cornCorn. Singer. Dancer. Nurse. Lover of music. Pursuing God (trying…). Secluded. Pianist. Wannabe gypsy. Silly.

#1 Convoluted journey of a dancer: My dance goals

Slowly more people in my life are getting to know that I love to dance salsa.
You think it’s some frivolous thing?!
You’re WRONG!
XD
As in dance, in life. Dancing brings up many personal issues for me. Hopefully reaching these goals in dance will expand through my whole life.

Change the tune of my internal world
Last time i got a lot of feedback from my instructor about openness & embracing towards your partner. Of course it wasn’t in those professional words it was in the poking fun at me every time he could feel I was secretly thinking, “i don’t want to dance with you” or “please don’t do *that* move!”
Turns out it’s not so secret!
He is very perceptive at reading the anxieties in my body language. And them being so often present means maybe that’s all he gets from me. They are a mixed muddle of: I’m so big I’m not used to taking up all this space on the floor. People are looking at me. I don’t want this to be any more than a dance.
These are all damaging my dance connection!

He has showed me that my dance partner may intuitively pick up on what’s going on inside, it shows in my body, my attitude and my energy. Is this why I am sitting out more dances than i’d like to every social? My energy, my aura? O_o Didn’t except salsa to bring about this new age language… :P

I have to be aware of what I’m feeling and to think: “I want to dance with you” “I’m going to make you want to dance with me”.

He also kept saying to open my chest. And his favourite expression: “Titties to the wind”.
Physically speaking my chest is closed because my pecs are tight because my hobbies include hunching over a sewing machine, piano, drawing, reading.
But also this kind of posture comes back to confidence, and wanting to withdraw from the world. Both these as well as being open towards other people and embracing them, have been life long battles for me.
So I guess it’s fair to expect progress to be slow.

Also at this lesson, which was a few months ago, I took a video of us dancing… But that’s enough psychoanalysis for now :P

Post salsa depression

I can’t stand post salsa depression. I just can’t shake it! This is when I imagine living in Melbourne for a year so I can go to regular classes that keep building me up.
Or maybe the grass is always greener.
It’s silly anyway because our small scene here actually suits me, I can slowly build trust with the committed regulars and work on my personal blocks.
To think I have to go through this again in November makes me wither! I can’t stand these highs and lows. I think being a highly sensitive person magnifies it for me, I’m looking around at my other salseros wondering how it is for them, are they seasoned at this, does it diminish over time. And this is from a small scale social! How would I cope at a congress or festival? I hope to get good enough to go, one day.

For my next lesson in November I want to prepare a short shine routine. Something that shows I’ve been working on my energy and musicality and body movement. I have many videos of myself salsaing in my lounge room and most are bleh but some parts are Ooo! How do I do that again! I want to find my own style that is sincere to me. I’d love to do a contemporary routine to work on my emotional expression too.

Times like this I always wonder, would I be brave enough to move away, I can’t bear the thought of being a nurse forever. Of course I’m only a nurse for part of my life. But I only intended to stay nursing for a few years. Now it’s difficult to stop.
What will be more difficult, to stay or to go?
I feel the lure of creativity in me and I wonder what I might be missing. The thought of pursuing dance makes my compassionate nature cringe. I’m dead sick of myself right now being so self absorbed with all this dancing business! Let alone if I pursued it, or singing or designing etc heavily.

Salsa slump

The high of the salsa weekend is over. Feeling weighted with the challenges that I face ahead. I am gentle and cautious and this is how I am with everything in life. Then I see on facebook, “Tango classes start today!” zomg Tango is perfect for me! Focus on footwork, technique and less body movement. Finally somewhere I might fit in.
Everything i pursue in life, my personality is the bane. My parents growing up: “Cooorn! Come on Corn!” Grade 2: Courtney is very quiet I’d recommend involving her in group sport or dance. Grade 6 netball “Courtney plays with her personality. She needs some aggression.” Singing at church: Give us more, more of you, more movement, more expression, more. University I’m about to fail my final year of nursing: “We don’t want to change you we just need to draw some things out from you”. Too cautious, too meek, too slow. In my piano: Be more experimental, take risks. In contemporary dancing: Run faster, jump higher, swing further. Now it’s happening in my salsa. Just let go, be free, take risks.

I have a block in my life. And it’s rearing it’s head again, in the area i used to get so much joy from. Feeling blue. So I go to Tango, hoping for somewhere I won’t be pushed and pulled.
And it’s perfect. *contented sigh* Refined and elegant.
Ten minutes into class “What training have you done when you were younger? I see your footwork, is excellent”. I hated that bloody jazz ballet in grade 2 but maybe it’s paid off! Here I can be a beginner again and progress will be easy. Stroking my ego. Repairing my confidence. Presumably the future of Tango will hold greater challenges for me, but for now it’s a safe space.

