Intro for the diddy…

Welcome to my brain, humans of the internet. Simply put, I made this blog so that my obsession with writing notes in my iPhone could be put to some use. These posts will include my random thoughts, my creative endeavours, as well as other things that I want to share with the world. Feel free to share or don’t, I won’t care either way.  Click here: the diddy . 

Photo captured by: Alvin Collantes

A look back at July 2019…

Doing things means doing things.

Either sung or not, this quote sums up exactly how my July went. I heard it from the dream duo themselves, Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien, during their SparkFile workshop at The Performing Arts Project. I immediately thought, yeah it does! It’s simple but effective when you are in the process of something creative. Just do it!

Cottage Time

I spent my first week of this hot month at my cottage, soaking in the sunshine and swimming with my little sister. We had so many laughs and moments, the two of us, and she truly is the light of my life. I spent nights by myself at the smaller cabin on my family’s property and one night I even sat with fireflies buzzing around me. It was the most magical thing I’d ever seen. I kind of always thought they weren’t real creatures but the bioluminescence was a-brewing! My family were wonderful to be around and it served as a great break after working a lot in June.

TPAP is a magical place

I then spent three weeks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a musical theatre program called TPAP. It was days of non-stop singing, dancing, acting and I couldn’t be more proud to have been there. Only finding out about it through Instagram, I didn’t know what to expect before I went there, but I am so pleased to have been a part of such a talented and hard-working group of artists. Every day, I would try something new and fail and try again. It was so scary but so worthwhile. The faculty were incredibly knowledgable and able to pass along information to us in such smooth and effective ways. One of the highlights for me was working closely with Gavin Creel whom I’ve looked up to since I first heard him on the soundtrack for Millie. He is a genuine soul with too much talent; it blows my mind. I also got to take class from Krysta Rodriguez and other Broadway veterans. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to process everything I learned there but I’m going to try. 🙂

The Zone has been breached

During a ping pong match at TPAP, I figured out something very vital about how to be present and in the moment. Weird to say, but I figured out how to access my “game face” or “the zone” as they call it. Nothing matters except this moment. Before a show or before I’m about to face off a player in ping pong, I need to find the feeling where my body, mind and heart co-exist on one plane of energy. It’s a very subtle difference but it works wonders for my artistic abilities. If I can pin-point exactly where my body is in space, I am able to remove myself from the idea of being “onstage” and just exist. It’s cool for anxiety too.

Photo by Ali Gutierrez

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

TPAP Day Zero (Travel Day)

Failed Transportation: 7:30am flight to Charlotte; getting on 12pm flight to Charlotte (You were 8th on standby, calm down sis); 1:46pm flight to Charlotte (left around 2); getting on 4:10pm flight to Greensboro; 7:20pm arrival in Greensboro (stayed on tarmac for an extra hour)

Succesful Transportation: bus to airport at 4:30am; luggage came at GSO airport; getting to Wake Forest from GSO

-> What was supposed to be a 6-hour travel day turned into a 12-hour disaster. Thanks, American Airlines. You royally sucked at everything you tried to accomplish for me.

TPAP Day One

We did a peculiar exercise at the end of the day today. “Crossing the Line” meant that everyone stood on one side of the room without talking while an announcer declared statements for us to agree/disagree on. You could also decide how much you agreed/disagreed by distance travelled across. I found myself very alone, and emotionally up and down. It makes sense that I felt alone though because each of us, faculty included, stood as individuals. I rode the wave of being completely uncomfortable and completely obsessed with the exercise. I wanted to stop some questions but others made me intoxicated with the gossip of it. “I am funny” was a nice and easy one while “I have been called a faggot” brought the whole room to silence (even more than already). “I have had suicidal thoughts” brought me to shed one tear while “I am an adult” had me totally proud of my decision to stand at the complete other side of the room. We were tasked to find eye contact with others once making a decision and that was very difficult for me. Some people cried, some stayed stoic. Reminded me of Leadership Camp at St. Matt’s and it made me feel part of a community. We finished off with writing our fears on a wall. What a long day.

TPAP Day Two

I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. I don’t understand the reference. But I can get my leg up…?

TPAP Day Six

This morning, my thoughts are racing with speed and confusion. I feel conflicted. I want to try and plan everything so that I take control of the situations I’ll be faced with each day but I also want to try listening to the director’s suggestion of being flexible to surprises. I hate surprises. They bore me and make me feel like I don’t deserve them. The other thought in my mind is that I am slowly becoming someone different than myself due to simply being around these people for 3 weeks. I don’t see anything wrong with them it’s just that I don’t want to be persuaded in any way. I can be/talk/dress/eat exactly as I am while co-existing with other unique people… Right?

