Slow but Growing Confident – In-Depth Post #4

First of all I want to apologize for such a slow update this past week. From Provincial basketball to poetry all the way back to practicing for our dance video shooting, it has been a little hectic, to say the least. Nonetheless, I have made it, and had a lot of fun along the way! As you may remember at the conclusion of our dance class we are filming a music video of the dance as a means of presenting it to all of you. Unexpectedly, I am now going to be able to be in this video as the group did not finish last week when I had to miss the last class. So I will be able to participate in this fun activity after all, and all of you will get to see a nice polished version of what I’ve been up to so far in my project!

Now for the not so great news, we are finishing the filming tomorrow, which means that unfortunately, again, I will not have the video to show you just yet. Additionally, tech wrecks continued in the saga of our practice dance clips as I again tried, this time transferring directly through a USB with Elyssa, to put some clips online to show you. Yet again, the videos would not cooperate. Therefore, it will be the next post, and I promise the next post, that I will have a solid video representation of the dance we have been working hard on!

So in the meantime, I had to get some practicing in. As I realized I hadn’t been at it with the dance for a little bit of time now. Bev has been an amazing mentor by staying in touch with me and keeping me up to date on any changes. She let me know that the class in fact would be filming a bit more and so I could be in it! She has also been super helpful by filming a video of our dance every week at class and sending it to us to practice with. I especially used this past week as I needed to practice up and remember it all again for the filming. This is however, as you have likely concluded, the last week that I will be partaking in this class. Well, the last class was actually last week, but additional filming has made a slight extension. Nonetheless I guess you could say that our mentor-mentee relationship is in the “coming to closure” stage, as Zachary in our mentorship book calls it. I am really looking forward to putting it all together tomorrow and seeing how it turns out. And it appears as though a little break has gained me some understanding of the dance. Funny how that works sometimes. So after some touchups, I think I’m feelin’ pretty confident! Hey, Confident, isn’t that the name of the song we’re doing? Yup, it sure is!

Throughout my learning of our dance to Demi Lovato’s Confident, there have been a few challenges, but one in particular is that there isn’t much time to learn it in the classes. This is obviously to do with the fact that it is a class and so we are limited to how much time we have the space. For the most part it hasn’t really been a problem but with certain parts of the dance, for example the ending which has a lot of fast footwork, I have struggled a little to keep up. I have however been able to make some of this up in some practicing on my own and also with Elyssa and Alyssa.

Something that has been working very well throughout this process is my knowledge of different dance moves and ability to do them. The latter is more obvious, but in terms of the former we have been covering a lot of difference dance moves that are incorporated into our dance, as well as some additional ones that we use in our warm-up at the start of class. In turn, because of the repetitions that we are doing these in, I am improving my ability at each of the moves and also my understanding of some basic concepts in Hip Hop, such as how to hold yourself and how to portray different attitudes. This is all because of how experienced Bev is and what a strong leader and teacher she is of our class. She puts a lot of effort in to her dance, as I have mentioned before, and so it makes it easier to see what we should be doing to show the emotion we want and really make it look good.

Finally, something that could work better, that relates to the one main challenge I’ve had, is the amount of one on one teaching. When you are in a class you don’t notice it so much but when the three of us really worked together on some sections that we struggled with you could see how this form of teaching can be very effective and helpful. This aspect is 100% because I am in a class nonetheless I would like to say that I have been getting a very good experience and education from this, especially as my first real dance class. The next stage in my project is to start working with an individual mentor on a regular basis. So as soon as I come back from spring break I will be looking for the person to fill that spot. This will allow me to really focus on areas of Hip Hop that I want to, and even areas that I’m not necessarily struggling with but am just interested in exploring a little more.

Another aspect I will be looking to do more of, which I have started to get into a little more in the past week, is watch and try some online tutorials for various songs, and from various teachers. This will be a fun way to expose myself to some different styles and levels of Hip Hop in working towards my final presentation.

I hope all of you have a wonderful spring break and I’m going to go show some confidence tomorrow in that dance! (Which will be viewable in my next blog post online!) Thanks!

(Note: Written from Friday, March 11th, night)

Fire In the Tunnel – Finding Our Way Out of Syria

How do we get out of this tunnel? Is there a light at the end of it? Well right now there are actually a lot of lights in the tunnel, fires, but that’s certainly not a good thing.

There are many proposed, discussed, and presented, routes to success in the conflict of Syria, ISIS, and the rebels, but none have been successfully executed to this point.

Amongst discussions with classmates, parents, and teachers about the role of the world in the Syrian crisis, there are endless questions that arise.

  • Is there a non-violent solution to this conflict?
  • What is the ‘best’ way to end this conflict? What would ‘best’ mean?
  • Is what we, as Canadians, are doing effective(helping the rebel forces and now withdrawing air strikes)?
  • Which side are we on? Is it the right one?
  • Do we fight fire with fire, or with water?

To some, this conflict might even seem irrelevant as we, as young Canadians, sit on the other side of the planet, largely unaffected by the catastrophe that is tearing apart the teenagers of an utterly different world. However, as refugees come closer and closer to us and we may now even come face to face with them in our own communities, there is no denying our involvement in this conflict.  In fact, our very efforts in welcoming these war-torn civilians into our homes makes it even more important for us to consider what our actions mean overseas. Even greater, it forces us to remember that we are not uninvolved in this fight and we cannot become uninvolved, because these people are now our family and friends, they are us. We do not abandon ourselves.

