Category Archives: Dance

Video of the Week #184: Transcendence​

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More about Lindsey Stirling.

More about the Landfill Harmonic.

Video of the Week #183: Exercises Simple Enough for Budding Ballerinas

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I’d Rather Be Dancing Romanian Folk Dances

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I’d Rather Be Dancing Romanian Folk Dances

Ah, the beautiful dances of Romania! Gorgeous music, visually and rhythmically stunning!

One of the dances I often taught when I was an elementary general music teacher is the Romanian dance Alunelul. It matches the very distinctive rhythm of the music, and also fits well with the Christmas song Up on the Rooftop.

And a gypsy dance from Romania, Dana:

Hora De Mînă:

I know the video shows a different name, but this Romanian dance is generally known as Îni Viţui Nâ Featâ Moi:

This beautiful Romanian dance honors midwives. Joc De Leagăne, also known as “The Cradle Dance”:

Something more lively and upbeat–Made în România:

Opincă:

Get ready to swing your arms. Rustemul:

This is one of my favorite dances to lead. Beautiful music. Siriul:

In November, Lee Otterholt (well-known international folk dance teacher) came to Phoenix International Folk Dancers group and taught us some dances. I’ve been obsessed with La Bordeiul cel din Vale ever since. It was choreographed by Ira Weisburd, the man in black whom you see keying up the laptop and leading:

2018 in Review

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2018 in Review

This time last year, I dreamed that ARHtistic License would grow from 350+ to 600 subscribers. As of this writing (Wednesday afternoon), we’re almost there. If you haven’t yet joined our subscribers and you like what you see on ARHtistic License, please help us out by hitting the “Follow” button on the sidebar. Thanks, and welcome to our artistic community!

My hope for 2019 is that ARHtistic License will pass the 1,000 follower mark. It would mean a lot to me if you’d help out by spreading the word, sharing your favorite articles on your social media.

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My Top Ten Posts of 2018 tabulated by number of views. Have you seen all of these?

  1. #DC350 Rimana Heart String—This post (and the next five) includes my entry to the Diva Challenge, a weekly Zentangle challenge. I don’t participate every week, but Zentangle devotees are a very generous group who encourage each other by visiting each other’s blogs, Instagram, Flicker, and Pinterest accounts.
  2. #DC379 Holidaze
  3. #DC364 Puf
  4. #DC360 Shattuck vs. Tripoli
  5. #DC362 Somnee
  6. #DC346 Phicops & Huggins
  7. 12 Best Quilting Blogs—in my opinion.
  8. 10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web—again, in my opinion. I’ve stumbled across some more fabulous ones since I published this list; I’ll have to update it eventually.
  9. NaPoWriMo Day 21—My poem for Day 21 of National Poetry Writing Month (April) was featured on the challenge’s official website the next day, sending lots of traffic to ARHtistic License. The downside: it was not one of my better poems for the month. I much prefer this one or pretty much any other poem I posted that month.
  10. Hawaiian Quilting with Pat Gorelangton—I wanted to write about Hawaiian quilts and had the good fortune to find a website that featured Gorelangton. I contacted her and asked if I could write about her work, and she generously consented to be interviewed via email and sent me images of her quilts to use in the article. Not only did my article get lots of views from quilters and people interested in the art of Hawaiian quilts, but Gorelangton is beloved in Hawaii, and her fans found the article, too.

But an article I wrote in 2016 got even more views this year than the Gorelangton interview. Jan van Eyck’s The Crucifixion and the Last Judgment: Painted by a Committee received 543 views in 2018 and 870 views since it was published.

 

Other older articles that were heavily viewed in 2018:

2. Ballet Feet—what ballet dancers suffer for their art.

3. How to Practice the Piano: Doh! Dohnányi—If you’ve ever practiced these exercises, you know what I mean.

4. How to Make a Meme on a Mac—step by step instructions.

5. Yarn and Beads—about the art of the Huichol people of Mexico.

6. Escaping the Khmer Rouge: Review of Beautiful Hero by Jennifer H. Lau—This autobiographical book has won 5 awards.

7. Happy Anniversary!—wherein I celebrate the first three months of the existence of my blog.

8. Phoenix Art Museum—what my daughter Katie and I saw on a Mother’s Day excursion.

I also contribute guest posts to A Writer’s Path. Here are some of my top articles there:

1.     12 Worst Blogging Mistakes. 808 views.

2.     For Bloggers: How to Post Every Day. 543 views.

3.     20 Tools Every Writer Needs. 478 views.

4.     21 Inspirational Quotes for Writers. 416 views.

As I review my creative goals for 2018, I see that I didn’t completely achieve them, but I did make general progress.
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I did a run-through of my God of Paradox manuscript with my bible study group, got some excellent feedback, and discovered some real problems that needed to be corrected. I’m almost finished with the rewrite. I’m going to see if my pastor or someone with a theology degree will read through it for me, then I’ll maybe do another rewrite if necessary, or a quick polishing, and start submitting in 2019.

The Unicornologist has been on the back burner, but never far from my thoughts. I’m hoping to solve all my plot problems and do a thorough final rewrite, then seek representation in 2019.

