Hop In to the Hype! – Final In-Depth Post (#6)

Well, it’s coming to a close again. It’s been a mix and mash of chaotic events the past couple of weeks but I’ve made some significant progress on my In-Depth and started working towards my presentation!

After my last post, I was able to contact Minlyn about setting up a session to learn a few moves. He was kind enough to work with me during a lunch time last week and he showed me a few pretty cool things! He taught me four different moves that you can use in different ways or scenarios:

  • Handstand; can be done stationary or while walking on hands.
  • “Pop and lock”; with the arm over your chest and popping your
    One-hand-stand; http://best-sports.tumblr.com/

    shoulders and upper body side to side or in other ways.

  • One-hand-stand; specifically a kick up with both feet and a grab
    A Stall; http://chris-fiction-mae.skyrock.com/3223776871-chapitre-98.html

    with your free hand to the closest foot.

  • A “stall”; often referred to as the “baby freeze”, a balance on both hands leveraged on your hips with your feet in the air.

I struggled with most of these moves as they require a lot of strength, and most importantly, practice. They are all breakdancing moves, which is what Minlyn specializes in, and he gave me some tips for practicing them on my own and for how to execute them. For example, with the one-hand-stand, he showed me how you want to enter it from a virtually sideways position like you would a cartwheel. Then it’s just a matter of kicking up as high as you can and maintaining that flat sideways position, not falling to either side or bending over. It was very new for me to try these types of moves but it was a lot of fun because I have always admired breakdancers and their wicked moves. This certainly reinforced the message that it is a lot harder than it looks and this form of dance particularly requires an especially large amount of strength in each individual move.

Breakdancing is also sometimes referred to as “B-Boying” which is a term I heard a lot when I watched So You Think You Can Dance back in the summer/fall! Another cool connection is from a song I heard a lot as a childhood that many people would recognize from Hannah Montanna, an old kids’ show, the Hoedown Throwdown! In probably the most famous part of the song she sings…

Pop it, lock it, polka dot it
Countrify it, hip hop it
Put your hawk up in the sky, move side to side
Jump to the left, stick it, glide

This is pretty cool because I actually know what all of these different words mean now! Pop and lock is basically when you isolate a part of your body in movement while the rest of your bod stays “locked” in place. And gliding is a form of footwork in hip hop or breakdance where you have your weight distributed on your feet so that you can move one of your feet with it looking like it is “gliding” over the floor, almost like anti-gravity.

I have also watched a lot of online videos and picked up quite a few other new moves, many of which are quite complimentary to the tricks Minlyn taught me, or vise versa. I also learnt about the popping,  locking, and gliding that I talked about above in these! I’ve listed a few of the moves I learned below.

  • Lower Body Isolation; turning on your heels either with or without your upper body at the same time, creating a robotic movement.
  • Head and Neck Isolation; a stepping down or up movement of your head separate from your shoulders, you can add different arm movements or positions to it for more emphasis.
  • Arm Roll; the classic, I’ve always wanted to properly learn this so now I have, although it is very difficult as you want to really emphasize the different parts of the motion. You maintain a straight line with your arms that is only broken when the wave arrives at that section.
  • Arm Popping; tensing and releasing of your arm/s for an instant to create a locked position almost like you are being electrocuted.
Basic Glide Footwork; http://i.makeagif.com/media/4-30-2016/BfpO6p.gif
  • Glide Footwork; I’ve known the basics of this for a long time it turns out, but the tutorials gave me some ideas of how to use it in different ways to move around. You use different weight distributions between your heel and toe to move in circles or just from side to side. I’m definitely excited to apply this move in some cool ways in my performance!
  • and many more…

These have helped me a lot in preparation for planning my performance and they have given me a lot of ideas for some different things I can include! A lot of these are also a more ‘raw’ style of hip hop, as opposed to a more ‘feminine’ type which was what our class was focused on, so this has been really fun getting to try a different sub-genre, so to speak!

I have also just started to plan for my performance! I’ve gotten it down to about five songs but I’m going to leave it for the night for you all to find out as there will be a little bit of a surprise in the music I’m dancing to!

Lastly, our group, Elyssa, Alyssa, and myself, are going to be starting work on our group routine this Sunday and we plan to meet quite a few times over the next few weeks. We will likely also put in some time at school to practice things together. Hopefully this Sunday we can get out song “locked” down and start some choreography together! This will also be a great opportunity for us to share some of the things we have been working on and give each other some support and feedback. We’ll be able to help each other a bit in preparing our performances which I think this will help when it finally comes time to step on that stage and break it down, as I am starting to get pretty nervous about that. It is sure going to be nerve-racking being up there all on my own, but I think if I just focus on having fun and I’ve prepared well then it will turn out fine. Plus, we will be able to practice in front of each other lots to get more comfortable.

So, that’s where I’m at. Hopefully I can “glide” right into my performance without getting “locked” up anywhere. Although if there are some mishaps, which there are sure to be, I’ll just have to find a way to “roll” through them! So for now, until my performance, best wishes to you, and I’ll be hip hopping into the hype of the show!

I’m a Helpless Cause – Ham4School 2016

Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for excessive use of puns and Hamilton quotes to anyone whom it may pain or concern.

Yup, that’s basically me with Hamilton right now. I really don’t know how to say no to it, so you could pretty much call me helpless. I’m full-out, non-stop with everything to do with it, and so I was not going to throw away my shot at spending class-time analysing and discussing Hamilton with fellow classmates who are also blown away by this outstanding creation! Then the opportunity to use the very beauty of the musical and its quotes through imagery (in memes) and I am completely, wait for it,  satisfied. Oh right, memes, that’s what this post is supposed to be about, not just my dearest Hamilton, although that would probably be enough for me to fill a blog post with.

Any ways, let’s get right into it!

I made a few memes to show some of the different messages that stood out to me in Hamilton and how they relate to some of the current events in our world as well as the big ideas.  Here is one of them.

I created this one based on how different these two scenarios are regarding the topic of immigrants and foreign politicians. I think it particularly embodies the big idea of how disparities in power alter the balance of relationships in societies specifcally. This is shown in how Hamilton was in power, and that was it, he was in power, and now Trump believes that people born outside of his own home physical landmass shouldn’t have the right to have that power there. Now it is important to note that Trump is a fairly extreme case on the spectrum, but he is certainly not the only one who disagrees with the entry of immigrants in general in to the United States of America. As the issue of Syrian immigrant displacement grows and carries on many people in western countries feel uncomfortable or even fearful of the possibility of a large number of them, or even any, coming to their homes. Most fear a certain risk in who exactly is coming into the country but needless to say it wasn’t so much of an issue back in Hamilton’s time when virtually everyone involved in the newly founded societies was an immigrant in one way or another. This is an example of how “Collective identity is constructed and can change over time.” (another big idea). It’s definitely interesting to consider this and how all of the leaders didn’t necessarily consider themselves immigrants then, nor do they now, but there are and were countless people entering the nation for different reasons all the time. Likewise it’s interesting to look at the public opinion on these events in the respective times.

The next couple memes were a little more personally inspired and special to me as they reflect and issue that I am a little more directly related to.

This first one originated from a brief discussion we had in class about the difference between the meanings of “Work” and “Werk”. In conclusion it was generally determined that the word and meaning of “werk” could be attributed to the usage of “work” in the song The Schuyler Sisters in Hamilton. The reasoning behind this was that the consensus meaning of “werk” was that it is more of an adjective to describe someone who is doing a really great job at something that could be relatable, and can also be used in a somewhat sarcastic or fun-loving way. For example, it could be used to describe someone who is really rocking a unique outift, like “Werk it girl!” Also often used in a longer, more drawn out format, ie. “Weeerk!” as was found difficult to describe without the presenting of it as such.

Any ways, back to the meme. I do agree that in this song of the musical Angelica Schuyler is really showing how she can be just as strong of a presence in society and in equal in force to the men and here Eliza and Peggy are cheering her on for it. For them she is really showing how women can “werk it” just like the guys and don’t just assume them to go along with the status quo or not to be aware of what is going on in society. We also did mention in class how in the actual script of the musical it is written rather as “work”, nonetheless I feel it suits this situation more accurately, at least for a meme, to use the above style. As Eliza and Peggy are supporting Angelica in this segment I think it is also something that women today could stand behind and cheer as we are still not looked upon as equals to men on the daily basis and for what we can really achieve. Additionally this could be a relatable reaction for some women watching say for example Emma Watson make her remarkable speech about women’s rights at the UN in support of her HeForSHe campaign. It could also be used in this context synonymous with “You killed it!” or “Great job!” Kind of like “Awesome. Wow.” haha(Hamilton reference) not quite. This meme represents the big ideas “Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events.” as well as “Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and societies.” Thememe represents the former in the idea of feminism both then and now and women’s rights, and the latter in how women have opportunities to use their abilities in the world. This was an issue in the 1700s and other than a few technical improvements such as the right to vote many commonplace interactions are still impacted by prejudice and sexism.

Which is largely what my next meme is about.

Again, as you can see, this is from the song The Schuyler Sisters and I think it really shows how women can be treated in society. Even down to the smallest of gestures or comments by people that really don’t seem to mean much but give a vague and far-more-often-than-not inaccurate description of a woman. These are really truly insulting for the woman to whom it is aimed and also to women as a whole society. The recent rise in public pressure against these societal ‘habits’ is what we know as the “emerging idea” of feminism, and as we can see from this song, sparks were starting fly for this flame even way back in the 1700s at the very beginning of North American Western colonization. One of the biggest current storylines that is an issue on the table, is the gender pay gap. This issue is  becoming so prominent hat groups such as the United States women’s soccer team have recently gotten very involved. Additionally campaigns such as the HeForShe campaign and feminism in general are garnering more and more attention and bringing new light to the opinions around women being capable in the workplace and as strong as men in society. I think that the internet and social media have especially helped this rise where it couldn’t have before as it has given women a stronger voice and more power to present themselves and their side of the story. This is a perfect  example of how “Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.”

I created another meme that can be found on my Twitter page but I chose not to include here as I was just getting the hang of it with that one and I think these embody the ideas a little more.

Overall I think this was a very useful and productive way of looking at the messages in Hamilton and applying them to events today in a way that is very relevant to our society now. Memes! I wasn’t very experienced myself with the meme and internet culture that I had to explore a  little for this and so even though it may seem a little weird this was actually a  very useful area to learn about. I think it’s actually important that we are aware of this form of communication in this day and age because as we discussed, it is how many of us communicate, and so understanding this is obviously very important. Further, as the age category that utilizes this form of expression grows it will become more and more prominent in culture.

Needless to say I also thoroughly enjoyed this activity because, well, Hamilton! So for now, though I’m sure you’ll be back to memes soon, I myself need to take a break for a little bit. Haha who am I kidding this is an absolutely amazing current event in itself and I don’t know how to say not to it! Well I hope you enjoyed my memes, I’ll see you on the other side of the war!

Spin Around – In-Depth Post #5

Hello again! Well I hope you all had a wonderful break either at home, or away, with friends or family, or on your own. I had a nice get away to refresh myself and I’m back at it for the conclusion of this improvement.

I’m at a bit of a turning point in my project, hence “Spin around”, okay sorry, that was not really even a good pun. Well I finished off my last dance class right before I went away wherein I got to be a part of the video of the dance we have been working on all along! So without further ado, as I’m sure you’re all curious, here’s the link to the video, edited by our instructor Bev Soh, of our dance to the Demi Lovato song Confident!

I’m not in quite as many clips as some of the other dancers as I was not there the first day of filming however it was great that I was able to be a part of this and have this to document what we’ve been working on!

In addition to this over the break I did practice a few times just messing around with some different moves and watching a few videos and trying them out! One particular session, I had a little personal dance workout earlier this week to the musical Hamilton, that many of you have probably heard about, while listening to it for the first time for Social Studies. That was a lot of fun, and it was actually really good practice for some of the different moves that I have seen and just experimenting on my own! I will now be looking to get into a regular practice schedule of at least twice a week for an hour on my own now that my classes with Bev have ended.

This is  not the end of my mentoring however, as I noted at the beginning of this project, I am now on the search for a mentor to guide me through my development in the last couple months of the project or possibly another class that could supplement this role with some extra individual sessions on the side. I have already spent some time looking into some local classes but I am really trying to find an individual who is willing to be my mentor on a regular mentor for these last two months. If you know anyone who might be right for the job please comment below, and I was also recommended a few people recently who I will be trying to contact this weekend.

So for the sake of this week’s blog post I’ll be reflecting on my mentoring relationship with Bev and looking forward to what comes next for me.

What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

With Bev it was mainly a teaching focus with her at the front of the room and going through the various steps and then the whole dance multiple times as a group. Something unique she used in one of our later classes was peer feedback. This was when half our group performed for the other half without her leading and we gave them feedback, and then we switched.

What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

Bev was very good, as I’ve mentioned before, at sending us a video of our most recent rehearsal every week so that we could follow along and practice the dance on our own. This was very useful for reinforcing individual learning because I was able to replay certain parts that I really struggled with and just watch that part closely until I got it. Bev was also supportive and always offered for us to come early to class, especially on the performance(filming) days for extra assistance and review if we needed it.

What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

Some things that are really going to help me know as I try to do more on my own are online tutorials and thus personal practice time. Another opportunity I will be taking advantage of is a fellow classmate who is very skilled in hip hop and breakdance and has agreed to help me out in my project, Minlyn! I will be setting up a session with him for sometime in the next couple of weeks likely as an extra learning session.

When you get together what do you talk about?

Well as I was participating in a class our mentor-mentee relationship was a little different. We didn’t really talk in a one-on-one setting or develop a more personal relationship. I am hoping that this type of individual connection and support is something that I will be able to have with my soon-to-be-unknown mentor.

What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

Well, for our classes, I’m done! Not so much that, but rather, I performed! Now it was in a slightly different form than a normal performance but I did have to dance in front of the rest of my class at times and put myself on the internet. This is definitely a good step towards stepping on the stage in my final performance at in-depth night, which, by the way, is not worked out yet, however I believe the three of us are planning on at least a bit of a group dance and definitely live performances in general!

What are you learning about one another?

This is again also something that I didn’t develop much for from my relationship with Bev as I didn’t get to know her very closely. However, I will say that as I mentioned earlier in the project, something that I have learned about Bev is that she is very passionate about dance and that is one of the very important and special things in her life. She is always ready to go and fully energized for our classes and she even brought extra materials for our last class to make sure everyone had accessories that fit the group theme. Not to mention she is the one who takes the time to edit all the clips and angles together to make sure everyone is in it and everyone looks great!

Overall this was a very fun and positive experience for me as my first formal dance training in a while, and it was a great way to introduce me to hip hop and get me going. I hope that I can build on this in the next few weeks and also I will definitely incorporate some of the moves and skills that I learned from this class into my final performance in May!

Have a great week, and remember, there is nothing wrong with being confident!