“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”
So I recently discovered that the hip-hop company I was a trainee with (during the earlier months of the year) just did a major showcase performance at a theatre in London, in which the trainees also performed. I missed out on this due to my being absent from training over the past couple months (due to work and then being away on holiday). I felt a bit disappointed at first, but after reading up on some details of their performance, it occurred to me that actually maybe I wasn’t really that fussed about missing out on this performance opportunity. I mean I really do want to perform – it’s what I’ve been working at so hard since the beginning of the year – but after reading about some details of their perfomance, like their outfits being hoodies and basketball shorts, it made me realise that perhaps their performance wasn’t really my style… and maybe this company is not for me. It is something I had been thinking about even in the first few months of joining. The nagging feeling that I didn’t really fit in there.. that it just wasn’t ME.
Dance is supposed to be something that comes from within, a reflection and expression of your person, the hidden language of your soul, the song of your body. And I think I never really felt that with them. I mean I love hip-hop and I want to learn much more of the various hip-hop styles (popping, locking, breakin, house, waacking etc) and be able to use them in my own dancing and freestyling – but the one thing that annoys me is the overriding masculinity of much of this dance form. So call me a big girl, but that’s what I am! And when I dance, I want to express myself.. as a girl. I feel so much more freedom in expressing the girly side of myself than trying to force some masculine aggression out of me because that’s what the dance is supposed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I know not all hip-hop is “gansta” and I even think there is a place for the fierceness and raw energy of hip-hop for a girl. I like incorporating aspects of that in my own dancing because there are times that I feel it too, but going the whole hog and dressing in hoodies and basketball shorts and looking and dancing identical to the boy next to me is just too much for me. I enjoy being a girl. I prefer to celebrate my femininity. Why hide it in baggy shorts and hoodie? I think baggy pants CAN be worn in a tasteful & feminine way, say if teamed with a fitted top.. but I digress *cough*. I just do NOT EVER see myself wearing baggy basketball shorts. Ever.
On the flipside, I’m also not completely on the other end of the spectrum, as one salsa dancing girl friend of mine is – refusing to do any hiphop, or any move looking like hiphop because she considers it “too masculine”. I think there is a happy medium. I think aspects of hiphop can be danced in a way that celebrates being a female (eg there’s waacking). But it’s true that one of the reasons I loooooove dancing latin forms of dance (salsa, bachata, merengue, samba, lambada, reggaeton, dancehall) is because these dances really celebrate femininity and make the most of how a female naturally moves, enhancing our natural body movement to the best of our abilities.
Hm… so what’s my point here? I guess my point is that I choose to stay true to myself. I’m not entirely sure where this is yet. I love aspects of hiphop… but at the same time, it does not fully define my personal expression of dance. I love salsa and other latin dances.. but sometimes feel restricted by the role of girls as “follower” or frustrated by having to be constantly “lady-like” to the point of it being a bit stiffling. Guess that’s probably why my favourite style of dance is reggaeton. 🙂
[Blog title quote from Martha Graham (1894-1991)]more » Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010 | No Comments »
Bloggers Paradox : Version 2010
Every so often I get reminded of the importance of keeping my online persona separate from my real life person. And its becoming increasingly harder in this highly social-media-obsessed age where many people simply do not understand this concept. For them, facebook and twitter is synonymous with other normal social activities like txting your mates. But a few years or more ago, when terminology such as “tweeting” were not mainstream nor common place, it was actually quite the norm for us online bloggers and vloggers to keep a bit of a “low profile” on our online activities in our “real life”. Of course we interacted with fellow bloggers/vloggers/tweeters in the blogosphere but when it came to friends or colleagues from real life, it was as if our online persona’s did not exist. Like we had secret identities. Hence the choice of username was quite important as it was a representation of one’s identity. (Facebook had to go and fubar that idea out the window with their standard of using your real first and last name in your profile.. now ppl even sign up to twitter with their real names. Fools.)
