Friday, January 21, 2011

Why do I want a Masters degree?

This post is based on an email I sent to the Handbell-L. I'm putting it here so that I can refer back to it when the doubts come on little cat feet in the middle of the night.
Now that I'm nearing the end of my undergraduate career -- yes, "nearing" is relative; I still have a year and half to go, but see my previous post as to why now is the time I have to look to the future -- I've been wrestling with the question of WHY I want a Masters in the first place. I've boiled it down to two main reasons:

1) I know that in California, you must have at least a Masters to eligible to teach at state colleges & universities (private schools are not bound by this, of course). I think many other states have this requirement, too. I would love to be able to teach Theory or History at the university level, BUT - and this is really important! - how many times have we heard of young people wanting to major in handbells and the school asks, "But who will be your teacher?" I want to be on that short-list of people who are eligible to teach handbells at the University level. I need (at least) a Masters for that.

2) I've spent the last 20 minutes trying to figure out how to word this gently, but I think perhaps it's best to just come out and say it: Women conductors have a harder time of it in the musical world. And not just in the larger world of orchestras, but also in handbells -- we've talked about that on the Handbell-L more than once or twice. It's not that there aren't any women conductors out there -- good grief! Look at how many are on the Handbell-L!! -- but rather that they seem not to get the recognition they deserve. I feel that if I want to be taken seriously as a "marquee conductor," then I need a degree in Conducting. While it's true that the Concordia degree is not specifically in conducting, see what I said in my previous post about having the time to be able to supplement it with other workshops and continuing/extended learning opportunities. I believe I have the discipline - and yes, the ambition - to do this.

I'll be honest; a degree in Church Music was not my first choice. I come from a Conservatory background in which Church Music was seen as a "lesser" degree for some reason (I don't quite understand it, but it was something "everybody knew" - just like a degree in Education was also somehow "lesser". ???), so I've spent a lot of time thinking about whether this is really something I want to do or not.

Then I realized that I've been a church musician for almost 20 years. I've worked for the Methodists, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, and the Lutherans, and played in a number of other denominational churches (and some non-denominational). I have a great love for church music, and the rhythms of the church year -- and music is essential to my worship experience. From a more utilitarian perspective, my main employment opportunities are and probably always will be with the church and having a degree in church music can only help that (it certainly can't hurt). Other employment opportunities will see the Masters (and the supplemental education) on my resume and know that I have the musical background to do the job.

In short, I think pursuing a Masters is the right course of action for me. I've heard nothing but good things about the Concordia program and it has many things that appeal to me because of where I am in my life and what I want to accomplish.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where have all the blog posts gone? Long time passing!

Wow - I haven't blogged here since June? Really? How is that possible??

A lot has happened since last June. I walked Commencement at Foothill College, I attended the Walden School Teacher Training Institute, I took American History & German 101 at Palomar College, plus Vocal Ensemble at CSUSM, I started a new ensemble, I got a church job ...

... and it was at Palomar on the first day of Fall Semester that I saw a sign that said that CSUSM was accepting applications for mid-year admissions. They don't usually do that. Usually you have to apply in fall for the NEXT year's fall semester - meaning you apply Fall 2010 for admission to Fall 2011. This application period was for admission to Spring 2011, which starts in January. They weren't 100% certain they were actually going to be able to admit anyone - it all depended on the California budget that was in process of being approved - but things looked promising.

The sign said that the application deadline was in 2 weeks! So I filled out an online application that night & frantically ordered transcripts from all the post-secondary schools I've attended (BGSU, UC, LCC, FC, DAC, and Palomar), crossed my fingers & settled down to wait.

Long story short: I was accepted as a Junior with no conditions. That means that I suddenly went from being someone who was doing General Education stuff at the local Community College to someone who is in the middle of her Junior Year in College!

... and THAT means that I have to start looking at grad schools because I have to apply for them THIS FALL! Eep!

(I've actually been thinking off-and-on about grad school since this past summer, but now that I know I have to actually DO something about it "soon" I've been thinking about it more "on" than "off"!)

I have been planning to pursue a Masters in Conducting. I have a few options for schools. San Diego State University is of course on the list. It's the obvious choice because it's so close by. However, it's a very competitive school for music: they only accept 7 conducting students per year and the application requirements are difficult to fulfill. Not impossible, but difficult enough that I can see the program is obviously intended for people with a fairly substantial amount of experience with orchestral (or other large group) conducting. Plus, the classes are mostly in the evening to accommodate the working life of most grad students. Unfortunately, I mostly work nights - did I mention I have a church job now? - because the people I direct have day jobs. So where else might I go, if not SDSU?

