long time. I told Kristin, the fellow Minnesotan, that it has not taken me long of being here to start allowing myself to appreciate home. It is not that I have not appreciated home, I am one of the biggest Minnesota-lovers you will find, but it has taken time for me to allow myself to allow myself to want to be home. I have always had a gypsy complex, and independence that has dictated the ideas that to be well-rounded, I need to get out and see things, live elsewhere, all on my own desire and schedule. While I still want to do these things, I think I can accomplish them by travel.

I know that schooling is ahead of me, and that it will most likely happen elsewhere, so there is another identifiable period of uprooting and trying things new. But I have come to see that tradition, upbringing, etc., CAN be acceptable factors for where you choose to call home. I miss the leaves turning colors other than yellow (and them lasting longer), I miss the Emma Crumbies Scarecrow Contest, I miss the occasional church going when I am home on Sunday mornings, I miss the Spyhouse, lots of locations and happenings and practices. But they are coming into clearer color as I am away.

I think I also need to latch onto the idea of making where I am what I want. When I think on it, I do not miss Zenon or most of the classes I was taking. Maybe I need to be more careful with expanding my horizons, and looking further beyond the obvious answers. When I graduated, I wanted to take African and Indian dance, I came upon clogging and contra but never went further into it. Maybe I need to rely less on old standards and look for new things to embelish them. It is certain to me that the old standards are not doing enough for me. Back to the audition thing as well - I was always too afraid to spend the money and time on going to far away auditions, but I think I need to. A thing that will be easier with more disposable money and time as a server. IE, all of these thoughts are: Complacency (especially in dance in MN) = not fulfillinf or acceptable. I was happy with my produced and choreographed projects, so I can continue in that vein, but I think I need to search further when it comes to class, performance and other opportunities.

Thats all for now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Job stuff

Another uneventful weekend passed. I did make inroads with the Epcor center, and was emailed for an interview on Friday. I attended the interview yesterday, which went extremely well. I did my research on the company, and obviously had the qualifications to go with, so the guy totally dug me and outright said he wanted to hire me. I did go over my work complications with him, but he seemed optimistic, and said that he thought they could figure something out. I sent him links to everything I found about issuing labor market opinions, and certainly hope that helps my case. I decided that even if the job doesn't pan out, I am going to volunteer there. I need to be doing things that I care about with my time, even if they are not paid. The nice thing is that I would at least be getting free show tix!

Kris booked a plane ticket to come out and visit over Halloween, so that is exciting. He is also renting a car so we can go up and check out the natural beauty further up north, which is exciting as well.

Today, I am going out to lunch with Kristin Smith, a gal who did her MA in art at the U, and has come up to Calgary to do her MFA at the University of Calgary. It'll be fun to swap discussion with another Minnesota gal.

I am not full of things to say right now, as I normally am. I am going to call this post quits.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Farmer's Market (in words)

This morning, with a long, work-free weekend ahead of me, I decided to take a trip to the Calgary Farmer's Market. I had seen an advertisement for the Millarville Farmer's market at our train stop, and that is what got my thought process going, but upon looking into it further, I realized that Millarville is over an hour away, and just not logical for people with out a car like me.

Speaking of things I can do without,I have already noticed so many, being here, having little for possessions, and enjoying it. It certainly is a good thing that I am enjoying it too, as I have very little room in my budget for things often seen as needed, let alone extravagance. For example, some things I have traditionally thought I needed that I haven't while having less;

clothes hangers
file cabinet
bedside stand
bulletin board (though I have been tempted!)
body wash (soap is just fine!)
razors (TMI? I guess I am just going to go without until I cannot stand it anymore!)
umbrella (another temptation, as it rains extremely sporadically and often here. however, I
have an extremely waterproof backpack, and my body can take it. plus, it will be
my coat taking it when the snow comes!)
car (and related expenses. it has actually been quite refreshing to not have a car. I know say
that now, when the weather is relatively agreeable and there is no snow, but with reserves
of time - as I have no job and only dance classes to dictate my schedule - it is not a big deal
to have to spend an hour there and an hour back to get somewhere. it is simply another
part of a regular day)
bed frame (I bought just the cushion and laid it on the floor. it has been comfortable enough, so
why waste money on a frame that I am just going to have to try and auction off when
I leave anyway?)
cleaning supplies (lucky for me, the roommates had already bought these. I do not see the point
in this purchase until I know I need them!)
internet (this is only because we are stealers. shhhh!)

