silly_cleo: Close up of feet in satin pink ballet pointe shoes and pink tights, one foot pointed, the other flat on the ground. (dancing! - pointe shoes)
So [livejournal.com profile] livii asked me to talk a bit more about Irreverent Dance as my first December topic! :D (If you asked for a fic or podfic for donating to the Kickstarter, I will totally get to those this month! Er, unless your name begins with K in which case I’m working on it. Also it’s not too late to ask if you still want to!) (ALSO if you haven't asked me to talk about something, or you have and want me to talk about TWO things, I have LOTS of slots left! :D) (Also, sorry it's late, [livejournal.com profile] livii!)

No lie, I was hoping somebody would, so here we go.

I’d actually been aware of Irreverent Dance for just over a year (and they’ve been going now for close to two and a half I think) but what with one thing and another, didn’t actually make it to a class until August this year. I was a bit worried about it at first just because it had been ages since I’d danced regularly, and I was lighter and thinner then and have had a lot more issues with injuries since, so I had various expectations and concerns.

I DID find my body could not do things as well or as easily as I remembered, but I also found it didn’t much matter. One of the many things I think is amazing about ID is that when they say beginner/all levels, they actually mean it. So many other dance classes I’ve attended that say ‘beginner’ are actually either used as a warm up by advanced students (which is fine, as far as it goes) and thus cater to those students (NOT fine) or the ‘beginners’ there have been at that class for a long time and just not progressed, so they have a lot more familiarity than new students, and the class is still geared to them. Assuming everyone has a 101 understanding of anything is really alienating to beginners in any kind of class/teaching environment, and most dance classes, even ones geared at adult supposed beginners, have no understanding of that.

ID really does start from 0, no previous knowledge is assumed, but at the same time, as a relatively experienced dancer, I found going back to basics really useful. I can’t speak for any of the other teachers (yet! :D) but the founder, Amanda, is a really gifted teacher, I’m not the only student who’s found that her explanation of concepts has stuck in a way others’ haven’t. I also found that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t do things as well as I remembered, because the point was just being able to do it as well as *I* could. Working with the body I have, rather than against it, or being mad at it. I’m finding dancing again, specifically with ID, really helpful for the misc body issues I carry around.

And now it’s 3 and a bit months better and I’ve fallen in love with dance all over again! <3 The BEST bit about Irreverent Dance is it gives me all the things I ADORE about dancing, without all the negatives. It’s not a secret that the dance world and body issue and negativity go hand in hand, so to be somewhere where the fact I’m fat has nothing to do with how good or bad a dancer I am, or in fact, how good or bad a dancer I am has nothing to do with my worth inside the classroom, is wonderful. (I’m not happy with that sentence, but I am happy with its sentiment!)

I’m so excited we’ve got our own studio now!

And of course, the other thing I love about ID is that I said ‘we’ in that last sentence. It’s not just a dance studio, it’s a community. I’m lucky, I have a few close friends I adore, and several larger communities I’m lucky to be a part of and am also extremely fond of, but that is certainly not true for everyone, particularly queer folks. I’ve felt really welcomed by ID, and I can see how it’s an important social space for a lot of the members, and it’s lovely to be a part of that. Like I got a really warm, unclique-y welcome, and you can never know too many good people, really. <3

Like, class and rehearsals and the one performance I’ve done so far have just been such a FUN experience. When I was little, I used to get sent outside for giggling ALL THE TIME (actually, that just happened at school too, not just dance class. I’m sure you’re all stunned.) and obviously I get that from wee!Cleo’s teachers’ POV, but it’s so nice to learn in such a light, laughing environment. Like I said, Amanda is a great teacher, and she puts a lot of herself out there in her teaching, in making a connection with us so everyone feels fun and safe, and the result is a really nice camaraderie in the class. For example, all ballet moves tend to have their proper French name, and our own name. (E.g. ronde de jambe en l’air (spelling bad) is also known as tentacle legs. Or when we are reminded to keep our chests high, we are supposed to imagine we are Iron Man. Or we learned assembles, which are called that because your feet assemble in the air, LIKE THE AVENGERS. Second position is the shape your arms would make if you were hugging Totoro. Nobody likes the Polka. Everyone cheers everyone else when they achieve air time pictures of jumps.)

When they say they’re gender neutral and for all levels, they MEAN it. Everyone learns everything regardless of their gender, assigned at birth, chosen, perceived or otherwise. Pointe is open to everyone, allegro and adagio are open to everyone, everyone learns to lead and follow. There is a lot of emphasis on self-care, and letting the teacher know your injuries at the start of class, and only doing stuff that is comfortable, working with your body, not punishing it, while still stretching and pushing yourself, just safely.

I can’t wait to do many many more classes, I feel so supported by the space, the teachers, and the other students that I'm hoping to try lots more things I wouldn't have felt confident enough to do before.

I could probably go on a bit more, but I'm already a few days late with this, and you definitely get the gist! (If you have questions, please obviously ask away!) Plus, I'm sure ID will work its way into my next post, which is also dance-related. :D <3
silly_cleo: black and white image of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, text: an almost all greek thing (Default)
So.

If you follow me on other sites (and if you don't and want to, you should! I'm silly_cleo on twitter and tumblr too) you may have noticed I've been promoting this Kickstarter rather heavily.

This is my dance studio. You can read more about what they're about here and if you are London-based and free on Sunday, you could come see me dance with them? :D

I only joined in August, but I already love the community so much. I love that they're founded on the premise that dance is for everyone, that they've created a lovely, loving queer community around dance, and that they're so focused on making that a safe space. They're trying to raise enough money to buy and fit out their own studio. The Kickstarter is doing really well, they've raised nearly 80% at time of writing and they have till Wednesday 12th November to raise the remaining ~£6,000.

I'd like to offer drabbles (min 100 words but as much as I can scrape together) and short podfics of the fic (or story) of your choice (say to a max of ~1200 words) in exchange for pledges. You can give as much or as little as you like, just come tell me you've done so and let me know what fandom and pairing or prompt or character(s) you'd like! (ETA: Would prefer fanfic but happy to do original work if you like!) (If you have already pledged, as I know at least 7/8 of you have, feel free to go ahead and ask for a drabble or podfic after the fact. :D) Please keep it to fandoms I know! I'll let you know if I can't write something and ask you to suggest alternatives if I need to. (I think this will be less of an issue for podfic but again, I'll let you know.)

I know the word counts are low, but I'm trying to be realistic about what I'll actually manage to give you in a timely fashion! Feel free to make low pledges in exchange, every little helps! :D

Also I always have mixed feelings about fanworks for money but I always feel a bit differently if it's fundraising. I've read a lot of good arguments making various different points. If you feel similarly you are of course welcome to donate without requesting a fanwork/story!

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silly_cleo: black and white image of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, text: an almost all greek thing (Default)
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