Misty Copeland

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I love to dance.  If you’ve been reading my blog over the last two months, you know that about me for sure.  I have been going to a medium sized recreational studio for five years now and I am in the Company.  We do special performances around town and we compete in dance competitions.  I take ballet, jazz, and tap primarily.  I have been in pointe/pre-pointe for a year now and we perform dances in those styles as well as musical theater, lyrical, and hip-hop.  I have been thinking for a while about what it would be like to pursue dance more seriously, maybe even as a career, to train real hard and perfect my technique and study dance in college.  I know that dancers don’t have long careers, so I’d have to be able to do something else when I stopped dancing.  In that way, dancers are like athletes.  I am considering leaving my studio that I love and all of the girls that I’ve been dancing with over the last few years to go to the dance school run by our city’s ballet company.  I think that they take dance more seriously and they are training students to be dancers when they grow up.  They also do not consider themselves to be recreational and they don’t do stuff like dance competitions.

Dance started up again this week, summer classes.  We are also busy re-choreographing, re-blocking, and rehearsing our dances for Disney World.  We’re going there to dance in July.  I think after the Disney trip, I am going to leave my studio.  I am scared and I am excited all at the same time.  I have already invested six years in dance and I spend A LOT of time at the studio as it is.  I believe that I want to study ballet full-time and focus on being a better dancer so I can see how far I can go.  I visited the new studio about a month ago and took a class.  I have all my enrollment papers filled out.  I will have to tell my teachers and the girls that I dance with.  Maybe one day I can be like Misty Copeland.  For those of you who don’t know who Misty Copeland is, she is the third African American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT).  Anne Benna Sims and Nora Kimball were the first two soloists at the ABT.  They danced there in the early and mid-1980s, making Misty Copeland the first in twenty years.  Misty Copeland was born September 10, 1982.  The American Ballet Theatre is considered one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States.  The other two are the New York City Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet.  People say that Misty Copeland is a prodigy because she didn’t take her first ballet class until she was thirteen at a Boys and Girls Club.  After three months of studying ballet, she was already en pointe.  By the time she was fifteen, she was winning dance awards and getting offers to dance professionally.  She joined the ABT Studio Company in September 2000, and became a member of its Corps de ballet in 2001.  In August 2007 Misty Copeland became a soloist with the ABT.  I don’t know if I have what it takes to do what Misty Copeland has done, but if I am ever going to find out, I have to try something new.  Wish me luck!

Maya Angelou Died Today

I know why the caged bird singsMaya Angelou died today, Wednesday, May 28, 2014.  I know who she is from watching her on Oprah.  My mom is always watching the Oprah network and Maya Angelou was on the show, Oprah’s Lifeclass.  I think on Lifeclass people talk about their lives and give advice.  Anyway, my mom said that Maya Angelou wrote one of her favorite books, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  My mom read that book when she was in middle school and she told me that I should read it too.  She even has the exact book that she read back then.  It’s on our bookshelf with some of the other books that Maya Angelou has written.  I’m going to read it too.  They called her Dr. Maya Angelou, but she wasn’t a medical doctor.

She was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Her name was actually Marguerite Annie Johnson.  She was raised in Stamps, Arkansas and San Francisco, California where her parents sent her to live with her grandmother.  I knew that Dr. Angelou was a writer, but I didn’t know that she was a singer, a dancer (just like me), and an actress.  The articles on the Internet also say that she was Hollywood’s first black female movie director.  I didn’t know that.  My mom didn’t either.  She participated in the Civil Rights Movement and she knew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. She was also a poet laureate and was the second poet to perform at a presidential inauguration when she read a poem at President Bill Clinton’s ceremony in 1993.  Dr. Maya Angelou was 86.

Happy Memorial Day!

This weekend both of my parents took my grandmas (my dad’s mom and my mom’s mom) to visit the cemetery and put flowers on the graves of our relatives.  My parents have been married for almost fifteen years and they didn’t know each other when they were little, but their relatives are buried in the same cemetery.  It’s even more of a coincidence because they are buried like almost right next to each other.  When my dad goes to his dad’s grave it is like 50 feet away from my mom’s grandma’s grave.  Anyway, I rode with my mom and we put flowers on everybody’s grave.  This year it was pink carnations.  My mom has a lot of relatives in the cemetery because her granny had ten brothers and sisters.  My dad only has a few people there.  When I asked my parents why we celebrate Memorial Day and go to the cemetery they said that Memorial Day was really created to visit the graves of veterans or people who died in war, not just to go visit the grave of anybody who had died.  But, over time the holiday morphed like so many things do, and now people use Memorial Day as a time to visit the graves of all of their loved ones who have died.

