The state of China has been doing some shifty stuff in the Xinjiang province out west.
The Uyghur group in western China is being reeducated in hopes of snuffing out any extremist behavior and encourage devotion to the state; these retention centers have been made legal in the past year and possibly hold people against their will.
Read all about it.
On a lighter note, the #MeToo movement has caught hold in the state under the hashtag “Rice Bunny” in order to subvert the country’s strict censorship laws. Why Rice Bunny?
Despite the current conservative nature of the state, some see the silver linings as a prominent professor was removed from his post after multiple allegations.
As I do, I want to share with you my experience from early October when a Beijing dance company came to the states to perform with the OU School of Dance under the name “East Meets West”.
Recycling some of the dances they had already performed just a few weeks before, “I Rise” and “Skinwalkers”, but a few new collaborative works came from the mix, which featured members from both colleges dancing across the floor in pairs. Their interactions suggested collaboration and friendship.
As expected, their performance was phenomenal. The dance majors spoke of the devotion and intensity with which the Chinese dance company performed, increasing the stakes for OU’s dance company. The mutual love for dance and healthy competition allowed for the two groups to grow and connect; it was clear during the performance.
After a small intermission, a timer brilliantly announced itself in bold white letters against a dark background. Oddly enough, this performance was quite long and cerebral. A repetitious soundbite of unintelligible words were played along with irregular rhythms, and the dancers matched the transgressive nature of the performance; they wore all black and white, and they danced with a single stool. It was quite comedic at certain points, almost turning the seat into a dancer of its own-they did an excellent job with the prop. At some points, the dancers conveyed themselves with a certain cockiness and style that you would believe that you were watching a boy band battle for your heart. The characters went through their own ebbs and flows, growing larger with their ego and shrinking back into themselves.
While I did not understand that dance in its twenty minute entirety, I was captivated.
This semester will likely be my last college dance class
I have learned so much about my body since January-what balance is, how my body moves through space, and how to stretch.
At first, I was not sure how to feel about it. Staring at myself in the mirror for an hour and a half in tights? No thanks! (s/o to Peter for helping me get past the class anxiety)
However, this class had some AMAZING benefits of given definition to my midsection because of the heavy focus on abs, back muscles, and supporting obliques that control the motion of your core. If one’s core is not engaged during dance, one can expect to compose oneself as a wet noodle across the floor. My posture has improved leaps and bounds. There is a spring in my step, and I have more body awareness that allows me to move through space with a bit more grace than before (which I desperately needed after being such an awkward teenager).
Balance comes from fine, slow-twitch muscles all over the body. If one ignores the muscles that control the ankle, you can expect to fall over on your face. Interestingly enough, dance was just the right class that I needed to restrengthen my ankle after rolling it; it is completely back to normal despite most people saying that it will have the tendency to roll again. Sure, it has the potential to roll, but dance has given me the strength and awareness necessary to make sure that does not happen again.
Your body does not like to move a lot, so if you’re breathing hard, than you are doing it right. Your limbs might like to compensate for such movements, but don’t let your body be lazy: that is the key point in this class. If your body can be lazy, it will find the way to do it.
It is a natural mechanism to protect oneself against pushing further than one must in an environment which can challenge at any given moment, so be sure to make yourself move.
It is difficult to push yourself as much as a teacher does which makes it so difficult to retain the good form and exercises that are demanded from a knowing instructor (thanks Sara!).
I am SO FLEXIBLE!! That is a skill like anything else, and if it is on the edge of pain, then you’re doing it right. The grunts and moans that you hear from people as they stretch means that it hurts so good. Such a weird concept.
Since the end of my classes, my posture has improved significantly as well as my mood. This exercise is not as demanding as its cardio contemporaries and strengthens your joints (as long as you push yourself the right way and ice if you go too far).
Sometimes a muscle spasm isn’t the worst thing (quick aside: the worst muscle spasm I ever have was in August this semester. While trying to do pelvic raises and clench the booty for best results, I have a double-cheek, agonizingly mind-splitting muscle spasm in my gluteus maximus. It stayed contracted for what felt like 10 minutes, and I was in actual tears). Getting your foot to have the proper point is really just an temporary low-intensity muscle spasm (at least that’s where mine is at the moment).
Try it out sometime, you’ll love it.