Wednesday, November 30, 2011

White Christmas, Black Friday

For the first time in my life, I decided to attend a Black Friday sale last week. Usually this is a weekend long event that I spend locked in my house working on homework, projects, and what have you instead of elbowing my way through the sales racks.  This was my first Thanksgiving as a non-student so I thought, "What the heck! I'll give it a shot!" I'll admit, I've been afraid to venture out into the public most Black Friday weekend sales before and I may think thrice about doing that again.

Well, this year I was in the market for a new T.V.  Dad gifted me with a tube television when I graduated high school and it's time for it to retire. It works really well. It's just that, well, the thing is huge and heavy. There's also that slight problem that it only functions with a VHS tape in the VCR otherwise it makes this horrifying grinding noise and shuts off. Funny that I have to keep said tape in there doesn't actually play tapes. Go figure. I guess my VCR just wants to munch on one.

So I picked myself out a nice T.V. at Target. I saved my pennies and watched the sales. I also had a $100 gift card to Target that I've been holding on to for over two years so I could buy something big and long-lasting. In short, I was ready to shop!

Thanksgiving night, Dad and I hopped in the car and headed out to Target for their mid-night opening. I needed a body guard and Dad said he was up for the adventure. Armed with a thermos of coffee and our White Christmas spirit, we patiently waited in the winding line outside while they let small groups in every few minutes. As we walked in, it became very apparent that MANY other people had been waiting for these dales as well.

We dodged cart after cart of crazy shoppers hurrying through the store. The lines were nuts, tons of folks jumping around with the arms loaded down and kids loose in the aisles. Oh kids. Dad and I waited in the electronics line for over an hour with this annoying eleven year old child yammering on and on about who knows what. A mixture of excitement for being out past his bed time and the impatience of a never ending line added up to his enthusiastic chatter. 

On a side note (and I have to remember this or else I feel I'd forgotten the joy of Christmas spirit entirely.), Sir Talksalot's mother was farther ahead in the electronics line than we were. She kept saying to her son they were out of the iPod Touch players that he wanted. He was bummed, however, my elfish self spotted that his mother pulled a clever Santa Mama move. She had the lady in front of her pay for the iPod Touch for her kiddo to make it look like they ran out just before she could pay. Props to you, Lady. I bet you have a tough time keeping surprises from your freakishly talkative kid. He's going to be so excited come Christmas morning. I'm glad I don't have to hear about it. 

Anyway, back to the story. After waiting for over an hour I find out that Target ran out of my sales T.V. For real. No Santa fibbing. Sad day. I told Dad our unfortunate news and he braved the crowds to badger the employees and find out if there any were in in the back. Sure enough there were AND there were even some abandoned in carts along the aisles. What luck! 

We tell our happy cashier the good news and she looks at us like we're cracked, as if to say, "Girl, you boo-boo crazy! Sales T.V.'s left? Hah! Fat chance!" Then she tells me they're definitely out of T.V.'s and I should not have waited in THIS line for over an hour, that there was NO line for the sales T.V.'s. They were in women's intimate apparel the whole time. Women's imtimat...what the heck?! WHY DIDN'T I KNOW?!?! Of course. The T.V.'s should be in women's intimate apparel. Who wouldn't look for T.V. amongst bras and panties? Silly me. 

She informs me that I should have known where to get them because there were maps at the front of the store when we entered. Daddy's face at this point is priceless. 

"What maps?" I ask. "These maps," she says as she waves a green piece of paper in my face. At this time, Dad's coffee buzz has worn off. "A T.V. is an electronic. Why aren't they here in an electronics? If a T.V. is not an electronic, then what the hell is an electronic?" Good deduction there, Daddy-O. I was wondering the same thing. Still, the cashier just shimmes her little map at us. 

Squelching down the desire to bounce her head on the counter like a basketball, I calmly say to her, "Well, I'm here now. What can do you for this paying customer?" Oh but she can't do anything for me because I waited in the wrong line, I didn't have a map! Nothing can be done because I didn't have a map! 

For Pete's sake! This map is apparently akin to the Holy Grail! I can't do anything without a fancy, dancy green map! No longer sad, I am now Hacked with a capital "H." By this time it is 2:30 in the morning, my Christmas happy has left the building. So I did what any true-blue Black Friday shopper would do. Devoid of any Christmas spirit, I marched off to an abandoned cart, asked if the T.V. belonged to anyone (No, it did not.), and hauled it back to the cashier and said "RING ME UP! Please." 

The black cloud that settled over my head in what should have been a fun shopping experience was entirely too much for this Christmas elf to handle. Yes, I got my sales T.V. I succumbed to my inner animalistic shopper and nearly took out  a cashier. But by golly, I got my T.V. And Daddy only cursed twice. Quietly. 

For fear of ever coming in contact with my inner South Pole elf, I believe I will not be venturing out to a Black Friday shopping spree in the future. For real. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Procrastination Princess

Oh sure, I've blogged about procrastination before, but I had to share my new obsession: Pinterest.

If you're not familiar with this little treasure, check it out!

...(5 minutes later)...

Oh my gosh, all I have to do is just check the home page and I just get lost in the amazingness that is Pinterest! This is becoming a real problem.

Well, to be honest, I should be finishing up my work that I've put off until today. I'm so close to being done with my grade in-putting and here I am. On Blogger. Taking a mental break. Thought I'd update my little online journal for a few minutes since I seem to be on here less and less these days.

Pictures last Tuesday went swimmingly! I love the photographer we got, Apryl Ann Photography. She's a doll and I love her work. (Also love that it was in our price range.) We had an outdoor shoot and it was so fun to take pictures with Pyro Man! We don't have a ton of pictures together because I always forget to pull out my camera. I'm trying to be better about it.

I was worried we'd get rained out on our shoot day, but Mother Nature decided to cooperate. We did have one funny incident. We laid out a quilt to take pictures on and before we sat down this GIANT spider came crawling across our picnic scene. Being my calm, cool, and collected self, I began to shriek and yell out incoherent things whilst hoping from one patent leather pump to the other in order to attract the attention of my fiance.

"There's ah! Ohmygoodness!!! It's large! Ack! Spider! Sweet jeebus! A SPIDDDEEEER!" 

My communication skills are superb. Really. Taking note of my apparent problem, Pyro Man saved the day by happily tromping over the spider and sufficiently squishing it with his rugged boot. Brave fiance. I'm so glad I'm marrying a man who not only owns a washer and dryer, but is heroic enough to save me from large creepy, crawly things. 

Aside from our close encounter with nature, it was really fun. I'd been looking forward to this part of the engagement for so long and I can't wait to see the pictures when they come in! 

