NBC’s The Dreamers Ever Leave You

The National Ballet of Canada’s staging of The Dreamers Ever Leave You incorporated live piano accompaniment performed by the composer of the score. He ran through four sections of continuous trills and chord progressions while the dancers exchanged between solo and duet formations. When the pianist would stop to move onto a new section, the dancers sporadically stomped their feet. I also detected that the dancers never seemed to move the exact same way as one another, but they phrased their movements along with the different accents in the music. Although repetition was avoided, I saw many lifts between the men and women where their limbs were extended and their bodies were intertwined. At times during the performance, dancers would be motionless on the floor, lying in the shadows of a big curtain that hung from the ceiling. This backdrop was either hung low in the middle of the stage or a small portion would peek out from the ceiling. It was white, deformed, and bunched up at various places, giving a greater depth to the stage. In terms of lighting, I saw pale tones of beige, pink, orange, or turquoise, depending on the unique musical sections. Spotlights followed the movements, but not always shone on the featured dancer(s). There were distinct prototypes of costumes using either baggy shirts and pants or tight fitting shorts and tank tops. The women slicked their hair into a tight bun and finished their legs with pointe shoes. As the women floated on their toes, the men referred to intense turning jumps as their main trademark.

This performance reminded me of a group of people living in a dark cave. The hanging curtain was so visually impressive that it completely drew me into a decomposing cave after an apocalypse. While the dancers would leave the cave and be in the sunlight, the moments when the dancers would lie on their backs brought an image of sleep deprivation. It made me think that they could be trying to fall asleep, but ultimately, they must return to dancing out of a desire to see the sun again. As well, the piano sounds mimicked a hummingbird, in my opinion. I started to visualize a singular hummingbird flying around the dancers that would bring a beacon of hope during the aftermath of destruction. Thus, the music and movement were so well connected to the overall storyline.

My general feelings about the piece were that it was about ten minutes too long. Due to the fact that the musical accompaniment was inevitably the same quality throughout, I did get to a point where I wished for a dramatic change of tone so that the audience would be caught off guard. I liked the odd times when the pianist would take a small break in between sections because it helped me, as an audience member, to catch up on what I just witnessed. It progressively got frantic, and I started to feel anxious that I could not keep up. Not only were the silent moments a nice recess for the audience, but the dancers could prolong the ambiance as they stomped their feet.

A question that came to my mind after watching was if there were too many notes for the musical score. The hummingbird flaps its wings so fast that maybe there is not enough time to experience its beauty. I wondered if the piano sounds got too muffled and overlapped for the audience to really listen to it. Another question in my brain was if when Robert Binet was in the process of choreographing, if he focused a lot on the limbs of the body because the intention seemed to be coming from the dancers’ arms and legs rather than the pelvis or chest. The lifts that the men and women executed highlighted the extension of the arms and legs; therefore, I pondered about where Binet wanted the audience’s eyes to be drawn to.

From this performance, I inferred that there is a blurry line between being asleep and being awake. Although the music began to feel panic-stricken, the general tone of the piece gave the impression that the dancers were conflicted between resting in darkness or being free to dance in the sunlight outside of the cave. If there was a meaning for this piece, I believe it was that in times of sadness and distress, the influence of a fluttery hummingbird can bring optimism to our lives.

Lady GaGa.

The influences in my life that are humans are as follows (in no particular order):

Bo Burnham, Kaelin Isserlin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miley Cyrus, Linda Garneau, Evan Peters, Julie Andrews, Lady GaGa, and my grandmother.

I will attempt to explain my reasons for why these people have a greater influence on me than others. Hope it functions properly.

An artist who decides everyday to be someone new and scary.

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Yes, that is the same person in each photo. It’s hard to comprehend how versatile this women is because I seriously wonder if she is of human descent.

The first time I became connected to Lady GaGa was when she performed on a So You Think You Can Dance season four episode back in 2008. This was a turning point for me because when I watched her sing “Just Dance” to a room full of dancers, it was the first time a musician had scared me. She was too weird and different, and my ten-year-old-naive self hated that she was pulling it off. As well, I was super invested in the remaining dancers (including the likes of tWitch, Katee Shean, Mark Kanemura and Courtney Galiano) that I didn’t have time to give GaGa any more attention. I remember being quite annoyed with her performance when in retrospect, I should have been taking notes. This experience reminds me that I have to give new artists a chance to breathe, because they are basically suffocating when first trying to make it in the business.