California Baptist University is in Riverside. That's not too far away from me, probably about 1.5 hours. I have a friend who lives in Lake Elsinore who offered to let me stay at her place during the week while I'm attending classes. They have a Conducting program PLUS the FAQ page for their Performance degree says that you can study with a teacher of your choice. That is, you're not limited to studying with one of their faculty members. Hmm, does that mean that I could study Performance with handbells as my instrument? Could I possibly do a double degree - BOTH Conducting AND Performance? Again, though, their classes are mostly at night.

Azusa Pacific University is near Pasadena. A little farther away than Riverside, and requires dealing with a bit of LA traffic, but not outside the realm of possibilities. They also offer both Conducting and Performance AND they have a handbell choir, taught by Dr. Donavon Gray, who does a lot of teaching in AGEHR Area XII.

Another possibility is Redlands University in Redlands. North of Riverside and a bit inland, this is where my friend Beth Mays is currently working on a BA in handbells. I know she plans to pursue a Masters, too, and is also in the middle of her Junior year, so perhaps we could attend together?

All of these options, though appealing, would require me to spend a lot of time away from my home and my husband. Sure, we're used to a bit of that, since I travel so much, but it would be nice to not have it be *every* week. I found the fall of 2009 - when Brian was living in San Diego & I was still in the Bay Area - to be very difficult. Darnit - we got married because we wanted to be together!!

OK, so there's still one more option and it's looking more appealing to me all the time. Concordia University in Wisconsin offers a Masters in Church Music with Handbell Emphasis that can be completed by attending 5-week summer sessions over the course of 3 consecutive years. (If you miss a year, you have to wait for those topics to come back around again in the rotation.)

One disadvantage I see is that it's NOT a degree in Conducting. I'd really like to be able to be a "marquee conductor" in the handbell world. I'm making inroads in that regard & think that getting a degree would be an important step toward that goal.

However, the advantages I see to this are:

  1. I would very likely be able to start the same summer I get my BA, which means I could *finish* almost a year earlier than with the other programs -- Summer 2014 rather than Spring 2015.
  2. It would leave my regular year free to do things like re-start my solo performance career, teach more workshops, and maybe even relax a little!  (Nah....)
  3. and perhaps most importantly:  take other classes in Piano, Ear Training, Counterpoint, Conducting, etc., without being constrained by degree requirements.
Today I googled for conducting workshops just to see what's out there. I know the AGEHR offers a conducting master class each January, but surely others were out there, too? Not only are do a lot of different schools offer conducting workshops, they are offered nearly year-round AND there's even a website that aggregates notices about them! Bingo!

This makes me much more comfortable with the idea of NOT doing a Masters specifically in Conducting -- there's nothing stopping me from taking as many classes in conducting as I can!

Now, where did I put that Concordia application?

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Foggy-brained Forgetfulness

I just *knew* as soon as I started the really long post I just sent that I would forget something. :-(

How could I possibly forget to mention the amazingly cool thing that Miss Music Nerd did for me?!?

Miss Music Nerd has started making Music Nerd Merit Badges, and asked people for suggestions for possible badges. Kathryn, The Artsy Honker and serpent player, suggested a "You Play the WHAT?" badge for players of unusual instruments.

Of course, I commented that I need one of those for the handbells -- how many times have people responded to "I play the handbells" with "handball?" argh!

Miss Music Nerd agreed & made one for handbells, THEN she went above & beyond the call of duty and made one specifically for me! YAY!!

Here it is, my own special music nerd badge:


Hope you love it as much as I do -- Thanks again, Miss Music Nerd!

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Miscellaneous Musical Musings

Sorry this blog has been quiet lately, but things have been absolutely crazy here. Here's a rundown of what's been going on since I last posted in the middle of May:

May 15: Brian & I went to see the SD Symphony play Richard Strauss' "Alpine Symphony" and Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." Both works were absolutely fabulous! It makes sense to program both works on one program because they both use an extended orchestra. By that I mean that they use more than the "standard" number of instruments. For example, the "Alpine Symphony" uses EIGHT horns instead of the standard four, plus Wagner tubas, multiple harps, and all manner of other things. Here's a review of the concert.

