Monday, June 15, 2009

The rollercoaster that is 2009 continues!

2009 has been one heck of a year so far. Just when I think I'm getting the hang of things, there's another curve-ball coming right at me.

On a personal level, 2009 is shaping up to be a pretty good year. I've had my promotion at work and on top of that, I've just been accepted into the NHS Clinical Scientist training programme. It's come as a bit of a surprise as I didn't expect that they would take someone who had been out of the lab for so long. However, it seems that it may have actually helped me to show that I had really thought about what I wanted to be doing. So, in October I will beginning to train as a Clinical Scientist in Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics. I am so excited about being in the lab again and actually doing something that matters! I can't wait to get stuck into the science too.

I'm also really happy in myself and my life at the moment. I honestly think beginning ATS again was a major factor, as I now have something fresh to learn and goals to focus on. My class and teachers are wonderful and because you have to dance together, it's easier to get to know people. I'm also managing to attend a lot of workshops and try loads of new things. I'm even beginning to see the benefit of living in London (shock, horror).

In addition to this, G has just passed his "part 3" examination, meaning that he is finally an architect. I'm so proud of him. It's a fantastic achievement and he deserves it after all his hard work. It's a huge weight off both our minds that he doesn't have to go through it all again.

However, it's not all perfect. There's some family stuff going on that's worrying, mainly in terms of my Mum's health. She was diagnosed with lung cancer a little while back, and there's been a long period of "not knowing". Thankfully, she has been very lucky and the tumour has been caught at an early stage. This weekend she goes in for surgery to remove the tumour and part of her lung, so we're keeping everything crossed for a good outcome.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dance musings: fun with fire

I had an absolutely fantastic time on Sunday at the Fire in the Belly workshops. I was a bit nervous the evening before as I wasn't sure I'd have the stamina for 5 hours of dance. However, the pace was really nice and I was pleasantly tired at the end of it, but not exhausted.

After an introductory talk on fire safety and considerations when using fire props, we started the first workshop playing with matches. I think a lot of us felt a little naughty after many years of being told not to do any such thing! It was actually a really good way to learn how even a small flame can enhance a performance. We then moved onto tapers and finally, dinner candles. It gave me loads of ideas about how fire can be used in a subtle way, without resorting to fire poi or fans quite yet!

The second workshop was more focused on ATS and dancing with small candle holders. The teacher had taken a number of ATS moves and adapted them for dancing with fire. We worked on learning the moves and practising them in duets. After that, we learned some combos and did some more improvisation. It was fantastic fun and I thoroughly enjoyed dancing with one of the ladies from my ATS class, as I think we tuned into each other quite nicely!

The final workshop was nothing to do with fire at all. Instead, it was centred on using a fan veil. As much as they look amazing, they are actually more difficult than you'd expect to work with. We explored lots of Chinese/Japanese inspired moves and worked up to a small choreography. The teacher, Mihramah, was amazing and so filled with passion and energy. Much more practise required with this though!

The Fire in the Belly show in the evening was fantastic. It was great to see our teachers in action, and I also got to see my ATS teachers and their troupe dance. There were some real novel acts including an amazing juggling/tap-dance/drumming fusion and a trapeze artist. I would find it really difficult to pick a favourite though, as they were all excellent in their own way.

I can't wait until the next event!

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