Thursday, July 23, 2009


My favorite summer t.v. show is "So You Think You Can Dance." I have watched all five seasons and usually shed some tears with each episode. This year, I have been prepared and kept all of episodes because I love re-watching the couples dancing. The more I watch the show the more I fall in love with dance.

On Sunday I was watching the PBS documentary "The Mormons" and Terryl Givens, an English Professor, on the show described Mormon's relationship with dance and I was really moved by what he said. Dr. Givens expresses everything I wish I could say. Because I am a total nerd I typed out the passage and I have included it below:

“One observer visited the Saints on the prairie and he said it was one of the most haunting experiences to see the vast stretches of isolation and loneliness in the wilderness and then you would hear the soft strains of classical music coming over the hills and there would be the saints gathered round playing music and dancing.

The philosopher Nietzsche once wrote “I should never believe in a God who would not know how to dance.” And I feel the same way. There is in the Mormon faith a kind of celebration of the physical, which I think is a little bit outside of the Christian mainstream.

When the saints moved west to Utah, one observer in the 1850s noted that they had schools in most every block, but every night the schools were converted into dancing schools. He observed with some displeasure that Mormons taught their children that they should go to school, but they must go to dancing school.

I think that there is a connection between the place of dancing in Mormon history and the concept of an embodied God, because we believe that God the Father as well as Jesus Christ are physical embodied beings, that elevates the body to a heavenly status. And I think there is a kind of exuberance and celebration that is in many ways the result of that same collapse of sacred distance that was so central to Joseph Smith’s thinking.

Instead of denigrating the things of the body in order to elevate the things of the spirit Joseph always argued that it was the successful incorporation of both that culminated in a fullness of joy. And so dancing I think is in many ways just an emblem or a symbol of a kind of righteous reveling in the physical tabernacle that we believe is a stage on our way to godliness itself.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Found It

For the last 3 months I have been looking for the link on youtube for the video of our high school teacher dance squad. We performed at the Battle of the Sexes assembly in April and I finally found the link. Enjoy the video....although the filming is a little shaky I think you can still get the gist of our performance. I am on the far right-side of the screen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

NKOTB Surprise

As a last minute decision on Friday I decided to purchase a ticket to see the New Kids perform at the Pearl in the Palms. I had wanted to see them, but when the tickets originally went on sale I was flying to Japan and didn't have any extra cash. Ticketmaster still had a few seats available and since I was only buying for one I was able to get a pretty decent seat.

I have never seen any shows at the Pearl before and I was curious to find out how close to the stage my seat would be. I was seated in box 213 seat A-1. Much to my surprise box 213 was a VIP box with only 5 seats in it and a completely unobstructed view of the stage. The seats were leather and very comfortable. Excellent viewing. A few minutes before the show started the stage manager for the New Kids came and informed the five of us that at some point in the program they would need us to stand up and move near the back because some dancing would happen. Having spoken to my friend Chandra about the concert (she saw them perform earlier in the week in Seattle) she told me that the guys came into the audience to dance. I was really hoping that this would be what the stage manager was referring to. I wanted Donnie to be the person to come because when I met the guys last fall he was the only one I didn't get a chance to meet.

The concert opened with the dance crew Jabbawockeez, winners of the first season of America's Best Dance Crew. The guys were amazing. I was surprised at how much they were able to move in the very little stage space that was available to them. They used a fun mix of music ranging from hip hop, pop, slow jams and 80's tunes to work their magic. The crowd became the most vocal during their tribute to Michael Jackson.

The concert was every bit as good as the two times I saw them last year. The staging of this concert was on a much smaller scale than their tour last fall, but even with less theatrics it was still really exciting.

A little more than half way into the show the security guards arrived in our box and told us to move...the time was at hand. Before we knew it DONNIE arrived in our box as the other four guys made their way to various places in the audience to sing their hit song Single. Most of the time while Donnie was dancing and singing in our box we were blocked off by his security team, but nearing the end of the song Donnie waved some of us down and I took the opportunity to come up behind him and dance with him until his security guy tapped my arm and I moved back. It was really fun--I could have groped him excessively, although I didn't feel comfortable being too touchy. I did put my hand on his waist as we were dancing and touched his back a couple of times. Nothing too excessive.

The rest of the concert I must admit was a little anti-climatic. The five of us ladies that had been dancing with him in the box were still a little giddy over what had just happened. The final few numbers were spirited and full of more dancing and great singing. At the very end it really felt like they didn't want to leave the stage they were enjoying it so much. I don't usually scream a lot at concerts, but I decided this time just to let myself go and really get into. My ears and throat are a little sore today from the fun, but it was totally worth it. I have a strong feeling that this will be the last time I see them-so I am very glad at the last minute I decided to spend the money and go.

As always the inner nerd in me took a pen and paper and wrote down the set list:
  • Full Service
  • Summertime
  • Favorite Girl
  • Right Stuff
  • Medley of Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time and Valentine Girl
  • Please Don't Go Girl
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Games
  • If You Go Away/Stare at You
  • Single*
  • Cover Girl - solo by Donnie
  • Give It To You - solo by Jordan
  • Popsicle and Thanks You - solo by Joe
  • Donnie and Jordan improv thanks to band and audience
  • Tonight
  • Click, Click, Click
  • Loving You
  • One Song
  • Step by Step
  • Hangin' Tough

Thursday, July 2, 2009

1 Down 1 to Go

First session of summer school is officially over today and I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience. My class was small (19 students) and I decided that I was going to teach it the same way I normally teach. Initially I had workbooks and thought I would just have them spend a good deal of time completing worksheets and reading out of their textbook.

During a typical 4 1/2 hour day we would read a story or article, lecture, group project, individual assignment and then some sort of game or group activity.

The students were really successful with my lowest grade being a C. Class average was 83% which is the highest average I have ever had for a regular world history class--usually they are around 62%.

I had four students that are new to the U.S. and they are still struggling with learning the language. I was really proud of how hard they work to understand the information. One of the girls wrote on her final exam essay that she thought this was the funnest class she has ever had.
A very nice compliment.

I look forward to second session to being just as great.