Pyro Man and I headed to Waco this weekend for a wedding he was in (Congratulations Eric and Jackie!). It was a beautiful ceremony and a great reception. Even made Pyro Man twirl me around the floor a couple times where we proceeded to take out several couples along the way. It's hilarious really. 

He tries to lead and then forgets he's leading so we inadvertently bump into another couple (or two). They, of course, look at me like I need to watch where I'm going when I can't because I can't see out the back of my head. Then Pyro Man and I try to get back on count, but he's lost count of what step he's on so we end up stepping on each other, falling all over the place. Me? I'm in a fit of giggles by this point in time because there's no saving it. But you know what, it doesn't bother me in the least bit. In fact, I'd tell you right now I have the best time "dancing" with him and I'd let him swing me around any day! (Guess that's true love right there!) 

Now I'm home, trying to work and he's off in New Mexico for the week hunting. Guess I'd better get my behind in gear and finish up my to-do's so I can enjoy the last of my Sunday night. I did remember to take a picture of Pyro Man and I before we left the wedding. So here's a picture to end the post!

Happy Sunday! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hello November! When Did You Get Here?

It's November! Turkey time! I love the month of November, but I guess I could honestly say I love every month with the exception of maybe January, March, or August. I feel those are transitional months. So not the point of this post!

October has flown by and I feel like I'm just now catching up with myself. There were so many things going on, weddings, holidays, dance concerts and master classes. Sadly, I missed one of my good friends wedding at the first of October. Here's a belated congratulations to Cassie & Ben!

A few weeks back I went to see a friend of mine get married in Oklahoma City. It was a a sweet ceremony and she was a beautiful bride!

Congratulations to Abby and Clint! 

Two weeks ago my dear friend Stacie got married in OKC and it was such a wonderful wedding! I tried really hard not to ball when she walked down the aisle, but I did shed some tears. Knowing Stacie prior to meeting her new husband, Wes, and seeing their relationship blossom somehow made the wedding that much more special. It was simply magically.

My best bud, Karley, flew in for Stacie's wedding and we got to spend lots of time together, which was fabulous! It is a rarity of us to see each other since she now lives in Pittsburgh. I loved spending time with Karley, it was truly a perfect visit! The best part about this particular weekend was that I got to spend time with some other OCU loves of mine--I'm ever so grateful for sweet friends!

Esther, Luis, Becca, Pedro, Me, & Karley

Gamma Phi Beta Reunion!  

Vicky, Me, Esther, & Karley 

Karley had some big news that I was happy to celebrate with her--SHE'S ENGAGED!!! 

After six years of dating, she and her honey are finally tying the knot next August! I'm so excited for her--I know I will be blubbering when she walks down the aisle. No joke.

Halloween was a whirlwind, but Karley and I got decked out to pass out candy to the cute trick-or-treaters!

I made Pyro Man promise to carve pumpkins with me with me earlier in the month. 

We carved up several good ones with his brother and sister-in-law, too! 

What else happened this past month? Oh yeah! The department I'm teaching for had a dance concert  last Friday. They did such a wonderful job and I was very proud of the students! I also got to teach a couple of master classes at a couple other colleges and had a ball with that! 

On to November and whatever that may bring! Pyro Man and I are taking engagement pictures tomorrow and I'm so excited about that!! EIGHT months from today we'll be saying our "I do's" and celebrating with friends and family. I cannot wait! 

Happy Monday everyone! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Costume Cuteness!

I really like Halloween. A lot. I love the fall colors, the cute decorations, carved pumpkins, and wonderful Halloween treats. Oh yeah, and of course, the costumes. As a kid, I was all about dressing up! I made sure to wear some pretty great ones.

When I was four, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. 
Yes, that is my sister and yes, she is a golden Hershey Kiss. 

There was the Spider when I was eight: 

One of my best, Wednesday from The Addams Family when I was five:  
Note, I even had my very own Thing! I love The Addams Family. Whatever I used to watch re-runs after kindergarten. 

My best and by far, my absolute favorite, Scarlett from Gone With the Wind

I insisted that my dress be purple instead of her green. Six year-old color preference. Mom did such a good job, almost total match, see:

This Halloween, I've decided to do something a bit different. I'm helping the fur children get into the Halloween Spirit. 

Piper's a Pirate!

Fiskars is a Joker!

Honey is going a pumpkin! 

 Don't be fooled, she's extremely excited about this!

What's your costume going to be this year? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Idgit Moment

Maybe it's because I've had a lot on mind lately. Maybe it's because my mind has walked out on me or my mind is on strike, arguing for more pay for the over time. Or maybe, just maybe it's because I'm thinking five steps ahead of where I need to be, but Wednesday I totally lost my mind and had a complete Idgit Moment.

Idgit (according to Urban Dictionary): An idiot.

An Idgit Moment (according to Julie): An event in which one does something without thinking causing a complicated, frustrating reaction that can only be resolved through a long and mentally painful process. Usually these problems could have easily been avoided had one's brain been properly present.

My Idgit Moment? Well, it took a couple a tries to build up to the big doozie. Here's a small scale moment: Tuesday afternoon I go out to purchase a pair of nude heels I needed for a particular event. Knowing this would be bigger than my usual $1.79 splurge on Chik-fil-a tea, I decided to use gift cards I had from Dillards. I go to Dillards, find perfect nude heels AND bonus, another pair of shoes I absolutely loved. I pay for said shoes and exit the store only to realize I did not use my gift card. Idgit. I could have saved a few bucks!

Here's the whopper. I finish teaching ballet on Wednesday, eating my lunch, checking emails on my computer when I notice that my computer battery is low. After checking my bag, I find that my charger is in my car. Okie-dokie, so I trot off to my car, carting all my junk with me and as I reach into my purse to grab my keys, I feel nothing. This is never a good sign.

I tear through my black-hole of a purse to come up empty so I turn my attention to my wheeled cart I towed with me. Nothing. Suddenly I'm panicked. Everything is on that key ring. My house keys, work keys, even my TWO car keys. Yes, I have two car keys.

*The Story of My Two Car Keys (I know you're riveted): My car key has a clicker attached to actual key. Last summer my clicker stopped working so I took my spare and attached it to my key ring. Now I had good clicker and bad clicker. Then I accidentally broke off the key from my good clicker. So I kept good clicker on the ring and used the bad clicker with the key. Well, both clickers went out and the bad clicker started cracking. To keep from the key breaking off the bad clicker like it did with my good clicker, I duct taped it together. Now I've got this:

Can we say jankity?

