A Few Weeks In To Tap 3

Editor’s Note: This was initially written back in early February, but was never published though it was fully written. Now seems like an appropriate and interesting time to share, as a way of taking it back to a time in Tap 3. Enjoy🙂

 

It’s horrifying to think we’re already in February isn’t it?

This semester, I started taking Tap 3 “Advanced Tap.” I also decided, prior to the semester, that I would begin training for my first full marathon. This is something I’ve failed at twice before, in each instance because I tried to train for a full that fell on Feb. 14 or that weekend, which meant I had to train through the snow and through winters that felt about as warm as I imagined the surface of Pluto must feel.

Still, I was sure I could do it this time. It was El Niño, so it was setting up to be the warmest winter in years, and I was training for a May race. Should have worked perfectly.

Instead, I realized by the end of week one that I made a massive miscalculation.

I misjudged the devil out of Tap 3.

I knew it would be fun, and I knew it would be mentally hard, and I knew it would be a workout, but my gosh I didn’t see how much of a workout it would always be.

Keep in mind I’m not complaining at all. I love it, and I love knowing that, by the time it’s done, I’ll be ready to completely rock dance camp again in August. I love knowing it’s making me sharper. I love knowing it’s pushing me far outside my comfort zone and making my feet faster, more precise and capable of enduring more than I ever thought they could.

I just also may have to stop my full-force training, and make this kind of a “dummy-run.” I may try and add the miles and see if I can get to the point of running it, and just run it in Manhattan to see what it feels like and see if I want to deal with that in a full-race environment. Initially though, in weeks 2-4 of my running training, all indications were that I flirted with achilles tendonitis. So I backed off running for those three weeks and ran a grand total of nine miles in there. That’s nowhere near what I “should” be at per my running training, so I’m probably in a bit of trouble with that one. Oh well.

For the moment though, there’s something bigger making me want to hold off on training. I really really really (for emphasis) hate feeling like I’m not dancing well enough to compete on the Tap Ensemble. I want to get better, I want to be one of the best dancers on the Ensemble, even if that isn’t possible and never will be possible because of how new I am. I want to make that pursuit though! I want to chase the gap between the other dances and I like a racing opponent in the distance who I can see ahead of me but fading and who I’m determined to overtake. I musn’t let an injury derail that pursuit, so if I have to back off running to stay healthy while I get used to this semester’s dance load, I can accept that.

I feel such tremendous loyalty to my team that I find myself inclined to give tap my full athletic priority for the moment. I’ll run, but the mileage may not be enough to make it to my chosen full marathon race-date. Instead, I may have to “settle” for trying to PR again at the Bill Snyder Highway Half-Marathon this year.🙂. Then again though, I did place third in my age group last year, and I’m eating better and training harder via core workouts and dance classes, so maybe I can make the effort in that regard count.

Here’s the truth: I love this dance stuff. I’m not good at it, but I want to be, and I’ll do anything to be, within ethical and legal limits of course! I want to become good enough that I can do it at local gigs and talent shows and maybe even one day become a professional. I have no expectations, but as I once wrote:

Growth,

The preceptor that teaches us to dance with Success,

Chooses to keep better quality company than Comfort.

 

Tap Happy🙂

-Shelton🙂

 

The Dance Over Words?


“Meaning necessarily entails words, symbols. They point to something other than themselves. Good music doesn’t point anywhere. It just is. Likewise, only unhappiness has meaning. That’s why we feel compelled to talk about it and have so many words to draw upon. Happiness doesn’t require words.” -Eric Weiner, “The Geography of Bliss.”

For that very reason, I wonder if my idea of trying to translate poetry into dance is a futile exercise. Good dance should convey an emotion, and not one capable of extrication by words.

I suppose I thus imply that the dancer is superior to the wordsmith of equal stature. Does dance, in my eyes, transcend the essence of writing because writing requires words while dance can simply symbolize?

This question of the heart merits further introspection. Is there added virtue, based on the quote above, in how writing (outside of forms that self-analyze, such as the ars poetica in poetry) points to something else? Does dance always point to itself, or can it point elsewhere as well? 

Please leave your thoughts below🙂.

Poetry: Uninstalled Strings

Listen to the rhythm of my feet.
Listen to the heart pour itself forth.
Like Pavarotti’s tenor notes,
Like Lebron yelling “Cleveland!”
Like the way monks in the Alps pray for humanity.
 
Listen not for sounds of skill
for my feet are delicate, slow, and untrained.
Listen not for hints of Heaven-instilled greatness,
all you’ll hear is a need
for consistently-hard work.
 
But listen instead for the accented voice that lacks eloquence.
Listen to the feet as they
stumble through shuffles like a poet through a sestina.
Listen. Watch. Feel.
And take heart.
 
Hear the ebbs and flows of the soul through the soles
like a high mountain creek.
Hear the dissonance of weakness and vulnerability
conveyed fiercely, ferociously,
in a stomp shim-sham shimmy and a paradiddle.
 
This poetry of rhythm does not come from skill.
It is not eloquent or gentle or soft-handed.
It is bred of pure desire and prayers for patience.
It is bred like the hockey player in the desert.
It is bred like passion breeds with age.
 
