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Watching New Dancers; Two Good Classes

It’s Cultural Pass day here, which means the classes at the school studio are free, so of course I grabbed an extra class.

Advanced Class[1] ends at 10:30, leaving me two hours to sort out before Beginning/Intermediate class. I ran some errands, then settled down to watch the Intro class.

  1. Not free, because it’s in the main studios downtown and attracts a different crowd.

It was fascinating: there were a couple of ringers in there (one girl from BG’s Spring Collection, one girl who I’ve seen in every class but Advanced), but many of the dancers were clearly new, and they all used different strategies.

Some of them sketched the idea of the steps, dancing through the combinations even if they aren’t yet entirely technically correct.

Some of them worked with great precision, focusing on placement and articulation, even if it means the feeling of dancing isn’t quite there yet.

Some fell somewhere in between.

I would wonder which strategy works better, only I think you have to use the one that works for you. 

I’m evolving into a technical dancer, but I’ll always belong at heart to Team Just Flail On Through; Team Fake It ‘Til Ya Make It. 

My friend T, meanwhile, belongs to Team Build It ‘Til You’ve Killed It (in a good way). She’s only been dancing for three years, but I admire her lovely placement and her beautiful precision.

~

Anyway, both classes went quite well today, though I had issues remembering the grand allegro in advanced class.

After advanced class, JB rolled up to ask if I was taking this week’s master class, and told me that I’ve come a really long way this season; to keep at it and take class as much as I can and keep working. He actually used the phrase, “The sky’s the limit.” 

He’s the second person who’s said that to me in the past twelve months or so, and it means rather a lot coming from him (meant a lot coming from Dr. K, too). I used to be really nervous around him, because he’s so freaking good. I don’t have quite the level of Hero Worship going on with him that I do with BW, but I also haven’t seen him dance as much.

In BG’s class, everything went smoothly and well (okay, except the part where my left shoe twisted during a turns combination). 

The final combination was a lovely medium allegro—

sissone faillie, assemble; sissone faillie, assemblé; sissone faillie, assemble, plié and hold;

piqué arabesque, step step, grand assemble en tournant, repeat, walk off

—and those sissone faillie, assemblé bits finally felt good. I also managed not to turn my grand assemble en tournant into entrelacé. Much as I can do any turn inside out and backwards, I can turn almost any jump with rotation into entrelacé. SMH.

Killer B is right: when I do my GAET correctly, doubles are possible. Now if I could just overcome my big stupid mental block about double tours, since they’re almost the same thing…

Anyway. I’m back to feeling like a reasonable ballet boy with a reasonable dose of talent. Turns are improving (did a double en dehors in attitude from 4th today by accident whilst marking a turny adage; couldn’t reproduce the result, but at least I know it’s physically possible for my body now 😛 Jumps are improving. Turny jumps, unsurprisingly, are also improving.

Even my arms are getting their act together, bit by bit. I really wish I could repost BG’s video from the class with all the sissones—the bit where I, like, flap my arms when I start to get tired is pure comedy. Swan lake, indeed.

More like Pelican Beach. Pelicans are heckin graceful once they get going, but their departures and arrivals tend to be less than balletic.

So that’s today. JMG tomorrow, and I’m probably going to sign up for this week’s masterclass, since I’m here. I think it’s well worth the $100. I’m hoping to take Philip Velinov’s as well, but that depends on auditions.

Oh, and I managed to do the dreaded attitude tour lent en dehors straight into attitude tour lent en dedans without falling over. That was in JB’s class; in BG’s,we did the same thing, but at passé, AKA the single hardest way to do tours lent[2]. So there’s that, too.

  1. Tour lent is often called promenade, but our AD reserves the term promenade for the partnery version.
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A Few More Thoughts On Choreography; More Good(ish) Classes

D and I are now rehearsing our #Playthink piece.

It’s actually going much better than I expected it to.

