Tuesday, March 26, 2013

23 Years and Counting

Firstly, thank you to everyone who took the time to wish me a happy birthday. Every gesture whether grand or small is deeply appreciated. And as I sit in my sunny living room eating what seems to be my 4th vegan cupcake of the day, I can't help but wonder about the (in)significance of today.

While I love and unabashedly indulge in all the birthday hoopla (ie. my much anticipated Magic Mountain trip tomorrow), I don't think the day is just about me, the birthday girl, but also about those who shaped my character and personality. Because without them, we wouldn't have anyone to be celebrating.

So I want to take the time to include in all this birthday attention the people who have made the greatest influence in my life: my mom, my dad, and my older brother.

Without their love, I wouldn't know compassion. Without their strength, I would have no courage. Without their example, I wouldn't understand excellence. Without them, I would be nothing.

So a big THANK YOU for all the wonderful messages, gifts, and thoughtful words. Just know that today I won't only be celebrating me entering my mid-twenties, but also celebrating 23 years of being a member of an amazing family. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shake Out Your Qualms

Today my yoga teacher shared this uplifting poem written by James Broughton

"Easter Exultant"
Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster 
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!

My favorite two lines are, "Shake out your qualms, shake up your dreams". There is something very magical about the way he describes the power of hope and passion. 

Enchanting words, huh? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Childhood Dream

Between the ages of 15-18, I went religiously every Sunday evening to the open hip-hop classes held by Funkanometry SF. I even had my mom drive me the 45 minutes to and from Westlake School for the Performing Arts (and later on to City Dance) when I couldn't drive on my own. It was my one and only opportunity to take hip-hop, and I looked forward to it every week.

There was one class and instructor that particularly inspired me: Patrick Cruz. It was my first introduction to a hip-hop style that was controlled and smooth yet funky and groovy. I was a 16 year-old girl trained mainly in jazz and contemporary, and I think I butchered his choreography (in the worst way possible). But I loved it, and his class lead me to discover The Company, Gen2, and Shaun Evaristo.

From then on I was ravenous to improve my hip-hop skills. I used videos like the one below as a measure of hip-hop perfection, and probably watched this about 1,000 times:

Okay, maybe I watched it 2,000 times. And each time I watched, I dreamed of one day being able to dance hip-hop with as much style and finesse as they did.

Now fast forward seven years after hundreds of hip-hop classes and a collegiate team later. On March 16, 2013, I along with 14 other talented dancers including Amanda Grind, Anthony Lee, and Mr. Patrick Cruz himself performed at Urban Paradise 2013:

The number was choreographed and staged by Pat in just a few days, and I'm astounded by how well everything came together in that short amount of time. I thoroughly enjoyed the creative process and learned a lot along the way. Pat is not only a talented dancer and artist, but also an effective leader and smart choreographer. While it was an honor to perform at Urban Paradise with Entity, it was an even greater personal triumph to be at the event dancing with Pat.

So here's a special shout out to the Bay Area folk: Thank you for inspiring me, and thank you for allowing me to fulfill a (not so) silly childhood dream.