Here's my secret: I practiced everywhere.
July 10, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

 
What you don't see is the thousands of hours of preparation. You don't see the self doubt, the lost sleep, the lonely nights spent working. You don't see the moment they started. The moment they were just like you, wondering how they could ever be good.
Cool video and neat project.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:09 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm glad she's more confident moving her body, but people who love to dance, just dance. You don't need to approach it like a science fair project.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:12 AM on July 10, 2013


I'm glad she's more confident moving her body, but people who love to dance, just dance. You don't need to approach it like a science fair project.

Good job, but you're not sincere about it
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ideefixe: " You don't need to approach it like a science fair project."

You don't need to approach it like a science fair project. Some of us do.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2013 [50 favorites]


I'm glad she's more confident moving her body, but people who love to dance, just dance. You don't need to approach it like a science fair project.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:12 AM on July 10 [+] [!]


If you visit her website (which I vote should be the link in the FPP) you get the idea that she's not really dancing as in "I just wanna go to a party and have fun". She wanted to become a dancer, which is a very different thing, and typically requires years of practice. It's really inspiring to see her evolve so much, just by hard work and dedication and sheer will power.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:17 AM on July 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


Based on her physique at the beginning of the video, I'm guessing she's got some sort of extensive movement/athletic background. You don't get thigh muscles like that from watching Top Chef marathons on the couch...
posted by stenseng at 9:20 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing she's got some sort of extensive movement/athletic background.

I was just about to write something similar! This was fascinating, but I really think she had transferable skills that made this possible. I'm not taking anything away from her accomplishment, I'm just saying it's NOT something "any of us" could do.

I couldn't.
posted by MoxieProxy at 9:33 AM on July 10, 2013


I thought her purpose was pretty clear from the video, no? She means Dance in the same way as the television show So You Think You Can Dance? Not, like, "I want to dance at my friend's wedding."
posted by muddgirl at 9:34 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


On day 30 she had the roboting thing down pretty good. Better than me. And I've been (on and off) trying to do that ever since first seeing youtube videos of Madd Chadd.

Dancing rules. Good for her.
posted by 13twelve at 9:41 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last night I taught my 2-yr old daughter the robot. OMG best thing ever.
posted by odinsdream at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


I find her to be a very impressive young woman. After reading some comments on another site which suggested she could all ready dance I did a little looking around. She has 13 videos and can also sing a song and do a bit of composing.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:54 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did a 365 project and saw for myself the effects of "five minutes daily," and it's pretty eye-opening. This is a great time-lapse to illustrate it. I wish she'd incorporated more footage to illustrate the progression...but yeah, she was pretty sharp already by day 30, and some of that's likely talent.
posted by cribcage at 9:57 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you want in on a way to master dancing even faster, just follow my one-step program:

1. Exclusively dance to folk punk, only while drunk.

You can thank me later.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:58 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dancing is awesome. This girl is awesome. Awesome.
posted by orme at 10:01 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm glad she's more confident moving her body, but people who love to dance, just dance. You don't need to approach it like a science fair project.

Ah. That's why I suck at dancing. I don't love it enough. Maybe if I tried loving it harder?
posted by straight at 10:14 AM on July 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


i used to go raves when i was younger. i was good rave dancing - it's kind of like hippie dancing, waving things around and flailing about gracefully. people used to come up to me and say how they liked to watch me dance (i'm sure it had nothing to do with any, um, uh, "enhanced perceptions" on their part.)

when i got older and single a few years back, i started going to some clubs downtown. club dancing is WAAAYYY diff.

i had a friend teach me how to dance WITH a person and how to not flail about. and how to shake my booty.

i did indeed practice. with a mirror in my bedroom and listeing to club music wearing my club outfits.

practice helps.

that's cool she made this so everyone knows that it's not necessarily just a "thing" you do, but a skill you practice and get better at.
posted by sio42 at 10:15 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just saying it's NOT something "any of us" could do.

You just have to define a realistic goal and break it down into achievable sets. And find time to dedicate to it that you can actually live with.

Don't let "can't" define the goal for you. Look at whats possible for you and, most importantly, look at what you want.
Some goals are self-sustaining goods. Just learning to dance has all kinds of physical/health benefits.
I catch this with martial arts all the time. This style is better. Joe MMA kicks everyones ass. Yadda yadda.
Well, y'know, not everyone plans on winning a title belt or operating in a combat zone so you don't need to spend 1/2 your day in the gym to benefit from learning more about moving your body in a fluid manner, gaining physical confidence, cardio health, etc. etc.

Of course, I dance like a spastic horse, so there are finer points I'm probably missing.

But presuming a subjective standard before putting it in terms of what you yourself can and can't do is like arguing anything less than training for the NYCB or the Bolshoi isn't worth doing.
Silly.
You define the goal, the circumstances, the environment you want to create, etc., not the other way around. Let someone else set those standards of course you've already failed.