Why didn’t Alex tell me I’m a Tango dancer! Now I can’t wait to dance it with him.

Dancers world

Local fame, what we’ve always dreamt of!
…Soon i realise nobody i talk too gets the Sunday Examiner paper anyway >.<!

salsa

This is my story, from behind the glitz and glamour (lol…) of our “slowing growing scene” at SALSAme.

These weekends are always such an emotional rollercoaster. I get terribly nervous before my one on one lesson. Although for the first time it wasn’t to the point of diarrhoea which was nice (TMI sorry XD). Only took a year.

Perhaps soon I’ll be able to speak more than 3 words to him at a time.

There’s huge excitement in having a pro salsa dancer in a state where there are none, give us skills that we have no access to here as well as be unpretentious enough to come along to our social and dance with all the ladies when often we spend song after song sitting out as there aren’t enough boys.

Inevitably the thrilling high of the weekend is followed by a crashing low, which I now fear so much that I don’t even get excited anymore. For me it’s an existential-dance-low: knowing I’ll never get to his level, or even his students level and that he’s gone back to a thriving scene full of opportunities, and I am here in my town and now I’ve had a taste of what’s out there how can I be satisfied with this?

And just to add to the mix – I feel confused. People watch me when I dance. While they may be staring because i look like a fool :p they say I’m an amazing dancer.
But I feel my instructor doesn’t *want* to dance with me at the socials.
I know it. Intuition. Despite him being a very good actor. Does this mean I am a look-good dancer and not a feel-good dancer? :/ Or in some bland limbo between the two. I know he dances with me because I’m his student and he wants to test me. This time I unusually (& delightfully) got 2 dances with him at the social, 1 bachata & 1 salsa. Maybe this is because I showed him some progress and actually *danced* my way through the workshops, instead of just step step stepping.
On the weekend I met a dancer from Hobart and I know she is good. A great dancer.  You can see it from the way she walks into the room, the way she holds herself, the way her whole body *dances* with her basic, not just stepping through it for the millionth time. So i wonder, what tests does a great dancer get from him? What are her struggles? Why does she pour time & money into improving her dancing when she is already great? If the rest of your dance group aren’t improving with you what’s the point? To lead them on, inspire them? Isn’t it unsatisfying to be ahead of your group?
She led me in a wonderful dance. I watched her a lot at the social, hoping to learn from her earthy grounded body movement and her energy.
That was what made me realise I’m starving here in Launny.

STARVING!
I don’t think you have any idea what it’s like here. Or maybe you do. Have you ever lived in a small, isolated or semi-rural area where the only dance community is comprised of fossils *ahem* joking joking! middle aged women and men, many of them there because they’re single & looking?
We have lots of new beginners atm which is wonderful, but there are few highly skilled dancers here for me to watch and learn from, apart from my teacher but her energy is understandably directed at teaching newbies. I’m also confused because our level of “intermediate class” is low compared to the mainlands and it rarely rises because few people stay on and if they do they don’t commit to progressing their dancing. They just turn up to class. They’re here to have fun.
Fun!?
I AM NOT HERE FOR FUN ><!
Lol XD
So I’m in this limbo land, I don’t truly understand where I’m at. I could see at first he was surprised and pleased when I actually did the things he told me to do, quickly. But now that’s harder. Harder to do. The ‘things’ become more challenging things. With 4 lessons a year from him my progress is slow, so slow that sometimes it’s actually backwards. -.-;
So when people say, you’re an amazing dancer! You’re the best dancer here! I say, have you opened your eyes to what’s out there?! This thing called youtube…start watching pro dancers and you can see the difference.
The difference
that I feel
so strongly.
I am far from where I’d like to be. I’ve improved but I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to get there. While I’m here on this island state. And that makes me wonder to what end am I putting in all this time and money…

Candid speculation on talent

After 3 years of tafe-work-tafe-work repeat 6-7 days per week, i finally have the time to delve back into some art projects. It’s been hard work which has helped to keep my head on the ground. When i started the tulip painting at an art workshop, i thought it was looking pretty good for my first painting, the rest of the class seemed impressed.
I felt like they had all been to this workshop before! They knew each other & the tutor.  Think middle aged ladies, with massive plastic buckets that fold out layer upon layer of pristine art supplies. Anyway, they gush: “Ohh! You’ve painted befooore haven’t you Courtney!”.
Well no i hadn’t but i felt too embarrassed to say so.
But I didn’t want to lie and say yes.
So i said nothing.
*tumbleweed*
Which was really rude to just ignore people. Yeah…didn’t make friends easily. lol! But I felt proud & really thought i was good. Now i think it’s a mess and i struggle to create what i want in it, am i really cut out to do art.

It’s the same with singing, i get carried away with peoples gushing and i really think i’m amazing. Then i listen to myself on video, or see a professional singer and realise…wow in the sea of talent out there i’m not as good as i thought i was.