It is bred like a piano player breeds skill with Beethoven
on a piano with uninstalled strings.

The Newbie Chronicles (Part 5): Polo Matching…

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The girl from my dance team, who is one of my best friends and one of the perennially best-dressed people I’d ever met, sent me a short string of “crying laughing” emoticons followed by a few, valuable words of encouragement.

I deserved every one of those laughter-teared faces. Plus some. Forever.

The tears, hopefully actually representative of her falling out of her chair in said amusement, came after I’d sent her a text saying “See, I always thought the phrase ‘the clothes match’ meant ‘they are the same color,’ but everything you just suggested shows me that isn’t true.”

Welcome to my life everyone😛.

That was the day I went shopping for work clothes. The day I sought help from my friend because quite frankly I had no idea what looked good with bright khakis. Or dark ones. Or anything.

To give you some gentle background here, I have no style sense except to say that I know I look pretty fly for a white guy  in a black and white suit. Or, to rephrase, I think that “pretty fly for a white guy” reference somehow still resonates with people as funny.

Apparently style sense comes from the same side of the brain as humor…and apparently, that particular side of my brain is a tad eccentric.😛.

Anyways, the reason I am writing this on a laptop inside a room full of polo’s hung up to dry, is to say thank God for friends like that.

Thank God for friends who send you crying emoticons and are patient with you even despite how completely helpless you are at their hands. For ones who don’t judge and who remind you to be easy on yourself. For ones who are patient with you, like the lady at the quilting store when the young reporter intern walks in and says “I’m writing a story about quilting, and I have no idea what the difference is between that and sewing.”

But we’ll get to that. ;)

Thank God for friends like that. Who look at you humorously, either in person or through text, with eyes that say “Oh, honey…”

But then who help.🙂.

These are The Newbie Chronicles.🙂.

Poetry: Awaiting Your Music

Awaiting Your Music
 
 
I want to listen to you memories
like the lines of a Jack Gilbert poem.
I want to feel
your heart shine through the lines,
where it becomes irrelevant how they sound
because the language is irrelevant,
though, coming from you, even that’s serene.
 
I want to sit and just listen;
On a rooftop with you, sharing
a sunrise, with the music of your voice
and the music of your heart
serenading me. I want to hear
about the lives you’ve lived,
and the dreams you’ve dreamt.
 
I want to listen to your past,
to hear you tell me of your adventures
barbecuing at the lake with your family every fourth of July,
roughhousing with your older brothers
growing up, dancing with your dad
in your living room, at 13, dreaming of your wedding.
 
There’s a fear within you that I can’t listen,
that all I’ll do is
interrupt. But every day I listen
to a thousand futile voices:
peoples’, life’s, love’s, my own.
Secretly though, the only sound I wish to hear
is yours.

Poetry: Three Freshman And A Puddle

My Notebook on a table in my newspaper's main office. :)
Three Freshman And A Puddle
 
 
Three freshman played in a puddle
during a thunderstorm. Surfing
across its two-inch depth
like it was 50-feet deep.
The skies were dark, the tornado
sirens stood at the ready, a watch in effect
and warnings recently expired, and lightning
still occasionally dancing through the sky.
 
Yet there they were. No regard
for safety, or perhaps ignorant
the way youth are, or the way stubborn
adults are, or the way the night
is of its own, finite duration.
Like the night, they savored
the moment, the fresh energy of the air,
the joy of warm rain.

The Flowers of Kansas State University

A flower grows outside Fairchild Hall at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

I took some photos of flowers here at Kansas State University. Here’s some of the stuff we don’t always notice as students. I avoided the university gardens, since that would have been obvious. These were all taken elsewhere. Enjoy.🙂

Baylor’s Day Of Reckoning Just Became Real

Heads are rolling at Baylor like marbles today.

I was raised never to celebrate a person’s firing or a company’s failure; I remember a distinct lecture on that the one time I did when I was 11 like the conversation happened yesterday. Still, I was raised even more, both by my parents and by the amazing girls I grew up befriending, to respect and value women.

The fact that the football program and university didn’t look out for the women of their campus to such a well-documented extent causes me relief for their campus’ sake. Baylor will be better off with a new direction, and with an administration that refuses to tolerate the intolerable.

Here’s the announcement made by their Board of Regents.

Easter 2016

It wouldn't be a gallery of my parents' farm unless it had baby goats in the mix.

Some of my favorite photos from my Easter trip to my parents’ farm in central Kansas.🙂

Poetry: “Sacrifice”

Sacrifice
After “Red Delicious” by Maggie Smith
 
Because he was the oldest
he was always the one sent.
 
On errands, on long drives,
on long shifts into the night when the night sky was beautiful
 
despite how it also mirrored the chaos Adam would collapse into.
Like the way that first explosion rocked the night,
 
as it sucked away heat like the vacuum
of space consuming a star’s energy into the essence of nothingness.
 
Adam was the kind of guy you always wanted around,
until he wasn’t. Then you hated him
 
even after he died, not the death of a warrior or of the scorpion king
but of a climber who was on R&R, and had lunged for a precipice but misjudged
 
how much strength his hands contained.
Or maybe not.
 
May his memoir
never become an ode.
 
He climbed on,
persisting like the cold night in the foxhole that never seemed to cease.