I remember the days of regularly tweeting in secret, knowing that most people around me I interacted with on a regular basis had no idea about this cool little thing called twitter (and before that, it was blogging) which I used to blip (or blog) out random brain farts about anything and everything in my life to strangers-yet-somehow-friends from all over the world, and gain insight in return as I tuned in to their thoughts. It was refreshing. There was a liberating level of honesty gained by anonymity. I’m not talking honesty as in, here’s my address, my personal details, my bank details etc. But honesty in thought and emotion. What I “really” thought about something and how I felt personally. Sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly in a way that people rarely seem to share about in real life (or if they do, they do so foolishly – lamebook is a perfect exhibition of that). Particularly when it comes to the bad and the ugly. 😉
So before I get too carried away with nostalgia, where am I going with all this? Is this about the blogger’s paradox once again? I have visited this issue over and over again.. way back in 2003 and 2004 I blogged about this paradox. It hasn’t really been too much an issue the past few years, but maybe I have been lulled into a sense false security. I am aware that I have broken my own cardinal rule left, right and center. (This being, never to share anything identified by my username with people I meet in real life.) And with everyone around me being blatantly open about their online presences, it’s quite hard to maintain that kind of discipline. It’s all too tempting to want to share my creations, be it video or text, with people I meet IRL. Afterall, I am quite proud of some of them. But I am glad that I have held back sometimes. And I am reminded again of the importance in holding back, even when you feel that you trust a person, you never know. Because this is what I am discovering currently in a certain situation with a certain friend. I thought this person was trustworthy but now I am discovering she is not quite as.. reliable a friend.. as I thought. And I am quite glad I did not share my “online persona” with her. I am glad I have kept that line between online and offline. Yes it’s more work and maintenance, but I think its worth it and I think, for now, I need to remain disciplined.
(Edit: I just realised my last blog post was in January. Really.. how does 6 months go by just like that..)more » Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 | 9 Comments »
Happy (Belated) New Year
Hm… 6 months no blog. Oops. Bad Kazzart! Well I wanted to continue with my tradition of writing a happy new year blog post. Granted this one is somewhat belated, but hey, better late than never right? 🙂
So.. Happy 2010 one and all! Hope people are having a good start to the year. Actually (if anyone is still reading this blog) I’d be very interested to hear about your new years resolutions. I’ve been giving mine a great deal of thought and I’m not sure I’ve come to a concrete resolution yet. Maybe by the end of this blog post I’ll have a better idea?
One thing I am sure of is the general idea of what I want this year. My focus for 2010 will be on quality of life. To prioritise my life so that I don’t end up ignoring what is important to me because I’m spending so much time on things that creep and take over my life. For example, last year I ended up working late much too often and that had a negative impact on my health and body – I was tired and sick a lot, and I never had time to exercise (which is really important for my back problems), either because I was too busy, or too tired, or sick. Well, enough of that!! I’m not getting any younger, having just turned 31 (argh!!), and I refuse to give in to age. I refuse to settle for a mediocre life with mediocre health & mediocre fitness. I refuse to spend most of the year trying to combat my colds and/or combat the pain in my back! (Actually I’ve become quite good at back pain and cold management now).
To help me flesh out my idea of having a better quality life, I recently purchased a book called Brilliant Life: How to live a brilliant, balanced life. I’ve only just started reading it, but will report back on it when I’ve read more.
For now, my idea of having a better quality of life includes achieving some (hopefully all!) of the following:
- No more workaholic Kazz! More focus on personal activities (the things I actually love), less focus on work.
- Get fit, get healthy.. stay fit, stay healthy! This includes regular yoga, cardio/training, and swimming at the gym. I know I can’t do it all straight away, but the plan is to gradually increase my workouts from once to twice to three times a week.
- Dance more often with more variety – keeping up my samba and salsa, getting back into hiphop and jazz and hopefully lambada (if my back/neck issue gets fixed by improving my fitness)! Of course I can’t do it all every week, but over the first month I hope to attend a good selection of different dance classes to start, and then I’m sure I will settle into a regular pattern of those which I enjoy and benefit from most, interjecting them every now and then with something different to keep me on my toes (so to speak ;))!