But once you set a physically achievable bar, no matter how high, it's just a matter of practice and dedication. How bad do you want it?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:19 AM on July 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm glad she's more confident moving her body, but people who love to dance, just dance. You don't need to approach it like a science fair project.

And people who love science fair projects just do science fair projects. It's almost as if there are different paths to the same goal! Crazy talk!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:23 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heh. I'm glad nobody ever filmed me practising the minuet at the bus stop.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:31 AM on July 10, 2013


The dancing was interesting. She's rocking it by the end. But then I went and started reading though her blog posts and every single one was about ACHIEVING something! And IMPROVING yourself! And BOOTSTRAPS!!!

This is the point I decided she irritated the crap out of me. Then I thought about why I was irritated - it's like ... relax a little. Maybe veg out of the couch for a second? Not every second of every day has to be spent on some sort of grand improvement project. Yah know? And then I thought, why am I annoyed by passionate, driven, successful people? That's probably not normal. Shouldn't I respect these qualities and try and emulate them myself? So that started some sort of bizare shame spiral where I thought of projects I'd started and not finished. So then I finished making a sweet pair of Thai fisherman wrap pants to wear to a music festival this weekend (they were 90% done, I just got tired and didn't do it yesterday). YAY ACHIEVEMENT! But then so as not to annoy myself with too much drive and focus, I hung out on my couch and played some xbox. Pretty good day! Thanks dancing lady.
posted by Arbac at 10:40 AM on July 10, 2013 [40 favorites]


I love that the final dance was done in front of a departing BART train, the whoosh of the wind on the train's exit was a perfect kind of blast of air against her clothing, like those old 1980s music videos where people are dancing in front of fans.

I thought that was really clever how she used that to a good effect.
posted by mathowie at 10:50 AM on July 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


Also, I've been working on playing my first song with singing and everything on the piano. I wish I recorded myself learning because it took so freaking long and it's incredibly hard for a non-musician to play a song and sing at the same time. It's probably been six months and now I have the piano part pretty well down and am starting in with the singing, but it's off-key and badly timed. In total it probably will take me a full year to master one song and I'm already starting to get sick of the song. I really don't know how musicians/songwriters do this.
posted by mathowie at 10:52 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good thing you have a normal, functional body that can be coaxed out of awkwardness and into confidence...
posted by Halogenhat at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2013


Good thing you have a normal, functional body that can be coaxed out of awkwardness and into confidence...

90-100% of being awesome is being convinced of your own awesomeness*.

offer void in Dunning-Kruger county
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:07 AM on July 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


All the defeatism in here about how it's totally impossible makes me want to spend a year learning to dance.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:11 AM on July 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


offer void in Dunning-Kruger county

The problem with Dunning-Kruger County is that you never learn you're in it, not even after it's too late.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:14 AM on July 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


A video like that will never be
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:38 AM on July 10, 2013


Vote for Pedro!




(but seriously I love this kinda thing)
posted by Toecutter at 12:00 PM on July 10, 2013


You don't get thigh muscles like that from watching Top Chef marathons on the couch...

You don't get thigh muscles like that from watching Top Chef marathons on the couch. Some of us do.
posted by wam at 12:27 PM on July 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


In total it probably will take me a full year to master one song and I'm already starting to get sick of the song. I really don't know how musicians/songwriters do this.

I've been doing this with guitar, and I'm finding it impossibly hard to sing and play and then memorize all of it together in long term memory. I inevitably forget the lyrics or the chord progression or both. The result is that I've been playing guitar for years and I can still only play one song on demand without having to look at the music. I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be on piano.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:28 PM on July 10, 2013


I used to be a dance instructor, believe it or not (Arthur Murray, thank you very much) and I can tell you -- a lot of people don't love dance. They don't like their bodies, they feel awkward, they don't have a clue what to do, and the best they have to offer is vaguely shuffling in place. They want to love dance, but they don't know where to start. They don't necessarily have an inherent rhythmic sense, because they've never done it much, and so even moving their bodies in the same way in a consistent rhythm takes practice, and while you're learning, you look and feel silly. And it's hard to love being embarrassed.

What you try to do as a teacher is create a safe space. Let people know that it's all right to feel like you're getting it wrong for a while. That we all look and feel silly when we're learning something new, and you can trust that, with practice, you will get better, and these steps will stop feeling awkward and start feeling very comfortable. That you will reach a point where you don't have to count time, and repeat the steps to yourself mentally, and that you can just enjoy the music and enjoy moving to it, and, if it's a couples dance, enjoy the company of somebody dancing with you.

This is often the greatest hurdle. Making somebody feel safe and comfortable. I know what would not make them feel safe and comfortable, but would simply compound their shame and sense of awkwardness -- telling them that if they loved it, they should just be able to do it. What else would we insist that this is true about? If you loved guitar, you'd just play it! If you loved French, you'd just speak it!

