Saturday, December 29, 2012

Datura Online -- finally!

I was finally able to make use of my Datura Online subscription tonight! The whole thing was a bit of an ordeal. It turns out that there's something about the way they do the videos that means that I can't play them using the internet or video sharing options on the new TV, they only work if we use an HDMI cord to plug the TV into a computer, turning it into a giant monitor. So that's something to keep in mind if you're shopping for a new TV with the idea of using DO: Don't buy an LG Smart TV.

Unfortunately at the moment the only computer free to be plugged into the TV is Chris's old laptop, which is pretty much on its very last legs. I keep having trouble with it freezing, or taking forever to load the videos. It's hard to say when slowness is a problem with the site and when it is a problem with the stupid computer. I will probably invest in a new laptop sometime in the coming year, but right now I'm hoping to nurse this one along.

But anyway, enough about my technical problems... How is Datura Online? I have to admit that I was so annoyed about the crashing laptop that I almost gave up on dancing, but instead I loaded up a shimmy drill warm-up with Rachel Brice, and I started smiling almost immediately. I mean, when one of your favorite dancers is guiding you through a little yoga to warm up your back, how can you not feel better? I really enjoyed this video, as it did get me warmed up quickly and was an easy enough sequence that I feel like if I use it regularly, I'll be able to memorize it and make use of it backstage before gigs, which is what she originally developed it for. I like the fact that it involves a minimum of traveling steps, making it easy to do in a tight spot like my living room or the hallway next to the bathrooms (aka what counts for backstage at most restaurant gigs).

After that I decided to try the Slovenia Slam scale combo, also by Rachel Brice. I enjoyed the scales when we did them in her workshops last year, and I like that it's another quick 10 minute video. These scales are great drills to add to your daily practice to work on basic isolations -- they're based on the concept of the scales that musicians drill over and over again when learning to play. This one has a lot of chest isolations, including a chest circle to the back which kept throwing me off, I am too used to going to the front first! I think I'll do that scale every day until going to the back feels natural.

I like the idea of DO because it's flexible to what sort of practice I want to do. Tonight I wanted to warm up quickly and drill. Maybe tomorrow I will feel more like an hour-long class. Or I might decide to give the Unmata ITS language a try, since that's gaining popularity in Tucson.

One of the main reasons why I subscribed were the conditioning videos. I know that I need to work on my strength and flexibility, but without an actual routine to follow, I tend to slack off. I feel like with workout and yoga videos at my fingertips, I will be able to make sure I'm doing enough reps, holding long enough, and have a visual representation of what I'm supposed to be doing instead of what I think I remember from class. DO will make it easy to mix and match the routines that work well for me, throwing in some drills and cool-downs, instead of having to switch back and forth between my various DVDs and YouTube videos.

I'll be sure to post about the other videos that I try as I work to keep myself busy until classes and troupe practice return!

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