I try to take from her music that life is a party and a struggle, but I can’t seem to understand how a person that is confident enough to appear in a meat dress has trouble dealing with other issues. I mean, what’s more terrifying than change? She constantly stretches new boundaries, and as her job, she has to make it into art. That must be exhausting!!! I would be so over-worked if I had to create a new character every day. Somehow, some way, she is succeeding.

I like living in the city because I feel like I can change up my appearance with each day and it won’t affect the way others see me. Because I travel on foot mostly, I take the time to watch the peers that stroll past me on their way. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the reactions they have towards my outfit and I wonder whether they really care. Some nights I ride the streets with heeled boots and a shall exposing my left shoulder. Other days I sprint-walk to school wearing old running shoes and the comfiest sweatpants that match the colour of my sweatshirt. On occasion, I wear a comic book dress and eyeliner that wings to my ear. As well, you might see me rocking the latest fashion-faux-pas. Look for me, you’ll find me.

But, back to GaGa. All those times I’ve roamed my city with a fresh outfit to experiment with, I spend a good half of my day worrying if I made a mistake. That means that I am wasting creative time to contemplate if my fashion statements are really saying anything at all. Fashion is a profound avenue for ground-breaking material to be made. I am not very intelligent when it comes to fashion, but I understand why GaGa makes it play an important role in her career.

GaGa seems to know that the more time she spends on impressing people, the less time she feels like a moral being. In this video, we see her wisdom come out as she looks back on her career. After every time that I watch her speak in this, I automatically stop judging her. It’s almost as if I lose my ability to judge someone when it comes to GaGa. How refreshing! What she is doing here is stating that her creative opportunities are going to come into fruition whether we like it or not. If we, as her audience, can’t let her create, we are diminishing the value of the music industry and wasting money building a platform that is manipulative and immoral. So the best thing for critics, networks, and papa-papa-paparazzi to do is take a step away from GaGa. Let her do her thing! She is a trained musician and actor who wants to start a revolution of new possibilities. She is not a person looking for approval. And I am all for it.

She scared us (maybe just mostly me) again when she appeared as Jo Calderone at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. After only three years of trying to sell sex and femininity in the business she u-turns and monologues as an aggressive man to live television viewers. What a risk to take. Honestly, I don’t have the balls for that. Mia Michaels once said in a class I took with her that artists nowadays need to be so good that they frighten others. It’s not enough to be creatively cautious because audiences are running out of attention spans. GaGa showed us that she isn’t just a singer and has the ability to transform beyond gender itself. God damn, I respect her. And the crowd is going nuts during this show because they have nothing but alive energy for her. Her commitment to this demands our attention, and that is some scary sh*t to watch.

An icon. For gays, lesbians, bisexuals, heteros, etc. If she wants to attract an audience with such a variety of sexual interests, then her music and production value HAS to be versatile. Otherwise, there would be no “Little Monsters” and therefore, no GaGa.

Just as a conclusion, my favourite album of hers is Born This Way because the track list invents so many characters throughout the album that I feel as though Lady GaGa is never one character. She births new life every time she steps into our eye-line. From “Bloody Mary”, “Judas” to the prostitute in “Government Hooker”, I find comfort in being brought on a political, religious journey with her. THANK YOU STEPHANIE!

Today, he….

Today, he waited for me in the lobby, but I was already there. I was able to see him fiddle with his watch and I couldn’t help but love the impatient look on his face. Wanting to make him come to me, I turned around and gave him a second to find me. I stared deeply at him as we reunited and he sauntered as he stood next to me.

Me, in my navy gown. Him, in a classic tie and blazer. The ceiling shone like the lights of Broadway. We matched so perfectly.

In a natural way, his elbow bent while my hand fit into it. We walked towards the ballroom and I noticed my gait was as calm as it has ever been. I didn’t feel rushed because I knew we had all night. However, I wanted him to jump into action and sweep me off my feet. His coy smirk suggested other things, and I knew that when he looked at me, he would get lost in my eyes.

So, we didn’t make eye contact. We just strode through the lobby, in our fancy outfits, together in harmony. I was his eye candy, but he was a fox.