TPAP Day Ten

One of the things I’m battling with is staying present. There are so many interactions happening in my daily routine here that I don’t really have time to re-play these moments after they occur. So I find myself thinking about them during class or during a scene when I’m supposed to REALLY be in the moment. I guess I am not used to this level of extrovertism because back home, I only spend about half my day with people; the other half travelling alone, in my room or just by myself. Also I don’t think I’ve spoken this much in my life. I’m being asked to give my opinion on every subject and that is really new to me. I am used to shutting up, moving silently, listening first, making sure I don’t interrupt… This kind of personality is scary to me because I could say something I don’t mean. On the first day of classes, my teacher told me I eloquently described the most beautiful thing in my life, but I was just making sure my words were concise, articulate and meaningful. I patiently spoke. Now on day 10, I feel very impatient and like I’ve adopted this conversational habit of always starting a sentence and not knowing where it’s going… like now…

TPAP Day Fourteen

As I looked out from the top right bleacher of the Ring Theatre, there was so much chaos. Hyper-reality took over and people screamed while staying in character yet. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel like I belonged. I don’t have the skill set or the confidence (really) to stay so committed to an improvised role while there is no audience to watch. What’s the point? Why would it serve our art form to act/pretend to be a character with a full backstory if not for an outside eye? The only people watching are also in character and therefore not active audience members. I guess it shows me how ensemble-based theatre people can be. They want to work with others.

One thing I managed to get a hold of was “the zone”. So that’s neat.

A look back at June 2019…

“There’s a reason we are called human beings and not human doings.”

This came from a caller on the Beautiful Anonymous podcast. When I heard it, I stopped in my tracks on the street. I had been walking all day, moving from one errand to the next, and basically just doing doing doing. I was reminded of the power of “to be”. It’s so simple but something I forget often because the things we accomplish are usually the only things we are celebrated for. I highly recommend this podcast if you want to hear genuine conversation with people all over the world. 

My first play!!

I was lucky enough to land a role in an original play called “Impromptu”, directed by Hassan El-Amin. It was shown as a part of the Parados Festival in the middle of June. I really enjoyed the experience of not relying only on my body for performance. Getting the chance to use my voice for storytelling and singing was really uplifting for my spirit and it taught me to be honest on stage. My cast mates were incredibly welcoming and I finally felt comfortable in a group again. A bunch of us even watched the Tony’s together and it was so special to me to have a safe circle to be in. One of my cast mates even called me an actor by the end of it and I got so blushy. Truly a proud moment for me. I hope this isn’t the end of my acting career.

Home for appointment fest

I went home to Ottawa for a few days, literally 1.75, and most of it was spent doing appointments. Gotta take care of the ol bod. However, there was a super precious and nostalgic moment where I went back to my old elementary school. My mom and I picked my little sister up after school and we ended up playing Four Square for a little bit. So many memories flooded in of my elementary friends playing with me… The boys making me feel incompetent to play with them, me still trying to get on their level and being all feminist and stuff before it was cool. It was so fun to revisit that game and see how the school yard had changed over the years. Same basketball tripod thing on the gravel but now the portable was replaced with a nice play structure. Things evolve and it was nice to see how I’ve changed too. Still like to do cherry bombs though. 🙂

Scheduling a day off

I realized that I hadn’t had a day off in a month so I actually scheduled a day where I would do nothing but what ever I wanted to at the time. I stayed in bed, played video games, ate whatever came across my hunger, and got high as a kite. It was perfect. I told myself I wasn’t allowed to feel guilty for it and that really helped me to accept it as a valuable thing for my health. The old me would have hated myself for awhile after but I decided to try the opposite. I’m very proud of myself. 

Anxiety, the SO that won’t go away

As much as it was a healthy choice to take a day off, that meant that I added a bit more stress on other days. I had to get things done and I expected too much of myself. My anxiety was really bad the other days. It was kind of like an annoying significant other who never gets divorced, and even when you try to move on, it stays in your house. Like a fly on the wall that attaches to your body. I really have to look it in the face and acknowledge it when it gets bad because if not, I’ll start to have mini attacks in public. Deep breaths, calm thinking and lots of water.

Photo by Tavia Christina

created this poem from movement

glaring sight on the audience with less movement; seeing nothing but feeling the soft surface with the hand; timing changes are vital to the overall experience;

see the world during the difficult road trip;

taking a seat next to a wall; slowness; the audience is there to observe; flamingo walks with intensity at full level; forget it, move on;

no space to move away from each other; symmetrical planes but perpendicular almost; shape created by release; lateral walking to show off IT Band; opening up the shape to reveal its actual meaning; sharing a line and dropping it at the same time; walking towards the problem; seeing my reflection in my hand; notice the difference between the changes of level; grasping onto a cloud of air;

where is my movement? She has some and I don’t; weary of the social aspect of not being like the other; feel the back pull the knee up like a pulley system; being taken over by my right leg; it brings me down to basement level; where is your movement? Why do we have some and you don’t? Socially that is weird that we are in motion and you are not;

take it to the limit and drive to China in a period of 15 seconds; it has taken over you and you are now back at where you started because you drove too long; watch out for flying arms; wrists get soft and the volume decrescendos; the roots of your tree take you down;

spiralling underwater and the waves are controlling you up and down; take a moment for yourself under the sea where the spinning seashells live; feel the sand and the rocks that make up the bottom of the ocean;

the lights turn off so you are dead.

Calm down, it’s pride.

