Hip Hop dance progress

Since I started taking classes at Alchemy of Movement in Boulder I’ve been trying to improve my hip hop skills. I never studied the genre before. I’m expanding my vocabulary of steps, learning new transitions, picking up choreo faster, and generally loosening up my muscle carriage.

Today I took a 2 hour workshop aimed at the intermediate/advanced level. It was so fun! Exhausting and super sweaty too, but totally fun. We danced for over 2 hours. The only breaks were for 3 minutes of ab crunches routine on the floor, and another “break” with strutting/posing across the floor to refresh our brains.

We were told to wear baggy pants, a tight/small top, and an oversized jacket/coat/vest. For the small group filmed performances she separated us by jacket type and my vest group was relatively small. So I took the chance (with open doors and fans blowing) to dance without a mask for the first time in forever. Eep!

How fun was this?!?

Here’s some other choreo class videos from this spring:

The girl filming this for me missed our footwork, but you get the idea.
This was a really fun style. My feet and knees must not have been hurting much that day to be jumping so high.
This was another group of kids teaching k-pop choreo. (I think I look so tired because I already took an hour of zumba that morning, and the class vibes were uncomfortable). This k-pop class was better than the one I tried last year, but still pretty bad: weak warm-up and bad explanations. The teacher clearly learned the dance off of a youtube tutorial recently and couldn’t really perform or explain the steps like a real choreographer. Plus the class wasn’t fun. Like last time, I felt like I was intruding on a group of nervous friends at a university club. Here’s the original dance. It’s too bad I can’t find a really good k-pop class.
I was fighting a depression spell this week with the news of Moonbin’s death. My brain was a little slow linking the moves so my performance looks halting, but overall not bad.
One final vid from today. I was soo tired, I did NOT want to get on the floor at the end πŸ˜…

Mary Poppins with Jack

Jack did his first school musical this spring! He was on the “build crew” run by his beloved shop teacher, Ms. Nelson. He built several pieces for the set of Mary Poppins. Then he was picked from the whole pool of stage crew to be on the “running crew” where they do the set changes during the show.

It was a stressful 3 weeks going up to the show. The directors were not very good at communicating, and they brought in the running crew during the most stressful time of a show’s rehearsals. Jack put in many long hours after school to fulfill his commitment. After all that hard work he was planning to retire from the stage, and only do build crew again.

But lo, the magic of theater enchanted him. Once they had an audience and rehearsals were done, he had a great time doing the show. He also made some good friends that he’s sad will be moving on to other schools next year. I’m glad that he had a good experience in the end, with fond feelings for the experience. We’ll see whether he wants to do the running crew again next year. They are changing school hours from 7:20-2:20 to 9:00-4:00. So the club schedules are a mystery for now.

Jack is moving the triangular column on the right (stage left).

CHICAGO Trip! Day 2

After a late night of music and dance and talking, we slept in Saturday morning. Once again, desire for lunch got us out of the hotel and into an uber, whisking us to downtown Chicago. We had lunch at Nando’s. Ben and I had a great meal there when we came to Chicago a few years ago. The service was terrible and the food a little cold by the time everything came out. Still pretty tasty!

Next we walked through Millennium Park to spend a couples hours in the Art Institute. We breezed through the impressionists to study the interior furnishings gallery. I made a point to see my favorite piece from my last visit, Meekness by Eustache LeSueur. It’s quite stunning. I’d love to get a print of it with gold foil so it shines like the original.

I saw several young women I suspected of being fellow nctizens. I approached this group in the architecture gallery to compliment their photocard keychains. They lit up like Christmas lights and eagerly gushed with me about the concert. They were from Buffalo, NY and quite impressed I had come from Colorado. We talked about NCT Dream and other groups have seen live, or wish we had seen live. They were so cute, I’m glad Amanda took a secret picture of us.

I ducked into Uniqlo and indulged a few pieces – so sad that the Uniqlo in Denver closed! Then we took a car to the Magnificent Mile for dinner at Sayat Nova Armenian Restaurant. We almost walked into the gay bar next door, but a friendly stranger re-oriented us just in time (would have been fun!). I’ve never had Armenian food, but it was similar to other Middle Eastern fare. The food was plentiful and delicious. My star item was a simple lentil and carrot soup – so good!

We walked a few blocks to Eataly for dessert. I was enticed by the chocolate truffles and fancy candied fruits as well, taking some home to enjoy later.

Stuffed and exhausted, it was time to return to the hotel. We had early flights the next day so we couldn’t stay up all night again.

I had such a fun trip! I’m so happy Amanda and Jason came with me to the concert and guided me around Chicago. I see why Amanda loves to travel with Jason. I really hadn’t spent much time with him before. He’s a delightful travel companion and conversationalist. All in all, it was a fabulous mini-vacation!

μ•ˆλ…•, μ‹œμΉ΄κ³ 

CHICAGO Trip! Day 1 = NCT Dream!!!

Two weeks ago I got to take another weekend excursion for k-pop, friends, and city wandering. This time we got to see NCT Dream. Amanda and Jason tagged along as cultural observers. Originally we planned to see a show at Lookingglass Theater the same weekend, until they unfortunately ended the show run early. So sad! Even so, Chicago had more than enough activities to fill a day.

