Saturday, November 27, 2010

extravaganza in wonderland

That was the title of the girls' first dance show, an exhibit of Scottish highland dance from their dance school, and featuring a local pipe and drum band and local Irish dancers as well. It was more than a dance recital, there was a story that ran through all the numbers, kind of like a play. The story was about Alice, who is recruited by a white rabbit to help save Wonderland from the wicked Irish queen and her desire to eliminate Scottish dance and music from the land.

A few pictures from the final dress rehearsal. The group of five at the right are the newest dancers in the school and would be in a dance together.

Alice during one of her dances, and the pipe band.

Then the number featuring the girls, along with another girl in the back center who is about the same age and the twins, and Andrew, the King, the only male dancer in the school, from Erin's class. The idea was that the Scottish King and some villagers find a piper and dance to their music in secret, trying to avoid being discovered by the Irish Queen. If you watch the clip, listen to her comments at the end.

This was a fairly simple dance but I always worried about how Allison would do during the show because she always had the hardest time with the steps and timing. Erin always caught on to all the dances she's been introduced to so well and, along with Andrew, had been moved up to a more advanced class a couple of months ago. But in the show it was Allison who did fine and Erin who messed up. Oh well. Kate is at the left, Allison at far right, Erin in front. My great camera didn't compensate well for the lighting and it's hard to see anyone's faces.

At the end of the play the Irish Queen realizes that Scottish music and dance isn't so bad after all, and the Irish Dancers and Scottish dancers all come together for a group dance, the Fling. Erin is in the red/white kilt at front.

It's a much longer dance and more complicated than the one my girls did earlier in the show, and the instructors didn't think the twins were ready for it yet. Erin did it perfectly, and with much better timing than the two girls immediately to the right, who have each been dancing much longer than she has:

It was a great first show and a good turnout for the audience. Erin is definitely hooked and wants to start competition dancing next year. And the twins have renewed enthusiasm and are looking forward to their next show.

it's so hot in november

The twins had their school play a few days ago, for which their classes have been practicing for about two months. The title was "Anasi and the Moss Covered Rock", a story about a sneaky spider in the African forest who finds a large rock covered in moss which looks out of place in the jungle. He discovers that if he says the phrase, "Oh my, what a strange moss covered rock" out loud then he falls asleep for an hour.

He decides to use this knowledge to lure other groups of animals in the vicinity of the rock so that they'll say the magic phrase, then when they fall asleep he runs back to their dens to steal any food they've been storing.Since the play involves 60 kids, the Anansi role became a group of 4 spiders who hatch this plot together.

Allison played a monkey, who aren't tricked by Anansi and friends but do see what goes on from the trees and try to warn the spiders to stop tricking the other animals.

Here is Allison and the other monkeys singing their song in the story, "What's that smell?" As in, what's that smell, I smell trouble. John told Allison he thought the mystery smell was the other stinky monkeys.

And the spiders trick one set of animals after another until they encounter some bush deer, of which Kate was one.

The bush deer watch the whole ordeal from the bushes and decide to trick the spiders right back by letting themselves get lured to the mystery rock but they won't say the magic phrase.

Instead they say, "Isn't that a weird moss covered rock," or "Isn't that a strange grass covered stone," and drive the spiders nuts until the spiders just tell the correct phrase, and the spiders fall asleep. Then the bush deer gather up all the stolen food and give it back to the other animals.

I'm at school every week and I've caught bits and pieces of rehearsals, and I helped with the backdrop, but I never did learn the ending of the play ahead of time. I had no idea that the bush deer were the big heroes in the story and I made a big deal about that to Kate, which I think she appreciated.

Monday, November 15, 2010

late halloween

I'm having technical difficulties. I've been battling with my new camera for months. First, I didn't RTFM. I thought I could figure it out on my own and that didn't work out so well so I did finally sit down and RTFM but my camera hasn't worked any better.

I made two phone calls to Canon's technical support center and got some good advice, I thought. I was all "wow, so THAT'S what I've been doing wrong" and immediately incorporated their advice and felt relieved, only to have the same problems. I can take mostly okay pictures outside, in good light, if no one is moving very much, which is a great set of restrictions for shooting pictures of kids. But I get even worse results--terrible, really, more often than not when taken inside or outside in lower light. There are so many occasions where every photo I took is just a blurry mess and now those moments are gone, and I have less I feel like sharing here. Actually when it comes to photos lately there isn't much I've felt like doing besides throwing my camera against a brick wall.

My third phone call to technical support resulted in suggestion that I send my camera to Virginia for Canon to work on for several weeks. Great. But back to life at home...

The girls each knew exactly what they wanted to be for Halloween and so when we walked into my friend's costume store they each found what they wanted, tried it on, and we were done in like 10 minutes. A new record. Kate is Cinderella, Allison a candy corn witch, and Erin is Hermione Granger, Harry Potter's female sidekick.

The first Halloween event was a parade at school one day. The kids lined up by villages and did a parade around the playground, which I took many photos of, including some of the kids with their teachers, but those "action" shots didn't turn out at all.

On Halloween weekend mom and Peter stopped by since they were in LA on other business, and as usual mom got the girls busy making desserts.

We also had some pumpkin carving to do.

Then on Halloween itself Uncle Brad came by and visited for a while in the afternoon.

After dinner and as the darkness began to creep in the girls took some final photos with Grandma Jan before she and Peter left for the airport and we set out trick-or-treating.