Same with salsa dancing, people treat me differently now they can see i’m actually getting better as a dancer, and then i see a video of classes in Melbourne and *heaps* of people are as easily good as me, have spot on rhythm, musicality and muscle memory. Back to earth.

Maybe being such a reserved unassuming person means that folks here are surprised when i show some real skillz. And what they’re actually feeling is, wow that’s unexpected…from you. But they might say, “Wow that’s amazing!”, so i think ok cool i’m like this good, out of ten. lol, a false sense of being really talented. Then slowly reality seeps in as i realise in the scheme of life outside of Tasmania, I’m not that much above ordinary.

Painting tulips

I work point 5…

“Oh yes where else do you work/study?”

I DON’T! Nothing!
I’m a bum!
Well. I actually do lots of things. But everyone (who i have to make small talk with) assumes that i must have another job or be studying. And i reiterate, no i do not want to try and pick up extra shifts.

With more days off than on, what do i do they ask incredulously. Well. A few hours a day I’ve been practicing up my long lost repertoire in the hope of playing at the Launceston Easter Community Festival. And now i’ve just been asked to play & sing at a local market this week! Wooo.

I’m also discovering that being an artist isn’t all like i’ve romanticised it up to be. This is a piece of half finished crap from two years ago that i actually felt proud of (past tense…). Now a church is seeking donations for a fundraising silent auction – perfect motivation to finish it!
However, after 4 hours of fiddling my painting went from this…

DSC09353

To this.

DSC002912

Pretty damn similar!

Although unfinished, I feel it screams ‘beginner’ so i will have to submit it as Anon. lol.
Inevitably will end up stalking the stall to see if the bidding goes above the cost of the bulk buy plastic brushes i used to paint it.

I’m learning everything the hard way. Why the heck did i not paint the background in first?!
Do i start with highlights or darker areas. Why is it so hard to blend smoothly.
Time to mix more paint. Impossible to create the same shade of purple!
Shade all the leaves only to stand back and find they’ve become ugly dominant masses of green. Lets just start again….but all that work, all those hours, wasted! Continue painting over and over, layers and layers.
Get carried away with detail then remember it’s meant to be more impressionistic not botanical…

Plus a hundred other things i’m not even aware of yet. One my teacher pointed out, the grey shading in the white tulips should be mixed up with a touch of green as the tulips will reflect the colours around them. He could actually see that i accidentally smushed some blue in there and just stirred it up into the grey. Thought it wouldn’t matter cuz grey is like..grey, right? Apparently not.

Thankfully for my ego I can legitimately blame some of my struggle on the tools – my mums 20 year old folk art paints. My art teacher politely tried to hide his horror upon picking up the cerulean blue, no amount of squeezing could force that clogged pigment out of the tube. I awkwardly try n hide behind my canvas while the rest of the class pretend not to notice and he hints that Philcam art supplies offer a discount to his students.

Doing this has given me a greater appreciation for the hard work of artists, and reminded me to think about what i’m setting out to create, what is the overall look, feel and message to be and how will i mix my colours and draw lines and shapes to express this. Because at the end of the day there must be a bazillion paintings of tulips in the world. So what is this particular one adding?

Sewing dresses

I entered a Spring sewing competition! Didn’t win. Eve won.
But i was, “One of 4 people who could’ve won” and, “Oh we had such a hard time deciding!”. So one of four could be anything, i like to say i came second :D
Fabric: The most beautiful thing i’ve seen. “Blue Edera” an Italian designer silk chiffon $59 per metre, there’s only 5 metres left in the whole WORLD and it’s right here in Launnies Ruche fabric store..
Spring dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally got a chance to wear my Cinderella dress out of the house, at a local Recycled Fashion show.
I altered a charmingly puffy sleeved 80’s wedding gown pattern and gave fabric from the op shop a new life.
Practicing my curtsey in the kitchen.
On stage after i blow a kiss, the MC: “Maybe her prince charming is out there tonight”
*cringe*

Cindy2

cc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jane Austen Festival Australia – yes there is such a thing!
I went because i love costume, dancing, sewing and reading.
Everybody else went because they were crazy (adj. mentally strange, nutty as fruitcake, out of ones tree) about Austen.
Thus i felt a fraud – just quietly I had to push myself to read Mansfield Park seeing as it was the theme for 2014, and silently confess some relief when it was due back at the LINC at only 6 chapters in.
Everyone else was reciting quotes like normal conversation so i tried to laugh along at the appropriate moments while hiding my abysmal hand sewing. “What stitch are you doin there dear?” Oh..a fusion of traditional and uhhh improvising.
My favourite part was the Symposium where learned scholars made analogies with Jane Eyre one of my favourite books.

I came away with a great sense of how precious clothing must have been, seeing as it took me an hour to handsew a 5cm line. I wish we had some of that same value for clothing now.

Which bed  belongs to me?

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