***

May 16: I attended an afternoon concert by the San Diego Harmony Ringers at Blessed Sacrament Church in San Diego. The stone-floored sanctuary had really nice acoustics which worked well with the bells. There were some space issues, so the Ringers had to set up in a straight line rather than their usual L-shaped configuration, but I think they worked really hard to watch their director more and overcome it because they sounded great!

That afternoon, I attended the joint concert of the Pacific Beach Crusader Bells and the Mira Costa College Chorale in Oceanside. The host church's bell choir opened the concert by playing a few numbers, then the Chorale sang -- and what beautiful voices they have, a very nice blend -- and then the Crusader Bells joined the Chorale for a couple of joint pieces, then the Bells finished out the program on their own. The program was a good mix of styles and tempos and the audience thoroughly enjoyed it all.

***

I spent the following week working on re-designing my websites. Go take a look at HandbellMusic.com, and TheGoldenDance.com, both of which have been completely re-designed.

Doing this meant that I had to move The Clearinghouse of Choreography from its former home at HandbellMusic.com over to TheGoldenDance.com, but I think that URL is more suitable for a store than for the Clearinghouse anyway, so it's all good. :-)

I finally uploaded those new designs the first week of June.

***

May 21: I flew up to San Jose for a Bronzewood Paedeia rehearsal, which went very well.

***

May 22: Sonos rehearsal 11-5, then I flew home that night & got to spend a rare Sunday at home with my husband. We went to Ikea. :-)

***

May 25: Brian's birthday! We went out to dinner at the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens, along with handbell friend Laurie Sanders and her son Robbie. We took a tour of the brewery (which included sample beers, yay!), then had dinner. It was a great evening & we all had fun.

***

May 27: I got my official grades for the Spring Semester at CSUSM. Straight A's again. YAY!

***

May 28-June 1: Brian & I flew to Bellingham, WA, where we met with his sister & her husband who live in Abbotsford, BC. We spent the weekend with them in Abbotsford and in Vancouver, BC, and had a wonderful time. It was a very relaxing weekend even though I spent some time working on my websites -- Brian's sister is a professional web designer & was gracious enough to help me out with a few things.

***

June 5: Brian & I went to Ikea again (hey, we just bought a house and we've got to decorate it, y'know!). The San Diego Ikea is in a big shopping plaza and shares a parking lot with a CostCo and a Lowe's. I complained on Twitter & Facebook about the parking & found out that Laurie & Rusty Sanders (handbell friends) were at Lowe's shopping for a new barbecue grill, so we decided to have lunch together. I was supposed to attend a handbell concert in Solana Beach that night, but I was just too exhausted, so I stayed home.

***

June 8: I subbed at the San Diego Harmony Ringers rehearsal at Faith Pres in San Diego. They recently were able to purchase 5 octaves of brand new bells thanks to a donation by one of their ardent fans. They wanted to pay her back someway, so on the 8th, they played a private mini-concert for her. I could tell that she really enjoyed the concert and I was honored to be asked to play a part in the event.

***

June 11-13: Friday night was another Bronzewood Paedeia rehearsal in Palo Alto. We're hard at work on a new CD! Saturday was Sonos rehearsal in Oakland and Sunday was Sonos' 20th Anniversary Gala. We had food and wine, a mini-concert by Sonos, and a special showing of our new documentary DVD "Ringing Down: Bells and their Stories" on the big screen at the "Auctions By the Bay" Theater in Alameda. The Board members really did a great job making sure that all the attendees were well taken care of. Jim (along with Ellen & Ron) worked very hard to create several large displays of pictures from Sonos' 20 year history. I had to leave for the airport right after the movie showing, which was a bit of a bummer, but the 7:30pm flight was the last one out of Oakland for San Diego.

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June 14-16: I was hard at work putting the final touches on my class notes for the Area XII Festival Conference at UC Davis. I was one of four clinicians teaching day-long educational tracks -- Michael Glasgow, Dr. Bill Payn, Debbie Rice, and me! I'll talk more about this in a moment.

***

June 16: Our 9th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by having dinner at Stone, which is rapidly turning into our favorite restaurant! :-)

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June 17-21: On Thursday morning, I flew to Sacramento, picked up my rental car, then met my friend (and fellow Sonosian) Sunghee and her friend Grace at the airport. We waited a little while longer for Michael & Debbie to show up, then Tami Sigl showed up to take Debbie to the UC Davis campus (she also had to pick up Bill Payn & National Board Member Phil Roberts from their hotel, which is why she just took Debbie), while I took Michael.