(Jankity: messed up, cheap, broken, crappy. Ok, I might have had fun with Urban Dictionary.)

BACK TO THE ORIGINAL STORY. Can't find my keys. I'm almost to the point of freak out, frantically searching around my car to see if they fell out. Then it hits me. Holy Hannah, my keys are locked in my car!

Sure enough, I plaster my face to the window of my care and behold, a lovely set of keys awaits my return.

There they sit, as if to say, "Please take me. I'm literally sitting on a silver platter!" Geez. Happily, what once was lost now is found. This, of course, creates mixed emotions; complete relief in finding my keys and complete annoyance in figuring out how to get said keys out of my locked car. Breaking in crossed my mind, but the after effects would be way too costly. So I did the next best thing: called for help.

Fortunately, Mom came to the rescue. Miraculously, I remembered where I stashed the extra broken key...

And Mom was able to bring it to me after my second class.

This says it all. 

On a good note, I did find my keys, my car didn't get stolen or broken in to, and it required only minimal amounts of bad words. I triumphantly unlocked my car, fell into my seat, and heaved a big sigh of relief. Then I realized I had sun visor facing foil side in. Idgit. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lovey Dovey

I'm in a lovey-dovey mood. Who knows why. Maybe it's because I'm getting married. Maybe it's because I spent a lovely weekend with my fiance celebrating the upcoming nuptials of two other love birds. Maybe it's because the seasons are changing, I don't know. I just flipped to my iTunes yesterday and found myself completely immersed in romantic tunes.

Music plays such an important part of my life (Hello, dancer!). It would seem impossible for me not to scour the web each week for more tunes or have a million different playlists to match every little mood I have. I love how a search leads me down a trail of wonderful songs, opening me up to new artists and genres, sparking new ideas for storytelling through choreography.

Anyway, I started looking up all-time classic wedding songs yesterday. Slowly I've been putting together a list of songs that make me think of my up-coming special day, any song that evokes a feeling of love, pure joy, and excitement. So far I have an eclectic mixture of things ranging from Phil Vassar to the Weepies, Louis Armstrong to Old 97's, Miranda Lambert to Frank Sinatra, even a few musical theater pieces. It doesn't really flow very well and the only thing in common with any of these songs is the way they make me feel. Doesn't matter though, playing these songs just makes me so stinkin' happy, I could care less about fluidity.

My search yesterday got me wondering what other love songs I'm missing out on. I want to know what everyone else considers as the ultimate romantic tune. Everyone has one. You know you have at least one song that when it plays, you automatically begin to swoon. The melody brings that perfect person to mind and slow smile spreads across your face as you imagine that special someone smiling back at you. There's a romantic scene that rolls through your head just humming the tune and as you sing the words softly, you feel your heart swell with feeling.

Gushy much? I know, but be honest, there's a song out there that has that same or similar affect on everyone. So what's yours?

Me? I have a few favorites I'll share for you before I hope off here. A little Frankie Valli, "Can't Take My Eyes off of You," Miranda Lambert's "Makin' Plans" is just plain wonderful, but my most favorite of all, Patsy Cline, "Always."

Tell me your favorite love song! Find your inner sap and let your romantic side show! Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Practice What I Teach

Ever had a moment when your mother turned to you and said, "Do as I say, not as I do." Well, I'm having a "motherly" moment, so to speak.

Since I've started teaching this Body Conditioning class, I've had to really take a good look at how I'm keeping up with my own personal body conditioning. It's one thing to have a personal regime to keep up with, one that only you know and follow. Now I'm somewhat under a microscope. I really need to step up my game, make sure I'm not slacking, and start following my own good advice. 

Uh-oh. Know what this means? No more cheating. No more skipping workouts. No more indulging on the sweet tea and Chik-fil-a sandwiches. OK, I sometimes eat their fries, too. I can't lie, I love them! *Sigh* Time to get tough. 

Not like I've never tightened my belt before, of course I have. It just means I have to resist the ever enticing giant red "C" that calls to me. Gosh, if that ain't a difficult enough, now I have to be conscious about it. So, where do I start with all this?

First thing is first. Diet. OK, now I've already got some pretty decent habits to work with, but I really struggle with lunch. It never fails that at lunch time I struggle to find something I want to eat. Let's be honest here, I like food and I want to enjoy every meal I eat. There's nothing worse than wasting calories on something you don't love. CanI get an "amen?!" (Amen!)

 This week I'm really going to try and make an effort to spruce up my lunch meals. So tomorrow I'm going to give this one a try: 

Peanut Butter & Fruit Wrap 
(Perfect for me, no?)

1/4 cup of peanut butter
2 whole wheat wraps 
1 banana & sliced (or apple or mango slices)
4 dried apricots (or any other dried fruit)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Spread two tablespoons on each wrap and then evenly distribute the fresh fruit and dried fruit. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the fruit and peanut butter before rolling up the wrap.

Supposed to be a great meal for on the go or a leisurely lunch. I'll let you know how my quest for better lunches turns out. Hope you all have a happy Hump Day! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn, Is That You?

It finally, finally cooled down a bit here in Texas. After so many sweltering days over 100*, one begins to worry if they will ever feel a cool breeze again. Naturally when the weather drops, I begin to day dream of warm sweaters, beautiful scarves, and gorgeous leather boots. And as usual, my day dreams about two months ahead of schedule. Silly girl, real fall weather doesn't hit Texas at least until October and true to it's nature, we're back up in the 90's today.

*Sigh* A girl can dream, right? In the mean time, I'll get myself prepared for the seasonal change with pumpkin spice lattes, apple spice scented Scentsy bars, and fall fashion magazines.

The wedding planning continues as Pyro Man and I search for the perfect honeymoon spot. This is becoming a real challenge for the both us as we work within our set parameters. Really we want to find a beautiful beach, enjoy the sand and sun, savor meals at delicious restaurants, try a few outdoor activities and relax for about so amount of money. So simple and yet so hard. He's been working pretty hard to find the right spot and we've got some good choices. It will all work out.

I'm on the hunt for just the right invitations. There are plenty of options out there but I'm pretty sure I've got an idea of what I want. I just haven't found it yet. The same goes for bridesmaid dresses, wedding shoes, flowers, table decorations, and so forth. I believe my mother is finding me to be a wee bit picky on some details. I prefer "particular" to "picky." Hey, it's a special day. You get out of something what you put into it! I want it to be something I look back on with a twinkle in my eye and a sigh of utter satisfaction.

School is going well and it's keeping me busy. I can't explain how satisfying it is to have a full calendar again. There's a sense of purpose every day I get up and make a to-do list rather than a lost feeling of "what am I doing?" I hate feeling a blue cloud of frustration linger over my head when I've got too much free time.

Before I sign off here for a quick pilates session, I do want to wish my mother a belated Happy Heart Day! She's going on 14 years since her open heart surgery! Yay Mom!

After the big day! The whole family came to wish her well! (Can you believe that tan, blond-headed thing in the cheerleading uniform is me? Goodness!) 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday and a good start to the week! Yesterday's remembrance reminded me to counting a few blessings and saying a few thank you's, hope it did for you, too! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Open Eyes

I just finished my first week of school, but this time from the other side of the table. I'm teaching at a local community college here in Dallas and so far I really like what I'm doing. They gave me two classes, Ballet I &II and Body Conditioning. I'm so lucky and"lucky" doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about having this job.

Due to budget cuts, a great deal of schools have been more interested in retiring rather than hiring. Add in the fact that I'm fairly new to the collegiate teaching world and it makes for a hard time landing anything. I keep plugging away though, searching online, sending resumes, writing cover letters, and saying a special prayer before each application goes out. I thank my lucky stars I got this job and that all my classes made. It always seems that things happen for a reason and most often they work out just the way they're supposed to. Thank goodness for that.

Anyway, my first week as a collegiate educator. How was it? Fabulous. Nerve wracking. Wonderfully terrifying. Exceptionally challenging. Though provoking. Blissfully satisfying. Definitely eye opening.

When I was offered to teach Ballet and Body Conditioning, I tried to keep in mind that I would be working with a variety of students. There would be high school students earning dual credit in class. I'd also have adult students taking for no credit, just for the simply fact they want to dance. I also have students who want to be dance majors, many who don't. My Body Conditioning class? Out of fourteen students, two of them have taken dance class. The majority of that class is full of people who just want to know how to live a healthier lifestyle

All that to say that these classes will be very different from my college dance class experience. There's nothing wrong with that in the least bit. Fortunately for me, I had some practice with adult beginner dance students. While teaching at a local dance studio in Oklahoma, the director gave me an additional adult lyrical class to teach. It was an enormous challenge and I couldn't wait to get started. I had two students to begin with and by the end of my second year, I had about five students. That may not seem like a lot, but for an adult lyrical dance class at a tiny studio in the middle of Oklahoma, this was a big deal.

I loved that class. Adored them. They were the sweetest ladies and so incredibly hungry to learn more, be better, work harder. They would beg me to challenge them more and if something was too difficult, they worked that much harder to get it. I looked forward to teaching them every week and I miss working with them very much. To them, dance was a privilege and taking this class was a dream come true. One of my ladies dreamt of dancing her whole life and having the opportunity to perform was a major accomplishment.

I don't know if those ladies realized that although I may have been the teacher, I learned more from them in that two year time frame that I thought possible. They reminded me how much I took for granted in dance. Performance, class, costumes, make-up, lights, what have you. These were elements I skimmed over after a I time because I was so used to it all. Seeing class through their eyes was a whole new experience.

So now I'm working with a new group of students, some younger than me, a few older. Knowing that I'd have a smorgasbord of students at different levels with different backgrounds, I thought it would be beneficial for me, as their instructor, to learn a little bit about them. So, they were assigned to write a short one-page journal entry telling me about their background in dance, a little about themselves, and what they hoped to get out of this class.

I'm amazed at everything I've read. The reasons why some are in the class are all so different, ranging from a harbored childhood dream to needing a sense of expression. A few are taking for the joy of moving and some just want to continue to be better. Their stories are inspiring, each one describing to me what events lead them to the classroom. I feel a bit humbled after each one.

I guess I've felt as if I've been in a bit of a bubble when it comes to dancing. The classes I take, those I take with, we all share that same passion and desire for dance. We know a great deal about it, this world is nothing new. We're a whole driven society that revolves around the arts and everything we do, read, or see seems to always connect back to dance. It's breed into us to keep going, dance harder, and continue to push towards that goal of always moving. Not to say that we don't have other hobbies or interests, this is just a strong part of the life we lead. It's a inner calling I believe we'd find hard to deny. I love that pulse that beats in a room full of high-powered dancers. It's such a rush.

But this is a rush, too. Reading entry after entry, I'm inspired by them, awed by the backgrounds of these students. The courage it takes to step into a class they've never had and try fearlessly to learn something new is amazingly intoxicating. I find myself more eager to get in there and work with them, help them, explain, demonstrate, fix, praise, and encourage.

This job, if I can call it that, is a gift. It's a gentle reminder how blessed I am to do what I love and have a job that allows me to keep dancing. I hope things continue as positively as they've started. On a side note, I'm ecstatic that I don't have to use the threat of a "time out" on any of my students. It's the little things.

Anywho, hope you all had a wonderful back to school week! Have a good Labor Day Weekend!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fourth Times a Charm

July 7th! July 7th! We've got a finalized, contract-signed, absolutely-the-one date! July 7th! 

Yippee!! Last post I gave a summarized version of a wedding woe road block that Pyro Man and I encountered. All that mess was finally resolved this week! We met with the church, got available dates and called our reception site. We were afraid we'd have to change sites because they originally told us every Saturday was booked through September....ugh! 

As luck would have it, the first available Saturday for next summer matched up with an open one at the church. Bet you can't guess what day it was? July 7th! That's right! How'd you know?

It wasn't our ideal weekend (Like I said last post, I went about this from the wrong end, starting with the reception site instead of getting the info for our ceremony worked out. We've actually changed the date three times before landing this one. Fourth times a charm!). We're thrilled nonetheless! I've heard there are only five things you need to get married: 

1) The Bride (Me)
2) The Groom (Pyro Man)
3) A Witness
4) An Officiant
5) A License 

We've got all the ingredients that really matter--the license we'll get as the date gets closer. There's a huge bridal elephant that's lifted off my chest. Whew! I feel better and I don't have a gut wrenching feeling of worry about this any more. Now on the fun details! Finding a photographer, cake testing, decorations, dress fittings, booking the band, etc!  Already e-mailed the band we want, hope we get 'em! 

Here's where it'll all happen next July! 

 The Church, St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas

The Reception Site, Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake in Dallas

Here's a gorgeous wedding that took place at Winfrey Point! I loved it! 
Just look at the possibility inside: 

Yup, I'm definitely ready to dive in and get started. Let the wedding madness begin! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School!

It's practically one of my favorite times of the year, back to school! I can't lie, it's only because of new school supplies. There is nothing better than getting a fresh new notebook full of crisp, clean white paper just waiting for me to doodle on--er uh! I mean, take notes on. I love searching for a new planner where I can fill it in with color coded due dates, events, and more--it just makes my inner nerd gleefully happy!

This year is a little different since I'm on the other side of the table now. Starting in about ten days I will begin my first teaching job and I'm very excited! Also a little busy trying to pull everything together, nervous because the time is drawing near, and a little anxious to get started. I suppose that's the way all new adventures go.

In the mean time, I've been trying to get a bit done on this wedding. We ended up changing our date because we found a different venue that Pyro Man and I adored even more. Ain't that the way it goes? You find your ideal after everything has been done. Story of my life. Two days after signing a contract with our original site we found this beautiful place that everyone fell in love with; Little house by the lake, screened in porch, beautiful foliage, antique stage for a band, plenty of room for dancing, and a big possibility for gorgeous decorations. Perfect! Except...they didn't have our original date. Lucky for us, they had another opening and we were able to get out of our first contract without any loss.

Then I hit a brick wall. I kinda went backwards in my planning and now I'm reaping the consequences. We picked a funky date and now we're not sure the church will be available for our date--See, we should have set-up with church first and THEN found our reception site because you know, getting married you kind of need a ceremony to make it legit. Details, whatever (TOTAL sarcasm.). But I was trying to get everything done in one spot. Then I changed my mind. Then I hit this wall. And now, here we are. *SIGH*

Oh, the complications and hurdles! 

If there is a simple way of doing something and a more complicated, convoluted, confusing route to take, you can bet dollars to donuts I will take the later because that's just the way I roll. It's not the end of the world. We will get this worked out, I just have to look at this as a good challenge and learning experience. One of many more, I am sure. What I'm working towards is that happy day when I get to say "I do" to my honey!

Yay! Happy Bride! 

Enough of an internet break, time to dive back in to my to-do list and get cracking! I've got a mile long list of things that absolutely have to get done this week, no exceptions--Got to stay on top of myself here! Happy Monday to all and a big Happy Birthday to my future sister-in-law, Abby!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Germ Free Is The Way To Be!

I'm finally back to normal! Hooray!!! Last week, my final week of working with the kiddos, I got sick. Somehow I managed to carry my miserable butt through Wednesday only to come home and find I had a temperature of 101.4.  A short trip to an 24 hour clinic showed my temperature at 101.7 and my doctor happily informed me I had a throat infection. Great...

Couldn't go to my last day of work. Apparently I was still contagious, you know, fever and all. Well, that fever continued on for another four days. By Sunday I'd had it. I marched into the kitchen and told Mom she should could either come with me to the emergency room or stay at home, but I needed something. So one trip to the ER later and we find my throat infection was gone, but now I had bronchitis. The anti-biotics I originally was on weren't strong enough to keep the new sickness from forming. Awesome.

It's all good now. Fever free since Monday and on way better meds that make me feel human again! HOORAY!!!!!!!

The ER doctor did warn me that in my first two years of teaching kids I would pick up everything. Dang. I guess that includes college kids, too. I'm never leaving home without anti-bacterial hand soap or vitamin C ever again.

On a really happy note, yesterday I finally got something major accomplished on the wedding. We booked the wedding venue! YAY!!!! Next May 26th, Pyro Man and I will officially be getting married! I'm a slow planner, one step at a time, but I'll get this wedding planned out beautifully.

For now, I've got a lot of to-do's to cross off, like always. Just wanted to share the happy news of being healthy and one step closer to marrying my handsome man!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Good Intentions

I had all the best intentions to keep up with this blog better (and a lot of other things) while I was teaching these last couple of weeks. Instead, when I get home at 6:00 every night it's shower, make dinner, clean up, take a breath, plan for tomorrow, make lunch and coffee for the morning and in bed by 9:30. Yes, I am that young woman who goes to bed so early because I'm that exhausted by the end of the day. And you know what, totally not ashamed of that. These kids wear me out.

This last week was their second week of camp so the newness is completely warn off. Whatever curiosity they had about the program is gone, they know what's coming now. It proved to be just as tough of a week as the first for me though. Maybe I wasn't learning the ropes, but I certainly had a few new incidents happen. I will say that I am lucky to work with wonderful directors who are readily available to help their teachers. Any issue or question that I've had, they've been there to answer and offer great advice.

I also have another mentor, my mom. I come from a long line of teachers. Going back through our family line, I mark the fifth generation of teachers on my mother's side and I'm completely proud of that. Mom was a 7th and 8th grade honors English teacher in one of the top school districts in Dallas when she started teaching. Let me tell you, Mom is good. I'm not just saying that because I'm biased, it's the truth. In any case, I've really been picking her brain about things the last couple of weeks. I'll call her on my way home, ask her questions, tell her a situation, find out if I'm handling things right. It helps having someone to turn to who's been in the trenches. I swear she should right a book, Lessons in Teaching: How to Handle Students. She's got some good tips. Know who she got a lot of them from? Grandma. Forty nine years of teaching first grade. God love her.

This week my kids have been fascinated in cracking my tight lipped answer of my age. They all want to know how old I am and I've gotten guesses from twenty two all the way up thirty. I don't really care to tell them. For one thing, it's not of importance. I was hired based on my experience, a great referral and my interview with the program. It has nothing to do with my age. For another, I really don't want them to know how young I am. Face it, I'm working on a college campus where a dozen other college students, who are young looking like me, and they're running around as staff members and assisting the kids. I really wanted to make sure that these kids saw me as a teacher, not a babysitter.

In any case, I think because I won't tell them, it's become more of an obsession to guess the right age. Twenty seven seems to be the general consensus. I'm not sure whether to be flattered to look so mature or worried I'm not putting on enough moisturizer on my face (Although, my doctor told me today I must not get out in the sun much because my skin looks great. Healthy skin? Yes, please!). I think I've made it worse by not telling them. Oops.

They've got a performance next week and a party on Thursday--or eight parties for me. I can't believe it's almost over. Once it's done, I've got lesson planning to do for my fall classes. The second job hunt continues as I wait patiently to hear about the status of my job applications at other schools. No rest for the weary, but really, I welcome the busy-ness. I've truly missed using my purple pads of legal paper and making lists of all my to-do's. In two short weeks, I've torn through one whole pad. Feeling like my old self is perking up my new self. Speaking of, I best get cracking on some things tonight.

