About Susan

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Together for a Day

Today is Qixi (七夕), the 7th day of the 7th month according to the Lunar calendar. The separated lovers of this traditional Chinese tale can finally cross the sky and meet for this one day during the year. The story is one of love and repentance. Of course, the boy shouldn't have neglected watching the cows, and the girl shouldn't have stopped making the emperor his clothes altogether, but eternal separation seems like a very harsh sentence ... is it because people cannot stand seeing such happiness when it isn't theirs to have? A voice whispers within me that it is my life in the West that turns me to this emotional reading, but my Chinese upbringing reminds me that duty is first and foremost - transgressions must be accounted for and the price paid.

Nevertheless, parting is such sweet sorrow. I'd heard it said that each time there is bittersweet parting, a star burns out in the heavens. How sad, and how perfectly romantic.

Just Breathe ... but make sure you breathe Korean style!

Korean dance is extremely challenging for me. I tend to be the kind of dancer who wants to throw my body around, but in Korean dance, all the intensity is kept inside your belly, literally. Tuck in your behind, make sure your chest caves in a little. And the breathing ... I think I should try taiji breathing exercises, they might actually help.

It helped that the dance I'm performing in the photo above is Korean with a modern touch. I'm not sure I can yet handle purely traditional 朝鮮 ... it would take much more training to get the feeling right. For this one I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants, or rather, tripping over the hem of my generously cut, heavy skirt ...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Mongolian Dancer"

This was again taken by my coworker Pet'ka, with my hair already half unpinned. She put this photo up with a compliment that humbles me:

"Susan is a stunningly beautiful lady. She performed a mongolian dance at the Mela festival at Google yesterday. After her performance, I took few shots of her next to a white office wall. We used only available light, so the out-of-camera photo wasn't that exciting. I did little color post-processing here."

Thank you so much!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rose in Summer

Despite the heat and a very shallow and rough stage, Saturday's performance felt like a success! I danced the high energy Uighur/Kazakh number, dressed as a young man again, although I guess I can't fool anyone since the announcer asked everyone to admire the 小妹妹 (young girl), oh well. The photo above is a screen capture from TV, when I had a real stage.

I love this dance, and feel that my endurance has improved since I came back from Shanghai, which makes it even more enjoyable. Despite the less than ideal quality of the stage floor (I skinned my right ankle doing knee turn jumps and bled all over my shoe inside the boot cover) it felt great and the audience response made me more excited to dance for them. After I left the stage a woman stopped me and told me how much she loved my dancing! Happy!

To be young, brash, and in love - I suppose any man would feel on top of the world, feel as if he could do anything, if his beloved loves him in return. Now I just need to find my love and give her the rose! =D

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dancing at the Google Mela

Recently I performed a Mongolian Chopsticks dance on a hot stage on a blindingly sunny noonday event at Google's Mountain View campus. Even with pre-stage jitters - it's always worse when people you know are watching you! - this reminded me so much of why I dance. The rush was exhilarating, and the comments and emails of people amazed by the Mongolian style and costuming let me know that I'd helped bring more diversity to people's lives. Here's a short video clip someone took and graciously sent to me.

One of my coworkers, Pet'ka, caught me after I danced and took some photos, one of which is above. Unfortunately, I'd already taken my hat off, as well as many of the pins holding my short, unruly hair together, explaining its terrible appearance.