As one does, I’ve re-written essentially the entire piece now that I’m setting it on actual people and not just on myself prancing about in the studio and waving my arms to vaguely represent the acro moves.

Initially, I had one vision in mind. Because I was futzing around with it by myself, it involved a lot of ballet.

Now, of course, that has changed. I mean, there’s still ballet: there’s always going to be ballet because, hello, it’s me. That’s kind of what I do, apparently.

But choreography has a way of getting away from you. You begin with one vision, and as you actually create a dance and actually set it on actual people, it transforms.

I suppose that this is because, in a way, a dance is sort of a living thing. It’s a little like having a child (though, of course, on a very different scale) or maybe an elaborate pet. You might think, of a horse, “I’m going to train this horse to be the best cow pony ever,” but the horse might actually not be any good at being a cow pony. It might turn out to be a dressage beastie or something else[1].

  1. My philosophy on training horses was very much shaped both by my childhood trainer and also by the trainer of my friend’s lovely Arabian gelding, which began life as what the Arabian show world in the US calls a “park horse,” morphed into what the Arabian show word in the US calls an “English pleasure” horse, did a brief stint in Arabian-show-world western pleasure, and then eventually found his calling as an endurance racer. Basically, the lady who was responsible for training the horse felt that you needed to figure out which discipline suited the horse, and then train it to be as good as it could possibly be at that discipline. I think that’s a good way to do it.

Anyway. I digress.

So this dance is now almost a steady stream of rather-balletic acro and physical theater, and I’m okay with that. One of my goals was to build a dance that tells a story, and in this case, the story is kind of funny and implausible, and acro and physical theater are good ways to tell it.

I’m not going to try to force this dance to be something it isn’t. I have an entire lifetime in which to craft ballet pieces on ballet dancers (I keep joking that I have this entire three-act ballet in my head, now I just need about fifty dancers and a million dollars or so to get it off the ground … but, really, I do have an entire three-act ballet in my head, and it’s taking up a lot of space!). Right now, I’m working with one ballet dancer (me!) and one Denis, and that presents its own set of challenges and limitations.

Honestly, in creative work, it’s so often the limitations that free us to innovate (just as necessity—or, just as often, laziness—gives birth to invention).

The neat part is that this has led us to inadvertently create a new acro move. I mean, probably someone, somewhere has done it before, but I’ve never seen it. It happens to be one that requires that the flyer have a legit center oversplit (among other things), so probably there are a lot of people who can’t do it. Bony impingement is real, it’s just not something that I experience.

Anyway, the sequence involves moving from this:

stag

Kind of, erm, scorpion? thing…

…to this:

stag-x2

Double stag…

…to this:

superman

Superman? Deep sea dive? Front balance? Limbs bird?

…via returning to a standard vertical candlestick, then opening to a straddle and rolling down onto the base’s feet, and then rotating your legs back and around into the position above (the arms also have to do a thing, obviously).

The same basic end could be approached by moving from the vertical candlestick into a pike candlestick and lowering both legs down that way, but I don’t think it would look anywhere near as cool.

Annoyingly, when I snagged these screenshots, I completely failed to get one of the straddle transition. At the time, I think I was like, “A still photo of this isn’t going to impart any useful information.”

Anyway, you really have to have a perfectly flat straddle for this particular sequence so you don’t just rip your legs off, because your hips take a lot of your weight in the middle of the transition. Basically, if lying face down in a center split feels stretchy, this isn’t the sequence for you.

You also kind of need really good turnout in order to do the rotation bit.

The fact that D literally cannot straighten his legs in an L-base also means that I kind of drop myself onto his feet. Eventually, I’ll reach a point at which I can do a complete smooth rolldown whilst upside-down in a full center split, which will make things a little easier, but right now there’s a gap between the end of my smooth rolldown and the end of Denis’ range of motion (because my core strength is still only pretty good, and not completely awesome).