Even after another long week of teaching dance, corralling kids, cheerfully playing "Miss Julie Says," and answering endless questions, I smile when I think of all the sweet things that happened. I got a breakfast bar from one sweet little boy, a crafty heart from another little girl, a dozen hugs, and a whole lot of smiles. All in all I'd say it was a good week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Teaching Adventures, Working with Munchkins

For any and all teachers out there, especially elementary school teachers, hats off to you! Bravo! It takes a great deal of patience, love, and understanding to work with children, especially the younger munchkins. Let me tell you, working with kids ain't a walk in the park.

I signed on to take this job teaching dance for a kids day camp at a local college here in the DFW area. From 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., eight classes a day, about twenty kids a class, four times a week for three weeks. This camp has a pretty big age range, eight to thirteen year olds, and most of them have never had a dance class in their life. I knew it was going to be a good challenge and I knew I was going to learn a lot from this experience. And I learned more on the first day than I ever thought possible.

I've learned that kids are so very creative and will tell you anything that pops into their head. I mean anything. I've learned that being first in line is the ultimate place to stand. I've learned that it is madness to put a children in a giant open cafeteria room, it's the equivalent of releasing them onto a playground. Don't even think of including a stage in there either because all they see is a new jungle gym that's more interesting than you, the teacher.

What else did I learn? That a compliment can go far, that kids need to feel like they have a special job, and that they want to please the teacher. I learned that they show out for attention, that a time out has major power, and that ultimately, they just want to belong with the rest of their classmates. Budding teenagers test the waters, especially with younger teachers, and the right music can make all the difference.

None of these concepts are exactly new, I'm just seeing it all in a new light. This job is opening my eyes to a new understanding of being a teacher, just like my thesis did. I happened upon a great deal of situations that I never had before and I feel all the better for having them. Every new challenge, every new opportunity, I glean a little more and I'm that much more prepared for the next one. Still, I caught myself wondering, why is this particular challenge such a whopper?

First of all, my teaching experience has mostly been with older students, high school to adult and mostly I've taught little girls (Little boys, they are a whole different species all of their very own. Heaven help me if I ever end up with one. I'd love him, but I'd have to educate myself on little boys. I don't even understand half the stuff Pyro Man does--If he's reading this, he's probably be thinking the same thing about me.). Though in class I've thought many a time, "why can't you just act like an adult," I know it's not possible with these kids because, well, they're kids. I simply work with them differently than with my adults. Okay, but how?

Because I've had a good amount of experience with older students, I really had to go back and think like a kid.  Sure I know what a basic dance class should be, except now I need to put these classes in kid terms. What's more is that I need to put it all in pedestrian terms for kids whose only dance exposure comes from So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Dance Revolution, and music videos. I'm much more experienced with kids from a dance studio setting where they are exposed to music, movement, and choreography on a weekly if not daily basis.

In preparing for these classes, I had to find ways to relate to these kids. Find music they listened to, games they liked to play, moves they would be able to do, and combos that weren't too hard or too easy for them. They're attention span is short so I planned everything down the line, I couldn't afford to lose focus or I'd lose the class.

All this preparation brought me to a second realization, I never was in a class like this before, at least not at that age. By the time I was seven, I was competing, dancing with older girls, and working on tougher skills. No wonder planning was so difficult; I was having a hard time remembering what it was like to be a normal kid because I never was. I have always taken my training seriously.

All these realizations are good though. It helps me see the background I've come from, take what I know, and find out the rest to put together a stellar class.  I need to be a jack of all trades and know as much I can so I can be the best educator. I won't always have older kids or college classes or dance studio jobs. Sometimes it might be a summer day camp with a bunch of kids in a class they're parents signed them up for. Please understand, I'm enjoying it. I've got some great classes that I adore and I've had some proud moments just in this first week with them.

There's nothing like an eight year old bringing you a special bracelet she made for you in the colors that match your shoes. Nothing as cheerful as kids popping into your classroom just to say "hi" or hugging you they before they leave on the second day of class. It warms my heart when parents come in and say, "Oh, we love Miss Julie!" I feel like I'm doing something right. Those are the feel good moments that make it so worth it and make me want to go back and do it again.

So no, I haven't been eaten by munchkins or run over by a bunch of pre-teens. I'm practicing my chases and jazz squares while listening to lots of pop songs. My ears are still adjusting to the massive amounts of Selena Gomez songs. Oddly enough, Beiber is pretty much a bomb with them. I'm still alive, just been too dog tired at the end of the day to do anything but shower, eat, and sleep.

This job is pushing me and teaching me a great deal. It's also reminding me that not every class I teach will be to students who are passionate and serious about dance. Ultimately I just want these kiddos to have a good time. After all, sometimes these classes can be the brightest spot in a kid's day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hump Day!

Humpe Day and I have a good amount of things to cross off my to-do list today. What a better way to charge through than with a good playlist of music?!

I'm thinking a little of Gavin Degraw--his new single came out just recently:

A little Katy Perry to keep me moving:

And just for a bit of easy going, Eric Hutchinson:

Happy Hump Day!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dancing In Dallas: Arthur Murray (Ft. Worth)

Since I was a little girl, I've always loved ballroom dancing. I blame the movie Strictly Ballroom for starting it all.

If you haven't seen it, rush right out tonight and watch it. Great dancing, gorgeous costumes, and so off beat you can't help but love it. I only have a VHS copy of it, it's on my to-do to find the DVD. That's besides the point. 

Ballroom is form of social dancing basically created and popularized in the early 1900's by Vernon and Irene Castle. Never heard of them? Yeah, me neither up until a few years ago (Thank you Dance History.). Vernon and Irene have a pretty neat history, but I'll give you a basic sum-up of their work.

Vernon and Irene were both performers and after an accidental meeting, they fell in love and got married. Thus the dynamic duo was formed (Keep in mind this is a pretty brief history report and that I'm leaving out their lives prior to their partnership.). They traveled to Paris to perform as a dancing act. Unfortunately their show closed, luckily they were hired at a Parisian Cafe, the Cafe de Paris, as a dance act and they're success exploded. They became an overnight sensation and news of their success traveled to the US.

When they returned, Irene and Vernon Castle were all the rage. Everyone wanted to dance like them, dress like them, style their hair like them, and more. They were a very big deal for that time. They opened up a studio in New York, the Castle House, and taught people all the latest dances including The Bunny Hug, The Fox Trot, The Castle Waltz (hmmm, wonder where they got that name from...?), The Turkey Trot, and The Tango.

Sadly their time together did not last long. Vernon returned to his homeland in England to be a pilot for the Royal army during WWI. He was asked to train pilots for the US Air Force in Ft. Worth, TX. While at Benbrook Field, there was a accident with a student that killed Vernon. Tragic ending.

