Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Starfish TC: First run-through

Woah... we did it. We got the children through the first run-through of the show. It was rough, but it actually way better than it could have gone, and far smoother than some past Starfish rehearsals. That being said, we still have tons of work to do before the show opens on Friday (eeek! less than 48 hours!). Tomorrow, we do a full dress rehearsal. It will likely go far rougher than I want it to, and far smoother than I fear it will go. 

Also, we will eat fire for the kids as a reward for working so hard tonight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Starfish Update!

Woah! So much to write about, so little time!

The past week and a half have been super-busy and super-rewarding! Between classes and Starfish, I have had very little free time (hence, no blog updates... sorry).  Here's a quick taste of what been happening:

Audition day came and went.  It was not nearly as crazy as I had anticipated it to be, and we ended up casting most of the kids who auditioned.

I'm trying something completely new with poi. Choreography will be more than just spinning things in circles.

One of my students fell off of a rolling globe and broke his elbow. Even though it was just an accident, I feel really, really bad about this. Luckily, he's still in the show. We've made him a lion tamer, and he has become reasonable adept with a whip in almost no time at all.

All of he kids are working very hard, and it shows. We've had two more days to work with the kids than we usually do at Starfish gigs, and when you're only working for two weeks, the extra two days makes huge difference.  We're also working with a slightly smaller cast than usual. All we need to add to that is a few coaches (check!) some circus toys (check!) and a willingness to play (check!) and we have the makings of a spectacular show. I'm can't wait for opening night. See you there!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Starfish Circus in Traverse City!

Starfish Circus started yesterday and I couldn't  be happier!

What is Starfish Circus? Why, I'm glad you asked, dear anonymous reader.  Starfish Circus is a two-week long circus residency program for high-schools.  What this means is that a group of circus coaches (including me) shows up at a high-school, holds an audition, casts 50-80 kids, and then in just two weeks, teaches them enough circus skills to put on a full show.  

Yesterday was play day, the first part of this whole process.  I got out of baking class (where I made delicious choc. chip banana bread and raisin bran muffins), and went over to the high-school to meet up with the other coaches.  We spent most of the afternoon alternating between rigging gear in the auditorium, and going from class to class talking to the kids about the program.  We told them a little bit about ourselves and our circus backgrounds, what types of skills we would be teaching them, when the show is (Sept. 23rd and 24th.  Mark you calendars!), and what the time commitment would be. But, most importantly, we invited them to play day after school, where they can show up and try out all of the equipment! 

Play day is always fun for me. I get to meet new kids, let them try new things, and secretly scout for talent, which will come in handy today.  Today is auditions, and while we run things more like a workshop than a traditional audition, it is still stressful. I have to run a lot of kids through two different pieces of equipment (poi and rolla-bolla) in not a lot of time, so I often end up feeling rushed.  I also have to actually decide who makes the cut and who doesn't.  Having done this for over a year, I've gotten better at learning to be ruthless and selfish, thinking in terms of what will be best for the show, rather than what kid seems nice, or tried hard.  Yes, those personal qualities can made a difference, but come second to raw skill and natural aptitude.  So today will be the day of stress, where I might crush a few children's dreams, but will also get to pick the lucky bunch that I get to spend the next two weeks training with!

Friday, September 2, 2011

First week of classes

I have survived the first week of culinary school.  It was a bit rough, and it took a hearty amount of coffee, but I did it.  And despite the fast that I get up for class before the sun, I'm looking forward to the rest of the semester.  All three of my classes look like they're going to be really cool (or at least really interesting).

Professional Cookery is the big introductory class. It's where you learn what a kitchen looks like, how not to kill yourself while you're in there, and how to cook most types of foods. Also, we learn how to use knives. Even though I consider myself rather adept with a chef's knife or paring knife, I cannot wait to start chopping things in the kitchen. Chopping food makes me happy.  The only downside to the class it that it starts at 8:00AM, which is not cool. However, the early start time is balanced by the fact that we will basically get free lunch every day in class, because we get to eat what we've prepared that day in class.

Intro to Baking is, for now, my favorite class. I may be slightly biased in that opinion because it's the only class that I've actually prepared food in so far.  Professional Cookery will probably be a pretty cool class, but so far all we've covered is safety procedures and class organization.  We did that in Baking, too, but on Thursday we also got our hands dirty making muffins.  Specifically, we made big batches of pumpkin muffins.  And then we got to take them home and eat them.  They were delicious.  We're going to be making more quick breads over the next two weeks, and I can't wait to bring classwork home to share with everyone.

Safety and Sanitation doesn't sound like it would be that interesting of a class, but it actually looks like it'll be cool.  It's only once a week, and it starts at 1:00PM, so I get to sleep in on Fridays.  The geeky part of me is excited to learn the science side of food contamination and how it's prevented, and the practical side of me is happy to know that I get both CPR/First Aid and SafeServe certification by the end of the semester.

So, this semester looks like it'll be a fun couple of classes.  Also, I have a uniform that I have to wear for Intro to Baking and Professional Cookery. I'll post pictures of it later.