I wanted to use a sort of grand rond de jambe as an exit, but that also takes more adductor power than D has right now. If I bring my downstage leg to second, then rond it over, the force makes his right leg (which supports my left hip) shift, and I fall off 😀

We’ll get it eventually, but not in the next two weeks.

So there’s that.

Anyway, classes were good-ish yesterday and today.

Yesterday’s, in fact, was fairly lovely. Today’s was our first Advanced Class with JAB (OMG, his initials are seriously JAB!!! XD), who really does actually give an advanced Advanced Class.

On the upside, I’m finally (FINALLLLLYYYYYY) jumping again for real: grand allegro and everything. Cabrioles with turny bits, even (though I think I kept turning them into some kind of cabriole-scissor hybrid and landing on the wrong leg).

On the other hand, possibly because I went to a party last night and didn’t get to sleep ’til almost 4 AM (and then had to wake up and eat a sandwich, which was surreal because I was still pretty tipsy and more than half asleep), my brain was for the birds today.

I struggled because there were gaps in my recall of Every. Single. Combination. once we left the barre. The bits that came off, though, mostly went pretty well (except for a weird disaster in adagio during which I basically fell off my leg and then couldn’t get back on because gravity is the worst thing sometimes).

I also hit up a new class at Suspend, which is basically floorwork for acro.

You already know how much I love floorwork, soooooo…

Anyway, we got to break out our improv for the last 10 minutes of class, which resulting in some video that’s party really cool and partly like WHY DO YOU KEEP NOT COMPLETING THE MOVEMENTS WITH YOUR ARMS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

But, anyway, here are a few nice shots from this morning’s video, just because I like them:

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Also, I feel like in the arch picture, my butt looks like a couple of angry badgers having a fight. Muscular angry badgers, though.

The tape, by the way, is just there because a tree stabbed me in the foot yesterday :/

Anyway, I was being annoyed with myself for not making the effort to do quadruple turns today, and then realized that I’ve somehow, like, sideswiped my ballet goals without realizing it. Like, basically, I’ve made a significant dent in them and didn’t even notice.

Basically, one of my major goals for this year was to nail down reliable triples and unreliable quadruples, basically. And, bizarrely, I have achieved that goal. I had this weird epiphany on the way home from class yesterday: I realized that, like, a year ago or so, even doing one little triple turn more or less by accident was the most amazing thing ever.

And now I’m like, “Meh, triples, yawn,” when I don’t try for quads.

So, basically, I need to pause and appreciate how much progress I have made.

For what it’s worth, I’ve also got turns in second sorted. They’re not always beautiful (or, let’s be honest, even pretty), but I can always do them. Just not always sixteen of them.

So, yeah. There you go. I feel like I’m “back,” more or less, right now.

Of course, Choose Your Own Intensive begins Monday, soooo… . .  .

Forget The Moon, Memory’s A Harsh Mistress

Okay, confession taimz. 

In class on Thursday and Sunday, I caught my balancé in the mirror and thought, “Hey, that looks really nice!” And I gave myself a mental pat on the back[1].

  1. Don’t worry, my humility was immediately restored on Thursday when I couldn’t remember which was my left leg on the return trip and again on Sunday when I traveled too much, did too many loose-canon chaînes (which, for some reason, my legs insisted on doing in fifth), and lame-ducked myself right into a fecking doorframe.

This has been fairly consistent of late, at least when I remember to make note of which flavor of balancé I’m supposed to do. 

If, on the other hand, the choreography calls for leading off with arrière and instead you travel à gauche, your beautiful balancé will shortly turn into an awkward evasion[2] as you attempt not to crash into the poor soul who has rolled up to go behind you in your group.

  1. I, for one, favor the “jump straight up like you’ve just been stung” approach, particularly when you’re supposed to be channeling Balanchine. I feel it fits well with the glittering verticality of Mr. B’s style. For a more Russian approach, however, gracefully and dramatically collapsing to the ground might be a better fit: the Russian style places so much emphasis on expression and character, after all. Or I suppose one could simply try to remember the entire combination.  