We had to stop at Office Max on the way because I forgot my USB-to-Car charger for my TomTom (as well as my USB-to-Wall charger for my phone!), then go to Kinko's to pick up my class notes -- I had sent the order in Wednesday night from their website, which is a wonderful time-saver. Fortunately, SMF has free wi-fi, so Sunghee & I were able to google for directions and write them down so we didn't get lost.

After stopping at Kinko's, we had lunch at Bistro 33, which is in the old Davis City Hall building. Yummy food & a great atmosphere.

When we finally arrived at campus, it was time for Sunghee & I and 10 other ringers to start 6 hours of rehearsal as part of the Odyssey Ensemble, led by Dr. Payn. Even though I've known him for so many years, it was my first time playing under his baton, so it was a special experience for me.

Before I go on, let me take a moment to explain the new "Track System" we used for this Festival Conference. Instead of the usual format of having massed ringing all day every day with breaks for a few classes, the conference was set up so that Friday & Saturday were days for participants to take a whole-day "track" on a particular subject. (There was also an "All Ring" track so that people who really wanted massed ringing could choose that track.) Each track was led by one of the four main clinicians, who developed the curriculum and planned the classes. The registrants started out in a large Group Session led by the main clinician, then divided into 3 groups for Breakout Sessions, one led by the main clinician and two led by the assistant instructors. Each track had 3 Group Sessions and 3 Breakout Sessions and all the participants got all 6 classes.

On Friday, Michael Glasgow led the "All Ring" massed ringing track of Level 1-2+ music, Bill Payn led the "Performance" track, and Debbie Rice led the "Church Music" track. I was one of Debbie's assistant instructors for the day & led the class on "Using Bells in Contemporary Worship," as well as helped her with logistics for her group sessions (passing out notes & music, making sure all the registrants knew where to go when, etc.).

Friday evening was the Odyssey Ensemble concert where we played our 6 pieces for the assembled attendees. It was a lot of fun & I think the audience had a good time, too. It's always fun to play for fellow handbell ringers because there's just so much energy in the room!

On Saturday, Debbie led the "All Ring" massed ringing track of Level 3-4 music, Bill Payn led the "Directors" track, and I led the "Basics" track, along with my two lovely assistants Jason Tiller (of Sonos) and Tom Parsons (formerly of Sonos). Jason's wife Diane helped him out with his breakout session ("Dream Weaving"), which was great - that's a tough class to teach alone because it's so hands-on and I'm glad he had her help.

Saturday night, the Showcase concert was by the Opus Handbell Ensemble from Modesto. Diane Tiller & I played flute for them on one piece. We had had rehearsal about an hour before the concert, but in between rehearsal & the concert the building's air conditioning shut off and so when we got up to tune, it was so warm that our flutes had gotten really really flat -- so flat that we couldn't push our headjoints in far enough to be in tune with the bells! We both just had to lip the pitch up. Fortunately, both Diane & I have lots of experience playing with handbells (under the super-picky ears of Sonos director Jim Meredith) and so it all turned out ok. In fact, we got compliments from a couple of people who I know have really good ears! Yay!

Sunday was the final day of the conference and it was time for the "Mass Attack!" a full day of nothing but massed ringing under the wonderful batons of Michael Glasgow, Bill Payn, and Debbie Rice. I played with my good friend Ruben Mendoza's group. We played a final concert at 3:30pm, during which the Area had their "passing the bell" ceremony from current Area Chair PL Grove to the new Area Chair Rima Greer.

After the concert and loading out all the equipment from the massed ringing room, the clinicians and Area XII Board went out to dinner at Bistro 33. It's a good thing we sat outside on the patio because there were lots of smiles and laughter and we were a little loud. What a fun party, though!

I stayed overnight on Sunday night, too, so I wouldn't have to deal with packing for the airport that night. I got up in the morning, had a leisurely breakfast, then went to the airport for my flight home. Brian picked me up at the San Diego airport & we came home.

Wil Mandac, member of Bay Bells & Low Ding Zone, was the event's Official Photographer and took lots and lots of pictures. He's posted a few of them to Facebook and will post more to Flickr later. I'll post a link here once he's done that.

***

Today, I'm trying to catch up on everything and am feeling a bit stressed because I leave on Thursday night to fly up to the Bay Area again. On Friday, I will be walking in the Commencement ceremony for Foothills Community College and receiving my Associate of Arts in Music. I have to fly Thurs night because there's a rehearsal for the ceremony at 10am on Friday. After the rehearsal, I'll go pick up Brian at the airport, then the ceremony begins at 6pm. Friends will be joining us for dinner after the ceremony.