- Get back into playing piano – and then later this year, start some sort of music project (either by myself or with other musicians)
- Sleep earlier on work nights – VERY IMPORTANT! I can’t function if I don’t get enough sleep which renders the 3 previous points incapacitated
- Make vlogs again – I have been looking over some of my old video blogs and the creativity I put into them. I realised, I don’t want to stop being creative! I enjoy it and I take pride in my creations. So my youtube viewers should be happy with this one. 😉 But yes, I want to continue to create videos.. especially now I have a shiny new 16:9 digital camera to play with.
- Nuture and develop the few female friendships I have. I don’t have many friends in London, and I realise now that it is unrealistic to expect the same wide circle of friends that I had in Sydney, seeing as I spent 20 years of my life growing up there. So my aim instead will be to nuture the rare friendships I *have* made here – at the moment there are 2 or 3 girls with whom I plan to make sure I spend time with and get to know better. Maybe even organise a regular girls night out with the 4 of us. Oooh.. maybe even a girlie club of sorts.. à la Jane Austen Book Club.
All of these should be made easier now by the simple fact that I have just moved in with the boyf. Yep big news! We did it the first weekend after NY. I’ve now moved into a house recently purchased by my boyfriend, in central London. This will make my life SO much easier – no more going back and forth between my place and his, splitting my time, packing overnight bags.. no more daily commute from the outskirts of London. I’m now much closer to work, to my dance classes and to the salsa nights we attend. 🙂 Of course it’s not gonna be all smooth sailing – we have a myriad of home rennovations to complete – we’re re-doing the kitchen and bathroom, we have to furnish the living room and tennants room (we’re renting one room out). I’m up to my eyebrows in home improvements right now. Learning all sorts about kitchen laminate work tops, cabinets, where the boiler can and can’t go, the inordinate cost of modern bathroom sinks and ceiling halogen spotlights etc etc etc. So that is the main reason it’s been a slow start to 2010 for us. But believe you me, I WILL achieve what I want this year!
This is Kazzart, signing out. See ya’s in the blogosphere. 🙂more » Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010 | 2 Comments »
Love, hate and itchy feet
Yet another month and two WordPress upgrades have passed between blog updates. Oops. Well to be fair I’ve been absolutely flat out with work for the past couple weeks. Late nights at work have become common place, and I’ve not even blinked an eye at the possibility of working on the weekend (luckily for me it didn’t come to that.. only went as far as receiving a phone call waking me up 11:30am last Saturday by the few unfortunate ones who did have to go into work, needing some web dev advice to fix some random issue).
Anyway I’ve contemplated blogging a few times over the past week or so. Been having random thoughts about dance, life in London, and people, going through my mind lately. Maybe I’ll get it all out in this blog post. First.. we come yet again to the topic of life in London. I was contemplating recently that I seem to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with London. Though I know I mostly come across as hating London in all sorts of ways, there are many things I also love about London. And I seem to yo-yo between the two fairly often. Not sure if it will ever resolve into a peaceful acceptance of life as a Londoner. And maybe thats what I want.. a more peaceful life. Which brings me to itchy feet. I’m starting to feel a bit restless here… starting to feel there isn’t much reason for me to remain in London. For example, there are very few people here that make me feel like there is a reason to stay. My boyf obviously.. and one girl friend. Other than that.. I consider everyone else an acquaintance.. people who would say their goodbyes and then forget about you within a week.. maybe two. I don’t even think many would miss me at all here. Is that a bit sad?
