Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Exhibit Is Coming Along

I got to work with another co-worker on designing a case for the exhibit. She's never designed a case before so it was really fun to see her excitement at learning how to layout a case and figuring out the solutions to tough spaces.

We also continue to work on tree clean up. Lots of limbs and twigs to be picked up and raked up.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Week So Far

I got my article submitted for the Brooking Competition. After that I've been working on exhibit stuff. We had an exhibit that was suppose to open Monday, but since we were closed all last week because of the weather, we'll be opening it next Monday.

The other major work going on at the museum is trying to clean up from the ice storm. We have 35 trees that we've lost on our grounds (they are either already down or so damaged that we have to take them down). Then we have another 25 trees that are compromised and we aren't sure if they can be saved.

It's just all too sad. It looks like the Ents went to war and lost.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Museum Update

Email from the director about how our museum stood against the storm.

1. Our power went off and went to backup power on Tuesday morning. Our backup power lasted through Thursday morning. The power came back on at 4:10pm on Friday. We have a few glitches to deal with, but the power's on. We have security working on the historic buildings but they have no power for lights or heat.

2. Our historic buildings somehow managed to have very little damage. The Searcy House and garage are fine, although the wiring between the two has broken. The barn has some minor tree damage on the back side of the east shed. The general store has a major limb on its roof but apparently the roof has held up. The doctor's office has a smaller limb on its roof with no apparent damage. The outhouse, despite hardly being seen beneath the tree damage, sustained only a minor nick on its back roof. The log cabin has a plate-size nick out of the north roof overhang and several broken wood shakes from tree branches and/or ice. The Shiloh Meeting Hall is fine. The new museum building roof is in excellent shape except for some crimping of the gutter right outside the director's office.

3. The bad new is, of course, the devastation of our trees. We've lost quite a few major ones and -- like everywhere else -- there are limbs and branches everywhere, many still hung up in the trees. The worst area is in back of the general store and doctor's office and north of the outhouse, where almost every single tree has come down or will need to be taken down. That affects incredibly our interpretive area and we will be dealing with that in the coming weeks.

All in all we're glad to have weathered it so well. We reopened Saturday and actually had three visitors!

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's Happening

Well since we were out of power because of the storm I've almost gotten caught up on listening to podcasts. I'm now, however, behind on my normal TV watching. Must find Bones, Leverage, and Battlestar Galactica online. Burn Notice, Monk, and Psych all get replayed.

I have a private lesson to teach Monday night and then the beginning class I teach on Thursday nights starts back up this week. I'm looking forward to getting back to my structured schedule.

As far as work goes, I still have some article deadlines and application deadlines coming up. Then I have presentations to get ready for in March and May.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Bond That Ties

This weekend I really experienced the bond that can grow between a teacher and students. Before now I had understood this bond from the student’s perspective. To this day I hold a special place in my heart for various teachers in my life from elementary school, to junior high, to high school, to college, and to other instructors outside the formality of the school environment. I think, for some of these teachers, I made it clear to them how much I enjoyed their classes and how much I felt they impacted my life even beyond the classroom. For others, I’m not sure I made this appreciation as well known, but I’m sure other students have through their years of service as a teacher.

But for the first time I truly understood this bond from the perspective of a teacher. I have ten students in my advanced belly dance class that come all the time. It’s a very rare thing for any of them to miss this class and when they do have to miss, they always tell me in advanced. The routine I’ve been teaching is not one I choreographed myself which can be a teaching challenge and on top of that the routine is a veil piece with some difficult formations to get a handle on. We have struggled with it the whole semester and in just the last few weeks they have really started to get it.

I’ve been so proud of these ladies pushing themselves to learn this routine. Many of them have never picked up a veil before the beginning of this semester. All these moves they had struggled to understand and perform they can now execute with such ease, grace, and beauty. It’s mesmerizing to now watch them. So when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to teach them the last little bit of the routine before the first performance of the season I was heartbroken. I felt I had failed them.

In truth it was unforeseen circumstances that got in the way. The choreographer suffered an injury making it impossible for her to teach me the end of the routine. I tried to figure it out on my own, but with no success. And a person can’t teach what they don’t know.