 

I’ve really stalled on recorder and guitar, hardly practicing at all in the last six months. I’ve been more faithful about piano.

 

I’ve written some poetry; if I can write and rewrite enough poems in the next couple of weeks, I might enter another chapbook in a contest.

I’ve made some artwork, illustrations and Zentangle. Here’s my New Year’s wish for you. Patterns used: poke leaf, fescu, chainlea, leaflet variation, brayd, herzlbee, cuke variation, verdigogh.Zentangle, hope

 

I had a hip replacement in July. For eight months before the surgery I suffered enough pain that I could not dance. (Heck, I could barely walk.) I am happy to say I am dancing once again and helping to teach dances in my international folk dance group.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you’d like to see more of on ARHtistic License. What art- and creativity-related topics would you like me to cover? Which artists, musicians, and composers would you like profiled? Which of my articles and features do you like best? Please share in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to ARHtistic License, to hit the “Like” button below, and to share your favorite article (find links to my most popular articles above) on all your social media. Thank you, and have a happy New Year!

Creative Juice #121

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Creative Juice #121

Ending the year with lots of creative ideas.

 

Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker

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Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker

Poor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Following the huge success of The Sleeping Beauty ballet in 1890, the Tsar wanted another hit from Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa.

Petipa took charge of the storyline of the ballet and created two scenes based on the Alexander Dumas adaptation of ETA Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The first act is a children’s pantomime, complete with party games. During Christmas festivities, Uncle Drosselmeyer gives Clara a toy nutcracker, which her brother promptly breaks. At night, the nutcracker (really Drosselmeyer’s nephew transformed by the evil mouse king) comes to life and with the toy soldiers defeats the mouse king and takes Clara on an enchanted journey. The second act finds the young couple in the Kingdom of Sweets, where confections dance for their entertainment.

But when Petipa handed over the synopsis, Tchaikovsky was appalled. Nothing sparked his interest and the music that emerged was dry and lifeless. He missed his first deadline for the performance.

Worse was yet to come. While traveling through Paris on his way to an American tour, Tchaikovsky learned about the death of his beloved sister Sasha. But in his grief he found inspiration for The Nutcracker. In Clara, he found a parallel for his sister. Memories of their childhood and the last Christmas they spent together, in 1890, sparked the music. The whole ballet transformed by his change in attitude. Tchaikovsky imagined himself as the magician Drosselmeyer. When Clara and the Nutcracker fight the Mouse King, Clara thwacks the rodent over the head with her slipper and breaks the spell, releasing the dashing Hans Peter. Heroism and freedom find voice in one of Tchaikovsky’s most longing melodies. Clara has become a woman, and in her the spirit of Sasha lives on.

The ballet’s second act is a reflection of the first, with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince appearing as counterparts for Clara and Hans Peter. While the latter pair dance to a rising melody, the Sugar Plum Fairy’s pas de deux with the Prince is dominated by a solemn descending motif. The “Waltz of the Flowers,” with its brooding minor passages, echoes the triple-time dance through the snowflakes.

Despite its emotional power, the first audience in 1892 dismissed the ballet. Although the first act with the big Christmas tree and the children and the toy soldiers and the battle with the Mouse King is engaging, the second act hardly involves any drama at all; it’s just a series of colorful dances.

The libretto was criticized as not being faithful to the Hoffmann tale. Critics decried the featuring of children so prominently in the ballet*, and many bemoaned the fact that the prima ballerina did not dance until the Grand Pas de Deux near the end of the second act. Some found the transition between the “real” world of the first scene and the fantasy world of the second act too abrupt.

Response was more positive for Tchaikovsky’s score. One novelty in the score was the use of the celesta, a new instrument Tchaikovsky had discovered in Paris. He utilized it for the character of the Sugar Plum Fairy because of its “heavenly sweet sound”.

Despite the failure of its initial performance, The Nutcracker has become the most frequently performed of all ballets and has served as an introduction to classical music for many young people. It also would be young dancers’ first chance to perform in a ballet as well. Because the first act is set at a Christmas party, the ballet is often presented at Christmastime, and some major American ballet companies generate around 40% of their annual ticket revenues from performances of The Nutcracker.

*A sweet story about the children who participated in that first production: Apparently the children had a hard time learning the little toy instruments they were supposed to play on stage, and did not play them very well; but after the premier Tchaikovsky sent a note to all the children congratulating them on their performance and he sent each child a box of candy.

The information in this article came from:

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever seen The Nutcracker live? When our children were younger, we took them to see it at Princeton’s McCarter Theater and at Phoenix Symphony Hall. What other holiday entertainment traditions does your family enjoy? Share in the comments below.

 

I’d Rather Be Dancing This Christmas

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I’d Rather Be Dancing This Christmas

For your holiday season pleasure, here are some YouTube videos featuring Christmas-themed dances.

A family’s Christmas tradition, making a yearly dance video:

Several short offerings from a dance academy:

College students get in the spirit:

The first part of this is so original:

This SO reminds me of my daughter Carly’s first dance recital…

The dog’s not impressed, but I am:

Cool hip hop moves:

Rockettes chorus line:

What does it take for the Rockettes to dance with such precision?

The Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker: