Wednesday, June 22, 2011


My friend, Maya Hey, recently posted this video on Facebook. It had been a couple of years since I last saw it, and the sheer bombastic intensity of it surprised me. "Careless" was choreographed by Alex Ketley and premiered in 2006.

Alex challenged all these thoughts I had about being a "good" dancer, about being beautiful and being honest. The girls I danced with were maddening and wonderful, willing to crash into the air and through the floor and run full tilt at one another in the assumption that the collision would be worth it. It was a frustrating and exhausting project, but it shifted my ideals and virtues. Looking at it, I barely recognize those wild girls, newly let loose in unfamiliar movement, but I can appreciate now (and I didn't then; I was so stubborn!) how much being in this piece changed me as a dancer. It cracked open doors in my head in walls that I didn't even know were there.

I think it's also one of my favorite pieces that I've performed. Hurtling through ten minutes of extremely driven, violent movement, I felt like I was falling to pieces and exploding at the same time.
 Some of those girls I haven't seen in a very long time; at least one of them I'll never see again. It's funny (in the odd, melancholy, slightly discomfiting sense) to think about how, sometimes, the people who keep you company while your life becomes entirely different exit or fade away.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

how to talk to girls at nightclubs

Refrain. Nightclubs are for dancing. They are not for talking. They are not for striking up an acquaintance based on the brilliance of your mouth. They are not for leaning close, intimating a whisper, when, really, you are forced to shout. That music playing loud against the walls and hard on the space between you and she, it's there for a reason. It's there for dancing. It's not an excuse for a fumbled line. It's not an excuse for a clumsy line, a tawdry line, a foul and insinuating line.

The following conversation should not occur:

(confusion stemming from the fact that your shout is inaudible)
(tepid smile)
(silence, except for the music that is being shouted over)


You are friendly enough with the girl in question to feel no awkwardness in your attempts to be heard, even if your mouth ends up practically inside her ear.

You've been dancing together in a friendly way. She has not pushed you. She hasn't been staring with great concentration at the wall behind your shoulder. Smiles have been exchanged. The music has paused.

Even then you may want to limit yourself to an exchange of names, a brief comment on a song, a (if you're daring) request for a phone number. Don't try to be smart or, worse, sexy. Just be an ordinary human being.

And, don't forget to dance.
And, for fun, you should read: "How To Talk To Girls At Parties" by Neil Gaiman. It contains one of my favorite long sentences in a short story.