I dreaded telling my students they would have to miss performing this routine at the upcoming show. I was so proud of what they had accomplished and looked forwarded to them being able to show off what they had learned to an audience. The transformation they made since the beginning of the semester just can’t be put into words. They started off so clumsily swirling their veils into each other as they turned the wrong way here or flipped the veil in the wrong direction there. But now they are synchronized elegant fluidity drifting across the dance floor. If you get the chance to see them it will take your breath away.

I broke the news to my students this past Saturday that they wouldn’t be able to perform this routine at Springfest. I tried to brace myself for their anger, their frustration, their disappointment, and their sadness. I couldn’t even look them in the eye when I finished talking.

“Oh, thank God, we don’t have to dance this in two weeks.”

“I was trying to figure out how to tell you I wasn’t going to perform it this time anyway.”

“I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it through that improv section yet.”

What? I blinked my eyes and shook my head a little. What were they saying? These were not the words I was expecting to hear. It seems that they all felt they would perform better if they had a few more weeks of practice anyway. But none of them wanted to say anything because they didn’t want to disappoint me! They didn’t want to disappoint me, their teacher!

It seemed crazy to me. I could never be disappointed in any of them after everything they had gone through to just learn this routine. The only thing that would have disappointed me would have been if they had given up trying to learn the routine. But that was never an option for any of them; they were all determined to learn it.

It was at this point that I realized that there really is a bond that ties a teacher to her students and students to their teacher. Both sides are willing to sacrifice for the other in order to achieve goals. I was willing to turn my schedule upside down to help them learn this routine in time to perform it at Springfest. They were willing to perform the routine even though they still felt shaky about it. But after talking we realized that even though the ultimate goal for both sides was a public performance, it didn’t matter when that public performance would be. The performance will be sometime after I’ve had enough time to teach them the whole routine and they have had enough time to get comfortable with the routine.

In the meantime they have let me know how much they appreciate my patience and dedication of time to them. And I have let them know how proud I am of them and how honored I am to be able to say those are my students. These ladies will always have a special place in my heart and not just because they were my first advanced students. They will have a special place in my heart because of the bond we have tied by sharing this journey together.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Yes, I'm still here

So my husband, the computer guru, has just now informed me that if I leave my blog inactive too long bad things can happen. So that, and the fact that we met-up with some NWA bloggers at the Celtic Grill on St. Paddy’s Day, has motivated me to start trying to blog again.

So what has been going on? Well, a lot of podcasting. I’m proud to say that my belly dance podcast now has a staff of ten from all over North America. Last week, Ryan even helped me figure out how to add a video element to a special episode of the podcast. It was really just syncing photos up to the audio. However, he is going to help me work on some special actual video episodes in the next few months.

The museum podcast is going well too. We have some ideas for different types of episodes that are in development. So far most of the episodes have been lecture recordings. We are also working on audio tours of the exhibit hall, grounds, and outbuildings, but we want to spruce them up a bit with photos and things so it is taking longer.

I’m also waiting to hear back from SEMC on if a session proposal that I submitted will be accepted for the meeting in October in Little Rock. If it is accepted I’ll be working on a presentation to other museum professionals on how to start podcasting. So that should be fun.

Things are going well personally. Ryan and I sorted through our camping gear yesterday and made a long list of supplies we need or would like to have before we go camping again. The plan is to get all the supplies packed in nice totes so we can say, “hey, the weather is pretty this weekend, let’s go camping.” And then we just throw the totes and tent into the car and go.

Dance classes are going well. We have three full beginning classes and I have to continue to turn students away because the class is too full and it’s too late in the semester to join. Recently, I’ve been thinking about giving private lessons or trying to set-up workshops in other towns in the state. There are just so many women in the NWA area who would like to take belly dance and the class times either don’t fit in their schedule or they live too far away for the classes to be feasible for them. But it’s a big commitment so I feel I really need to think about this decision and how it will impact the rest of my life. I’m also working on a new solo which will be more of a Greek gypsy piece and my second troupe choreography which is comedy piece.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's been a while

I've been busy with work and my podcast. I'm hoping I can post here at least once a week. I've got a fun map on my blog now that shows all the states I've been to so far. My life goal is to visit all 50 and I think I'm on a pretty good track for that. I'm not sure but I may have been to one or both of the Carolinas too. I need to check with my parents on that since I can't remember what all states we went to some vacations out east.

Other than that the exciting news is I went to Shimmy Cast this past weekend and I put a down payment on a pair of Isis wings and I'm very excited about that. I also got a peacock hip scarf which is beautiful.

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