glass_icarus: (dance 2)
[personal profile] rydra_wong asked what I've been doing with dance lately. Mostly the answer to this is zouk, and I'm happy to say that my practice-partner and I are coming off hiatus next week! Before our break we were working on spins, counterweight, and balance moves, which are all areas I tend to find challenging, so I'm looking forward to getting back to those. There are three things that really make a dance for me: partner connection, spatial awareness, and musicality. Luckily, S and I share all three! We have a fantastic connection which has only solidified since I moved here, so that's not something we have to fine-tune much; and he's always looking at where he's going and where he's leading me, since he has a safety-first attitude towards dance. Similarly, we share an intense musicality that allows us to play so much with every song, which is really the quality that turns "yay dancing with this person is awesome!" to "DANCING WITH THIS PERSON IS LIKE FLYING AND ALSO MY NEW FAVORITE THING, HELLO NEW DANCE CRUSH!" What I mean by musicality is a really subtle and detail-oriented kind of ear for music (I developed mine through years of classical music lessons as a kid; I'm not sure how S trained his). I've noticed that most leaders fall into one of two categories: those who listen for the melody of a given song, and those who listen for the beat. S is one of the few people I know who pick up on and play with absolutely everything, which is why he's one of my favorite leads ever. :D

The other thing I've been doing is only zouk-adjacent, though I definitely think of it as a kind of cross-training, haha. Last summer, I started doing contact improv practices with a few zouk ladies, and it's really opened up my body awareness and sensitivity. Thanks to years of ballroom, I have a long-established habit of falling into learned patterns of movement that I've never quite lost. This is all very well and good for choreography/competition/performance purposes, but it's a problem when I'm dancing zouk in a social setting because zouk is super improvisational in nature. You can't do improv well if your muscle memory operates like an autofill/autocorrect! Contact improv helps to correct this issue because it literally doesn't have any preprogrammed movement; it breaks me out of default muscle memory and thinking ahead and focuses my consciousness on what's happening in the moment. I've said before that A:TLA's "wait and listen" description of earthbending captures the essence of what it is to follow in dance. Contact improv is helping me to achieve that state faster and without having to dance-marathon my way out of my head the way I've done at congress parties before. This, too, is a work in progress for me, but even with the few months of weekly practices we've done, I've noticed a distinct improvement!
glass_icarus: (sott: euphemism)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce asked about my adventures with French, which I have to say are not exactly... progressing, lol. I spend most of my time in my monolingual school bubble, which means I'm not used to switching gears outside it, which restricts my listening comprehension and vocab more than they otherwise would be (judging by my experiences in Chinese-speaking environments). My ability to parse the Quebec accent is maybe marginally better when my brain flips the switch, but I still can't understand most of what dance-buddy S is saying. To be fair, he's from rural Quebec, so his accent is more pronounced than most other people's I've encountered. I don't think my reading comprehension has deteriorated super badly, as I've had no trouble grading assignments written in French or reading emails or fb group messages with Francophone friends. Text is more forgiving for me, in French- I'm better at working out meanings through context through reading than listening. It's completely different than Chinese, in that sense, where illiteracy means I'm always working at comprehension the other way around.

In terms of French news/podcast-type listening sources, my adventures are basically non-ventures, alas. I've never found a good way to integrate those into my daily routine, and I try to avoid youtube spiraling for reasons of productivity, but music seems like it would be more promising? I'd appreciate any song/artist recs people have!
glass_icarus: (partners)
Went to a dance social last night for the first time in... about 2 months? It was a great party and I spent a long time dancing with practice-partner S (we've been on practice-hiatus for a few months, but we tentatively agreed to start again :D), as well as a couple of people visiting from elsewhere in Quebec. I've missed my zoukers a lot, but damn, I need to get back in shape. Time to see if I can get into the habit of doing pilates workouts at home a couple times a week.

A few of you have asked me to talk about dance and I think it might be a bit much to try to combine all of those posts into one. [personal profile] jhameia's question about muscle development feels apropos today, since I woke up sore in my everything. Honestly, muscles are a thing that I never particularly cared about- I'm not the biggest exercise junkie, and I started dancing because it was fun and not because I wanted to have great abs or whatever- but the more I learned, the more I started to realize how valuable the muscle training aspect is, even if I'm still not particularly good at it outside of dance contexts.

babble )

Er, looking at this, my response might miss the mark on things you wanted to know, but if you have further questions feel free to ask! :P
glass_icarus: (fireworks heart)
[personal profile] schneefink asked for my ~5 favorite scenes in Nirvana in Fire/Lang Ya Bang, so naturally I couldn't resist the temptation to rewatch! It's so good that I'll have to subdivide by the overall plot arc, I think. :D Attempting to limit spoilers so I won't go on too long, but here's part 1: top 5 scenes, eps 1-10 )
glass_icarus: (ofelia)
[personal profile] coffeeandink asked what I've been reading lately! Unfortunately most of it has been school-related, as my 2016 bookshelf can attest. Last term I read a few ethnographies for class, which were interesting, but I wouldn't exactly call them funtimes reading. I'm hoping to finish Edward Said's Orientalism before this semester's readings swamp me.

My leisure reading last year was mostly limited to fic, since it's shorter and doesn't require much brainpower; this will likely continue as I have area exams coming up. The only new book I read for fun was Sam Starbuck's Nameless, and I reread Kristin Cashore's Graceling series somewhere around the end of summer/beginning of fall (all thanks to forgotten e-copies). I also spent some of my brainless non-gaming time this winter break rereading the Kushiel series, The Redemption of Althalus, a few Agatha Christie books (Cat Among the Pigeons, Lord Edgware Dies, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, By the Pricking of my Thumbs), and Georgette Heyer's The Unfinished Clue. I started Nisi Shawl's Everfair but didn't have time to finish it before I came back north. That and anything on my fun to-read list will have to wait until June-ish, I think.
glass_icarus: (red cliff: sun shangxiang)
In hopes of fixing my lack of conversation here, I've decided to have a go at the January posting meme. Give me a topic and a date of preference, if you have one, and I will do my best to post daily for the rest of this month. :)

(I'm also hoping this will assist me with some awkward and recent failures at having conversations that are not about school, dance, or Trumperdink. Academia has, in some ways, really worn away at my ability to be a person, even one who has never been good at small talk. *facedesk*)

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just another fork-tongued dragon lady

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