When we got home, I looked it up on the Internet.  This is what I learned.  Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.  It was a day of remembrance for those who had died in military service to the United States of America.  Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, but Waterloo, NY was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon B. Johnson in May 1966.  There is conflicting information about the origins of Memorial Day, but what everybody does agree with is that Memorial Day was created out of a desire of people to honor the Civil War dead.  Its purpose was to spread flowers and decorate the graves of soldiers who died in defense of our country.  On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Since that time, Memorial Day is used to decorate the graves of all people, not just those who died in war.  It is also a holiday that gives people a three day weekend and marks the beginning of summer.  People barbecue and go to the lake and do outdoor stuff.  At my house, we have a family tradition and my dad makes his famous gumbo.  He makes gumbo on Labor Day too.  Today we had gumbo and crab cake sandwiches.  It was delish!  I also made a Memorial Day craft using four paper plates.  Take a look.

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This 3-dimensional star is made from 2 stars that are interlaced. Once complete, the star stands by itself on a table, and makes a great patriotic decoration.

Supplies:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Stiff paper like card stock, decorative paper plate or thin cardboard.
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or markers (if decorative paper or paper plate is not used)

Two paper stars are needed to make one 3-dimensional star.

Decorate the two stars on both sides, then cut them out. If you use decorative paper or paper plates, you’ll need four of each. Draw the stars, cut them out and paste the white sides together to get a print on each side of the stars. Make one slit in each star. On one star, the slit goes from an inner corner to the center point of the star; on the other star, the slit goes from an outer corner to the center point.

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Slip the two stars together through the slits you just cut. For stability, you may have to tape the stars a bit where they meet at the slits.

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You now have a great three-dimensional star decoration that stands by itself on a table.

The Velveteen Rabbit Summary

velveteen rabbitBook Title: The Velveteen Rabbit
Author: Margarey Williams
Illustrator: Michael Hague

On Christmas, a velveteen rabbit was given to a boy in his stocking. The boy played with the rabbit for a little bit, but soon got many other presents and forgot about him. The rabbit was then put away in the cupboard on the nursery floor. The rabbit was very shy around the other toys, for he was only made up of velveteen and stuffed with sawdust. The other expensive toys were snobby and mean because they were much, much nicer and more expensive than the velveteen rabbit. He only had one friend, Skin Horse, who was the oldest and wisest toy in the nursery. He was given to the boy as a present from his uncle. Skin Horse taught the rabbit what it meant to be “real.” “It means being loved until your eyes pop out, your hair comes out, and you lose all your color,” said Skin Horse, who had become “real” to the boy’s uncle years ago.

The velveteen rabbit then longed to be “real.” But that changed one night when the boy’s nana grabbed the rabbit at bedtime when the boy couldn’t find his china dog. The boy then remembered his rabbit and started to sleep with him every night (which was very uncomfortable to rabbit) and played with him every day. Rabbit became “real” to the boy. His velveteen was rubbed off, he started to fall apart. One day rabbit was set down behind the boy’s house by the forest when two rabbits came across him. “You’re just a toy,” they snickered making rabbit cry. When the boy got Scarlett Fever the doctor ordered the family to burn all of the boy’s belongings at once, including rabbit! When rabbit was outside in a bag with the other items that the boy had touched while being sick waiting to be burned, a magic fairy came along. Poof! She made rabbit into a living rabbit. He was so happy he hopped around and went right up to the rabbits who had made fun of him before. “Look at me now,” he snickered, “I AM real.” Then days later the boy who was now well saw rabbit. “Hey, that looks like my old bunny!” he said. But he never found out…….it actually was!

First Day of Summer Vacation – Outfit of the Day

Today was the first day of summer vacation and it was cloudy and overcast all day long.  I slept in this morning and found the perfect casual outfit for a day like this.  I went to the library to check out books for their summer reading program and got back home just before it started to rain.  Good thing – I wouldn’t want to get my suede boots all wet.  Yes, I have two “home” shirts, one in pink and one in red.  Did you ever figure out where I was from?

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