Thursday night Amanda and I took an evening flight out of Denver. Our hotel was very close to the airport and the arena, so we easily checked in and had a good night’s sleep. Friday we chatted and watched k-pop while wearing our crowns (because why not??). Jason arrived midday. We continued visiting at the hotel until forced to adventure out for lunch. I found a unique place nearby called Jibarito Time. They claim to be a Chicago specialty, making Puerto Rico style sandwiches on plantains instead of bread. I love sandwiches, local specialities, and enthusiastic employees who are proud of their food, so this was a total win for me.

Back at the hotel, we took a short rest. I walked next door to Target for some toiletries and gawked at the enormous line outside the arena that had already formed for GA tickets and early merch booth. I forced Amanda and Jason out of their naps for some concert prep – temporary tattoos! They stopped for dinner at the Naf Naf Grill on our way to the show.

We joined the line for seated tickets and admired all the outfits by fellow concert-goers. I love how everyone dresses up for the shows! Once inside, I found a merch booth and bought a T-shirt (with free photocard!). The crowd seemed to skew younger and more predominantly female than the other k-pop concerts I’ve attended. They were polite and excited and friendly, passing out lots of freebies. I picked up a bracelet, fake photocard, and banner while standing in line.

Time for the show!

Hmm, this was a fun show, but I had to admit that Seventeen are far superior. As I taught Amanda and Jason in my pre-trip messages, NCT Dream are a weird group from a weird company. The members are very young and I don’t think they were very good at working a live audience. The dancing and singing were EXCELLENT, as expected. The sound mixing wasn’t great. I had a hard time hearing the music compared to other shows. Overall kind of muffled (but still blaring loud – earplugs required!). Still, the music was great and they performed almost all my favorite NCT Dream songs.

Once again I got a lightstick for the show and it was so fun. Being a part of the light show is such a great way to enhance concert experiences.

The dancing was really good. I expected them to cop out on some of the harder choreo, but they did My First and Last full out! They got serious air on all the jumps in Trigger the Fever – I was so scared for them slipping on the confetti, but somehow they danced that one to the max as well.

They took a group selfie and I spotted the three of us. Open full image in a new tab to see. They also posted some official photos taken during the concert, and I found us there too!

I had a fabulous time. I love seeing and talking with the fans, interacting with other people who love this music as much as much as I do. I love sharing k-pop with friends and showing them this weird slice of culture.

κΈ°λ‹€λ Έμ–΄ μ–΄μ„œ 와 I’ve been waiting, come on
μ–΄λ””λ“  we’re coming together Wherever we’re coming together
아무 κ±±μ • ν•˜μ§€ 마 don’t worry about anything
잘 될 κ±°μ•Ό hello future It will be fine, hello future

New kitchenette flooring

Continuing our streak of plumbing disasters, the morning after we returned from Seattle, Ben found a large puddle/mini floor in the basement.

We couldn’t see an obvious source for the water. We always suspected there was a drain in the floor, so I started slashing away the carpet. Nothing. Just ancient vinyl and a concrete floor. I slashed farther, trying to find the dry borders. Not the walls, not the fridge, not the boiler-room…we had no idea where it came from. We set up fans to dry the room and puzzled on the source.

Later I showed the kids the problem and noticed a slightly raised portion after it had dried out. I dug into the spot and lo, a drain! Huzzah! The concrete had been blended into some kind of subfloor, maybe gypsum board, to make a level surface over the drain.

We had a plumber snake the drain, as well as the main line leaving the house. We decided to repair the floors ourselves. It took a long time, devoting an afternoon here, a morning there, to each step of the repairs.

I’m very happy to have the project done, 7 1/2 weeks after the flood. We’re happy to have the drain uncovered and waterproof flooring around it. Curses to the previous homeowners who thought covering a drain is a good idea!! Idiots!

SLC with the Walkers

Last weekend we went to Salt Lake City to have a fun day with our friends, Nate and Miranda. No other reason, just that I missed them and asked for us all to get together for a short trip.

SLC is such a cute city. We went from cafe to shop to restaurant all day. Lots of catching up and laughter with good friends. I had a great time. Only it made me miss the days when we could hang out casually all the time.

The kids did very well taking care of themselves and the cats while we were gone for 48 hours. Amanda kindly stopped by to check on their health and safety, before taking them to throw axes and eat donuts. What a good aunt!

7th Grade Cello Concert

Tonight I attended Jack’s winter concert. This was his first concert playing the cello. He did excellent! No surprise, given that he was recently awarded the first chair position. I took videos, sorry if they are blurry from the low lights.

We emerged from the school into our own snowy woods, with fat wet flakes falling fast. At home, Jack enjoyed a Blizzard ice cream that Ben brought him to celebrate the concert.

Official and Unofficial Science Projects

Jack has been working hard on his science fair project for the last month. He had a difficult time coordinating with the school schedule to get data from fellow orchestra students, but in the end he put together a really great project. He measured the decibel levels of the orchestra stringed instruments to see which was the loudest.

Recently Sam’s class had another Makey-Makey STEM unit. They built talking boards. He immediately came home to make his own. He noted how great it was that I had cardstock and even metal brads in our office supplies, and Scratch Jr coding already on his home chromebook – it helps to have a crafty mother and nerdy father.

He demoed the board to Ben, and then he lost the data on his computer before I could see it. Poor guy was disheartened. Kids these days rely on auto-save too much! Meanwhile, I had been 3d printing cases for the classroom Makey-Makey sets. When I got a new printer bed (it had cracked), I made a case for Sam’s Makey-Makey out of special glow-in-the-dark PLA filament.

That gave him the motivated he needed to rebuild the code. Once complete again I had him give me a full tour of his project:

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