Things I have been surprised I wanted:

library card (with excess free time and little money or desire to obtain things, I found myself
happy to purchase - yes purchase, as everything in Calgary has a fee attached,
this was a meager and well worth it $12 - my library card. there is a library two
blocks down from the studio, where I can spend my time between classes reading,
using their computers and the net, read the newspaper, check out CD's and DVD's,
etc. what I am saying is that I have rediscovered both the joy of reading for
pleasure and the library)
the newspaper on an almost daily basis (going back to the excess amounts of free time point, I
guess I am not THAT surprised, but having the time
to be informed by newspapers quickly becomes an
addicting habit. I have been reading the Strib online
almost every day, and find myself buying a Calgary
Herald or Globe and Mail - the big national newspaper
based out of Toronto - almost every other day. I have
a feeling I am going to be one informed chica by the time I leave here. come on, now I have two elections
to follow)

Things I tried to go without and just plain need:

coffee maker (I went for a good week and a half without a coffee maker, buying a coffee or two
nearly every day. after accepting that this would end up costing me way more
in the long-run - yes, I realized it would, I just didn't want to accept it - I broke
down and bought a french press, some coffee and coffee creamer today at a
Walmart-like store called the Canadian Superstore. The store itself freaked me
out, all huge and too cheap and whatnot. There is a Walmart - the only one in
Calgary, complete with its own McDonalds in side like a good American company -
closer to our house, but I did not want to give my money there. Turns out that
this superstore is probably just as bad. I found a fair-trade certified coffee there -
just one - and I wanted to buy it, but it was fine grind, and the grounds would
slip right through my french press - which I am excited to try. At least I do not
have to waste money on paper and filters, yes?)
highligher (for my Calgary map, to show where I have been)
Calgary map (duh)
a shin-length coat (I have not yet made this purchase, but I am pretty sure it is going to happen.
sure, we are hearty in MN, but it gets on average ten degrees less here each
day than there, and why waste money and time on extra layers of pants?
I am sure this will feel like a monetary trade off for the fact that I will not be
protected from the cold by a car.)

Things I want to buy and cannot justify:

new dance clothes (this seems easy enough to justify, but the budget is just not there. I think I
need my occasional bottle of wine more anyway!)

Well, with that tangent out of the way, back to the farmer's market. It was a cool experience all around. My luck started off not so well - I went onto the Calgary Transit website to look up my bus route to the market (I have only been taking the train up to this point), and it was not working! After trying way too many times, I called the service number, sat on hold for quite awhile, and finally talk to a woman who gave me a route. Two mistakes in getting off the phone - one, I forgot to ask about a return route, and two, I forgot to ask if my start time of 9:30 was my walking, or getting on the bus right then. This resulted in a freaking out Erinn, trying to catch the bus. Luckily, she must have mean to start walking at 9:30, because I had it to the stop, and began to ask a woman who came to the stop when the bus comes. Long story short, we got to talking about details of finding work here, and she came from the Phillipines 6 years ago. It was a very interesting conversation, and she was very nice. The perfect kind of random encounter, as when we arrived to the train station, I took one bus, she took another, and we thanked each other for the dicussion as we walked away. My second busride there was not nearly as pleasant - a guy that had been smoking outside the bus came on and sat right behind me. I do not mind a faint smeel of smoke in general, and people have the perogative to sit wherever they would like, but this dude made we want to hurl every time he breathed. It was a lovely combonation of bad breath, overwhelming smoke, and drifting BO. I was quite happy to get off the bus when we arrived at the market.

The market, on the outside, looked like a huge warehouse. I was skeptical of its ability to charm me upon first impression, but as I approached and saw a few vendors under the colorful overhangs, my attitude began to shift. The outdoor vendors lured me inside to where the majority of the market lies (as it is open year-round on weekends, and you can imagine what it would be like outside!). Inside, there were vast rows of vendors, all cris-crossed under large, cedar-wood ceiling supports that certainly made te picture more charming. I arrived at about eleven (despite my desire to have gotten there at the 9am opening), and it was packed to the brim. Packed with old and young mothers and daughters, families, married couples, groups of friends, young lovers, all sorts of people. I am sure there were plenty of other people there alone like me, but I did not seem to notice, as I was too busy watching the relationships between people.

