Monday, March 28, 2011

Bringing Sin to the Stage

BalletMet presents the 7 Deadly Sins

In honor of BalletMet’s upcoming rock and roll ballet, 7 Deadly Sins, where BalletMet and Shadowbox join forces for a sinfully delicious mix of choreography, new compositions and music let’s take a closer look into the inspiration for such a show, or better yet, what exactly are these “deadly sins?”
It’s so hard to be good when being bad is just way more fun. Are you green with envy? Love to indulge at a buffet or two, or four? Do you love to lay around on a lazy day…or every day? Can’t keep that temper in check or just can’t help catching your reflection in the hallway mirror, a puddle on a rainy day, or your soup spoon at dinner? Can’t choke out a few quarters for those little charity jars at fast-food restaurants? Or how about the big one, can’t keep that lustful glint out of your eyes at the bar on a Friday night?
Bad news, these vices won’t just land a lump of coal in your stocking, they are your ticket straight to that “oh so sinful place,” according to the Catholic Church, who came up with this list of crimes sure to land you right on the naughty list. But good news, you’ll have a whole lot of fun on the way.
An iconic topic in pop culture everywhere, these deadly sins have made quite a nasty mark. From art to film, music to theater, video games to ballet, these vices have caused quite a commotion.

To name a few:

  • George Balanchine created a ballet titled the Seven Deadly Sins for the New York City Ballet.
  • Dante’s Divine Comedy gives us a run down of these sinful indulgences, and his punishments for them don’t exactly sound like fun. (Envy will send you straight to purgatory with your eyes sewn shut with wire…and that is one of the more pleasant ones. Yikes!)
  • Remember in high school English when we were forced to read Geoffrey Chaucer’s, Canterbury Tales? Well, there they are again, making their way into these not-so-pleasant characters.
  • The popular rock band, Bullet for my Valentine featured these seven deadly vices in their video for Betrayal in 2010. Check it out here;
  • And who can forget the movie Seven (1995), whose storyline follows Brad Pitt as he searches for a serial killer using the seven deadly sins as his “modus operandi.” But wait, it’s a trap! Don’t get caught staring at Brad Pitt with envy in your eyes…or worse yet, well we just won’t go there.)
  • America’s Next Top Model even did a fabulous photo shoot where contestants posed in a coffin, depicting each of these vices.
  • Scholars have gone even further to say that Disney’s, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which we all watched as kids (on repeat if you were like me), are actually the seven deadly sins personified into adorable short, stout men who rarely bathe and love to sing.
  • And what about Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann, oh wait, all sins again! Hmm, maybe that’s why they were ship-wrecked for so long?
And, because you can buy anything and everything on the internet these days, you can even purchase sweatshirts, mugs, and mouse pads featuring these seven cardinal vices. Why not show everyone that you are lazy and gluttonous with a great T-shirt?
The term seven deadly sins, is never found in the Bible though. Crafted together in a list by the Catholic Church, these sins have been used since early Christian times. They are seen as the root of all other sins. I guess that’s why they are so deadly? Pride is the most evil and retched of these sins. Apparently, excessive love of self is much worse than laziness or eating a whole lot. Keep that in mind.
If you want to take a quiz to find out which sin describes you most, check out this website
I took it, and didn’t exactly get the warm and fuzzies when my results popped up, but still a good time. Check it out!

Seven Deadly Sins at a glance:

Envy: The desire for other’s traits, status, ability, or situation.
Why do we do it: The grass is always greener right?
Virtue: Kindness
Punishment: Dante says our eyes will be sewn shut, but others say we’ll be thrown in freezing water, so take your pick.
Associated with: The color green and dogs.

Greed: The desire for material wealth and gain.
Why do we do it: Kind of hard not to. We do live in country that sings about “material girls” and airs shows like MTV Cribs.
Virtue: Charity
Punishment: Boiled alive in olive oil (only the finest oil of course).
Associated with: The color yellow and frogs.

Gluttony: The desire to consume more than we need; the supersize-me-sin.
Why do we do it: We live in the world of buffets and “would you like fries with that?”
Virtue: Temperance
Punishment: Force fed rats, toads and snakes. A whole new way of “piggin’ out.”
Associated with: The color orange and pigs.

Wrath: Self-explanatory.
Why do we do it: People can be pretty annoying.
Virtue: Patience
Punishment: Dismembered alive, ouch.
Associated with: The color red and bears.

Sloth: Avoidance of physical and spiritual work; Laziness.
Why do we do it: Who doesn’t love vegging out in front of the TV …for hours?
Virtue: Diligence
Punishment: Thrown into a snake pit. You probably won’t be so lazy then.
Associated with: The color light blue and goats. And I would have thought it was the sloth.

Lust: Craving for pleasures of the body
Why do we do it: I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.
Virtue: Chastity
Punishment: Smothered in fire and brimstone…not kisses.
Associated with: The color blue and cows.

Pride: Excessive belief in one’s own abilities
Why do we do it: Because we’re awesome.
Virtue: Humility
Punishment: Broken on the wheel (whatever that means).
Associated with: The color violet and horses. Guess those horses have a lot of pride.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Drumming it up: BalletMet partners with James Cancer Hospital

I had the honor to observe a drumming class that is part of the James Cancer Hospital and BalletMet partnership. And the participants are quite talented I might say! Sitting in a circle with bongo drums at hand, the participants played rhythms and beats and filled BalletMet with some great music!