Saturday is Sonos rehearsal again -- and our last one before our July 10th concert at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church. After that, we head to Nashville for the AGEHR National event Pinnacle. Sonos will be playing the opening night concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium, one of the former homes of the Grand Ole Opry. I'm sure I'll have more to say about that after the show!

***

So that's what I've been up to lately. There's no time to slack off now, though! I've got a busy summer coming up & I need to practice. Did I mention that the entire 2nd half of the Sonos concert is done with no tables and completely memorized?

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

MP3 from the Vocal Ensemble Solo Concert

In addition to the link to the Dance Concert photos, today I also got the MP3 of me playing Finlandia from the May 10 Vocal Ensemble Solo Concert.

You can download it here.

It includes my spoken intro to the piece (which is not the full-length intro I usually give; I abbreviated it), plus you can hear the audience cheering at the end - AND you can hear my professor say, "Wow!"

Yay! :-)

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Pics from the April 29 & 30 Dance Concert


haiti17
Originally uploaded by mfranky
The school had a photographer at the May April 29 & 30 [thanks, Sharon, for pointing out the error!] Dance concert. I just got a link to the set of pics on Flickr. This is really the only one I'm clearly visible in (though I am at least partially in some of the others).

Here's a link to the whole set -- my class did the ones labeled "Haiti".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Monday night's Vocal Ensemble Solo Concert

This past Monday night (May 10) was the Vocal Ensemble Solo Concert. We had the main Vocal Ensemble concert the previous Monday night (May 3). Apparently last year, the solos performed during the main concert, but this year there were so many people who wanted to do solos that our professor, Bill Bradbury, decided to do a separate concert for them.

Anyway, at the beginning of the semester Bill asked if I'd be interested in playing bells on the solo concert. Of course, I said yes! I decided to play Finlandia because it's a beautiful piece, very accessible to most audiences, and has a big dramatic ending.

Knowing that I'd only have a few minutes of rehearsal time with the accompanist -- mainly because I didn't want to have to schlep my bells to school more than once (the last 2 letters in the acronym for our campus - CSUSM - are said to not be "San Marcos," but rather "Stair Master"!) -- I gave her an MP3 of me playing the piece when I gave her the sheet music. A couple of Mondays ago before Ensemble rehearsal, I sang through the piece with her, too.

So, this Monday I arrived early so I could load in & set up my equipment in the school's theater:

Loaded in & set up, waiting for pianist. on Twitpic

When she arrived, we played through the piece once and hit a couple of spots over again just to make sure we had the transitions down. Then after that, I had about 90 minutes before the concert started, so while the pianist rehearsed with the other students, Brian & I went out for pizza. Yum!

Finally the time came for the concert. Bill took all of those who would be performing over to the other room so we could figure out the concert order. Bill asked me if I would mind going first. I said no problem. After figuring out the rest of the show, we all headed back to the concert hall. Bill asked each of us to introduce ourselves before our piece, so after he did the main intro for the concert, I gave an abbreviated introduction to Finlandia.

Then I played.

I have to say that it was one of my better performances. Everything just kind of "clicked." When I hit the last chord, the audience cheered! Woo-Hoo! :-)

Bill came back on stage to help me move the bells back out of the way for the rest of the performers and as he was doing that, he looked at me and said, "Wow, that was really impressive!" I'm sure I grinned from ear-to-ear to get such a nice compliment from him. Later, he sent me an email saying "Your playing is beautiful and inspiring... I think I might have to write a piece for you (and the choir?)."

How cool is it that an Emmy Award-winning composer wants to write a piece for me? :-)

After the concert, one of the audience members told me that she had spent several years in Finland, and that she loves the song Finlandia. She said that my performance was so beautiful it brought her to tears. My classmates came up to tell me how cool the bells were - many of them had played bells in elementary or middle school, or at church, but had never seen a soloist.

Bill also came up and said, "That was crazy!" I frowned a little bit and replied, "You think I looked crazy when I played?" He said, "No! That's what was crazy about it; you made it look so effortless!" High compliments, indeed. :-)

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last class of Spring Semester 2010

This was the last week of the Spring Semester here at Cal State San Marcos. Yay! Tuesday night was the last class for Public Speaking but I still had Dance and Electronic Music today.