    Either way, I’ve grown rather pleased with my balancés, and it seems that in the process I’ve forgotten what bastardy horrors they were to re-learn.

    Tonight, an old entry of Dorky’s reminded me of how gum-blisteringly weird balancés feel before you brute force  finagle your way into them, and how infuriating that can be given that they look like such a natural, breezy step. 

    Of course, I say all of this after first receiving the Secret Brute Force Balancé Hack from BG, and then being constantly corrected and guided and occasionally actually manhandled until my balancés, too, look springy, fluid, and effortless.

    Which, it turns out, more or less seems to sum up the way one learns ballet. Each step, each skill, is drilled into one’s bones by a process of repetition and refinement that begins with, “I’ll never find it! Never, never, never!” passes through the murky waters of, “I can do this, ish, but I suck at it,” to the Island of, “Hey, I don’t even really suck at this anymore!” and eventually to the distant port of, “I’m actually kinda good at this, though not as good as X Famous Dancer/Company Member /Turns Girl (to borrow someone from Yorksranter)/Adagio Wizard/Jumps Boy[3].”

    1. “Jumps Boy” is the role I’m growing into in my own cohort of Ballet Nerds. It sounds better than “Impulsive Grand Allegro Fanatic.” 

    And in time, you lose the savor of those early days of struggle. 

    And then Memory comes along and slaps you with a dead salmon and says, “Oh, you’re not so great! Here, have an outtakes reel of everything horrible you’ve ever done with balancés!” 

    And for a minute, you stand there gobsmacked, because Memory really is a first-rate b*tch sometimes. 

    And then you realize that the very fact that you can even be horrified at how very, very bad you were at balancés means that you’ve come far enough to know how very bad you were, which is at once terrifying (“One year from now, I am going to cringe so hard about literally everything I think I know how to do right now o____O'”) and edifying (“But you guys! Look how much LESS BAD I am now than I was one year ago!”).

    Oy, vey. Last year, amirite? 😂😂😂 (Not actually a balancé.)


    So there it is. Pretty much the whole reason that ballet is Not For Everyone (even though, in a greater sense, it is for everyone): you need a strong stomach for your own shortcomings; an ability to say, “Well feck this right out the window; it is literally the most unreasonable thing,” after class on Tuesday, then show up anyway on Wednesday, because somebody has to show the newcomers how it’s (not) done. 

    Knockin’, Rehearsal #2

    Set two more segments of the dance tonight and ironed out half the costuming issue. 

    I say “set,” but they’re really only half-set, as we didn’t run them with music (we were all too tired to screw around with all that). I did set them with the music in my head, though.

    I have another phrase in my head, but I don’t feel like I’m quite hitting what I’m trying to say, so I’m going to sit on that one this week.

    This piece is very adagio and really quite serious, which means we need to approach it a little carefully to prevent accidental silliness. 

    Screenshot from

    From last Monday. Prolly the only preview for a while. This is how people attitude when they’re half asleep (seriously, I think my eyes are literally closed!), which is what happens when the only feasible slot for rehearsals is at 9:30 PM on Monday  😉

    ^This is actually right at the beginning of this dance. Which is good, because this movement begins on one knee and one foot and involves pressing sloooooowly up into attitude without falling on each-other. The supporting leg basically does all the work getting you from “on bended knee” up to attitude (and then you arabesque, and then you penché, and then you failli…). In short: engage all the things.

    Definitely the kind of thing you want at the beginning rather than the end (not that I’m any nicer at all to us about the end). 

    It’s a screenshot from a video, btw, hence the slightly pixelated image quality. 

    Killer Class: In Which It Comes Back Bit By Bit

    Also, it is not easy to eat your lunch with 16 pounds of cat in your lap. At least not when your lunch is ziti with red sauce and the cat insists on interfering with your working arm(1). Just saying.

