27 July 2012

Stream Of Consciousness -- The London 2012 Opening Ceremonies

(If I was on Twitter, my updates during the ceremony this afternoon might have gone something like this...)

~ Okay, the Rona commercials are officially the best of the Olympics. (I still miss Frank and Gordon though -- remember them from Torino 2006 on CBC?)

~ The music at the end of the opening bit, when they'd just forged the ring -- that was beautiful. I don't remember it anymore, but I remember thinking it was beautiful.

~ Can you fathom how many people were just dancing? And then how many people were technicians, working the lights and giving direction? How crazy organised was this? More crazy -- how much time did the choreographer spend on this? I'm sure he had assistants, but still -- I have trouble keeping track of a sixteen-person formation in my head. I can't even wrap my head around several thousand.

~ I seriously almost got my camera so I could take a picture of the rings against the darkening sky, even though it was on the TV screen. Stunning. The colour was fantastic.


~ Wow, Mr Bean got old... still just as funny though.

~ Holy man that's a lot of spandex... I mean, I wasn't around in the seventies so I don't know, but that still seems excessive...

~ That dance to Abide With Me was so cool! Though I wouldn't have put it to such a solemn song.

~ I would so love to be a part of something like this. It doesn't matter where or how or in what position -- I just want to be on that stage.

~ Ha, look at all those iPhones in the parade of nations.

~ Are you freaking kidding me? Am I seriously going to have to listen to that crappy I Believe song every hour for seventeen days -- again? No. No. Just -- no. (And to make this worse, I think this is a network decision, meaning we Canadians are the only ones who have to suffer... come on CTV, really? Really? There haven't been any half-decent songs recorded since Vancouver 2010 that you could play ad nauseum?)

~ I hope nobody in London planned on getting a 'decent' nights' sleep tonight. That light show would wake anybody.

~ I wonder just how many human beings there are in that place. You have all the athletes from all the countries, you have the spectators, you have everyone who shows up on the stage at some point in the show, you have all the technicians and the cameramen from who knows how many networks...


~ I so want to pull off something even a fraction of this magnitude.

~ Did you see the ceremony? Did you see how many people where there, giving their all for this? How much effort and detail and practice went into this? And Heaven will be something like this, only more so -- all the people praising God with this intensity and passion and exuberance. And it won't be over in four hours -- it'll go on for eternity.

Glory To The King - The Somewhat Extended History Of The Dance (So Far). And Music Day.

Remember the other day when I mentioned I was working on choreography for Glory To The King?

Actually, my choreographic work on it predates even Sing Your Freedom. I started working on it in early January. It was the first bit of Benesh notation I ever did.

Initially I managed to turn out six pages, however, my enthusiasm flagged and I was lured away by a different project -- You Are The One (which was also put on the back burner later in favour of Sing Your Freedom before I went back and completed it at the end of April).

A couple times over the following months I glanced over the pages from Glory To The King, but found no real desire (or self-discipline, more accurately) to add to it.

However, it's a fantastic song. I wanted there to be a dance to it, there needed to be a dance to it, but those pages intimidated me.

After finishing Them at the end of June, I was at a loss for what to do next. I had a handful of songs I was considering, but nothing that really jumped out and grabbed me.

And there it sat in my 'current choreography' playlist, like it had for over six months.

Glory To The King.

Reluctantly I brought out the pages I'd already written -- about forty seconds' worth of material -- and looked them over.

The intro was all right, but my counts were completely wrong. It was impossible to follow the timing. I revised the intro concept very slightly and rewrote the entire sequence on fresh paper, with the proper time signatures.

And then I stalled out again.

It took weeks just to reach the beginning of the first chorus -- a mere thirty seconds of music. Only in the past four or five days have I managed to complete the chorus and the second verse. Now in the trenches of the second chorus, I'm finding inspiration a little easier to find, but I feel like it's getting repetitive... I seem to have notated an awful lot of parallel retierré jumps in the not-too-distant past.

But in a weird way, it reminded me of the days when I was slogging through Sing Your Freedom. I was definitely more enthusiastic about that project than this one, but the sitting down and listening to the same ten seconds again and again and again and again, waiting for my brain to come up with something to go with the next measure, trying to wrap my head around who needs a separate stave on this page and who can I lump together as I try to figure out the details of yet another formation change -- the mood of this one is as close to the Sing Your Freedom days as I've gotten since I finished it in mid-April.

And while the small reminder of the Sing Your Freedom days was a little refreshing, the big break came last Thursday, the 19th.