The semester isn't *quite* over yet, though, as I still have a concert on Monday night for Vocal Ensemble (it's the solo concert - I get to play bells!) and I have to turn in my take-home final for Dance class on Tuesday morning.

Today, I submitted my Final Project for Electronic Music. All semester, we've had lab assignments to do. The prof would lecture on the material for about an hour, then we'd have another hour to do the lab work. He designed it so that each lab built on the previous one and by the end of the semester we would accumulate a final project. We mostly used Reason software for sequencing & synthesis, working with wavetables and other samples. Toward the end of the semester, we started working in ProTools and recorded stuff to create our own electronic instrument, then combined our Reason and ProTools sessions for the final project. I really enjoyed the class & plan to take the next one in the series, too, probably next Spring.

Oh, of course I brought in a handbell (my G#4, which hardly ever gets used!) to record and transform into an electronic instrument. Honestly, by the time I was done with it, you can't tell that it's a handbell at all!

Our final project isn't being graded on the aesthetic qualities of it -- it's just an Intro class, after all -- but rather on if we actually included all the requirements of the lab assignments. This was kind of frustrating, actually, as I'd work to get it sounding the way I wanted to, then the next lab would have us add or change something and all of a sudden it wasn't so good any more! Grr! After a couple iterations of this, I decided that I would take it as a challenge to make something that I liked that still fulfilled all the requirements. (I also did some geeky things like building the piece around the whole tone scale and using Pi to determine the placement of some elements....)

My piece is not some grand masterpiece of electronic music, but I think given all the stuff we were required to do and the fact that it was my first time ever working with electronica, I think it's pretty good.

What do you think?

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dance Journal, Week 12 (Apr 22, 2010)

DNCE 320
Journal, Week 13
April 22, 2010

Stein, Bonnie Sue. "Butoh: ‘Twenty Years Ago We Were Crazy, Dirty, and Mad’." Moving History / Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader. Ed. Ann Dills and Ann Cooper Albright. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2001. 376-383. Print.

This paper presents an overview of the development of the Japanese contemporary dance form “butoh” as well as short artistic biographies of butoh’s important personalities. Butoh is described as “an anti-traditional tradition seeking to erase the heavy impact of Japan’s strict society and offering unprecedented freedom of artistic expression.” Butoh was developed in the late 1950’s when Japanese dancers turned away from traditional Japanese dance, but also wanted something that was still inherently and uniquely “Japanese” and not Western. (Ironically, Eiko and Koma, two New York-based butoh dancers, say that their most revered teacher is a German, Marja Chmiel, a student of Mary Wigman.)

The developers of butoh wanted to explore the things that Japanese society hides or ignores, “such as deformity and insanity.” Thus, butoh was very controversial from its beginnings. One choreographer, Hijikata, says that he created butoh dance with three principles in mind: 1) to emphasize “discontinuity, imbalance, and entropy” in direct contravention of the Western ideals of “rhythm, balance, and the flow of kinetic energy”; 2) to use traditional Japanese sources of inspiration; and 3) to recognize that Japanese bodies have different proportions from Western bodies, resulting in a dance form with movements specifically designed for the Japanese body.


"Moving Contexts." Moving History / Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader. Ed. Ann Dills and Ann Cooper Albright. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2001. 370-375. Print.

This reading is an introduction to the fourth and final section of our anthology textbook. The authors tell us that “readings in the final part of the book help us to see how contemporary dance is negotiating – at times resisting, and at other times stimulating – an increasingly global world view.” After discussing the new interest in multi-culturalism, its ideas and art, and warning against taking anything at face value (that is, without regard for its historic, present, and perhaps even future context), this introduction ends by giving a short overview of each paper presented in this section and why it was chosen.


PRACTICE JOURNAL

This past weekend, I presented a concert in Menlo Park (in the SF Bay Area). I stayed with friends and after the concert, in the course of our meandering discussion, I demonstrated some of the dance moves we’ve been doing in class. My friend responded, “You dance while you play [handbells], but each movement is completely controlled. But when you dance like this now, your body seems so out of control.”

My prof wrote: "I think that is okay in this context."
Upon my return home, I mentioned this conversation to my husband, who replied, “When you play bells, you do dance, but dance is not the purpose of the movements, the movement is incidental, derived from what the music requires your body to do. Whereas, when you dance, the purpose of the movement is ‘dance’. I think that’s the difference she saw.” I don’t know if that has any significance beyond “I need to learn to control my movements a little better,” but there it is. :-)


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