    1. You might be a dancer if the best way you can think of to describe your arms in the act of dining is as “working arm” and “supporting arm”…

    Anyway, I felt stronger and better than last week, though still a bit chaotic. On the other hand, the part of my brain that perceives what’s happening deep in my hips came back online in the midst of doing frappés on relevé. Since I was doing them en relevé very much in hopes that such a miracle might occur, it was quite satisfying.

    Also, my coupé balances were boss.

    I forgot to mention that my brain re-engaged with my turnouts yesterday thanks to modern class. That, the work I’ve been doing on balances, and the input Killer B gave me last week all coalesced to allow long, steady coupé balances avant and arrière on both sides.

    That actually surprised me.

    My turns, on the other hand, were basically a roving disaster (or, they were during terre-a-terre). Too much attack, not enough preparation, and I kept panicking because I had assembled the combination in the wrong order in my brain (today was not a great day for remembering combinations, for me).  In short, there was a thing where you piqué soutenu turn into sus-sous, pick up the front leg directly into extension, give it a breath, and tombé onto it. It was lovely, but I couldn’t remember to which of the two piqué soutenu turns in the combination it was attached, and consequently kept getting myself muddled.

    As such, I did the first side twice; once in the first group (nobody else stepped up, so I went even though I knew that I didn’t know the combination), then once in the last group.

    New Boy came back, and he now has a name, which begins with F. I can’t remember his surname, but I suppose he can be New Boy until he’s come back to class one more time. After that, I’ll have to figure something else out. Perhaps that will be my new rule for naming people. They can be New Person until they establish themselves as regulars by attending at least three Killer Classes without dying.

    I wound up unintentionally attached to New Boy’s group as a function of having repeated the first side of the terre-a-terre. I just basically stayed there afterwards—partly because it seemed weird to run back around to the front of the group, and partly because it gave me time to watch the combination a million times.

    still did it incorrectly at least once more, but that was a function of the fact that learning by doing is, for me, more powerful than learning by watching (also figured out that one of the things I’d been doing was turning too far on the first piqué soutenu and facing the wrong corner of the “box” (basically, turning to effacé instead of croisé).

    At least petit allegro went surprisingly well today, though, so there’s that? We did a little combination that went sisson simple-sisson simple-tombé coupé-assemblé, changement-changement-echappé, changement-changement-changement-entrechat quatre.

    I may have too many changements in that last little phrase, come to think of it.

    For once, my legs not only grokked sisson simple, but also grokked tombé coupé-assemblé. I forgot the echappé once on each side, though, because…I don’t even know why, actually.

    It’s not like I can’t normally do those steps, by the way. I’m just not great at doing them cleanly and at speed. As such, this is progress, particularly since I haven’t been doing anything speed-work wise.

    Ran into BW after class. I’m looking forward to his class (and modern) tomorrow. After that, I’m looking forward to sitting on my behind on Friday 😛

     

    Break (Almost) Week; Reflections on Renversés and Choreography as a Process

    Saturday, I spent four hours teaching, several more hours scraping paint, and two hours composing choreography before we went to a party that was actually very fun. Sunday, after acro and Acro Brunch, I spent an hour running choreography, then another hour teaching, and then untold æons (with, so really an hour and change, maybe two) standing on a ladder and painting the house while my hands froze in a chill wind in spite of my gloves(1).

    1. Note to self: wear winter cycling gloves next time. They’re wind-resistant.

    As such, I opted to stay in this morning, do housework, and take evening class instead) even though I should really get back to doing Modern Mondays). 

    The piece I was working on Saturday evening and a Sunday is essentially a 5-minute long comedic story ballet set to the 2nd movement (adagio cantabile) of Beethoven’s Pathétique. I programmed in a few renversés, and I realized while I worked the piece that not so long ago I wouldn’t have even thought of them. They just wouldn’t have occurred to me. 

    BW and JP have really tuned up our renversés this semester, and as such they seem perfectly natural now. I put them in more or less by instinct where the music calls for them and the movement leads to them.

