About Susan

Friday, April 10, 2009

A small thought on Happiness

The gentleman who took photos at one of the performances gave me this shot. He told me he liked this one because "everything in your face and your body shows pure happiness." What a very nice compliment this was! Needless to say, I'm very humbled.

It also made me think: How often do we feel pure happiness? Does it exist? I think I can think of some moments in my life that come close. But certainly they don't come often. Perhaps it must be this way, for without sorrow can there be happiness? Although, the more I think of it, I believe happiness is just what it is. If it's real to you, you know it when it happens - maybe it's that simple. But enough of the pondering; let's just say I look forward to more happy moments in life!

Spice Girls ... Szechuan Style!

I bet you're thinking, "What's up with the love bug outfit?" I know, I know. But actually, I am a Szechuan girl who can't live without spicy hot pot even though it makes me sweat and jump around like a maniac. That about sums up this very mischievous and fun romp of a dance. It took awhile for me to get used to the deliberate arm and head motions that characterize this style, and even more for running around and yelling "麻辣!!!" (think "Ma-LAAA!") in a high-pitched voice. Now, my natural voice is far from high, so this was quite interesting to say the least.

But that's really what it's about - letting go of yourself and telling the story through movement. This is less a story than a tableau, but it's the same. In those few minutes onstage, I exist only to love hot pot and everything spicy. What a fabulous life that would be. Although, I really doubt that eating hot pot makes one beautiful, as the lyrics say: "火鍋越吃越吃越漂亮!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dreams of Marriage (onstage, at least)

In contrast to Lady Yuji's suffering discussed in the last post, this dance was all about the realm of happy possibilities. A young girl envisions the man she'll marry and plays everything out in her imagination. She's embarrassed even to herself about thinking of such things but her curiosity wins over. This has got to be the hardest acting lesson I've ever had, because I've never done "cute and girly" like this before - it's from the Chinese opera style "Hua Dan" (花旦) role, portraying a flirtatious and vivacious girl. I don't think this comes naturally to me, but I tried my darndest. I was encouraged when, after one of the shows, some audience members told me they loved the way I "teased" my imaginary fiance/husband.

Actually, that was one of the most difficult points for me. During the course of rehearsing this dance, I worked very hard on this "teasing". It seems simple enough; I toss my red handkerchief outward, but getting it just right was a challenge! At one point my teacher even told me to picture someone so my actions would be more real, more natural. Oh boy. Somehow, eventually I just let myself dance and she was satisfied enough. I should still work on it, though.