Aer Time: a cabaret for international dance day

It’s an escape, a passion and a painful art – and I keep on loving aerial dance. It is truly movement in three dimensions and has become a part of who I am.

While I love writing, finding the latest scoop, and singing pop songs with friends (looking at you, Ashley Wiebe); twisting, turning, dropping and rolling from 30 feet in the air using nothing but a piece of fabric is just awesome.

Sunday, April 29 is international dance day and to celebrate, Monica’s Danz Gym is hosting  the Aer Time Cabaret show at its 25 Scurfield Avenue studio. Momentum Aerial and Acrobatic performance troupe will be there – I was fortunate enough to dance with them in Lausanne, Switzerland in the summer of 2011, as well as in Dornbirn, Austria; Ottawa, Canada and Boulder, Colorado years before.

The talented Jennifer Roy, my personal friend and incredible acrobatic artist will perform, as well as senior aerial instructor Liz Cooper. Jordan Dock, who auditioned for Canada’s Got Talent judges, will also showcase his work.

I’m honoured to be a part of this event presenting my work in progress These are my hands performed to the Across the Universe version of  the Beatle’s classic, I want to hold your hand.

These are my hands refers to the opposite of what the song impresses: holding someone else’s hand.  Instead I’ve decided to reclaim and hold my own hand; forgiving myself and reaching out to my own hopes and dreams.

Far too often we reach out to others around us,taxing relationships and falling prey to life’s many demands – often to the detriment of our own health and happiness.

It’s with such generous extension we forget where our hands – where we – are.

So please come by Monica’s Danz Gym, 25 Scurfield Blvd, and celebrate international dance day on Sunday April 29 at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Drawing on some down time

Does a journalist ever rest?

It’s the new year – and after wrapping up my last semester with some great work experiences for Canstar Community Newspapers and The Winnipeg Free Press, I immediately went into working full-time as a portrait photographer over the very busy (and frightening rude) month that is December.

But it’s always worth it – change of pace, spending good times with friends and finally working on a creative project. Yes, that’s right: on my time off all I wanted to do was dive into more work!

I’ve always loved sketching, and probably the last time I took some alone time to work with pencil and pencil crayon was for my cartoon blog image.

Since I’ve become a HUGE graphic novel fan – in almost all parts due to Colin Enquist persuading me to be open-minded about the genre, I decided to think 2D. We often compare our favourite panels, and his favourite was the inspiration of the project.

Have I mentioned I LOVE pencil crayons? They are a gorgeous medium to manipulate; although, finding the right colour and texture requires layering multiple pencil colours – but they’re so cheap, my pack of 50 varieties of colours was only $4.25.

So here’s what I did – I created an enlarged recreation of a two page spread from Fathom by Michael Turner (#12).

1. Gather my materials: I picked up two poster boards and a large frame (later reduced to just the white poster board and a smaller frame sized 22 X 16 in). One pencil, one sharpener, scissors, ruler, kleenex,  two fine sharpies and my no-name brand pencil crayons.

2. Make Your Grids: Whenever you enlarge an original image, you must scale. To make this easier (and less frustrating since I’m a detail freak), I made a grid scale of 1 to 2 inches per square (in light pencil, to be erased after). Then commenced with a pencil outline.

3. Fill in the pencil details: What I love about this image in particular, are all the rich nuances and details in the character. I pencilled in all my details first.

4. Start ink and colour: Some believe one must ink entirely first, and such is the case for comics where there are separate inkers. However, I wanted to clearly show my progression, and decided to ink and colour as I went along.

5. Nearing the finish line: My last push to complete this work was tough, the background was just as nuanced as the character. Colin told me  he didn’t care too much for the dialogue bubble (it says “yeahhh Baby!”). So I focused on capturing the shadows and fine details of the background.

6. The sign off: I did a soft shaving rub technique for the sky colour. While in the original it was a lot darker, I really wanted my details to pop, and be an even soft colour up top. Added my signature and gave it to Colin for Christmas.