This Sunday, I had a horrible temper waking up. I was even annoyed with the sunshine. I turned on my robot mode and did everything I had to do that day without enjoyment. There was only a job to do rather than moments of living. Who wants to live like they’re working everyday?

Then it suddenly dawned on me. It’s pride here in Toronto. I was reminded of this by groups of people wearing neon colours, flower power-invested outfits, and holding peace signs up for photos. And I suddenly remembered I’m so lucky to live in an era where LGBTQ2+ is celebrated, not ridiculed or criminalized. Our generation has accepted people’s preferences and that is something to smile about. That is something to live freely about and not let the monotonous pace of working a job hold you back.

Seeing heterosexual parents bring their families to normalize the stigma is absolutely something to smile about. They didn’t use to be a time and place for discussion, at least in my household there didn’t happen to be, so it makes me feel happy inside to know that there won’t be a discomfortable tension about topics like sexual preference, gay marriage, etc.

What a nice time to be alive. Never thought I’d say that again. Huh. Nice.

A look back at May 2019…

What if you chose your second instinct?

This month, there were moments I chose to run away from my problems instead of facing them head-on. It came to be that “flight” was constantly my first instinct when dealing with a challenge or even just a cup of coffee. With the help of some very inspirational mentors, I tried to ask myself: If my first instinct is to chicken out, what would be my second instinct?

Blooming physicality

As this year’s May came into my life, I was taking a two-week long workshop called Metamorphosis Method, under the direction of Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich. This training was very military-induced, meaning that we would drill intense exercises each morning to a point where I was hallucinating by the end of it. It was one of the most rigorous programs I’ve ever attempted and it showed me the importance of reaching your full potential. I was determined to impress the teachers but also my own expectations of what I could do with my body. I am proud to have gotten through it and hope to continue at this rate of physicality in my dancing from now on. It is amazing what your body can do when you give it the push it needs.

Marathon for creativity

Another unique program I participated in this month was The Choreographic Marathon, under the direction of Maxine Heppner. I collaborated with two artists, Tavia Christina and Rachel Facchini, for this opportunity where we stayed in a studio process for more than 27 hours over the course of 3 days. We even spent a night at Pia Bouman’s School for this concentrated process, and interestingly enough this was one of the last programs being offered at this studio as it is being closed down soon. Maxine’s wisdom along with the thoughts of the other mentors showed me the power of vocabulary. The words that you use when you say something to someone has more influence than the context. I found myself really thinking about exactly what I wanted to say before speaking it. I am very grateful to Rachel and Tavia for offering me another opportunity to work with them.

Rays of sunshine

Because I am on summer break from school, I’ve had more chances to hang with friends that I haven’t be able to give time to. It makes me so happy to see my two best friends because they have been life-rafts for me since second year of university. Their jokes, great ideas and overall presences help me see the sunshine in life and guide me to positivity rather than negativity. They are so special to my life right now.

Pilates is the BEESSSTTT!

I never thought I would fall in love with Pilates because it can be very boring to people who like to move. I am one of those people. I can’t sit still most of the time. However, when I focus my mind on internal muscles that need to be strengthened, I leave a class feeling taller and more confident. It’s weird. It feels like I’ve cracked the code on how my body should feel. I feel sexier and more in control and all it takes is a few mat or reformer classes each week. I can do that!

Pushing past anxiety

Every day this month, I would have moments of anxiety. It is just something I have to deal with. Two exercises have helped me push past these attacks: finding all the colours of the rainbow in my surroundings and acknowledging the 5 senses that I have in my body. These both work really well and help me stay mindful. THANKFUL.

A look back at April 2019…

Connect your thoughts to your voice.

This month has taught me, in a very heightened way, the value of communicating exactly what you mean. There is no point in beating around the bush sometimes. I found this when dealing with professional situations but also when I am speaking to the ones I care about. I think I am the type of person who likes to speak in metaphor sometimes, and while that is creatively interesting, it can get confusing for the people around me.

Finishing third year.

I wrote my last exam, danced my last tendu, and said goodbye to third year with a huge sigh of relief. This year was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, but I feel so lucky to have my classmates, my teachers, and THE BEAT to get me through. I am ready to tackle my final year of my BFA with the same expectations that it’s gonna be rough, but it’s gonna be magical. Most interesting classes: Improvisation with Kate Hilliard, Modern with Arsenio Andrade, and Production with Michael Bergmann.

Full circle moment.

I was given the opportunity to judge two dance competitions this month with the competition DanceFest. Being on the other side of the theatre and watching young artists give their all, really made it surreal. I had worked so hard during my early training to perform and choreograph to my best, and being able to share my knowledge with the dancers now is a true gift. It felt like a dream, and I hope I get the opportunity again.

The clouds have cleared.

April may bring showers to our sky, but I felt like the sun had come out during this month. My depression was very much gone and I am not sure why. I won’t question it because I feel very relieved to be lifted of it, but it definitely feels like it may come back. No matter, I must be present and not worry about what my feelings will be in the future. I am grateful for the sun shining down on me and the deep breaths that have gotten me through this month.