As promised, a review of the Deb Rubin workshops that I spent my weekend at!
I have to admit, I almost didn't take these workshops. I mean, I knew Deb Rubin was cool, from taking one workshop with her as part of the Plaza Intensive last Autumn. And a lot of my friends were taking the workshop. It's just that I had said I was going to take less workshops this year, and the topics covered this past weekend looked like they would be pretty similar to the Mira Betz and Rachel Brice* workshops I had taken/was going to take. But I decided to sign up anyway, and I'm glad I did, even if I wasted most of Sunday due to dehydration.
Saturday we started off with some slinky arms, and I learned yet another way to do snake arms (if there is one thing I am starting to notice as a dancer, it's that every teacher/troupe has a different preferred method of snake arms). We also worked on layering ooey gooey moves over each other, which was fun and also broke my brain.
The second class of the day was probably my favorite, "Performance Dynamics for the Tribally Inclined." I'm at a stage in my learning where I want to think more about performing, and about making my performance more than just a string of pretty moves that go well with the music. We explored projecting our energy out, and drawing it in, and how to use that contrast. We also explored different emotions and characters. In the past, I've been in workshops where we were given a specific character to dance, and I didn't really enjoy it, so I never gave dancing as a character a second thought. I've also never thought of having a dance persona, who would be a character separate from myself (actually, I think that's a good topic for another blog post!). But in this workshop, Deb played the song we'd been practicing to and asked us to each develop a character based on what the song reminded us of. As a gamer and a writer, I loved this so much! I came up with a femme fatale spy character. Then I had to dance as her. Well. If you know me, you know I'm kind of shy, and kind of plain, and basically just not a femme fatale. But I drew on my gaming experience and I became Yvette Black, sexy double agent. And apparently I nailed it because Deb Rubin said that she was going to think "femme fatale" whenever she saw me. Compliments don't get much better than that!
Sunday started off with a layering workshop, which would have been challenging for me on a good day. It involved lots of stuff that I'm already not good at, layered with other things on top. Add to this dehydration and exhaustion, and I spent most of the workshop struggling. But I did learn some problem areas that I need to work on, so I'll drill some of the layers here at home.
The second Sunday class was Dance Therapeutics, and I had actually thought of at least just coming up for that if I didn't do the whole weekend. The workshop I took last time was upper body therapeutics and I really liked it. It's great to have a class focused on taking care of your body and avoiding dance injuries! I had a hard time with a lot of the yoga, but then my friend Karen saved the day by realizing that I was dehydrated (I thought I was just tired) and giving me Propel. Hooray! I felt human again and was able to participate in the partner Thai massage, which was really good for some of my problem areas. While Performance Dynamics was the most fun for me, Dance Therapeutics definitely had the most physical benefit. I really recommend those workshops for anyone who can take them, because they apply to any sort of dance. Deb said she's working on DVDs for them, so I'll be sure to pick them up when they come out.
All told, I'm glad I went to the workshops and I hope Deb Rubin will come back to AZ again in another 6 months-ish so I can take more... and this time I'll be sure to stay hydrated!
*Edit: Forgot to add my footnote. Yes, that's right, workshops with Mira Betz, Deb Rubin, and Rachel Brice in a single Spring. I am unbelievably lucky and spoiled.