I’m also starting think I’m becoming a bit of a workaholic. Sometimes I actually feel happier being at work because it means I’m too busy to think about other things… like my lack of social life.. and lack of true friends. Maybe it’s even a sub-concious reason as to why I keep myself so busy with so many activities, as well as loving them of course. Speaking of which.. I might just list out all the extra-curricular activities I’m currently cramming on my plate:
- lambada dance classes/club
- salsa dance classes/club
- samba dance class
- learning italian (evening course tues nights and self-study)
- playing piano & The Sheridan Trio (admittedly we haven’t rehearsed as a trio since last year)
- yoga & going to the gym/swim
Also a few things I wish I could still do/am contemplating doing:
- hiphop dance class
- jazz dance class
- another music course at Goldsmiths/attempt to finish my Certificate in Music Studies
- try to find more gig opportunities/other bands (jazz or latin) to play with
- write music and/or work on existing songs and record a sample demo
- get back into vlogging and making videos for YT regularly again
- change vocation.. ok only half serious about this but sometimes the thought does occur to me either because I’m sick of the back issues.. or I feel like I’m more suited to different work
So errr… yeh that’s quite a lot. And having jotted it all down.. I’ve noticed almost everything is artistic in one way or another… dance.. music.. video creation. My problem is I just don’t have the creative talent to actually be able to succesfully create things of worth (ie good enough to make a living.. and I’m sure if I tried I would probably lose the love for it). I’ve tried writing music before and I just don’t have it. I’ve tried designing, and well, I can’t. I’m not good enough at dance or playing piano to make a profession of it.. and anyway I really don’t think I could live on a “struggling artists” income – I’ve had enough experience of the reality of that path already. They’re all just hobbies. I don’t particularly want to make a job out of them. Anyway most dance teachers I know don’t do it full time – they all have “day jobs” too.
Hm I’m starting to lose track of where I’m going with this rant.
What is this about anyway… Friends? London? Vocation? Life? Everything I guess. I’m sometimes half inclined to just pick up and leave.. find somewhere new and exciting to go. To start afresh again. To have the opportunity of really making friends. To be someone new. Or to become again that positive & energetic girl I once was.more » Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2009 | 5 Comments »
Hm.. I really need to update this blog more often than the once-every-one-or-two-months that’s currently happening! I mean seriously, you know you’re a lazy blogger when your blogging software gets updated more frequently than your blog posts.
So.. enough about work/tech talk. It’s been taking over more and more of my life ever since my recent-ish move in the past few months onto this current client account (which will remain nameless). I am enjoying the work though, which is interesting, creative and challenging (all must-have’s for me to not get bored at work), so I guess I can’t complain too much.
In other news.. got back recently from an amazing week in Sardegna, Italia. It is so amazingly beautiful there and the weather was perfect every single day – blue skies, sunshine and a perfect low 30’s deg C. I am made for the heat. Every day was spent in the sun, either relaxing in the Mediterranean sea or by the enormous pool of our apartment residence. I really wish I were back there right now. Le sigh.
More pics and a holiday vlog to come soon!
What else.. well, I’m still dancing both cuban salsa and zouk lambada. I love both. I’m more experienced with salsa – now I can dance that quite confidently with any partner in the club now, or participate in a rueda de casino. Gone are the days of nervous anxiety, fear of screwing up the steps or worrying about not being able to “follow his lead”. I still screw up sometimes of course, but I recover much better as my sense of the clave “timing” is much more instinctive and natural. I even get son timing. (This is where being a musician becomes an advantage 😉 ) Lambada however is not quite at the stage of being able to confidently follow the lead of a partner. However I don’t have the “hang ups” I used to have when I first started salsa. I also have yet to try a proper night out dancing in a lambada club. Not just “have a couple dances after class”. I’m going to try this tomorrow at the London Dance Congress! Going to do the workshops and then go to the party night afterwards. Should be fun!
On the music front.. it’s been a bit quiet, other than jamming with the trumpet player in the London street piano’s festival. However this morning I just managed to arrange a date The Sheridan Trio’s first gig for summer 09 – on Saturday 15 August! I’m really looking forward to it – I really enjoy playing with our trio and it’s been too long…
Another new thing is that I’ve recently completed a 10 week italian language course! (Beginner Plus level). I’ve signed on for the next level (elementary) and classes start next week. It’s tough learning italian, and I don’t practice nearly enough. But I am learning loads, and hopefully will get to a stage where I can start having conversations with the boyf in italian. Not quite there yet!
Well, that’s the latest on the Kazzart news front. Ciao e ci vediamo presto. 🙂more » Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2009 | 5 Comments »
Coz I’m (not) just a girl
So.. my rant for today is: make-up.
I seriously do not understand why girls feel the need to always wear make-up on a daily basis? I was pondering about this recently whilst out on the weekend with some friends – one was wearing sunglasses and being quite reluctant to take them off because she hadn’t applied any make-up that day. What’s with that?? What’s there to hide? Why be ashamed of your own face/eyes?