So now you know where ballroom dancing came from. There's your short history lesson for today. There's actually a wonderful movie about the Castles starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. If you're like me, a sentimental gal, you'll cry at the end.
I say Strictly Ballroom sparked my interest in the dance style and yet I'd be lying if I didn't mention Fred and Ginger. Old time classics my friends, they are saturated with incredible duets between amazing dancers like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Vera-Ellen, and Donald O'Connor. There are many more I could go on about.

OK, enough history. Ballroom dancing, it's dreamy and I've only had a few opportunities to try my hand at it. When I was in middle school, I had the opportunity to attend cotillon at our local country club. Basically you learn how to be ladies and gentlemen, dress up, wear the white gloves, and learn about social dances. It's every eleven year old's dream, right? Well, for me I thought it was great.

When I went to Broadway Theater Project many moons ago, the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom came out, another great movie. Ann Reinking took the entire student body of BTP to see the documentary and then we all had a couple of classes with Pierre Dulaine. Heaven. I was in was splendid! While I was Oklahoma City I found a ballroom studio that I took a few lessons with and I really enjoyed learning these timeless dances all over again.

Finally, to tell you about my latest Dancing in Dallas experience! I'm getting married next spring and one of the most anticipated parts of the reception is the first dance between husband and wife. Clearly for me, this part is a big deal. I love to dance and I refuse to stand there swaying side to side when we've got a whole floor he can twirl me around for the night.

Ladies, I'm going to have to brag on my man for a minute. He WANTS to learn how to dance. Do you realize how big of a deal this is?! I don't have to bribe/fuss/cry/beat/drag him to take a class. Pyro Man wants to learn how to dance and he's been on my case for the past few months about how we need learn!

Gosh, I love that man.

Earlier this week I got a wild hair. I called an Arthur Murray location that's just down the street from Pyro Man (Score!) and set up an appointment for us to try out a class. It. Was. Fabulous. We had a great instructor named Jeremy who made us laugh and feel incredibly comfortable. My main concern was for Pyro Man to feel relaxed during the lesson. Even though he wants to learn doesn't mean that he wasn't a bit nervous, dancing can be hard for a lot of people who aren't used to it.

We learned a lot about connection, really working with our partner. I learned that I can't lead, dang it. That's a hard habit to break. Jeremy got us started on the Fox Trot which will work wonderfully for our first dance (Can't tell you what the song is...yet!). We even got to try the Two-Step which is exactly like the Fox Trot only it has a different rhythm. Last, we learned the Merengue! It's fairly simple and lots of fun. Now we need to work on our timing.

The manager was really nice and the whole place was very friendly. He had us fill out forms that gave them a chance to find out more about us, what we're wanting to get out of the program, and what we're like as a couple. I greatly appreciated the time spent on getting to know us because hey, ballroom dancing is an intimate affair. You're connected the entire time, dancing in sync, and I've got to follow my partner no matter where he goes--I'd better be comfortable with him! The better they know how we want to spend these lessons, the easier it is for them to help us get what we need.

It's a large studio floor with lots of lessons going on. That always floors me. This one studio is used for multiple lessons, not just one couple. It helps dancers get used to moving around each other in (hello) a social setting. The studio also hosts several group classes where other couples come in and dance, trade partners, practice different dances, and have fun.

Arthur Murray is an international franchise with 280 locations. Chances are, you can find a class somewhere near you.

Class Cost: $25 with an online coupon or $50 for an introductory class
Class Time: 30-40 minutes
Schedule: Check with your local studio. Click here for your state. They also have studios in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. Since this is Dancing in Dallas, here are the Texas locations.

They offer several packages if you decide you want to continue with lessons. They usually include private sessions and group classes. Pyro Man and I have crazy schedules right now so we're not sure what we'd like to do. It might just be a matter of private lessons for a while.

Pyro Man and I had a fabulous time. There's something special about getting to dance with the one you love, starring into each other's eyes and twirling around the floor like you're on a cloud. I know, a little mushy, but it's so true. He makes me laugh and I feel ever so comfortable with him. He is actually pretty light on his feet and get's got some rhythm, despite his protests. I'm just so happy that hee really enjoyed the experience!

I'm excited to have this new activity with him--it's neat watching him learn a little about my world. We've got lots of time to enjoy this experience, too. There's no pressure and that takes a good deal of stress off.  We both can't wait for the next lesson! It won't be too long before we're real pros at this! He is the Fred to my Ginger. And now, I leave you with one of my all time favorite quotes:

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels!" - Bob Thaves

Heck yes! Happy Friday and have a Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Old Friends

Today I'm reuniting with an old friend. We've had a stormy relationship over the past few years. She's always been brutally honest with me and that's what friends are for. Lately I've been slacking off on my side of the friendship. I might wave hello, pass her by, but I haven't stayed very long to listen to her truths or hear her honest message. It's time to reunite us again. I feel it in my gut. Dear readers, I give you...

My Scale!

Yeah, I'm sure you thought I was talking about a real friend. Nope, just my scale. How do I plan on cultivating a renewed relationship? With one of these:

Good for the abdominals and back muscles. 

I'll get back to doing a little more of this: 

Pick up my slacking endurance. 

And I'm going to get back to writing these: 

Keeps me in check with what I eat all week long. 

I've got a plan. I'm going to make our friendship work, start checking in a little bit more, and listening to her gentle reminders. Yup, it's going to be a beautiful friendship. Like I said, I can feel it in my gut. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Pro League Prep Dance

Monday I took myself down to Power House of Dance in Frisco again. There was a class that kept popping up, peeking my interest, Pro League Prep. You may ask, "What in the world is a Pro League Prep class?" Well, I'll tell you.

Pro League Prep is a class for those who are interested in training to be on a professional dance team such as:

The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders

The Dallas Mavericks Dancers 

The Dallas Vigilantes Dancers

And there's a new team in town, too. The Texas Legends Dancers! They have auditions coming up at the end of July. In any case, these classes prepare the dancers for these auditions by giving combinations similar to what they would perform at the games. It. Is. Fun.

First of all, what lady doesn't like pretending for an hour that they're a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader in that famous uniform? The dances are energetic, sexy, and entertaining! Don't think it's all about shaking it out there. There's a whole technical element dancers can't forget about. Every turn, every kick, and step has to be sharp, clean and precise. Luckily we had an excellent instructor for the class.

Leslie Shaw-Hatchard coached us through every step, offering helpful tips including how to look sassy without going overboard. Leslie is an extremely experienced teacher with a great background in pro league dancing. She was a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, even a Mavericks Dancer and is currently the director of the Texas Legends. I actually had the pleasure of knowing Leslie from when I was a student at Broadway Dance Center in Garland. It was great having a class with her again!

