Saturday, 31st May '03

Laban And The Like

More movement. I guess I like movement class because I'm a physical person and have dance background. I don't like choreo, especially without a purpose and without music. I feel like an idiot just prancing around like a frog on ecstacy. But it beats improvisation work, and I don't come back with my brain fried. All the same, I'm beginning to look forward to a change and starting to work on our first showing. It's not Jeff's fault, I'm just not famous for the length of my attention span.

Warm up as per normal, stretching, low-level movement, and rolling around like flaccid Michelin tyres.

Directions, Contact Movement, and now the Energies of Movement. This might be a good time to introduce Laban. Rudolph Laban is to movement (so it seems) what Isaac Newton is to Physics. In every sense of that analogy. He took something natural and omnipresent and tried to qualify / quantify it and describe it in a non-ambiguous way. Like Newton, I love him and hate him. Alright, I can't say I love Newton, but modern life wouldn't be what it is without him and his unfortunate apples.

Ok, where was I? Laban postulated (and we now all accept it like we do Avogardro's Hypothesis) that all movement is made up of just eight different actions. I don't know if I'm supposed to memorise them in any particular order, but here they are.

1. The float.
2. The press.
3. The slash.
4. The flick.
5. The wring.
6. The dab.
7. The thrust.
8. The glide.

I took this little exerpt from this website:

"These categories were later used in notating dance moves, and theater directors also use them sometimes to help actors discover their character's particular physicality in a given speech or scene. Each of the qualities can be classified as fast or slow, direct or indirect, and light or heavy."

And we did more choreography, this time in groups of four (Ave, Geraldine, Weiling). No spectacular new moves today, except for the "Forward Handflip Over Chris" which I was too chicken to try.

Last movement class next week, then on rehearsals for the first showing!

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 09:09 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Friday, 30th May '03

Let Your Fingers Do The Talking!

Let me state this right from the start, so there'll be no question about it. Sign Language is great! *broad grin*

Today I had my first sign language session at the YMCA, and at first I was feeling pretty wierd. Everyone in the class was/is at least 6 years older than me. I recall stepping in and thinking "I want Zhihui...". But oh well, nothing doing. And to top it off the registration took SO long that I in spite of turning up ten minutes early, wound up late by that exact same amount of time. *sigh*

The coolest thing about this class is probably the teacher. His name is Edwin Tan and he's both deaf and mute. And I really do appreciate getting to learn under someone for whom the subject has a great significance - and not someone who just learnt it for fun or to get a certificate. What is especially impressive is how well he can communicate with us without words! It's amazing really, how he can be really really detailed about how we hold each digit, give us commands, attract our attention and even TELL JOKES just by using his hands and facial expressions. It does make it such a joy to learn.

I haven't had much of a chance to compare the YMCA teaching method with any others, but I'm quite happy with the course outline here, especially how they don't just teach sign language itself but Deaf culture as well. (note: "deaf" refers to the physical impairment, "Deaf" refers to the culture) Like what are socially acceptable ways to get attention and what are not (like never tap someone with your foor except in an emergency), how Native Sign Language (what we use in Singapore) differs from Signing Exact English or the American Sign Language... it's like seeing a whole new world.

Anyone interested to join me? Or want me to teach you something? Then I can have someone to practise with! =)

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:13 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Saturday, 24th May '03

Upside Down and Round About

So we began with our usual dwadling. Are we TfYE-ers good at that or what? And then came a recap of everything we did last week. Apparently killing ourselves wasn't the big highlight of the day. DIRECTION was. As the Jap (and Yaoquan) say: Ah-SO des *something*.

I'd like to do this in some sort of chronological order, but let me get the biggest news out of the way first. I did a handstand! How cool is that? Even if it was up against the wall! I promise, this is the ultimate way to get high. At least Tasha and I seem to agree on this. The rush of blood to the head is, like Bill and Ted would say, "WOAH! Excellent..."

Back to the beginning. Today's session focused on contact movement. As the name implies, this involves a good deal of leaning on someone else (hello Weiling!) and, well, trusting that she wasn't going to let me fall flat on my face. Being a movement workshop makes this session a pain to transcribe into a journal, so here's what we did, intruction manual style. Err. Sorta.

Piggyback Banmian

A stands behind B and flops over B's back, right arm thrown over B's right shoulder. A just relaxes as B leans forward and moves into a crawl. A tries to just let B take care of everything a just lies there like a sac of potatoes. B is eventually in the "table" position and A moves, all the while with torso still touching B's back, so that A is perpendicular to and just flopping over B. B does a kind of controlled lowering of the body to the floor and then rolls towards A's head. A is rolled off like a sheet of banmian. Alternatively, B stays in a "table" position and A does a forward roll off B's back.
Back-to-Back Stand Up and Sit Down

Don't link arms like in the orientation game. Just lean into each other and do it.

Side-by-Side Sit Down, Lie Down and Get Up

Exactly as above, just start by standing up and A and B lean into each other sideways. Use the equal and opposite reaction from the partner to do everything together very slowly.

This is gosh-awful to perform. A and B hold right hands in a gymnast grip. Both stagger backwards letting their weight and CG move before their feet. What results is a kinda drunken looking merry-go-round. A stays standing and B sinks slowly to the ground almost like in a reversed pair skating death-spiral. Eventually B curls up on his back (really curl, and it's hard to hold when dizziness and centripetal force take their toll) and A spins B round, reverses it once, and almost immediately again so that B is yanked to his feet towards A. This should've looked cool when executed well - if anyone could.

Then we did some choreo work using the stuff from last week and this week. That's it.

Oh, and some of the Birthday Madness to celebrate Bec's entering the world:

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 08:19 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Someone Else's Star

"Alone again tonight
Without someone to love
Stars are shining bright
One more wish goes up

Oh I wish i may
And I wish with all my might
For the love I'm dreaming of
And missing in my life

I guess I must be wishing on someone else's star
Seems like someone else keeps getting what I'm wishing for
Why can't I be as lucky as those other people are
Oh I guess I must be wishing on someone else's star"

Dammit. In one of my cranky, lonely moods again. Feeling particularly touched by this excellently written and extremely excellently performed (Clay!) song. And don't take it at it's face value. It applies to so many things to which the eternal question is "Why NOT me?".

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:04 am
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Saturday, 17th May '03

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...
... or how En Ying bruises like an overipe peach.

Side note: I liked the usage of this paticular title structure so much in Kil'n People (David Brin) I just HAD to try it. Good book. Appeals to me in this "mid science, mid arts, trying to read my Bible regularly, stuck in a pseudo existential quandary" state that I am.

Ah, the movement workshop. I've been wanting to attend one since Gary Tang choreographed a fight scene for "Toxic"...

We started out by being introduced to our instructor for the next month and TNS director Jeff Chen. Or interrogated, really. But it was all in good fun. One point to note: this is the first time I've ever talked to a person who's working in theatre full-time about whether he likes his job. I really was surprised when he urged us all to explore other options and that he wakes up every morning wanting to quit. That's quite a revelation. (Coincidentally he directed Revelations) I always thought people who did this did it for pure love, and not because they couldn't think of anything better to do. Very worth thinking on... it was like a mini career guidance session.

And so we began to mmmoooovvvee. It started out like a tumble tots session, just without nice cushioned mats and keeping in mind the fact that we're all older and adult-sized now. We no longer fall and bounce back up. For the millionth time, I am thankful Mum made me take ballet classes as a kid... and that after skating for three years and cheerleading with Ade for one year, I am semi-immune to the bruises that I get. We must have made a strange sight, 11 teenagers or older, rolling around the unforgiving parquet floor in all manner of contorted positions. Backward roll, falling down from standing position, combine the two and roll from a standing position. Do that starting at a run. Work with a partner and push each other to the floor. Forward roll like a tae-kwa-do expert / power ranger. Ouch. I can roll over my head like they taught us in tumble tots, but this is supposed to gradute to rolling from a standing position and, if all those stunt men are anything to go by, at a run and a jump. Hmm. Right now I'm at the *roll*, *slam*, *oww*, *flat on the floor* stage. Nothing like the soundless, *roll*, *land on the feet* that Jeff demoed. Haul for the day: two bruises on my right shoulder, one on my left butt cheek, left shoulder feels a little wrenched. Mammoth bruise on the right knee, three minor ones on the left. But who's counting? Still better than tripping over a toe-pick or Laoshi's falling steps.

The next part was a little more brainy and less acrobatic. It essentially consisted of using different parts of the body for steering. Head, hand, elbow, knee. Move that and let everything else follow naturally. Discover another version of Newton's third law. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I don't know about equal, but if you stretch something very far the body counterbalances it with another movement, usually involving a flip of the whole body. And stringing various "leads" together gives a sequence. Ok.

We spent a large part of the session exploring this "leading" thing more, first by moving at a low level back and forth across the studio. Doesn't sound so bad until you try leading yourself in a semi squat / crawl by your knee. Or elbow. It's way more comfortable to hold push-up position all that time. This is Movement! like... (as Huipeng and I decided during the break) YOGA. Ohm. Later on we each came up with our own sequence and had to perform it. Ave than had an unhealthy amount of fun putting us together into a perverse, excrutiating dance.

We also experimented with "puppeteering". Not with regular puppets (why do you think Jeff is known in these circles as l'enfant terrible?) but with ourselves being the puppets. What we did was pair up (me and HP) and had to wordlessly choreograph a sequence. The only means by which to instruct each other was by physically moving the partner in the required manner. When each had a "dance", we had to assimilate the two into a duet. This exercise contributed a couple more blue-blacks and burns to my list. I think we had a pretty credible piece... nice contrasts and resolution, but Chris and Yan's was damn good... two guys somemore. It was very asthetic, nice mix of strong and vulnerable moves and perfect timing! Why can't RDC have guys like this?

That's more or less it for now. Can't wait for next week!

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 07:00 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Friday, 16th May '03

Shopped Till I Dropped

Big day today... big exhausting, unfruitful day. Except from being really glad to spend so much time with a friend JUST to look for pleasing items to buy and just bum around, my usual shopping grouses come into play. I just can't find anything to buy. Or anything that falls under the "fit me" and "fit my wallet" criteria simultaneously. So my booty for the day was nothing more than some cheap nail polish and a couple of assesment books for the kid. Joo had a much better haul... heh. She's not allowed to spend for the next few days... =)

Joo is the best shopping partner! *grin* She doesn't nag if I take too long or am too fussy... we both look for the same kinda things and have the same amount of free time... Like Bill and Ted would say: "EXCELLENT!" *dopey grin*

I have to recall this particular incident for the benefit of the 21st... we went shopping at a drugstore cause Joo wanted to dye her hair. And she revealed that she had tried it previously with dismal results. Sound familiar? Well I, of course, asked what kind of lousy hair dye she used. Boy, I wasn't counting on her pointing a particular bottle of L'Oreal 3D Colour. You guessed it Smub. SILKY APRICOT!!! *lmao* Maybe it's not just Bab's fault, lah. Maybe the stuff really is inferior.

Joo and I have finished checking out various places to learn Hip Hop... so we start on Friday! Finally! *is happy*

Now if i can get someone to take drums with me...

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:17 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Wednesday, 14th May '03

She Who Holds The Red Pen... a very frustrated tuition teacher. That's right. I have a job! =) Yeeha!

After my first lesson I came to the conclusion that I was a really good kid in the days when I was taking tuition. This little fella I have now _is_ pretty lovable in a way, but getting him to stop telling me stories about school and actually listen to me teach him is... difficult to say the least. *argh* And when I try to give him work to do... I spend five minutes convincing him to do two minutes of work. Then I feel guilty that I can never cover all I want to do with him, and wind up staying fifteen minutes longer than intended. I'm running a losing business here. A child advocate indeed.

His school teacher evidently sucks. His English teacher, I mean. How do you teach a bunch of Primary Six, about-to-take-the-PSLE-in-six-months kids English without "Revised Primary English". Anybody who's anybody knows you need to mug all those word lists (he-bear, she-bear, cub... birds live in an aviary...) like a mad thing. This boy has not TOUCHED his RPE and can't tell the difference between plural and singular. Gah. And was I amused when the little guy asked me if I hated a certain "Will-LUM SHASH-pear". He looked a little disappointed when I said I didn't, and in fact liked the old baldie. I cheered him up a little by telling him Shakespeare was really good at dirty jokes... *chortle*. And why did he ask my that question? 'Coz his SCHOOL TEACHER told him he would hate Shakespeare in secondary school. Way to go, man. Destroy the kid's love for Literature before he even knows what it's about.

So there I was, seething away as I tried to explain confusing word groups to the kid... his attention span is SO short I was on the verge of going "Shaddup, do your work" a bout a zillion times in the hour. He wouldn't even stop talking long enough for me to mark his homework... *scream*. He was driving me nuts. Like cashews, almonds and ground. Nuts.

But at the end of it all, I realize I do enjoy teaching. It was that one moment, after an agonising twenty minutes of stacking boxes and tissue packets and staple bullets, drawing, calculating, explaining and then doing it all over again, when the kid said "Orh... I getit... so easy...". That moment when a huge smile spread across his face and he understood. It somehow made all that s*** earlier worth it. All that time when I was about to kick his scrawny inattentive ass to Timbuckto. Reminds me of the time Dr Chan once said he spent all his teaching time looking for that "ahh..." look on his students' faces. Now I know.

Although I still couldn't resist answering the poor boy with "So easy then why didn't you know it earlier???". Go me.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 02:42 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Saturday, 10th May '03

TFYE... I Can't Think Of A Better Name

This journal entry is dreadfully overdue. I've been putting it off for days and days just beacuse I simply cannot feel inspired to write about the session. Not that it was a boring or useless one - such never happens since the rest of the gang's incredible to hang out with and Serena's sheer force of personality will drag us through no matter what. It's was just one of those days where En Ying was feeling extrodinarily sian. Maybe a Dance Night hangover.

Warm ups were a little mild today. Typical pre-PE like stretching, and that "do a movement into the circle and back out again, someone substitute and KEEP THE ENERGY" activity. That was just that. I couldn't muster up enough energy *yawn* and substituition was a little sluggish. *frustration*

It got a little better at the "substituted acting" activity. In this one two people start to create a scene and at any point where someone in the audience thinks the chain of events can be taken in a drastically different direction, he/she yells "freeze!" and the actors comply. The "freezer" then takes the position of a "freezee" of choice and starts the new scene. Again a little disappointing for me because my situations kept getting a little out of hand - especially since I hate improvisation. *grumble* Let me repeat that: I HATE IMPROVISATION. Alright, now that I've vented, I think I just need to learn to go-with-the-flow more... focus (strangely hard to do that day)... and STOP REJECTING. Stop panicking when twists occur. Don't turn it all into a joke. See how I can make it work for me. Think fast, don't close up. Focus, focus, focus. Step out of comfort zone. Roll with it, girl. Every week I think this and when I think I'm getting better... I lose it right after. ARGH!!!

The next thing was what I'd call the "three line meeting". We'd each "meet up" with a partner (Beck and I) and, between us, have three lines to establish a relationship. That was fun! =) All kinds of strange things popped up and personally, it felt a little better than the previous activity. Guess I got a little more relaxed.

This week we also started to think ahead for next year's M1 Youth Connection... and the theme had to be "Love and Acceptance". Ho-hum. Not my ideal choice, but in working on stuff like this for so long, I've come to realize it's what you make of it that counts. Something like this sound awfully stuffy and it'd be the easiest thing in the world to come up with a story of a poor, ostracized geek who is latter accepted a la "Never Been Kissed" or "The Ugly Duckling". But I know this group can take it to a higher level... if they stop thinking of sex (FIT!) or Karma Sutra (KRYSTAL!). If you don't know what I'm talking about then it's better to stay that way.

So we had a little brainstorming and pseudo mind-mapping and tossed out this huge bunch of words that we recorded on a butcher sheet and tacked to the wall. What becomes of this remains to be seen. I hope we get to be involved in the playwriting... I'm dying to try that... and it'd be really cool to work with Haresh Sharma or someone like that... =)

So that was about it. OH! Have to mention we have two new entries today. Chris and Natasha, 21 and 15 respectively. Ahh. At last another person older than me. Heh. Both seem to be really friendly and enthusiastic so things are going to be great! The studio's getting crowded, though. *grin*

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 09:39 am
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Wednesday, 9th May '03

Got Canned Heat In My Heels Tonight, Baby! Part II

*yawn* Dance Night is over... and it was quite fun. The whole SARS fiasco was on the whole good, eliminating all but the best dances... I adored Poon's and Choo's (except that Jenson should have stayed a filler... *rotfl*). This year's Dance Night was more what I would call a DANCE Night - as opposed to Flesh Parade or Girls Trying To Act Chio.

I just wish we could have Dance Night without the pains of costumes and makeup and all... but I'm too tired to complain. Goodnight y'all. =)

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:48 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Got Canned Heat In My Heels Tonight, Baby! Part I

I have to start off by commenting on what a RIDICULOUS phrase that is up there. Canned Heat? What in the world is that? In my heels? *slaps forehead*. But I guess any dancer will understand the meaning of it... it's that moment when you just cast everything aside and shake what you got... (but if you have hips like Clay Aiken then don't bother) when "there's nothing for [you] to do but DANCE!"... yada yada...

So once again it's dance night, and the past few days have been rehearsal after rehearsal, getting panicky and pissed, developing blistered feet and smelly costumes. Gah. The joys of performing.

It's not that I don't like to dance. I think it's nice enough a pastime and coming together with a bunch of people to put together a performance that both educates and entertains an audience is something I wouldn't mind doing for the rest of my life. But those poetic voice overs - "dance makes me feel alive" / "when I go on stage I forget myself" / "the world stops and all i feel is the dance". Like, HA! Don't joke lah. That may be true for a very small group of people, but don't tell me everyone really feels like that beacause I certainly don't! Dancing in the privacy of my room, yes, mass dancing at openhouse, maybe. Oh but not dance night, oh no. Not while worrying about my position relative to everyone else's, counting, taking care not to step out off the light. Forget yourself for just one moment and you could just screw everything up. Alertness is the key, dudes. And making me feel alive... that must explain why I knockout after every dance night...

Ok, gotta go, have to buy pins and elastic and hair stuff... to be continued...

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:47 am
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Thursday, 1st May '03

Feldspar, Mica and... Clay

Boy, would Gomez be proud of me for thinking up that last title. But this, as astute readers would probably have guessed, has absolutely naught to do with geology, topology or edaphic factors (see, I HAVE retained SOMETHING). It has more to do with the latest episode of American Idol. Clay. Picture from

This has been the best episode I've seen so far - alright, I DO miss Edgar Nova and Keith - and it probably has something to do with Carmen's departure. *hi-fives Lucas* Now we can concentrate on people who can really sing and aren't an obvious notch lower than the rest of the contestants. But I guess she deserves _some_ credit. It can't be easy doing her thang, dawg, in front of all and sundry (including Simon). She probably sings better than me too, come to that.

But the real point of today's special mention (which is fast turning into a pointless random rambling) is my realization that CLAY IS UNBEATABLE. He's the only one who hasn't been hauled down to stage to stand next to Ryan Seacrest yet, which must account for something, and between his ability to pull off Broadway styles, power ballads and even fast numbers and him oozing what Mum calls "nice boy" charm, he's got it made! The only competitor that even comes close is Rooooben and, well, he's just too boring. When Clay's album comes out I WILL buy it, and that's saying something since with my broadband and CD-R, I haven't purchased a CD since November last year. Now if only Neil Sedaka really produces it. =)

P.S. That there picture on the right is fantastic! Wonder who the phtographer is...

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:06 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]