Personally, I hardly ever wear any make-up.. unless I’m going out in the evening for a special occasion or going clubbing. I mean, I do enjoy wearing make-up (it’s quite fun to experiment with), but for 90% of the time, I just Can’t. Be. Bothered! I’m quite happy with how I look au naturale, and to be honest, I’d prefer to let my skin (and eyes) breathe naturally without having my pores clogged and chemical gunk on my eyes 12 hours a day. I admit my eyes are a bit sensitive and prone to irritation from make-up, which probably plays a part in my reluctance to incorporate make-up in my daily routine, but still, even if that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t feel the need.
Beh. It’s not like I don’t care about my looks – I’m still quite the girly girl. I love wearing dresses/skirts and I always blow dry my hair for example. But I guess I just prioritise comfort over pandering to looks when it really doesn’t matter whether you have that bit of eyeliner on or not. On most normal days (eg going to work, casual socialising on the weekend, going to the park) my make-up routine includes all of “apply some blistex whilst on the train”.
Am I unusual in this mindset? It just struck me that it seems to be the social norm for girls to have some form of make-up applied in “everyday life”, because.. god forbid anyone see their real skin/eyes/lips! Seriously, if you want nice skin.. eat healthily, drink healthily, stop wasting time/money smoking & binge drinking and do something positive & productive like exercise!
/rant!more » Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2009 | 6 Comments »
Thoughts on the British Pub Culture
Recently I tweeted this fairly bold statement:
A txt in todays London paper completely sums up an attitude I despise in British culture: “Coffee shops are a poor substitute for the pub”
And recieved a questioning response from a follower:
Why’s that cause you such offense? Coffee shops are becoming the new pub after all and not everyone will be happy with that.
It made me ponder – why did that txt in the London paper create in me such a strong response? Perhaps I’m just becoming more opinionated in my old age. 😛 I was about to tweet a reply and then realised I most definitely would not be able to fit an adequate response within 140 chars. Lol. So seeing as it’s an issue I’ve often mulled and ranted (to my bf) on in the past, I thought it would be worth getting these thoughts written in a more succinct and coherent form here. Besides, I’m well overdue for a new blog post. 😉 But enough waffling.. what I really wanted to do here was answer the question.
I think initially it has much to do with my background and cultural upbringing. I come from Sydney, Australia, where the “cafe culture” is alive and thriving, and more specifically grew up within the ABC (Australian Born Chinese) sub-culture. If we wanted to meet up, we would first suggest any of the numerous cafe’s to meet for a coffee or meal and a chat. Although drinking is quite rife amongst many Australians, my circle of friends weren’t really into it that much – and if we wanted to go out and “party” we would go to a club to dance (like myself, many of my friends were also very into dancing). For me, socialising has always been about food (oh how we love good food), non-alcoholic beverages (eg coffee, hot chocolates, fresh juice smoothies etc) or some form of physical activity (dancing, sports, going to the beach, bush-walking, having a bbq.. whoops that’s food again).
So compare that to Britain, where first and foremost the average Brit’s idea of socialising involves alcohol and the pub. I have been here for nearly 4 years and still do not feel like I fit in with the whole drinking/pub culture. Everytime people mention the they’re going to pub.. well, to be honest I find the going to the pub extremely dull and boring. This is also largely due to the fact that I actually dislike the taste of almost all alcoholic beverages. So why go and force myself to drink something I dislike whilst watching others get roaring drunk and generally making fools of themselves? I would much rather sit in a cosy warm cafe on comfy chairs (who wants to stand the whole night?) and relish over some good coffee and great conversation. Heck, I’d rather sit and watch paint dry. 😛
I also have a very strong disapproval towards binge drinking. It’s a chronic problem in this country and it’s not something Brits should be proud of. Just this morning I read an article in the Metro that stated in a recent European poll, a survey of 35 countries, found the UK had the third-highest number of 15 and 16-year-olds with an alcohol problem. And I believe this problem is inherently due to the mindset of the British culture. The mindset that drinking to excess is cool and fun and even something to boast about. If this is the impression adults give, what other model do the younger generations have to go by? And that txt sent in seemed to really encapsulate this thinking.
