Posted in Culture, Dance, Events, flashback, Photography

Week 3 – Jump for Joy

Snapshot of something that jumps…like two talented boys in a dragon costume!

Posted in Dance, poetry, Quotes

#OctPoWriMo12 – Locked in Time

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul. “

Martha Graham
Image Credit: Pixabay

Locked in time, ballet dancer’s grace is locked
May mystify viewers early in May
Work of beauty requires ample work
Power released through body of power

Depth of breaths connects to musical depth
Balanced and poised, mystery is balanced
Daring to dream is in itself daring
Black sophistication hidden in black

Power of freedom lays choice of power
Force of faith will liberate a dark force
Moments now transition changing moments
Strong emotions evoked will make her strong

Will one witness her movements and steel will?
Being aware of all feeds her being…

Posted in Books, Culture, Dance, Music, Quotes

A-to-Z Challenge: Tarantella

Image Credit: A Broadway World
Actress playing Nora in “A Doll’s House”

Tarantella in Literature

“Like the macaroons, the tarantella symbolizes a side of Nora that she cannot normally show. It is a fiery, passionate dance that allows Nora to drop the façade of the perfect mild-mannered Victorian wife.”

Litcharts.com quote from Henrik Ibsen’s book, “A Doll’s House”

A few years ago, I read Henrik Ibsen’s book, “A Doll’s House” for a literature class. One of the characters is named Nora who is a bubbly child-like wife strictly dependent on her husband…at least in the beginning. She begins to develop a passion for individuality which fully emerges at the end. She shows a deep yearning for independence when Nora tells her friend to earn her own money by copying. Times have changed so much since the time of Nora’s quote!

“It was tremendous fun sitting, working, and earning money. It was almost like being a man.”

Nora , A Doll’s House

Tarantella in Music

The Tarantella is one of my favorite piano pieces! Its lively cheerful beats are quite popular in various movies. Its light-hearted, upbeat staccato notes are a joy to play. Loads of fun and a form of music that usually makes me feel in a hurry.

Italian Origins

Image Credit: Pixabay

During the 11th century in an Italian province called Taranto, Apulia, the Tarantula’s, a locally common wolf spider, bite was popularly believed to be venomous and lead to a hysterical condition called tarantism. At the time, the people believed that they needed to engage in frenzied dancing as a sort of therapy to prevent death from tarantism which was later coined Tarantella. It is commonly played with a mandolin, guitar, accordian, and tambourines, and sometimes flutes, fiddles, and clarinets are used as well. It’s speculated to be a fusion of the dance forms, Spanish fandango and the Moresque ‘ballo di sfessartia’.

Feiernde Neapolitaner. Öl auf Leinwand, 108 × 210 cm

Tarantella Napoletana Dance

Tarantella Ballet
Image Credit: Dance History Development WordPress

The tarantella is a graceful dance in which the dancer and the drum player constantly try to upstage each other by playing faster or dancing longer than the other, subsequently tiring one person out first.

The Godfather’s C’è la luna mezzo mare wedding

Cinderella’s Bippity Boppity Boo


Harry Potter’s Tarantellegra Dancing Feet Spell

Image Credit: Harry Potter Fandom

The “Dancing Feet” spell has its origins in ancient Italy, but is best remembered for its improper usage by Warlock Zaccaria Innocenti who is credited with conjuring a ‘dance’ within Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.

History of this spell, Cast-a-Spell handbook

Draco Malfoy used this spell on Harry in the Dueling Club. Students used it on a pineapple to make it dance.

Image Credit: Harry Potter Fandom

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Posted in Concepts, Culture, Dance, Music, Quotes, Social Justice

A-to-Z Challenge: Justice


Hello everyone! Lady Justice wants to say hello as well. This morning I read an article from opendemocracy.net :

Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice

I’ve been meaning to explore a concept that caught my attention a few years ago. My former ethics professor once told us there was a Fulbright scholar in town where one of his research interests is in “restorative justice“.

In this article, six young men between the ages of 10 and 13 committed a felony and broke into a chemical processing plant. Officer Greg Ruprecht who was on the night duty, was shocked at how young they were, arrests them, and prepares to enter them into the US criminal justice system. Here is what he initially believed about justice:

Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk.

But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.

The next morning, Officer Greg Ruprecht finds out that this case is redirected into a restorative justice process where in his skeptical mind was “an easy way out for offenders… some sort of hippie gathering where everyone would hug. ” The road to getting these boys’ lives back on track was different than he imagined.

