Sunday, February 29, 2004

I'll write more when I have time but for now, two wonderful quotes....

"You were born and original. Don't die a copy." -John Mason

"When I am president, I am going to make sure all the homeless people have a house. They won't even have to pay for it. And I'll give them a car too. They need something to go in the garage." -Victoria, age 8 (one of my former dance students)

True dat.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Quite a few of you have been asking about or offering to help with the dance studio crisis right now. Firstly, I thank you all for your on-going support, and your constant concern. Most of you were also aware that my life consisted of school, sports, and dance, and that I spent an average of three hours a night (four nights a week) at the dance studio, both teaching and taking classes, and doing administrative work (i.e. ordering costumes, writing tuition receipts, etc). So as to not have to continuously re-tell what happened, I am going to post it once, and hopefully that will suffice for most of you, and if not, I will gladly provide further info, but I also don't want any of you to think this is an evocation of sympathy, but I am hoping that you can further understand what has happened in the last week.

On Monday night, I went to the studio, as usual, to teach the beginning level hiphop class, as I always do. I found it odd that the studio was dark and locked, because there are two classes before mine. [I forgot my key that day.] Thinking my teacher was late, and the other classes had maybe been cancelled (can we say naive?) I decided to wait around for a few minutes. Well, the students in my class started showing up....and still no teacher. (the class was supposed to begin at 7pm, and it was going on 7:15 by this time). I tried the director's cell phone three times, but could not even get her voice mail to pick up. That's odd, I thought. Calling her house, I began to worry when I still got no answer nor a voicemail. I apologized to the parents and told them that I didn't know (nor understand) what was going on. We all left, determined to figure this out.

The next day, I told Coach Jones that I couldn't go to the basketball game because I would need to go unlock the studio and teach ALL the classes, just in case the director didn't show up again. I was beginning to wonder if I would need to file a missing person's report, and was very concerned, because the director always took running the studio very seriously and I couldn't imagine that she would let us down like this. I got to the studio a little before five Tuesday night, and already parents were showing up, two of whom had been there the night before. Again, the studio was eerily dark, and of course locked. But AH HA! I had a key! I put the key up to the dead bolt, only to find that it didn't fit--- at all. After fultily spending forty five seconds trying to force the key to fit, I decided I was going crazy and must have the wrong key.... (again, can we say naive?). The parents and I all stood around talking about what in the world could be going on, while the six kids ran around, using up the energy they had conserved for dance class. I tried her cell phone number five more times, and her home number. Still nothing, but I did get a voice mail message on her cell. I left an urgent message, begging her to call me. Suddenly, the lady who works next door came out. "Excuse me," she said politely. "Are y'all here for the dance class?" she asked in her southern drawl. We all nodded, eager yet nervous to hear what she had to say. "Well, um... the landlord came here and changed the locks. We don't know why, but he did. I don't have any other information for you. I'm sorry." As she turned around, we all looked at each other in utter disbelief. Our studio? What's happened? Where's the money? What happens now? What do we tell these five and six year olds? Well, I won't lie, the tears started falling. All the time and energy, sweat, money, devotion I poured into this studio, my studio for the last four years was gone. Gone. I swallowed hard in order to hold it together for the kids, who were now crowding around. Scout, a five-year-old, whose mom is a good friend of ours, came over to me, "Miss Lindsay, does Ms. Ali (the director) have the flu? Is that why she's not here?" I smiled and nodded, "Yeah, Scout, something like that." She told me to tell Ms. Ali that she hoped she felt better, and ran off to play with her friends. The parents and I all exchanged numbers, hoping that one of us would find something out, and this way we could all call each other. As each family drifted away, I was overcome with emptiness, but I couldn't figure out why. You'll find another passion, I told myself. Or you can find another studio. Don't worry. I waited the remaining fifteen minutes until my friends and co-workers (ages 16 and 17) showed up. When they saw the look on my face, they grew concerned. I explained what we knew. They knew nothing more than we did. Hugging, we said our goodbyes, and left. [The Thursday before, the aforementioned friends and I had left the studio, with these final words from Ms. Ali "Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday."]

On Thursday, I got a call from the lady who directed the studio last year. She said that Ms. Ali had not paid the rent since July, and that she, Ms. Cathy, had been footing the bill in order that the studio not go up in smoke. "She owes me more than $12, 000," she told me. "You guys aren't going to get refunds, because every dollar you put into dance, be it tuition, costume fees, recital fees, competition fees, whatever, was pocketed by Ms. Ali." WHAT!?!?!? Ok, breathe. I told myself. "I'm sorry that your money's down the drain, Lindsay," she said. I wanted to cry, and tell her it isn't about the money. It never had been. It was about dancing, and loving every second of it. It was about inspiring in my students the same love that I have had for dance since I was three. It was about helping them (and myself) believe in themselves (and myself), enough that they thought their dreams could come true. It was about the adrenaline rush you get when you're at recital or at competitions. It was about the hope that we would make the national-finals this year in the Applause competition. It was about me thinking that my "purpose" in life was dance.....but it wasn't about money. And now, it wasn't about anything. There wasn't anything left.