To put some additional perspective on my rant, it’s not that I never drink or completely disapprove of drinking. I can enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage over a meal (have started to enjoy a spot of wine with some good pasta or meat, and am not adverse to a bit of Italian Limoncello following a tasty italian meal). I might even go for 1 drink at a bar/pub occasionally for the sake of conversing with friends or to celebrate a birthday. And if I go clubbing, I may enjoy a drink (preferably something tasty like a mojito) to kick off the festivities of the night (though no more than 1 or at most 2 because drinking and (serious) dancing most definitely do NOT mix). But I think my idea of alcoholic beverage consumption is more closely aligned with that of much of continental Europe. Probably one of the reasons I seem to always feel more at home when I’m over there. It is something to be enjoyed on occasion, in small amounts, and usually to complement good food.more » Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 | 10 Comments »
Snow Day in London
On 2nd February 2009, London saw it’s heaviest snowfall in 18 years… and I actually made it into work! I’m glad I did though, because we had the most epic snowball fight EVAH! 🙂 The vlog below documents this epicness, as well as some pretty snowy scenery along the way.more » Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009 | 1 Comment »
Don’t ask me why I decided on that title for this post. It just sprung up in my brain and wouldn’t leave. Anyway.. it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I don’t want this blog to completely die, having been around for all of 6 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (you won’t believe how long it took me to figure that out).
So I’ve recently been trying to resurrect some of my online presences. Since I’m just not going to be able to vlog very regularly (it’s just too time-consuming!), I’ll have to fall back to the good ol mediums of text and image. I’ve even resurrected Kazzart Cam! Albeit using a new web 2.0 service called Daily Booth. The whole concept suits me to a tee (once they get their rss feed fixed of course) afterall, it’s exactly what I used to do with my webcam.. except manually.. without all this new-fangled web 2.0 rss, social networking, technological flash webcam schtuff. 🙂
I recently had a look at my blog as it was “back in the day” using this really cool tool on Internet Archive called The Wayback Machine. Basically it is an archive of the internet! From as far back as 1996! Of course it doesn’t contain *everything* but there is a lot there.. and I found a few archived versions of kazzart.com from 2003 to 2005. Was rather amusing to take a glimpse back in time.. *sighs*
I’d forgotten what I used to do with my blog.. how on top of my blog entries, I also kept this “Meme” sidebar regularly updated (manually!) – it contained a latest snapshot from my webcam that I kept at work, my current mood, a timestamp, what I was listening to, what I was reading, what I was eating & drinking, what I was wearing, what I was doing, what I was thinking, and upcoming tasks to do! I also had a separate box for my current “wishlist” of shopping items, and another for upcoming events! Basically, it was pretty much Facebook, Twitter & DailyBooth rolled into one… manually kept up-to-date. Gee it’s no wonder I’ve “hit the ground running” so to speak.. and taken to the sites mentioned above like a fish to water. It’s exactly what I used to do.. but made easier! *ruminates over the memories*
I have also recently found my webcam archives which I thought I’d lost! I’ll add those pages to this website at some point too. But that might take a while coz I’d created them using tables for the layout… *eek*! Yeh.. I’m so glad I’ve moved on from those dark days…more » Posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Can it ever be?
So I was listening to Keyshia Cole whilst writing these lyrics. Anyone wanna come up with a melody? I suck at writing melodies.
Can it ever be?
Will it ever be?
Am I wasting my time?
Wasting your time?
I just got this feeling tonight
A distance between us
That you ain’t really there
Not really there
Boy I know you got commitments
A greater love before mine
And maybe I’m just being selfish
But I just can’t get over
This feeling that u ain’t ever
Never gonna be truly mine
The way I wanna be
And I just don’t know..
Can it ever be?
Will it ever be?
Am I wasting my time?
Wasting your time?
I just got this feeling tonight
A distance between us
That you ain’t really there
Not really there
Boy will u ever be free
Can we ever be, you and me
Boy I don’t want half of you
I need you, your love, your all
Can we ever be
The way we oughta be
I just don’t know..