Representatives from the boys’ families and the chemical plant discussed with the boys the consequences of their actions, possible life stressors that influenced their decision to break in, what they would do differently. Apologies were made, and contracts were created which involved a hundred hours of sweat equity and alcohol awareness classes. The boys would write about what they learned and it would be published in the newspaper.

Here’s what the officer learned from this experience:

  1. Money and time was saved going this route than the judicial process
  2. Face-to-face accountability where offenders directly listen to the victims
  3. The brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 22 and fear-inciting prisons had a bigger impact on young adults.
  4. Recidivism dropped to ten per cent, and surveys showed high rates of satisfaction with the process among everyone involved
  5. Usual suspects weren’t cycling through the police department anymore

In conclusion, while this particular story worked out well, I do feel that there are a variety of cases that are more complex than this one. The article concludes with the following:

“The role of justice, as portrayed by Lady Justice’s scales, is to bring back balance, to make things right again. Punishment and the warehousing of human beings in prisons destroys vast amounts of human potential. By contrast, restorative justice meets the needs of everyone involved in the most humane ways possible – those who commit crimes, and those who suffer from them. In so doing, it brings humanity back into the justice system.

It converts a limited worldview based around isolation and individualism into a much more positive vision that is rooted in honesty, accountability, and the visible connection of causes with effects. And it works in concrete terms by cutting recidivism and costs. Most important of all, it nurtures new relationships and a strong sense of human unity. In this sense, the root power of restorative justice is love expressed in action. “

In the end, I think about a variety of rehabilitation programs such as this one in the video below.

Filipino, Philippines “Dancing Inmates” from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), a maximum security prison, were treated to a visit by Michael Jacksons long-time choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid to learn performances from THIS IS IT.

Justice Quotes

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  • FOWC with Fandango: track
Posted in Culture, Dance, Events, Food/Recipes

Lunar New Year

Chinese American artist Kam Mak created the new Forever stamp
Photo Credit: latimes.com

#haiku – A Prosperous Wish

Radiant blossoms
Joy overflowing within
Life begins anew

Hello everyone! Just want to let you know that I’ll be gone for the first week of February celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) with my family. In the mean time, I would like to share a few fun facts about the celebration and a hope for a better 2019 year for all of you! There are several countries throughout South, East, and West Asia that celebrate the new year based on the lunar and solar cycle as well.

Lunar New Year is coordinated by the phases of the moon and based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar. So every year the lunar new year falls on a different day. The recent lunar eclipse was fascinating, wasn’t it?

Photo Credit: express.co.uk – Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse

Tet celebrates the arrival of spring. It’s an occasion to forget the troubles of the past and hope for a better new year. Typically there is a spring festival called Hoi Xuan. There’s lion dances and festivities in oriental market squares. Some churches celebrate by lighting up Chinese lanterns at night, organize a carnival, play some games, and host entertainment.

Chinese musicians and dancers perform a lion dance under red lantern decorations during the opening ceremony of the Spring Festival Temple Fair at the Temple of Earth in Beijing February 2, 2011. Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is China’s biggest holiday, giving migrant workers their only chance of returning to their home provinces with gifts and money for the family. It represents the world’s biggest annual mass migration of humans. UPI/Stephen Shaver
Photo Credit: inkxlenses.tumblr.com

Families typically prepare by cleaning up their homes and creating or buying special holiday food such as banh chung, banh tet bamboo soup, sticky rice, sweet coconut/ginger/sesame peanut brittle candies.

New year greetings are typically shared along with giving lucky money to children or elderly in bright red and gold envelopes called “Li Xi”

Photo Credit: Beth Williams

There are variations on how Vietnamese families pay their respects to ancestors that have passed away and invite their spirits to celebrate with them. In my family, we typically set up and decorate an altar like in the picture below.

Photo Credit: waittravel.com

Many women and girls of all ages enjoy wearing colorful and elegant ao dai dresses to celebrate the occasion.