Sometimes what makes or breaks the class is the teacher and I can tell you this class is worth taking just because Leslie is so much fun! She started us off with a little stretching, getting warmed up before we really started dancing. After that, it was all about choreography. She builds on a combination throughout the week, starts the combo Monday and adds on the following two classes. It's a smart strategy, especially in a prep class. Dancers can take the class how they want. One day they can focus on getting used to the style and the next picking up the choreography more quickly.

The class is an hour long and I guarantee you will sweat. It's high energy, extremely fun, and well worth the try. The class is offered at both the Dallas and Frisco locations of Dallas Power House and with a  couple other teachers.

Class Cost: $15
Class Time: Hour
Schedule: Monday-Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30. Check Here for specifics.
Where: Dallas Power House of Dance, Frisco

If you missed my first post about Power House of Dance in Frisco, you can check it out here. Next class I took this week? Well, it's a special surprise! Stay tuned for the next Dancing in Dallas!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Centre of Dance

This morning I rolled my happy self out of bed to try something I've yet to do, Zumba. It's the Jazzercise of today, Latin dance aerobics to a strong salsa beat. So to an extent, this is still considered in the dance realm. OR if nothing else, this is a great work out for dancers.

In my quest for new studios, I came across Centre of Dance. They have several adult classes that I'll list at the end, one of which is Zumba. The class is taught by Frankie Branham, a spit-fire of a woman with a strawberry blonde pixie cut. She is energetic, engaging, open, and friendly. I adored her from the word "go." I met her on the way in and she took time visiting with me, telling me a little about the studio, and introducing me to other participants. If that doesn't make you feel welcome, I don't know what will.

The class is non-stop constant cardio, moving around the room, keeping a solid beat, and shaking it like there's no tomorrow. "Wiggle it!" Frankie calls out and off our hips go, booties shaking, and shoulders shimmying. Not five minutes into the first combo and I was drenched with sweat. Each combination is much like a dance. For three to five minutes, you follow the instructor, consistently moving, and dancing to a strong Latin beat. Frankie took us a through a series of combinations, calling out cues and words of encouragement. There's a welcomed cool down for the last five minutes of class and that's the end of your hour workout.

It's really fun and though I may not be working on perfect turn out or extension, my heart rate is up, my abs and my gluteus maximus are on fire, and I'm having the time of my life. The music makes me feel like I'm in a salsa dancing club. I feel like I should be wearing a flirty dress, spinning across the floor with a rose pinned in my wild hair. By the time I was half-way through the class, that daydream turned into me devouring a whole bowl of chips and salsa with a good margarita on the rocks. Whatever keeps you going, right?

Alright! Information:

Class Cost: $15 (Although, first trial of class is on Frankie)
Class Time: Hour
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Thursday from 6:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

*Summer classes last from now until August 5th.

7517 Campbell Road, Suite 400
Dallas, TX 75248
Phone: 972-248-1112

Frankie did say her summer classes have dwindled down in size. Today's consisted total of three ladies, myself and two older woman. However, Frankie does teach at the University of Texas at Dallas on Tuesday and Thursday night from 8:00 to 9:00. She said these classes usually brought in some students around my age.

If you don't want to take Zumba, you can try these other Adult Classes:

8:00 p.m. - Advanced Hip-Hop
8:00 p.m. - Pro Team Audition Prep

7:00 p.m. - Ballet
8:00 p.m. - Beginner Hip-Hop
8:00 p.m. - Dallas Stars Ice Girls Prep

7:00 p.m. - Beginner Hip-Hop
8:00 p.m. - Jazz Contemporary
8:00 p.m. - Intermediate Hip-hop

7:00 p.m. - Hip-Hop Hustle
8:00 p.m. - Hip-Hop Heels

I'm curious to try the Pro Team Prep class. There's also one at both locations of Power House. Anyone interested in trying one with me?

Next on my list of classes to try, baton twirling! Just kidding! Guess you'll have to stay posted for the next class and studio to try!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Power House of Dance (Frisco)

Last week I was excited to get down and funky in a hip-hop class, hoping I could get a little more comfortable in the style before I started teaching for a summer camp. I wish I had a hilarious story for you about my experience. You know, one where I got down with my bad self, split my pants, and took down a whole group of dancers while trying to bust a move. Alas, I have no such tale because I did not double check the dates when classes started at this studio. I was a week too early. *Sigh* So goes life, but I was able to take last night! 

No accidents last night nor did I split my pants. I did, however, have an excellent time at Power House of Dance in Frisco with instructor Ashley Pia. In a class of five, two of whom were sweet, sweet friends that came with me, we learned a good chunk of choreography including formations and formation changes. It's an incredibly smart teaching tool, getting students used to doing more than dance in one place. Ashley explained how much she liked to do that with her students so that when they started new works, they were already used to the idea of moving around the stage more. It's no wonder she was just made Company Director of their Frisco Hip-Hop Company! 

Ashley didn't just throw the choreography out there for us to flounder in. She took the steps and explained the feel of it us, taking time to correct students, and making them feel comfortable. I have to say, this teacher will keep you in stitches. She's got a sense of humor that relaxes you and makes you feel less nervous. I probably spent a majority of the time laughing at her quips that helped melt away my self-conciousness on the spot. 

We spent  a majority of the time working on choreography and running our combo. The last few minutes of class were used for cooling down by following what she did. Repeating general and basic hip-hop moves allowed my body to get used to the movement. It's a great teaching method to use in tap, too. Imitating her style was challenging for me. Rib isolation, hip isolation, I've got that. There's a relaxed engaged pulse of the body that requires so much energy and yet, it's as smooth and chill as can be--that's the tough part! It's like working your behind off in ballet to make movement look elegant, graceful, and effortless. It's a dichotomy between appearance and execution. 

All in all it was a great, fun class and I will surely be back there to take again! Anyone who wants to come, here's the info:

Class Cost: $15 a class
Class Time: Hour 
Schedule: June 20th - August 22nd
Close July 4th through July 10th 

If you click on Ashley's name at the top of this post, you'll find her teaching schedule. For the most part, she teaches Monday-Thursday from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. 

10850 Frisco Street, Suite 200
Frisco, Texas 75034 

Phone: 214-387-0193

There is also a Dallas location if Frisco is not close to you: 

12300 Inwood Rd, #124
Dallas, Texas 75244 
Phone: 972.960.2484

Where will I end up next and what will I take? Who knows! Stay tuned for more Dancing in Dallas! 
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