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Recently, I wrote about how I was inspired by Garance Doré’s post on the New York City Ballet.

Last week I checked out IALS (Istituto Addestramento Lavoratori dello Spettacolo) aka the Fame school in Rome. It was a straight-up disaster.

I had signed up for a Beginner’s class.  There were three other women in my class who looked like ballerinas.  The teacher, an older gentleman from Eastern Europe, quickly shouted out some choreography.  I was overwhelmed within sixty seconds.

I thought I was doing this:

 

But it was more like this:

Not a good look.

The teacher stated, “You’ve never done ballet before.”   No, that is why I’m taking a Beginner’s class!  The other women had excellent turnouts. It was obvious they had experience. There are three different levels for Beginner’s and I was in the first one.  What the heck was going on?

During one routine, we had to put our legs on the barre.  I’m short and my leg could barely reach it.  The only time the teacher walked over to me was when I was struggling to reach the barre.  He pushed my torso closer to it and I thought my body would split in two.

When the three ladies started pirouetting across the floor, I had to pull over to the side.

I felt very discouraged after the ninety minute class was over. Clearly, I was too short and too old to take ballet lessons. I walked home (of course it started to rain) in a funk.

I spoke to my friend Courtney who studied ballet as a child and to this day still does the warm-up exercises she learned.  She told me not to give up and to try another teacher’s class.

I already had a monthly pass, so why not?  I did and it was a revelation.

The teacher, a svelte Italian man who could probably lift three times his body weight, introduced himself and asked me if I understood Italian. There were ten of us in the class and it was co-ed.  He showed us the choreography, calling out the different positions while drawing our attention to his hand movements.  As we danced, he would correct our form.

He had two assistants and they also demonstrated the moves.  If a sequence was too difficult for some of us in the class, he told us to watch the assistants, the more advanced dancers, and to do our best, “tranquilla!”

During my first lesson, I felt clumsy.  In his class, I felt graceful.  I appreciated how he would walk over and show us where our hands, feet, and/or head should be.  When we executed a move well, or corrected mistakes on our own, he would say, “bravo/brava!”

At one point, while he was changing our music, I could hear the music from the Advanced class in the studio across the hall.  It was “Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in D Minor”by Johann Sebastian Bach.

This is one of my favorite pieces of music. I was so moved, I had to choke back tears.

Once the class ended, we thanked Il maestro and his assistants.  The ninety minutes had flown by.  The next group of dancers and their teacher rushed in as we put on our street clothes in the hallway.

I know my turnout will improve and it’s okay that I didn’t start lessons when I was four. I’m starting ballet now and I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The news this week has been horrible.

I’m up at 3:00 a.m.  I cannot sleep.  I must remind myself not to look at Breaking News before I go to bed.

This week Weird Al Yankovic (yes, he’s still around) has dropped his new parody album.  While “Tacky” was quite funny, “Word Crimes”, a parody of “Blurred Lines”, is my favorite so far.

I needed to see and hear something light as we head into what is going to be a very stressful weekend.

 

 

Please forgive my geek out over Stromae (aka Paul Van Haver).

Last week I was in St. Martin to see my family and in Anguilla for work.  All week my sister, brother-in-law, and I, kept hearing this killer French song… in the car, at beach bars, etc.  The first time I heard it I was hooked.  It was so different from anything else out there in pop.

This morning I woke up to an email from my sister saying she Shazamed it but the clip didn’t show up until she returned to DC.

I went to iTunes because I had to buy the single. While I was there I noticed there was another single that was number one. I clicked on it and “discovered” it was  a song I’ve been hearing a lot in Italy lately.  I’ve been trying for weeks to track down it down.

Stromae was born in Belgium to a Belgium mother and a Rwandan father.  You can hear the influences of Euro dance music, African music, Caribbean music, and American hip hop in his work.

I am OBSESSED with his album Racine Carrée.   Obsessed.   It has been a monster hit in Europe, including the non French speaking countries.  I wonder if he will have a hit in the States.  I cannot remember the last French song to do so.  It also reached the top ten in Canada.

I will always associate this song with being in Caribbean.  It’s only March but it’s in the running to be my summer of 2014 jam.  The drums are giving me life.  Seriously.

 

Stromae studied music and film in school.  This video moved me.  His father was killed during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

 

And the song that is currently a huge hit in Italy.  Stromae showing both sides of a relationship.

Despite studying French for seven years in school, I speak at most ten words.  I looked up the translations to Stromae music.   His lyrics address a variety of issues, most of them pretty heavy.  There is substance to go with the beats.  I get why he has received both critical and commercial success.

I haven’t been this excited about a new (to me) artist since the first time I heard Amy Winehouse.

 

 

In the States we tend to define ourselves by what we do for a living.  Therefore, working in any creative field is not easy.  There’s the whole art vs business debate, the struggle to actually make a living, and the fact that most people have no idea what it is you do day-to-day.

I sometimes buy into this, feeling unanchored because I cannot be put into a specific category.   The last time I was in Los Angeles, I was speaking with a friend who’s an agent at CAA.  He  told me that I was over-thinking everything.  I could decorate and write.  I didn’t have to choose one over the other.

My brain couldn’t process this.  How could I BE two things at the same time?!

Thankfully, several of my very talented friends reminded me that creative people are creative.  Basta.   If you’re a truly creative person, you will not be fulfilled unless you are able to do the work that inspires you. It doesn’t matter what the medium is.  They also told me to stop confusing what we do with who we are.

Robert Downey Jr acts.  He also sings… well.  This confuses some people.  I don’t know why.  This is not a Paris Hilton “Stars Are Blind” situation.

Here he is singing one of my favorite Police songs.   I love his little dance move at the end.  I do that too but in the privacy of my own home.

Buon weekend!

I was channel surfing the other day and watched a documentary about the Bee Gees on the History (!) Channel.

They were closely associated with the disco era because of the huge success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. However, in reality they were not disco artists.

I’m always fascinated by what inspires creative people.  I was floored when I found out the inspiration for the opening bars of “Jive Talkin'” was a car going over a bridge.

The Bee Gees were recording in Miami and everyday would cross the Julia Tuttle Causeway.  This proves once again that inspiration can come from anywhere or anyone.

Buon Weekend!

No one really knows what makes a song THE song of the summer.

Is it the timing, the melody, the lyrics, sheer luck, or a combination of all these things?

One thing we know for sure is you cannot create “the song of the summer.” It just happens.

Pop culture, especially music, is so fragmented.  The song of the summer cuts across genre lines.

This year’s song of the summer, is Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”

The first time I heard this track it made me feel all the feelings.

It’s contemporary mixed with a disco-vibe.  It sounded a little like a classic from the band CHIC.  I was not surprised to read that the very talented Nile Rogers was one of the producers.

Pharell is also a producer on the song.  What a summer he’s having.  Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (with a Marvin Gaye sample) is also a monster summer hit.

I’ve just arrived in Salina and have heard this song all over the island.  When I hear it in the future it will always remind me of Summer 2013 on a beautiful Italian island.

Here is the male model version from the CFDA’s.  Unfortunately, it’s not a walk off.  I would like to see a gentleman wear an outfit from Thom Browne’s Amish/Hasidic collection off the runway, including the hat.

Someone did a ’70s Soul Train line mash up. The dude at 0:31 is too cool for school.  Love it. The fashion is amazing.  Some of these dresses you could wear now.

If this doesn’t make you move, call your doctor, you might be dead.

Buon weekend a tutti!

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