The vendors were mostly produce (and lots of it - everything you can imagine, and some things you cannot). There were also several stands with meat products, as Alberta is famous for its beef. The majority of the fresh stuff came from Alberta and BC. A lot of the fruit was from BC (British Columbia, a province upon whose title I have spent some time pondering. The British part makes sense, but not the Columbia part. Columbus maybe? I don't think he ever got that far. I asked one of my roommates why the province is titled as so, and they did not know. I thought to give them flack, but decided against it, because I certainly do not know why Kentucky is labeled Kentucky. Nor do I care). About half the booths were assorted produce, a fourth were goods such as bags, scarfs, etc, and the other fourth was prepared food. After my initial walk around, I was really concerned for my brains ability to decipher how to best spend the $20 dollars I had taken out (of which I did not want to spend all anyway!). My first purchase was a fabulous cappacino at a stand hailed with praise equal to that of what Kopplin's in St. Paul has received. This was due in great part to the fact that they use the same machinery - the Clover Brewing system, brews a cup at a time to temperature, grind, and seep length perfection. I got to talking with the guy at the counter about the machines, and it turns out he had made a stop at Kopplin's when in the cities for the NCAA hockey tournament last winter. What a fabulously small world we live in. He told me to apply to work at the stand, I explained my visa situation dissapointedly, but ended up walking away happy with my cappacino bliss.

I took a few spins around the place, as I can never buy anything without knowing what my other opinions are. I ended up talking at length with a nice old gentleman who had a booth for his pointilism paintings. We talked about how we found our desired corner of our respective arts, making a living in the arts, parks in Calgary, how I got here, etc. He was wonderful to talk to. I took his card and promised that I would stop back later in the year for some Christmas presents. Within the conversation, he suggested that while using my excess free time, I should check out Fish Creek park - that was where many of his paintings had taken place. He told me that from there, you could follow the river all the way into the city. This will have to be one of my weekend day pursuits. But it will have to happen before the cold! Speaking of things I want to do, another list before my worries for forgetting take over;

Things I want to do around Calgary:

Fish Creek Park (and walk up river to city)
Heritage park (Heritage Station, pick up #20 bus)
Chinook Center (Chinook Station)
Southland Center (mall right down Bonaventure from me)
Anderson library (right next to the mall)
Dinner at a spot on Stephens Ave
Lake Louise (when Kris visits?)
Banff (leaves!)

There is my short list. Things seem to identify themselves on a weekly basis, the more the longer I am here!

Back to the market. I strolled back through again, picked up some more cards as later reference for Christmas presents (I thinkI have found something for everyone already!), and ended up finally making my purchase descisions. I bought some BC cherries to take home, and a cabbage roll with kraut at a European food booth. The line was the longest I had seen in the building, so I assumed the food was good. Turns out I was right! And not only did I get good food out of the situation, but also a lovely conversation with the elder woman behind me, and another with a middle-aged asian woman and her mother at the table where I sat. She had friends in Minneapolis, talked with me at length about my experience so far, and offered me the two perogies that she did not plan on eating. I happily accepted.

One, if not the most, of my favorite parts of travelling and following your own agenda while doing so is the great conversations and moments you have with people, that last simply for the short time they occur, then those people just pass along, like a single leaf twirling down onto a huge pile you collect over the course of your lifetime (oh how poetic). Though sights are great, it is always my random encounters I remember most. I left with a satisfied stomach, some yummy cherries for later, christmas present ideas, a well-caffienated body, and a smile on my face. Luckily, the woman at the information desk had a stack of bus schedules, so she helped me figure out the way to get home. What a good morning.

Another thing I had been meaning to mention in my posts - hello election! The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, announced last Sunday that Canada is having a general election. This means not only the PM, but MP's (Municipal Priniciples) and many other municipal, province, and national leaders. And guess when it is - October 15th. That's right folks, an election with just a month and a half of campaigning. CRAZY! I feel so awkward about it all - we have been bombarded with campaigning for over two years, and these crazy Northerners are going to call, campaign for, and have an election in less than two months! I am not sure if it is refreshing or disturbing. I lean on the side of disturbing. It feels a little strange to me that in a Democratic country, the head leader can just call elections whenever he wants. From my research (which I have been doing a lot of lately with my time - Canadian history and politics, Ahfgani history and politics after reading the Kite Runner, etc), I gathered that there is a general suggestion of when to have elections, but that can be ignored whenever the PM pleases. It certainly has been interesting to try and follow two elections at once. I have already submitted my registration for an absentee ballot for our election, and just have to finish up the last steps. In fact, I am probably going to do that today. Two of my roommates, this will be their first time voting - how exciting! One of the others just doesn't see how it makes much a difference, and believe me, I questioned her on that. The most interesting move of the campaign up here so far has been the ousting of the green party candidate, the only woman, from the debates by the big major parties, of which there are several. The Conservatives (or Tories), lead by Harper, stated that Harper would not take part in the debates if the green party candidate were there, and the other major parties (Democrats, Liberals - yes they are seperate parties - Bloc Quebecois - yes, the party of separatist Quebecites, ridiculous) stated that they would not take part if Harper was not there, so the TV stations planning the debates effectively asked the green party candidate to not take part. That to me is sick and unnecessary. Certainly takes warm and fuzzy points away from Harper in my book.

Other things I have been wanting to write about; marraige nightmares. I had two in the last week alone. First one: It was my wedding, and I was getting married to a guy named Nick in a mall. I was not sure which mall it was, it did not seem significant, and though in the dream/ nightmare I KNEW my fiance, I definately knew looking in that he was someone that I do not actually know in real life. It was about a half hour before the wedding, and I left to change my outfit. I cannot remember what I was wearing at first, but I switched into a lime green dress with a black lace overlay. The lime green was a long panel in the front, and super short in the back, and I had a white beater on underneath it all, finished with black heels. Strange, I do think. Nick (whoever he was) followed me in to where I was changing and tried to get me to calm down, because I was stressed about changing my outfit, and I think I said something about the fact that he was not supposed to see me. He apologized and said that he was going to head back to the wedding because we were supposed to be there shortly, and that he would see me there. I left shortly after that, only to discover that I did not know where in the mall the wedding was. I ran all over the place, upset because I had known where it was before. It got to the point where I was freaking out because it was time to have the wedding, and I just could not find it in this mall. I ended up finally locating it, and that was when the dream ended.

The second dream (two days later) involved my aunt and uncle, Lynette and Larry, renewing their vows. They decided that they wanted to have the original wedding party present, wearing the same things they wore originally. I spent the week before the renewal trying to find my old dress (which actually was an emerald green that went down to the floor, which we ended up bringing up to knee length after the wedding was over in real life. In the dream, the dress looked more like a junior bridesmaid dress my mother once wore - darker green on the bottom, a creamish green on the top). The day of the renewal, I still hadn't found it, and I was beside myself. I went on a last ditch effor to a few friends houses, never found it, went to the renewal, and ended up getting there right when it ended. This was the end of that dream.

Bizarre? Yes, I think so. Funny enough, I actually did not, and do not, have the desire to read further into these dreams. I just thought they were bizarre. I am sure most of it has to do with my thoughts of so many friends getting married, my unexpected choice to maintain my current relationship, and my general feeling of distance I am feeling for my personal desires as I watch so many around me have a wedding in their life as a fulfill their personal desires.

Thats all for now.

Farmers Market (and my lameness) in pictures!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why I am here

Monday hit, and I began to feel homesick. I had come off a weekend of more free time than I was planning on, and my mind had plenty of time to ruminate. Upon rumination, it decided that then was a good time to start missing people. I actually got to feeling pretty low, but enough time had passed that it was time to go to dance. I went to Jazz 4 class that night, and left feeling refreshed and remembering why I came. That class was taught by Joanne, the dance school principal and one of the main reasons why I am here. It was deep into the ground rhythmic, accented, full of variety and chances to switch emotion. In general, a favorite among all the classes I have taken in my time dancing.

I got to thinking today, and realized that in the four days that have passed in this week, I have taken four jazz classes. A pretty nice ratio, if I don't say so myself. Right now, my dance schedule is like so;

Monday: Jazz 4, 6-7:30
Tuesday: Jazz 9:30-12:30
Afro-funk, 5-6
African, 6-7:30
Wednesday: Ballet, 9:30-11
Tap 11:15-12:30
Modern, 6-7:30
Tap, 7:35-9:05
Thursday: Core conditioning, 9:30-10:30
Jazz, 10:30-12:30
Jazz 3, 6-7:30
Friday: Improv/ Jazz talk, 10-12

The rest of the afternoon on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the day are all free, and currently attempted at being filled with work, which has proven difficult. I have enough free time between classes each day (5 to 6 hours) to satisfy me, so I am feeling antsy to fill Friday night, Saturday and Sunday with work. Not only considering my strange aversion to free time, but also that I need money like woah. Yes, I said 'like woah.' That is how serious it is!

Another hitch in the job situation - Called Sherry today, and she informed me that her boss is concerned about the fact that I will have no wage because that means I will not have worker's comp. I was dissapointed, and suggested to her that I sign a waiver saying that I will not sue them if I get hurt. She is going to talk to her boss again and I am supposed to call tomorrow, but in the mean time, I will be pursuing other leads. I talked to a former pre-pro'er at DJD about film work - production assistantship. She suggested that because it is so sporadic, she knows they often just hire for cash, and that it is $250 a day. Sweet. I also tried to follow an old lead - the performing arts center I contacted back in May about front of house work. I emailed them this weekend and had not yet heard back, so I went in today during my break. A nice woman named Christina informed me that the business offices closed at 4:30, but talked to me at length about my situation, and gave me names of people to talk to when I go in tomorrow. This sounds like a positive lead, as I have enough experience that they can make a case that I am the most qualified person for the job, fill out a labor market opinion for me, and get me working legally. Yay.

More work on job development tomorrow. Back to dance - I took the jazz 3 class tonight, taught by the same person who taught jazz 4, and it made me feel equally warm and fuzzy. This is the way I love to dance, how I feel confident dancing, what I tap into emotionally. I already feel like I am improving. In other warm fuzzy news, I booked my plane ticket home for Thanksgiving today, and I will be home from Wednesday night (late) until Monday morning. Yay. It seems so funny to be planning for something relatively far away, but it makes me happy.

Bottom line. This dance is the right dance for me. I love my classes, and I always leave with a renewed sense of why I am here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Signs of Fall

Fall hit me right away when I got here.

Sad thing - I actually was sorry I missed the Viking/ Pack game. Not because I particularly care for football, but watching football is just something you do in the fall.

No job yet. I received letters of recommendation from my teachers at DJD, so I think either today or tomorrow, I will stop in to the potential places to give them the letters and show my persistence.

My legs really hurt today. It must have bee something different within our morning jazz classes yesterday, because I would think that if my legs were going to hurt, they would have already. It could be due as well to the jazz class Monday night that we had not yet had - lots of lung-y sort of movement in that class. Either way, I barely made it through my last night class. They feel better today - here is to hoping that they carry me through ballet and tap.

Good news on the holiday front - I will be coming home for Thanksgiving for sure. I received clearance from my teachers and the artistic director to miss my Thursday and Friday classes so I may go home. Unfortunately, I probably cannot leave Wednesday night, as my class doesn't get over until nine, I would need transport time to the airport, and I am sure there are not any flights that leave that late. I will have to check into it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Suburbia and Dance Links

I went on a walk this afternoon. It was nice to get out into the daytime sunshine, and to get a chance to see what is actually around me. Several things occurred to me in the midst of this walk. For starters, it donned on me that, despite the numerous times I have said that I would not live in suburbia, I am doing so right now. I cannot really by-pass this as a living situation - I will be here for longer than I was in both of the places where I lived in the last year. We shall see how this unfolds.

However, I felt, in my walk-around, that there was not much to unfold. I had a feeling of mixed perceptions - part of me saw connection - vibrant people who live in close proximity to one another and thrive off the nearness to one another. This was a perspective I had never really come to terms with before. On the other hand, I also saw solitary within bounds so close - places of inhabitance so close, yet not related at all. Granted, I have only been here for a week, but I have not met any of my neighbors. It certainly looks like a place where people would know one another and talk to one another, have grown together and share stories with one another. That may be due to the fact that the neighborhood was built in the late sixties (as a gathered from a sidewalk imprint), so it already has a nostalgic feel to it. As I have said about way too many times now, I guess time will have to tell about what kind of suburban neighborhood this is. I have not yet seen people sitting out on their stoops (I guess it is getting cold now), but I would see that as an opportunity to go talk to them. I certainly hope other opportunities present themselves.

I attended an audition today. It was for a program put on by the University of Calgary, entitled "Dance Montage." It has 12 choreographers from around Calgary, and anyone and everyone is invited to audition. There were professionals, U students, recreational dancers, you name it. The audition lasted 9 to 9, and was broken into 12 slots - 1 hour for each choreographer. I attended four of the choreographer's auditions. The day had been structured mostly by type of dance, so I attended the jazz/ contemporary auditions (apparently, the here over-used word contemporary, can refer to anything with modern or lyrical stylings). I was surprised by the lack of standout dancers, until I realized that most of the people there were university students. That is not to say that university students are not skilled dancers, but it is to say that I have already completed my university degree and than some, so I SHOULD be better, yes? At least I know I am where I should be :)

The first piece was very dance/ theatery. I thought it could be interesting, pretty gestural. The second was a 'contemporary jazz' audition, which actually meant really lyrically and poppy. It was alright, and I liked the movement well enough, but it was to some R&B song about how badly the singer needs her man, and I just cannot connect with that kind of shit. The third piece was a jazz/ hip hop fusion, nothing I hadn't seen before, and the last was a kind of kitschy 'contemporary' (modern) piece to funny house dance music, which shifted between gestural, large, and just plain awkward. I tended toward liking this piece, and funny enough, it was the only piece I auditioned for that I did not get called back to dance again.

I hope to be cast in something, as I like the idea of getting to know the shape of the dance community and other people in it, an I do not want to wait until April to perform. If I get cast in several, I will opt to only be in one (as I need this to be a minimal time commitment). The show performs at the University the weekend before American Thanksgiving (yes, the Canadians have Thanksgiving. This year, it is October 11-13).

Tomorrow I am stopping in to two places that were targets on my Saturday job search. On Saturday, I ended up going back to one of the rude bars I stopped in on Friday, only to find they were rude Saturday as well. I opted to not stop back to the other one. Up near those bars (north on MacLeod, a bring thorough-fare in Calgary that runs near us), I applied at a bar called LoloLou's. Before that, I had headed South on MacLeod and applied at an Earl's (a somewhat Ritzy chain). I also stopped in at a place similar in feel called Moxies, but they, like other large places, said they could not hire anyone without a work permit. I did have luck with a few places, however. I stopped in at a little breakfast cafe in a local motel, and a supper club called the Black Swan. Both places were quite friendly, were optmistic, and told me to stop back in at 11 on Monday, when the hiring manager would be there. I am pulling for the breakfast place - it was two 15 year olds and an older lady working, and the older lady said she had been working there for eleven years and loved the feel. It just seemed warm, friendly, and like a place that I would want to be and to take care of people. I mentioned that I had stopped in at an Earl's and applied, and that it just was not the right feeling (the hosts and servers were wearing skimpy little black dresses and too much makeup - not so much for me), but that this place felt right for me. The lady responded that she thought I would fit in just right, and that I should definately come in to talk with Sherry (hiring manager) on Monday. So, that is my plan for one of the early hours for tomorrow. Beyond that, I have nothing planned other than attending jazz 4 class at 6pm. What am I going to do with myself??

It occurred to me that many people (in fact, anyone who did not see University Dance Theater in 2004) in my life have not ever seen any work by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (the company with which I am training). To remedy this, I have provided some You-Tube links. Check it out, and I am sure you will be able to understand why I moved up!;

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gainful Employment ? ! ? :)

The employment adventures have begun. My situation here is a precarious one, as most people my age from other countries need to have either a study or work permit to come and reside in Canada legally for a long period of time. I am not eligible for a study permit, as DJD is not an accredited educational institution, and I am not eligible for a work permit, because they will not be paying me. To have a work permit here, I must have either obtained it through some sort of exchange program, or I have to be sponsored by a business here who is willing to go through the paperwork to vouch that I am the only person here qualified for the job (a tough thing to do when I am looking for a serving job). One of the other gals at DJD told us that she works for the LuluLemon in the Chinook Center (translation - very popular Canadian dance wear and athletics chain in a big mall near me) and that because there are Lulu's in the US, they might be able to sponsor me. She sounded really gung-ho about trying to get myself or one of my roommates to work their - I bet they get a cash bonus if they refer friends.

There is a crazy labor shortage in these parts right now, so much that you can basically walk in anywhere and get a job. The service industry has just boomed here, because it is in response to the huge boom in oil business. Calgary is the richest province in Alberta, because while their is oil business all over the province, the actually headquarters of these businesses are in Calgary. This has created an excess of business execs and rich people that have plenty of money and want to go out and spend it.

I want a piece of this pie, as I am currently using my savings to liver here. I do have enough to get me by through May (the end of the program), but these are my life savings, and I do not really wish to compromise them if I do not have to. These savings were meant for grad school, but I guess plans change sometimes, now don't they? Back to the permit situation. Employers are not really allowed to hire anyone who isn't a Canadian citizen or does not have a work permit, but I guess they often do anyway because they are so desperate for (even somewhat) qualified workers. With this in mind, I was told to print out resumes and references, and another person at DJD suggested that I get letters of reccomendation from my teachers, explaining my situation and blostering my character. With these things in mind and hand, I set out on Friday afternoon around 3:45 to try and find a job.

I knew I could only be out for a few hours, as restaurants would soon be getting into their dinner rush, and I did not want to be that annoying person that bothers you about employment when you are clearly busy. I am looking primarily for serving work, as it is good, quick money, and generally never that boring. I walked up the street to the Reagle Beagle, one of the first pubs I saw near our house on my first night here. I am looking only in my area because I do not want to have to waste commute time if I don't have to, and I am looking only at small, locally owned pubs and restuarants. In talking to people, these kind of businesses are the most likely (and probably the only ones) who will hire me under the table with out a work permit, paying me only in tips with no wage so I am not on the record for taxes. I went into the Beagle and up to the bar to ask about employment. She at first sounded as though they were not hiring for the time, and just because I was there and she had my resume in her hand, I explained my situation forthright, which is the best way I think to go about such a thing. After having explained that, she actually perked up and sounded interested, and vocalized that they 'could work around that kind of thing'. She had me come talk to her manager, who explained that while they do not have the shifts I am looking for open right now (Fri night, Sat day and night, Sun day and night), that they most likely would within the week, and that they will call me next week. He said that they have a lot of turn-over, but also a lot of solid stand-bys who have been there for awhile, which is good. I couldn't believe how easy that first encounter was. I left feeling good about the situation.