But I was wrong. There was something left. There were the memories. The memories of throwing our props at each other off-stage and getting yelled at. The memories of turning off all but one of the lights in the studio and doing our lyrical dance ("when you know who you love") in the dark, just for effect. The memories of painting the studio walls and each other at the same time. Subway and Gatorade dinners at 8:00 at night. Driving home with my friends after class and blarring the music from Maria's (the eldest) car, with the windows down. Memories of laughing so hard we couldn't dance, of messing up on stage, of goofing off in class just to peeve the teachers, of traveling all over the state to compete, of sitting in nine square foot dressing rooms for six hours and throwing our clothes at each other during competitions, of hugs after performances, of the time a little girl peed on stage, of curtain calls when the curtains wouldn't close, of the sound system going out in first act of the recital and one of the teachers holding a microphone up to a boombox for the next four hours, of sleeping at each others house and curling each other's hair, of learning to properly apply four colors of eye shadow so they all showed, and of standing on stage at the end, holding hands and bowing while the audience clapped and clapped and cheered. That's what dance was about. That's why four years of hard work was more than worth it. That's why I plan to dance again, just not yet.

Well that was a long long post. Sorry for the length, but I hope this not only explains what happened, but also tells you that you can't look back on something and regret doing it, or look back and resent people or happenings just because it didn't work out. Oh, and something I learned: Bad stuff is NEVER God punishing you. (that's what I thought, but here is what my youth leader said to that: "God never punishes you - sometimes, he allows negative things to happen toyou to test you and your faith in him, like what he let happen to Job, but we have to remember to stand strong in him and know he is in control") There's something to be learned from everything, but I know one thing, I don't want to look back on this in two months and regret putting time and energy into dance, nor do I want to still be angry with Ms. Ali. We all have clay feet. I'm just happy that i got the experience and I have the memories. Remember:

"Live like Heaven is on Earth; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening and dance like nobody's watching." (yeah I know it has NOTHING to do with my entire post but I like the saying, so there. hehehe)

PS- If I get brave enough, I might (and the operative word there is might) dance at open mic night.... if this is a terrible idea, please let me know. Definitely don't want to make a fool of myself. ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Read this. (yes, I am on my poetry kick....) Enjoy!

Little Things in Life

Author Unknown

Too often we don't realize
what we have until it is gone;
Too often we wait too late to say
"I'm sorry - I was wrong"

Sometimes it seems we hurt the ones
we hold dearest to our hearts;
And we allow foolish things
to tear our lives apart

Far too many times we let
unimportant things into our minds;
And then it's usually too late
to see what made us blind

So be sure that you let people know
how much they mean to you;
Take that time to say the words
before your time is through

Be sure that you appreciate
everything you've got
And be thankful for the little things
in life that mean a lot

Here's another:

Author Unknown

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
of eternity.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Right now, though, the majority of my stress level is a result of registration for classes for next year. So far my schedule looks like this:

[7th Period: Science Olympiad]
AP Biology
AP US History
AP English III
Adv. Pre Calculus
Spanish IV
20th Century Topics

The stress comes from wanting to pick classes that will look good on my college application, but also classes that I will enjoy. I would love to take drama, for example, but an A in drama compared to an A in AP Bio on an application looks not as wonderful. So I feel like I should take more "academic" courses instead of taking an elective like drama or art or something. Oh well. I have to go watch a special on Clay now. Later.
Hmmmm. . .what to say? My life is made up of little nothings, all strung together. Well, not really, but there isn't much to talk about. Working hard in school and dance right now, and those are consuming my time. Dance is definitely the better of the two!!! (*grin*)

Right now in dance I am working on quite a few different dances.
The theme for our recital is "A Night On Broadway!" Should be fun. C'mon out and see us! (somewhere in May).

Adv. Jazz ---- Song "Hooray For Love"
Adv. Tap ---- Song (the jazzed up version of) "Fever"
Adv. Hip hop---- a mix of songs, one of which is by Outkast
Int. Clogging ---- the Swedish version of "Cotton Eyed Joe" (yeah, same music, but the words just sound like a jumble of syllables)
Production ---- an 8-minute mix of songs from Chicago, including "Both Reached for the Gun," "All that Jazz," "Mr. Cellaphane," "Cell-Block Tango."
Adv. Lyrical ---- "When You Know Who You Love" (the sweetest song ever!)
Gymnastics/Jazz Duet ---- "I Can't Wait to be King" from The Lion King (the Broadway Kids' version!!!)
My Solo---- song is unknown yet, but I am open to suggestions. I have thought about two songs from A Chorus Line, including "One [Singular Sensation]" and "I Hope I Get It," which is the opening song. I have also looked at doing something from Westside Story, or possibly just a song I find that I like. It would either be Lyrical or Jazz.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I wanted to share a poem with y'all that I came across in eighth grade. It had a profound effect on me, and I hope that you can see why. Enjoy.

Pretty Good
There once was a pretty good student,
Who sat in a pretty good class,
And was taught by a pretty good teacher,
Who always let pretty good pass.

He wasn't terrific at reading,
He wasn't a whiz-bang at math,
But for him education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.

He didn't find school too exciting,
but he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing,
And nobody had taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine,
five and five needn't add up to be ten,
A pretty good answer was nine.

The pretty good class that he sat in,
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception,
On the contrary , he was the rule.

The pretty good school that he went to,
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice,
He could not tell a verb from a noun.

The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob,
And the first time he knew what he lacked was,
When he looked for a pretty good job.

It was then when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion,
Pretty good may not be good enough.

The pretty good town in our story,
Was part of a pretty good state,
Which had pretty good aspirations,
And prayed for a pretty good fate.

There once was a pretty good nation,
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late, if you want to be great
Pretty good, is in fact, pretty bad.