If you love dance, and you respect it, you recognize that people have different skills and experiences and comfort levels, and that learning to dance can be really, really hard work, and you love and respect the fact that people are willing to work through their fear and their awkwardness to learn to love something that you already care about.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:51 PM on July 10, 2013 [47 favorites]


Please no one show this to my wife.

Because then she's going to want me to dance.

I don't want to dance.
posted by madajb at 1:24 PM on July 10, 2013


I didn't think she was awkward to start.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:37 PM on July 10, 2013


It's probably been six months and now I have the piano part pretty well down and am starting in with the singing, but it's off-key and badly timed. In total it probably will take me a full year to master one song and I'm already starting to get sick of the song. I really don't know how musicians/songwriters do this.

I think you do. Practice every day for five years. Then get creative.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:40 PM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are a veritable font of knowledge.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:49 PM on July 10, 2013


Also, I've been working on playing my first song with singing and everything on the piano. [. . .] it's incredibly hard for a non-musician to play a song and sing at the same time.

If you can write a song and play it and sing it at the same time, you are a musician, full stop. If you can play OR sing but not both, you are STILL a musician. I am a professional musician* who has done some pretty big gigs and made some pretty good money at it and I can't play one single instrument, not one. Not piano, not guitar, not uke, not anything.

*I make just about enough to have to declare it on my taxes. I'm not Kanye or anything.
posted by KathrynT at 1:50 PM on July 10, 2013


Oh, and my point (sorry, sick kids, I'm very scattered): I sing constantly. If you added up all the time I spend singing every day, it's probably a couple hours. My kids have given up on trying to get me to stop embarrassing them. I treated my 2-year-old to the Dulcissime and Blanziflor et Helena from Carmina Burana this morning, almost idly. My husband has practically tuned it out -- I don't think he even hears it any more. And that's nothing compared to the silent time I spend working on music -- when I'm trying to learn a piece, I'd guess I'm running it through in my mind, ghosting my support, working the phrasing and the breathing, &c for between 6 and 8 hours a day, maybe more if I'm on deadline or it's really hard.
posted by KathrynT at 2:00 PM on July 10, 2013


Ideefixe: I'm glad she's more confident moving her body, but people who love to dance, just dance. You don't need to approach it like a science fair project.
You're forgetting about the people who love to dance and spend a lot of time getting good at it. Tops on that list include Martha Graham, Fred Astaire, Rudolph Nureyev...

There's nothing wrong with the way she approached it. Nothing at all. Nor is she saying anyone else must do what she did. She's simply saying: "It didn't just come naturally."
posted by IAmBroom at 2:29 PM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love to learn to dance, but I'm not the kind of person who can recognize how to dance well without a reference. Are there any videos breakdowns of this kinda stuff?

N.B. I'm more interested in modern dance than classical dance (is that a thing?).
posted by Strass at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


mathowie: In total it probably will take me a full year to master one song and I'm already starting to get sick of the song.

This year I've been teaching myself to play the piano and it's been a really enjoyable passtime - I think I'm taking the low road though, as I do little ornament and just use it to provide chords and bass under my singing.

I'm no expert, but I think your approach is going to pay off - one of the things I read was about music education in general was that people got good results by having a "goal song" to work towards (I usually end each practice with a runthrough of "Standing in the Doorway" by Bob Dylan). Is your goal song all you're playing through? Maybe you can find something else that has transferrable practice and lets you mix it up a bit?
posted by curious.jp at 5:26 PM on July 10, 2013


Strass, if you go to her site, she links to a couple of the videos she used further down the page. While I'm not a big dance person, I had to do some research in this field once for a project and there are a TON of youtube videos with people teaching various things, you really just have to figure out what style you want to learn and do some digging.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:12 PM on July 10, 2013


Her website is nice too. She uses Jerry Seinfeld's "Don't break the chain" technique, which IIRC I learned about on AskMe. I like that the site is very encouraging/motivational, but not preachy or too showy.

I also liked the effect of the BART train.
posted by radioamy at 9:37 PM on July 10, 2013


Damn, I just watched this again. I really like the piece she does at the end. It goes really well with the music and it's very...compelling. I want to watch her dance more.

I'd definitely vote for her on SYTYCD!
posted by radioamy at 9:42 PM on July 10, 2013


Her pop and lock technique is wonderful!

I can totally relate to her approach, too. Nine years ago, I took up bellydance, and there was one move in particular that vexed me. A three-quarter shimmy looks easy. It is not. I spent a year learning to do it in place, then do it walking. It took every single day of that year to master it, now I shimmy all over the house. Loving the art wasn't enough, it took work, and it was worth it.
posted by MissySedai at 11:51 PM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe the 10000 hours thing was on the right track, but on the wrong scale.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:41 AM on July 11, 2013


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