Here is a slide show of the process:

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Playing House

Recently, I decided to help out a friend of a friend of a friend (okay it wasn’t quite like that, but those of you who know me know I would help no matter what). The deal was, this friend just flipped a sweet bunaglow and wanted his open house to look really busy. So me and Colin Enquist decided to play house, as a giddy couple of prospective buyers, and make the first day viewing look full. Weird thing was, we weren’t entirely necessary – so many people were looking at the house that were not the flipper’s friends. Nonetheless, I’ve been house hunting before (never to buy myself, but moving with family) and I find it entertaining for all about five minutes – bedroom, bathroom, office — no walk-in? No thank you! Ha, I wasn’t a diva no, but I did have fun imagining that the trip was for realsies. Couldn’t resist writing about my short time spent playing house.

Bon Appetit!

Playing House
Daniella Ponticelli

Oh my how darling
we said of this three bedroom
thing

An open house
“our house!”
I decided to sing
we held hands (without rings)

Just our first time
-we’re looking
no need for a feature list

pleasantries, pleasantries

Fine I’ll take one
if you, Ms. Judy, so thoroughly insist.

Not going to lie
the first thing I noticed out loud
was the hardwood floors,
my momma would be proud

And like —
WOW okay, the sink is big enough
to fit my torso and thighs
although at five feet
It’s not a huge surprise

But I bet even Mr. Stretch
could squeeze in a rub
in his brand new rubber dub tub

No thank you,
we don’t need a tour
or an excuse to hear you gush
about the amazing new fixtures –
new millennium aluminum alloy,
a post orgasm rush

I think I kind of get the basic layout:
hallway, kitchen, closest
office for my twelve degrees
two small bedrooms
where our boxes will sit and freeze

I hate unpacking
do the movers come for free?

Oh we’re just browsing
BUT can’t you
JUST see our over laden night stand?
Full of laptops and ipads
books, and mags, and much needed night caps

(We’ll have to put in our own bar)

Thanks I think we’ll explore the basement
oh two toned walls?
sexy white wood siding
A ceiling big enough for stretch
A crawl space I needn’t hunch for
a tiny dwelling only I can explore

Thank God, a room downstairs
to hide future children and their
stinky underwears.
Far from my twelve degrees,
this beautiful show home of memories

Oh WOW
by George –
lets gush some more about floors

or Leather Face’s lair outside
“its a green house”
(of horrors)
– but that’s an aside.

Oh no thank you
we’re first time buyers – it’s true
Oh we’d love your assistance
but really, we are quite a nuisance

Nothing meets our requirements
in fact, we can’t buy it because there’s no hydrant

YES, we own twenty dogs
we forgot to say
this darling home,
was quite the place for play

Shall we call you in ten years?
Perhaps in spring,
when the weather’s nice in May?

We’re leaving now
yes it was nice to meet you
house
oh and Trudy, you too

Pleasantries, pleasantries

Couples lining the sidewalk
eye us down as competition

psst, our work here is done
with little to no suspicion.  

 

Wingspan

By Daniella Ponticelli

Some say dragonflies
only live within a 24 hour span
well we are winged creatures
and I only wish it was the plan

1.

We meet our folks
and they cuddle us for five
telling us to fly solo
to leave the nesting hive

2.

So alone, we each go through
the ever traumatic toddler years
flying, bumbling, rapid buzzing
narrowly missing human ears

3.

First mosquito hunt, First
dodged swat, First
kiss. First bad date (of 78)
 It was the worst first.

4.

You were known around
the Meadowview bball courts
zipping around in a green blaze
too cool for pants, you wore shorts

5.

I had already had my heart
torn apart by a dragonfly jerk
everyone told me it’s alright
as they married off in bursts

6.

You lost your family
around the same time as me
everyone told us it’d come in hour six
but we were playing like its hour three

7.

I wish I could omit this one
A time in my life I hated
I resented my puffed physique
my wings heavy, overweighted.

And so I cut back
on my large intake of bug
some say I was so slender
I was the width of a rug

8.

Eight is my lucky number
a time of my life I revel in
for you flew by my resting spot
in God fated timing.

You landed nearby
ever playing it cool
like you had all the time in the world
a big headed, heavy hearted fool

9.

Hour nine was our time
we met every minute by the pond
it seemed to go by too soon
of you I was so fond

10.

Now I must stop here
to take a moment’s breath
for when you flew away from me
it was like another death

11.

The eleventh hour
I hardly remember the view
Had my first bad collision
a coma, head bruised blue

12.

Woke up and heard the new buzz
you had a life mate
She was fair, a good flyer
I chalked it up to fate

I in turn continued on
flying often in round figurations
friends asking when I’d settle
down for a longer duration

13.

It seemed like decades had passed
when I finally heard the news
that you had left her
for your trust she abused

They say dragonflies
aren’t supposed to be monogamous
but I’d do anything for you
I’d live like a hermit, anonymous

Happy all the while
because I had your love

14.

It was no surprise
The friends long gone
“Only a little time left”
but I felt wrong

Went out with guys
desperate to start a family
asking generic questions
just to fly on top of me

15.

I was now a spinster
living a taboo solo life
children flying round saying
“There’s the one who ain’t a wife”

So I took one last chance
for I wanted to change the plotted end
flew to your side of the pond
and asked if you needed a friend

16.

Turns out that’s all it took
for a lonely dragonfly
to finally understand
it was the who in love, not the why

The sixteenth hour
was rather heavy and hot
we spent our time only together
for a short time was all we got

17.

My friends threw a shower
and drops fell from the sky
finally had a family
with a first born son named Ty

You were always there
the other dragonfly guys made fun
But you never wavered in your love
and enjoyed our last moments of sun

18.

Harry and Jeanette passed
It seemed so real and sudden
Was our time almost up?
hours, I wanted another dozen

But we went away
to teach our kids to hunt
and told them of their complicated lives
and sex – we had to be blunt

19.

The kids didn’t come around
during their hunting treks
always worrying, you laughed at me
I, just a buzzing, soggy, wreck

But I could see you flying around
trying to find Sandra,
Who couldn’t be found.

20.

Our kids kept asking about
birds, bees, and miscellaneous
things I never had heard

“We’re dragonflies, who live shortly,
unlike the long perilous life of a bird.”

21.

You weren’t flying as easily
and my big bright eyes became hazy
I was scared I had waited too long
but the only time that mattered –
was where we two, together, belonged

22.

The kids only came back
to tell us they were dating
and asked us how we met
if we were okay with multiple mating

I looked at you while your wrinkles
creased as you laughed brightly
“Oh dear you young dragonflies,
Don’t take your life so lightly”

23.

You decided we should find a spot
“not too dewy, not too hot”
I didn’t want to say goodbye
But I’d been blessed with my lot

The children knew what leaving meant
I remembered my sixth hour
wishing more time had been spent
with family, that wasn’t me and I – but ours

24.

I was scared; you smiled
silently you kissed me,
and went first
under the moonlight
I wept, wanting to go soon
hoping I wouldn’t be cursed

27.

But here I am
living too far past my prime
loving you too much
my only true crime

The kids don’t know,
I’m still here flying in the night
whoever said we lived 24 hours –
I really wish he’d been right

Timothy the Fish

While barely having a moment to myself these days, I stumbled upon a more loose character – Timothy the Fish.

Bon Appetit!

Timothy the Fish
by Daniella Ponticelli

There once was a fish
with the impeccable name of Timothy
when he swam by the others,
they splashed away timidly

Without an explanation,
they one day turned to fight
but poor ol’ Timothy –
He only wanted to be liked
 

He tried to find out why
the others turned downstream
“to get away from you!”
the fat fish mayor screamed

Timothy tried to figure out
what crawled up their scales
but whenever he swam near the others
all who stayed were female

“I got it!” he thought
“the boys don’t like me near –
For whenever I’m around,
the girls giggle and they cheer!”

So Timothy went around
followed by a female school
taking them to movies, main attractions
playing each girly fish the fool

But soon time caught up,
and the males came back mad
all the girls were laying eggs!
and Tim – the only dad.

And so it came to be
that dear ol’ granddad Timothy,
bred the largest catch of Northern Pike
because sweet ol’ fish tail, he did like.

*


Ninja Dance Party

It’s montage season for first year CreComms.

I can’t post mine yet as it will be played for an upcoming dance show, so instead I present you my awesome friends – Judy Braun and Michelle Choy – and their montage “Saturday Night.”

At orientation we were told (by all the second years) that this is the assignment of the year. And it didn’t disappoint. I had a fantastic time lugging around three bags that individually were larger than myself. All that aside, the shooting was a blast – I worked with my student and friend Alyx Livingston – and editing in the suites was a welcomed experience in the CreComm culture.

But here it goes – I totally loved being IN a montage more! Working with Judy, Michelle and the other ninja Crystal Laderas was my opportunity to be quirky and let loose (we started filming the day our IPP’s got approved!) So perhaps it’s a good thing I’m not behind the camera all next year…

Tomorrow we get to view our classmate’s videos, I’m super excited. I’ve already seen some great work done and all the more – this makes me sad to see our first year over.  Well, let’s compromise with bittersweet.

Bon Appetit!

Call and Response

So this week I had a few surprises, one of which was a link to a short poem. Before knowing the author’s motivation to write the piece, I formulated a response. Modelled almost identically to the original, this is it.

My head is pounding, a long day – no fee
You dance, you smile, I’m pulled, you draw me
Break, I broke, I mean standing ‘skew
You’re sure, I’m shy, I mean nervous ’round you
I can’t start over. My mouth moving too fast
I want to calm down,  ’cause this moment will pass
Hot, just boom, a sensory vacation
It’s like an energy moved me, to you – my destination
Heartbreak, time break, you have to go
Give me some sleep sand man, the interim’s too slow
Cause I’m wrapped in your velocity, your sensual curiosity
An enveloping presence, a break from bland monotony
See me, “I wanna see you,” Comer over here, “definitely feel you.”  
But I’ll hide my feelings cause falling again is hard to do

*

To view the original, leave a comment

Pants on the Ground

I was feeling a bit stressed on what to do for this blog entry.  Being a little sleep deprived, I started mumbling about my writer’s block, when one of my friends exclaimed

“Did you just say you don’t know how to put on pants?”

 Just like the old game of telephone, where you start with I like to ride my bike and end with purple monkey dishwasher, the message was confused – but spawned an idea.  Here you have it – Cre.ature Feed’s How to Put on (your own) pants.

Step One: Finding pants

You’ve made it this far without your own pants so I can only assume you’ve either been home schooled your whole life or you only wear skirts. In either case this will be a much needed change.

You cannot go into a store without pants. But no worries, if you can’t borrow someone else’s pair – and have them help you into it – stay at home in whatever attire you currently adorn, and shop online. There are some great pants here.

Step Two: The Rest Position

Once you are holding your very own pair of pants, admire them for a moment. In a few minutes these will be wrapped around your virgin legs.

Putting on pants can prove to be a balancing act. If you’re not a yogi, or into balancing games on the wii, park your keester on a solid surface. I will refer to this as the rest position. Don’t be embarrassed if you need to return here throughout the process.

Step Three: The First Leg

A confusing diagram

If you don’t know top from bottom, the top has one large opening while the bottom splits in two – caressing each leg individually. While in the rest position, slide one leg into the corresponding side of the pant. Note: the front of the pants may be hard to locate if it’s an elastic waist; however, if there is a small metal line, commonly known as the fly, that indicates front direction. (Excluding bad 90’s fashion where some flys were backwards.)

Step Four: The Second Leg

Follow the same steps as above. Do not stand up yet. Take a moment to slide your tush into the rest of the pant and then (depending if there’s a fly) zip it up. Pause and breathe to stabilize yourself. Get ready to stand up.

 
 
 

Pants like to hang out in groups, get some friends

Step Five: Standing up in Admiration

 Finally, make your way to standing. Take a few steps in your own pants and go for a little walk to a nearby mirror.  Admire yourself and be proud of your accomplishment – and get yourself out the house.