When I left, there were two guys outside smoking, who had overheard my situation, and asked how it went. I told them, and they joked around with me a little, and the conversation eventually turned to the fact that they both work for a steele company who needs drivers. They said I would not need a Canada drivers license, that a Minnesota one is just fine, that it is just driving execs back and forth between sights, and starts at about 23 dollars an hour. This sounded amazing to me. I gave them my first name and last initial, as they wanted to look me up on Facebook. I figured since I have no important information on Facebook, this was harmless in the light of a 23 dollar an hour job possibility. An addendum to this story from later on in the evening; I was having dinner at home with Jayla and her boyfriend, and was telling them about this experience. They both warned me to be careful, as there have recently been businesses springing up that hire hot young girls to drive out to these steele mills, that are far out into the country and are full of men who have not seen a woman in days, weeks. They said that these businesses basically objectify you. Such a job is certainly not for me - I do not even want to work a beer tub - I have seen this at home too, but girls are basically dressed super-skimpy with too much makeup to hand out beers from large ice-tubs ar clubs. I am sure they make a shit ton of money, but no amount of money is worth me compromising my worth as a person and a woman. Moral of the story, if they contact me via Facebook, I will make it clear that I am not interested, and then ignore them.

On with the adventure - I was basically out walking North on MacLeod Drive, a big road that runs through Calgary a few blocks away from our house. As I have not been out walking during this week anywhere but between home and the studio, I had not been this way yet, so I was not exactly sure what was out there. I did happen upon a dance supply store - how convienent. Then I noticed several restuarants across the road from me. I crossed over, and visited the first destination, 'Rachmen's.' This place is clearly a touristy destination for people visiting during Stampede. It was all wood with several huge, tiered decks in the front with several bar areas, decorated with schmoozy signs about being a cowboy. I actually thought that all these elements were somewhat charming - how funny would it be to be able to say that I worked at a bonafide cowboy bar when I was in Canada? I went in and handed in a resume, only to be told that they are almost positive that I need a work permit for them to hire me. I guess it was a chain, which I had not suspected from the original looking shape and decor, but the chain-factor is probably why this wasn't going to work out for me. I could tell that from here on, this adventure was going to be really hit and miss, as I am not sure whether anywhere I am stopping into is chain or local.

I moved on to the place next door, called Shank's Athletics Club. This place looked grandeous and cool as well, so I stopped in and got to talking with their hiring manager. They too were a chain, and she opened up and said that last holiday season, they hired people without work permits, got found out, and got in a load of trouble. But she did suggest several other local places to try within walking distance in the area. I thought it was really nice of her to go out of her way and spend time giving me these hints, and I was sure to give her copious thanks.

Upon her suggestion, I walked back North on MacLeod to the King's Head, an independent up the way. When I went in, I waited for a bit, then asked a waitress who was entering in orders if they were hiring. I was sure to preface it with 'I know you are busy, but,' but such manors didn't matter. She snapped back that she was the only one on the floor and that her manager was in a meeting. It was only 4:45 at this point, so I figured they would not yet be busy and that it would still be ok for me to stop in. I tried to brush her off, and decided to ask the bartender. She snapped back that they were maybe hiring, but to come back because it was happy hour. Happy hour on a Friday? Was I wrong to be surprised by this? It is certainly not common in the Twin Cities to have Friday happy hours. I told her I was not aware that it was happy hour and apologized. I left feeling pissed off and mistreated. I feel like I really do not want to go back their today, but even more than that, I really want a job, so I probably will.

After that, I hiked up to Peanuts, a bar within the hotel next door. They refered me to the front to pick up an application (the first place along this journey that even mentioned an application), and that I should finish it and turn it in with my resume, and they would give me a call. Seeing as though it ws their happy hour as well, I grabbed an application from the front, and decided that my luck had run out that day. It was raining, cold, and windy, I have gotten two cold responses in a row, and it was getting to be the time that they all were having happy hour. I decided to stop back to both these places tomorrow anyway, as well as to head down the other direction on macLeod to try some of the other places that the nice woman at Shank's had suggested. I headed back home, a somewhat wet, but definately cold mix of downtrodden and hopeful.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Also - phone

I am good to go on the phone - people can call me and I can call them with the regular charges. So call away!