    This is, in fact, true of a lot of movements in the classical vocabulary. Many things feel perfectly natural now that wouldn’t have a year ago. 

    I think I’ve discussed my tendency to get get to the studio and instantly forget every step I’ve ever learned, then devolve upon programming a bunch of piqué turns and ronds-de-jambe (sometimes while thinking, “How do I get to the jumps?! Ack!”).  I also used to open every adagio piece with essentially the same sequence of développés and adagio turns that open Simon Crane.

    Somewhere along the line, that seems to have changed.

    This surprised me. Ballet is funny like that. It creeps up on you, and one day you discover that you are far more fluent in its language than you thought.

    As a caveat, I must admit that I don’t know if it works this way for people who are genuinely new to dance. I think it might take a little longer in the situation, possibly. For me, the vocabulary was there but largely dormant; I could picture a dance, but when I tried to essentially run dance.exe to execute the dance, it was as if I couldn’t access the necessary files and code.

    Taking class again for the better part of three years has apparently done a great deal of hard disk repair, kicking out the bad sectors and improving the connections between the good ones. The dynamic link libraries are once again accessible; the modules of code that create renversés  and cabrioles are no longer in the land of File Not Found (double cabs continue to elude me: goal one for 2017, I guess; double tours are probably goal two). 

    When I go to create a piece that’s floating around in my head, I rarely lose the piece anymore. The vision and the finished dance usually match pretty well. I still mostly work phrase by phrase — visualizing, iterating, visualizing, iterating, then moving to the next phrase when the current one one seems solid, then eventually stringing them together into parts and finally stringing the parts together into a dance — but that may simply be my work style.

    It also really helps to be able to remember the names of things. Makes writing them down much easier. The downside, though, is that I can now stay up till 1:30 AM listening to music and writing out choreography, knowing that in the morning it will still make sense. Or maybe that’s another upside, because it’s not like choreography didn’t keep me awake before. It just rarely turned out to be particularly intelligible in the cold light of day(2).

    1. Seriously, while working with BB, I have actually said things like: Why did I just write “effacé” there?! Éffacé what?! How? What does that mean? …Did I even mean éffacé? … Wait, I don’t think I meant éffacé.

    So I’m pleased to say that this current piece, which I’ll be performing on 9th December if I can convince a couple of people to join me (there’s a second, far less technical dancing part and one brief non-dancing part), is not just a sequence of RDJs and random turns (it has arabesques, penchés, faillis, renversés, double turns, sautés arabesques, tours lent, and some other stuff, not to mention a grand allegro chase scene in the middle). Progress!

    In other news, this week will largely be a break week, which means I’ll have time to catch up on household minutiae and start rehearsing “Work Song,” possibly, if everyone is available. After tonight, both dance team and ballet are off until next week. This will be a good week for reconditioning. You guys, I am weak. Between vacation and being sick, I have lost a lot of strength and stamina. 

    So it’s back to eating for performance (with, of course, occasional digressions into the realm of pure pleasure) and training for … Erm,  also for performance.

    And housework, because adulting never ends. 
    Edit: PS – Señor BeastMode would probably like me to remind you that:

    Renversé is not a turn.

    In Which Things Are Accomplished

    In addition to submitting my audition registration forms, today I:

    • tidied and vacuumed my living room (oy vey)
    • got promoted to Trapeze 3 (BOOYAH!)
    • got oversplit back on the right side (though I suspect that me try to figure out how to get a yoga block under my front foot while in a full split probably made for a pretty hilarious floor show)
    • hung out with friends and ate ice cream

    This was one heck of a good day, people. Now I’m going to bed so I’ll be well rested for class tomorrow 🙂

    Belated Essentials Class Notes; Weight Bias Online Open Course on Canvas

    I don’t think I posted notes the last time I went to class, back before Spring Break and the Week of the Plague (we were both sick last week; fortunately, I was spared the fate of a follow-on bronchitis, unlike Denis). It was lovely, though I was not entirely at my best. There was a new guy, who we’ll call T. It was his third class, and he was doing quite well, so I hope he’ll stick around, and that I’ll see him in class on Friday morning this week.