Miss Vietnam 2010 photo shoots with children during Tet season
Photo Credit: english.vov.vn
Photo Credit: news.zing.vn

If you guys are more curious about the language, here are some common Vietnamese Lunar New Year phrases and vocabulary. Pronunciation is another story! 🙂 (Credit: Tumblr.com)

Phrases

  • Chúc Mừng Năm Mới: Happy New Year
  • Cung Chúc Tân Xuân: Gracious wishes of the new spring
    Sống lâu trăm tuổi:  Long life of 100 years (said by children to elders in exchange for lucky money)
  • An khang thịnh vượng: Security, good health, and prosperity
  • Vạn sự như ý: May myriad things go according to your will
  • Sức khỏe dồi dào: Plenty of health
  • Cung hỉ phát tài: Congratulations and be prosperous
  • Năm mới dồi dào sức khỏe: I wish you a healthy new year 
  • Năm mới tấn tài tấn lộc: I wish you a wealthy new year 
  • Năm mới toàn gia bình an: I wish that the new year will bring health to all your family 
  • Vạn sự như ý: All wishes come true 

Vocabulary

  • Tết Nguyên Đán: Vietnamese New Year Lunar Festival
  • Nhận tiền lì xì: to receive “lucky money”
  • Lì xì / tiền mừng tuổi: “lucky money”   
  • đi chùa để cầu …: Go to pagoda to pray for…
  • gói Bánh chưng: Make Chung cake
  • trang trí nhà cửa: Decorate the house
  • Đi chợ hoa: Go to flower market
  • Thăm bà con bạn bè: Visit relatives and friends
  • Xem pháo hoa: Watch fireworks
  • Đường phố được trang trí với những dây đèn đầy màu sắc: streets are decorated with lines of colorful lights
  • Hoa đào: peach blossom
  • Hoa mai: apricot blossom
  • Cây quất: The kumquat tree
  • Gạo nếp: Sticky rice
  • Đậu xanh: Green beans 
  • Mỡ lợn: Fatty pork
  • Chúc Tết nhau: exchange New Year’s wishes  
  • Bao lì xì: red envelope
  • Ăn diện: dress up
  • Đánh bài: play cards
  • Dưa hấu; watermelon 
  • Dừa: coconut
  • Xoài: mango
  • Đu đủ: papaya
  • nhang: incense
  • Bàn thờ: altar
  • Mê tín: superstitious 
  • Điều cấm kỵ: taboo
  • Quét nhà: sweep the floor
  • Vào ngày mùng một Tết: on the first day of Tet 
  • Đưa ông bà: Bid their ancestor farewell
Posted in Culture, Dance, Events, flashback, Nature, Photography

Flower of the Day – 10.6.18

P1050591.JPG

Good morning! Another energy boost from Cee’s photo of her dahlia! Before I head out to work today, I wanted to share rows of mums in the oriental market during the Vietnamese New Year season called Tet. (At least I think they’re mums! 😉 ) In just a few minutes from when this shot is taken, everyone becomes very jovial as the dragons appear for their dance in the market as a boy bangs his drum to a quick beat.

dragon.PNG

Posted in Dance, Dreams

Dance on the Balcony

09.19.18
Dream: It was dark outside, and solar stake lights lit up the sidewalks leading up to a white two story condo where there was a party. On the second floor, I saw a bunch of young adults ballroom dancing around a platform stage featuring a flexible pole performer. How these folks ballroom danced to electronic dance music beats me?! I was on the ground floor outside the house enjoying some grilled corn with a friend on a bench underneath a street lamp. “Can we go up there and join the party? Pretty-please? I’ll do the laundry and do the rest of the cleaning chores for two months!!” Mei-Mei cajoled. I rolled my eyes,” Mei-Mei, I’ve been doing your laundry and all the cleaning for the past three years! Are you sure you can suddenly switch gears? Besides, I just need some fresh air!”

I woke up feeling a little worn out for the day. One of my friends was visiting from out of town and decided to stay in the haunted Menger Hotel in San Antonio last night. Brave soul, he wanted to see some ghosts! Nope not me. I tried to talk him out of it. I do not want to stay in a haunted house or motel for as long as I live. Otherwise, as I was checking my friend into the Hotel, I enjoyed the lavish surroundings. There was a garden in the middle of a courtyard. Soft jazz music was playing in the background. Apparently, former President Theodore Roosevelt use to hang out in the Menger Bar!

I picked my friend up this morning, and he took my roommate and I out for breakfast. He told me he didn’t see diddly squat as he roamed the building over night. The entire building was lit up, and there wasn’t any dark hallways for the ghosts to travel. I would have thought they would have turned it off to conserve energy, but I guess the managers want to make sure those who are staying there feel safe. My friend preferred the halls to be pitch dark. As he was roaming around the halls, he noticed a parapsychologist team also investigating for the presence of paranormal activity with their temperature readers. He could tell that they were also upset by all the lights.

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