Along the 'there is always something a little wrong with anything I am try to get done' vein, I tried to use my Skype for the first time today and couldn't figure it out. I read all the help stuff and everything, but nothing answered my questions. I was told by one of my roommates that Toshiba's have built in microphones, but I am realizing that she must have meant that they have microphone jacs for the ones you buy. I do not have a microphone, and am thinkin if I want to use Skype, I will have to go buy a mic. Brianna gave me a webcam that I forgot to pack, which I am definately kicking myself for now.

I actually have some time free right now that I was not expecting - I ended up having to miss my night class because my roommates wanted me to come help load up some furniture they got through a family connection. I felt bad that I hadn't helped on a lot of things yet, so I said yes even though I didnt want to miss my class. I felt like they didn't really give me an option to say no, and I felt bothered by that, but decided to get over it. I am kind of wishing now that I had found a way around it, because even though I felt guilty for not having done much yet, I don't need or want much in comparison to them, and that is probably why I haven't done much. It is not because I do not care or because I am lazy (I care very much about everyone being happy and I am far from lazy), but I myself really do not desire to be spending any time or money on anything I don't really care to have.

So we rented a U-Haul, which I did not want to pay for in the first place because I dont care to have more furniture, but I got over that. Then we went to the first place, got there 45 minutes late so we were almost not able to pick everything up and the dude almost told us we would have to come back tomorrow. It ended up working out, but that got me on edge. Then we went to the next place, a storage place that we needed a code to get into. And guess what - they didn't have the code. That got me really frustrated, and I started showing it. As I didn't really want to be spending that time in the first place, the time being drawn out made it even more difficult forme to mask my frustration. I ended up going home early with the roommate with a car, because they last thing the other three had to pick up was a sofa, and they could do that on their own. I feel a little bad about ditching, but I didn't want to have actions or words I would regret if I stayed. So now I am home, feeling kinda pissed and frustrated, but also kind guilty. I want them all to know that I care for them and that I do want to be friends very much, but I think there needs to be more communication.

I love the dance and for that I am glad I came up, but I had already been frustrated with my roommates before this happened - most of them have not yet lived alone, so they want to share food, have not mentioned when they are having people over, etc. I am hoping this gets better with time. I also feel like three of them have really clicked, leaving me off by myself. I have wondered if part of why this is happening is because I have exhibited a clear interest in having some alone time, and have already branched off to do other things after dance class, when they always want to be going to class together, coming back together, etc. The three of them have even landed employment at the same place, and I know for sure it would be too much for me to being living, dancing and working in the same place as all of them - we would be together all the time, and I cannot be with ANYONE for 24 hours a day, let alone people I just met when moving to another country. I will just have to be patient with the situation I guess. I find myself almost wishing already that I had opted to live alone and just paid the extra I would have to pay, but I barely have enough money to get me through the whole nine months as it is without finding a job. It sounds like I will have to find an under the table job because I do not have a work permit, and will not be able to get one. I asked for recommendations letters from the studio, which should help me out in explaining my situation when trying to get a job. I am going to try and jump into the job search on Saturday, so we will see how that goes.

I am just going to have to expand my horizons a bit when it comes to frienships here - it is looking as though built-in roommate friends isn't going to work in my favor. I hope they know I want to be friends with them all - maybe I need to vocalize it, that my need for alone time is nothing personal. We seemed to be clicking just fine the first few days, and now I just feel alienated. I hope that I can built some relationships with other people who moved here alone for the program - probably people who are living alone, who can control when and when not they see people. We shall see. I think my desire for friendships would not be so strong right now if I were living alone, because I would feel more in control of my situation. Aw well. Just need to give it time I guess.

I have been kept pretty busy thus far, but I think I am starting to get to the point where I can miss people. I am sure it will get worse, but I still need to get a job and whatnot and that will take time during the day. As for classes, my first were splendid. I am already so tired in a good way. I have been dancing for three days, and have already taken two jazz classes, a ore class, west african, hip hop, tap and modern. Aw yeah.

As for the commute, it turns out it is more like 40 minutes for a fast walker like me, but my roommates all walk slow, so it ends up being about an hour in the morning when we go together, which is frustrating for me. The winter is going to be pretty brutal considering our long commute. Someone on the plane told me it gets down to below 20 and 30 on a regular basis. They show degrees in Celsius here, so I am going to have the learn the conversion. I knew it at one time, but I no longer do. I am also going to have to learn the gallons to liters and miles to kilometers. I know it probably isn't that hard, I just haven't taken the time to find them out yet.