    Last night, we had another new dancer in Margie’s class. Margie asked me to lead her barre, and I subsequently realized I need to remember to keep a hand on the barre when leading a totally new student. In Margie’s class, I often work hands-free, in order to refine balance and stuff. It never occurred to me that a really new dancer might not realize that it’s okay to keep a hand on the barre, but that’s exactly what happened.

    My balance was a little off, since I have some lingering fluid-in-the-ears stuff going on, but other than that I did well. Because I hadn’t been in class the prior week, I was also able to see myself with fresh eyes; I realized that my body has changed profoundly in the year I’ve been back in the studio.

    My thigh muscles are leaner than I ever expected them to become, which is surprising (my calves are still huge, but no longer “out of spec” with regard to the classical-ballet mold). I’ve regained the flexibility I lost while alternating between sitting at a desk and training for bike races. My arms have learned how to be expressive and graceful.

    For me, Margie’s class is now all about refinement and musicality. It’s actually invaluable in that regard.

    Once school is out, I plan to keep Margie’s class in the Friday morning slot in my class rotation. Monday and Wednesday mornings, I’ll be doing Intermediate class, and Saturday morning I’ll be doing Beginner class (I’m not quite confident enough to try flailing my way through the Saturday-morning Advanced class yet!).

    I will probably skip Wednesday evening class this week because I’m working on my final paper for my Buddhism class — as I said to Denis, I’ve reached “the boring part,” during which I’m basically just putting in all the references I didn’t enter as I wrote the paper because I was writing it on my tablet and tabbing back and forth was a PITA. That falls right into the range of work that is the most challenging for someone with my particular flavor of ADHD, so I’m giving myself time and room to work on it.

    Of course, since I know I need to do it and I know it’s boring and I know it’s hard, my brain is also busily suggesting a million other things that I also need, with various levels of urgency, to do. Like, “Hey! It’ll only take a few minutes to complete the updates you need to do for the PorchLight Express Project! Plus, you need to work on that mini-article for Jack Rabbit Speaks! And you still need to take a picture of the trainer you’re offering up for the raffle for CabalAid! If you do those, you’ll feel productive, and that will help you with your paper!”

    Well played, ADHD. I see what you’re trying to do, here. (But maybe I’ll do a couple of those things anyway, because I am someone who feeds on the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing things.)

    In other news, I’m taking a free, 5-week online course offered by Dalhouse University on Canvas Network called “Behind the Scenes: Addressing weight bias and stigma in obesity.”

    It looks really cool, and I’m very heartened by the fact that one of the readings for this, our first class week, is a paper from one of my favorite researchers. Dr. Rebecca M. Puhl is a prolific researcher in the field whose work kept popping up as I reviewed the literature upon which I would found my Senior Seminar project; I think I wound up citing four or five papers on which she was either a lead or one of two lead investigators.

    Anyway, if you’re interested in the course, it’s not too late to sign up (and you can create a Canvas account for free)! I wish I’d thought to post a link earlier. It really looks like it’s going to be a great class.

    Here’s a link, if you’re interested in checking out the course:
    https://www.canvas.net/browse/canvasnet/dalhousieu/courses/weight-bias-stigma-in-obesity

    Those of you working in the health-care professions may even be able to gain Continuing Education or Professional Development units. A certificate of Completion costs $50 Canadian and provides 15 PD units.

    If you don’t have time to take the class but would like to follow along with the participants, we’ll be using hashtag #weighbiasaware on Twitter.

    Speaking of Professional Development and Continuing Education, I have some long-term plan updates that I’ll be posting in a bit. Nothing particularly drastic, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic about my road forward now thanks to a chat with Dr. Morgan yesterday morning.

    That’s it for now. Keep the leather side down, and don’t forget to ride your bike!

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