While out running errands, I listened to David Meece's CD Once In A Lifetime (Star Song, 1993). Track three is this song called Brokenness. When I was little, I never paid the song much heed -- it was slow and 'boring.' However, in recent years I've been paying more attention to all the songs on the album. And Brokenness is a beautiful song. I looked it up in my choreography notes binder and found notes for both a solo and a group of five. Since I knew I would have to choose eventually, I tried to make my decision then -- save me some time and energy later. Ultimately I decided on a solo. And since I was desperate for something, anything, to distract me from Glory To The King while still accomplishing my purpose in life, I began to compose the solo to Brokenness.

And it kick-started my imagination for Glory To The King.

At first, I was just happy that I'd finally gotten a bit of a second wind (even if it was more of a breeze than a real wind, but who's splitting hairs?) for Glory To The King. But as I thought about it, I realised that Sing Your Freedom also had really taken off when I picked up You Are The One again and started working on that alongside.

Sing Your Freedom is for eight dancers. You Are The One is for four. Glory To The King is for six. Brokenness is a solo. Large dance, small dance, both at the same time.

I can't help thinking maybe I've finally figured out the trick to this.

(This 'shake-it-up' idea may be obvious to some, but keep in mind I've been writing novels at an average of two per year since age fourteen. You can't afford to mess up your plot by working a second one at the same time. You immerse yourself in one novel, one plot, until you've got it written out and the rough draft done.)

As promised -- I think it was two weeks ago now -- here is the official Music Day information:

Title: Glory To The King
Artist: Peter Furler
Album: On Fire
Year: 2011
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Why do I like the song? Well, to pare it down to one little phrase, it would be this: exuberant joy. Any other words I could put to this would be inadequate. In fact, my primary struggle with the choreography is not in trying to keep it low-key enough to match the music (which is usually the case), it's the fact that short of piano wire, the excited jumps physically can't get any higher and without the threat of fire or something the joyful leaps cannot be performed any faster than they already are.

It's here!

Lift up your hands and sing
Glory to the King!
The King of everything...

21 July 2012

A Wonderful Moment

Went onto iTunes to buy Trip Lee single. Found THEY NOW CARRY THE ONE WHITE HEART ALBUM I'M STILL MISSING!

This would have been even better news if I had more than sixty-two cents on my iTunes account. Ah well; at least my birthday's coming up... (*cough cough* any relatives who might be reading this *cough cough*)

17 July 2012

Why I Don't Have A Nine-To-Five Job - The Practical Reason

For the past month and a half or so I've been seriously contemplating sucking it up and getting a *shudder* nine-to-five job. After all, college and (hopefully) three or four extra dance classes do not pay for themselves.

Of course, in order for me to work a nine-to-five job, I have to actually be slightly conscious at nine o'clock in the morning (actually, it would have to be more like 7.30 to allow for the commute).

So last week I put my abilities to the test.

Our church was hosting their children's day camp that week and I had been pressed into service as Official Event Documenter (translation: photographer). The camp ran from Monday to Friday, from nine till noon. This meant I had to be at the church at 8.30. Which meant I had to be leaving the house at eight. Which meant I had to be awake by 7.30.

In order to do this, drastic measures were required. I forced myself into bed by 12.30 am every night. This meant I accomplished approximately half a page of choreography over nine days (I've been known to do six in one day). Over the course of the week, my mental capacity deteriorated greatly. I don't think I've ever felt so stupid and unproductive in my life. By Thursday I couldn't focus on anything for more than two seconds. Every time I tried to do something productive I became narcoleptic. Basically, I was a zombie.

Last night was my first night in over a week that I didn't have to be up at a certain time the next morning. So, like the rebel I am, I went straight on through till 4.30 am before going to bed. Sure, I didn't wake up till 11.30, but I've already gotten three pages done on Glory To The King (among other miscellaneous household tasks) and was contemplating doing some more choreography once I publish this. You can get a lot done in fifty minutes.

So basically, either I get a 9-to-5 and be a zombie for the rest of my then-cursed life, or I keep looking for something slightly less square-peg-in-round-hole and can then continue with the work God seems to have called me to do.

11 July 2012

Creative Brain Is Being A Jerk

You know what's annoying?

When you haven't done any substantial amount of choreography for like three weeks and then you put yourself on a guilt trip to catch it all up because you don't have forever but every time you so much as click on the iTunes window you fall asleep, even if it's still five hours before your regular bedtime. And then after several weeks of this nonsense your frustration grows to the point where you're thinking 'why do I even bother putting in all that effort to waking up in the morning with intent to do something with my life if my stupid brain is going to put me to sleep every time I want it to do what it was created to do in the first place?'

I think that must be one of the most annoying things in the world.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm not supposed to ever ever ever choreograph Glory To The King... which makes me sad, because it's a fantastic song which totally screams for jumping and high kicks and jazz hands and general all-round joyful exuberance. (In fact, I'm thinking I'll feature this song for Music Day this week, if I still remember by Friday.)