Afterwards, I had a chance to talk to Alejandra Ferrer, who leads the classes, to get a behind-the-scenes look at what they are all about!

Me: What do you do at the James Cancer Hospital?

Alejandra: I am the music therapist for JamesCare for Life: Comprehensive Oncology Rehabilitation – a department that provides outreach and support to the patients, families and the community served by The Ohio State University Medical Center and James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Me: How did the partnership between The James and BalletMet come about?

Alejandra: I started my position in July of last year and felt that dance was the missing piece among all the programming we provide for our patients. We were doing a wonderful job providing art, music, exercise, and other classes but no dance. Since early on in my career, I’ve thought of dance as a very powerful therapeutic medium and a beautiful art form. I’ve always tried to incorporate some movement into my music therapy sessions. Because of this, I wanted to give the patients the opportunity to experience dance as part of their rehabilitation programming. So, I contacted BalletMet around October of last year and asked if they would be interested in offering some dance workshops for us. They were totally for it and here we are today!

Me: And how did the drumming classes begin?

Alejandra: The drumming thing really occurred by chance. We were looking all over town for a place that would put up with the sound level we produce as well as allow us to store our instruments. I asked Chris during one of the workshops if they would ever allow us to do this and again, she was receptive to the idea! We are so thankful to BalletMet for allowing this. I don’t know what we would do without you. I hope we can continue to work together. It is such a lovely experience for everyone involved!

Me: What kinds of classes are offered at the James?

Alejandra: On a weekly basis, we offer the participants a variety of classes including: aquatic exercise, guitar, drumming, choir, writing/poetry workshops, qigong, nutrition, art, and dance! And cancer education classes too. Aside from these, we offer our participants monthly support groups for their particular cancer (colorectal, gynecological, head and neck, brain, hematology, sarcoma, etc). Quarterly, we also offer disease specific conferences.

Me: Who can participate in these classes?

Alejandra: Our programming is open to all cancer patients/survivors and their caregivers. Programming is free of cost

for all participants.

Me: How many people have taken advantage of this opportunity?

Alejandra: In 2009, over 4000 participants (both survivors and their caregivers/families) took advantage of this opportunity.

Me: Chris talked about a big event coming up with the participants and BalletMet, could you elaborate on that?

Alejandra: I believe the big event was the workshop held at the studios this morning. The patients participated in a dance class taught by Ambre Emory-Maier and Bruce Terry. They did some breathing exercises, stretching, singing, self-massage, and some jazz dancing. It was a rainy day, but ten people attended! Following the class, the participants had the opportunity to see a little bit of a company rehearsal. They loved this!

Me: Are there any other opportunities coming up with BalletMet for participants at The James?

Alejandra: Yes! Beginning April 7th, Daryl Kamer will be doing a weekly Dance! Move! Stretch! class for the patients

and their caregivers. Every Friday, also beginning in April, we will continue to hold two drumming groups at the BalletMet facility.

Me: What are the benefits of participating in these classes?

Alejandra: Each class offers something completely different. In general, all of our programming enriches the life of our survivors by providing positive and supportive experiences. Many of our programs focus on stress reduction and promoting healing and wellness. Others focus on teaching the participants how to live healthier lives. All of our programs are held in a group setting so automatically; they are set up to be social experiences where strong bonds and support systems can emerge.

Thank you to Alejandra and the class for letting me see what drumming class is all about! It made me want to join in on the fun. Maybe next time!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Night in Havana

The hottest dance party in town

It may have been cold and wet outside, but it was hot and spicy inside at Dance with the Dancers 2011, A Night in Havana.
BalletMet spiced it up right last Saturday, March 5, holding the 7th annual Dance with the Dancers fundraising event. Cuban beats played all night long, as staff, guests, and company dancers moved and grooved at the hottest dance party in town. With over 300 guests in attendance, the night was truly a success.
Food stations were provided by Cameron Mitchell Catering, Chipotle, Jenis Ice Cream and much more. An open bar with specialty drinks and DJ Mark Dantzer kept the party going all night long. The sangria and mojitos were to die for!
Silent auctions were a big hit too! From tropical vacation get-aways to shopping sprees to beer tasting parties, guests couldn’t resist placing a bid or two.
The event was held at the Brewmaster’s Gate, downtown in the brewery district. Walking in, the lights were low but the spirits were high, with a huge dance floor and glowing, neon palm trees that stretched all the way to the ceiling.
I had the privilege to work the Chipotle station, greeting guests and explaining salsas all night long. It was so much fun watching guests come in, dressed to the nines in Havana style. Guests came dressed to impress; Ladies donned flowers in their hair, swingy salsa skirts and high, high heels. The fellows came dressed in all white, Miami vice inspired suits, with fedoras to match and bright Hawaiian shirts. And don’t forget the coconut drinks in hand!
The dancers even performed a salsa inspired number for the guests and then were auctioned to dance to a fun and upbeat song with the highest bidder. The scrumptious spread of food was endless and delicious. From fried pickles to ice cream to a jelly bean buffet, guests could help themselves all night long. I was stuffed by the end of the night!
Special thanks to Barbara Markus and her team for planning an awesome event and of course to our sponsors who made such a great night possible.