For more information on how not to wear pants, watch below

Notes of the Sticky Variety

1.

Mr. Chad Rutter
used to live in a gutter
eating dirt
but boy was he a flirt
with all the other
gutter
girls

2.

Of all the places
of which to meet a girl
Jean Olinkin found it opportune
on the side show tilt-a-whirl
She spun around him
hair let loose with the sway
He’d ask for another round
perhaps offer her some pay
But as the ride
came to a limp end
Jean Olinkin walked off with
 a saddened small head

3.

Mr. Chad Rutter
had a very sorry stutter
not being able to s-s-speak
without spitting from his b-b-beak
girls would scatter and run
for being drowned is not so much fun

4.

There once was a little boy named Chad
oh what a peculiar life he had
for he was really
quite abnormally slippery
as a half man/
half fish
he would make a tasty dish
if he ended up on the table
Oh what a sorrowful fable!
The poor life of mer-man Rutter
His fin does flutter
wildly, as I chop him up
To make sushi in a cup!

5.

Once faced with uncertainty
Mr. Olinkin had to confess
“yes my dear friends,
it was I in that dress”
No one laughed
for they secretly agreed
Jean looked damn hot
in a skirt made of tweed

6.

As a final curtain call
Ms. Tulle took the stage
but down in her mouth
A bicuspid took its rage
Pain and tears
rolled down her cheeks
soon she transformed,
sporting a beak.
The crowd went wild,
completely absurd!
for they expected some poems
but came out with a bird.

*

FootNotes

Another reading week is winding down, it almost feels surreal because I blinked and it’s Thursday. And while some students may be partying this upcoming weekend, I have the opportunity to perform in an annual tradition for the last ten years of my life: the winter dance recital.

I’ve been dancing for fifteen years, but it was only when I moved to Canada that performing really became the card for me. Being able to share a dance with someone – for someone – is a feeling that is unmatched. A few months ago I posted a video of a dance I dedicated to my terminally ill relative (who lives in South Africa). She saw it and I was able to tell her how I feel without needing to write it, or find the right syntax to make it sincere and not a painfully sad good-bye.

I’m quite certain everyone who has been touched by the gift of dance feels the same way. They have found another language, a vocabulary understood by everyone. Just after New Years, my performance troupe was given an assignment to create a solo about an experience in our lives or something we want to share with others in the group. 

Firstly, the fact that I have a group of friends and dancers that I’ve worked creatively with for the better half of a decade is a blessing in itself. My friend Alex came up with a great idea to accompany our Secret Santa gift exchange during the holidays – we all provide each other with a compliment card. In the end, each person leaves with 26 personalized compliments. I think this is a great idea for showing appreciation with words. As you can see in the picture, I added some pictures from the past few years to the cards I gave out.

But back to the solo. I didn’t know where to start – do I make it sad? Do I focus on something profound? Life changing?

Then I knew, I just need to tell everyone that while I’m a writer, and I love seeing letters flowing across a Word document, there is so much to be expressed by dance. So I made this quirky number up, and added an aerial element. Slings is my favourite apparatus at the moment, because it’s pretty much a giant fabric hammock that doubles as a transforming jungle gym. It is also known as the fussiest apparatus because it likes to do it’s own thing; so you’re forced to dance in the moment. 

Dance Dance Dance by Lykke Li

Having troubles telling how I feel
But I can dance, dance and dance
Couldn’t possibly tell you how I mean
But I can dance, dance, dance
So when I trip on my feet
Look at the beat
The words are, written in the sand
When I’m shaking my hips
Look for the swing
The words are, written in the air
Dance
I was a dancer all along
Dance, dance, dance
Words can never make up for what you do
Easy conversations, there’s no such thing
No I’m shy, shy, shy
My hips they lie ’cause in reality I’m shy, shy, shy
But when I trip on my feet
Look at the ground
The words are, written in the dust
When I’m shaking my hips
Look for the swing
The words are written in the air
Dance
I was a dancer all along
Dance, dance, dance
Words can never make up for what you do
Dance, dance, dance

*

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