In addition, our actions now, though they may seem unapparent to the average citizen here in Canada, could greatly impact our lives in the future: one, five, even ten years down the road. This war is a fight between morals and beliefs and if we want our world to remain the way it is now, we have no choice but to act.

As was shown in November when terrorists attacked various public locations in ‘the city of love’, there are people in this world who believe in different things than we do, some of which are unthinkable to our culture. Not everyone believes the same thing, and it is imperative that we do not generalize or stereotype in this fight, but we must not sit around and do nothing either whilst out own people get torn apart and ravaged. That is simply not humane.

That being said, maybe our actions right now shouldn’t be actions at all. Perhaps for the time being to act is to think. For, this war has been active for over five years now, and with the definition of insanity looming over our own heads, might it be time to start pouring water onto the flames?

This, as it happens, is what our new Prime Minister has begun to do, one could say. Mr. Trudeau has at this time removed all air-strike actions on Syria and the surrounding combat regions. Throwing it back to Paris, Mr.Trudeau himself in fact made it important to get French President Hollande’s blessing before proceeding in this course as Hollande had recently encouraged all Allied Forces to apply more airstrikes specifically. Here his actions were influenced by the recent events at the heart of his people. This had obviously brought on a new sense of urgency and emergency as it was effecting them directly. But is that the right way to go about this? If a bunch of people are killing a bunch of our people, does that make it okay for us to kill a bunch of theirs?

Another perspective in the Kurdish Allies of Canada stated that Trudeau’s new actions were “bad news”. Their opinion is likely influenced by the fact that they were directly benefiting in support from the air strikes and their physical presence in their conflict region. They will no longer have this backing from the Canadian Forces, but then again they might get some new partners soon.

Canadian Forces will continue to be active in supporting and training rebel troops in Syria. As for whether those are the right people to be supporting is another question. Situations are becoming more and more complex and intertwined as new colours emerge on the palette of the Middle East, and interests and purposes mix just the same. The side on which we believe is moral or right may not be as easy to pick out, and when the tensions of war are ever-present, the task is again more difficult.

A viewpoint that might side with Mr. Trudeau’s recent actions, is the Christian community. An article about the conflict in the Sojourners magazine, “a progressive monthly publication of the Christian social justice organization Sojourners” according to Wikipedia, that claims itself a “Faith in Action for Social Justice” organization, focuses on finding non-violent solutions. They agree in that they do not want air strikes to continue as the chemical weapons being used in the regions could be set off by explosions. This would and is killing thousands of people. It also becomes difficult in the heat of battle, they point out, to locate the source and initiators of any chemical warfare. The Sojourners also propose a “humanitarian safe zone” or a no-fly zone. Again these would look to protect the most possible human lives within our control.

This perspective comes from the humanitarian root of the Christian community, and thus respecting all lives. Their goal is, though they recognize it is extremely complicated, to talk our way out of war peacefully with the various parties involved. This as it seems is a daunting and more and more seeming unlikely task, but is it still worth a shot?

Then you can throw in the major world players of the United States and Russia.  Now Putin and Russia are likely looking at a military option of dismantling the violent organizations. One article on Newsweek presented that Putin “wants… Washington and the West to face a binary choice: Bashar the Barrel Bomber or Baghdadi the False Caliph.” From this you could guess that he is going to militarily and aggressively attack the chosen region and take them once and for all out of the picture. One must add however that that will be easier said than done, as we can now see through Paris that the organizations are not solely isolated to those regions.

Lastly, you now throw in the changing picture of the U.S. government and what the threat of Trump in that image brings. How would Trump do sitting at a table bartering for the lives of millions of people? Would he care about each individual one? Or would he throw himself into a big picture scenario and pick out what he thinks is that fastest way to dis-involve and save the U.S.

His point of view is to ” bomb “the shit” out of the Islamic State”, according to Foreign Policy In Focus .org. This is obviously a very right wing perspective, not so much focused on the humanitarian rights of individuals but seeing the benefit for his side.

Trump also views that refugees should not be allowed out of the regions they come from.  Going back to the Paris attack, a French Affiliate stated that at least one of the attackers in that instance entered the country with refugees. This acts as evidence for Trump’s perspective in protecting his own people at home.  He proves his point by stating how “We are the worst when it comes to paperwork.” when discussing how the Western world really doesn’t know who each of these individuals are when they enter.

So after much thought and deliberation there is now simple way out of this. You can see that even the most radical views have their benefits, and some of the reasons for the people we trust can be wavering. Ethically it is important that we respect the lives of each person as ourselves, but physically that is hard to put in to play. Might there be a point at which we do have to see the bigger picture, and solely that? Not looking at one live and the next but the tally of lives over years? The thoughts of this very task is horrific and terrorizing but it’s ultimately where we stand, and unless something drastically changes soon, we could be in it for the long haul. At this point it seems to be the direction we’re headed, we just keep throwing matches onto the flame, and that is clearly not working.