Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Salsa @ Sunset (24th February 2010)

Was feeling tired and somewhat down after a long day at work so decided to head over to the Band Rotunda on Oriental Parade after work for a few salsa dances at Salsa @ Sunset for a little pick-me-up. Salsa @ Sunset is the summer free weekly salsa sessions hosted by the folks from Cuban Fusion and today was the last session for the season. No partner or experience necessary, the event starts from 6pm till 7.30pm with a free introductory dance lesson that explores dance styles like salsa, cha cha and reggaeton in a stunning outdoor setting overlooking the Wellington harbour.

There were lots of people at the Band Rotunda when I got there, most of whom I’ve never met before. Are they the new batch of salsa enthusiasts or just curious dancers-to-be trying it out for the first time?? I’ve been so out of the dance scene to the point I hardly recognise anyone these days. Caught up with a few familiar faces in between dances including Josiane who was back in town from Melbourne for the week.

God, I still love to dance – definitely lifted my mood after having several fun dances with the guys. One thing still never changes in this town when it comes to dancing: I still need to ‘fish’ for a male lead, checking out the dance floor for potentials to dance with. Yep, there are still more female salsa dancers and if I don’t walk up to a male lead to ask for a dance, I pretty much wouldn’t get any dances! Photos taken this evening:

The Band Rotunda where Salsa @ Sunset was held


View from the Band Rotunda of Oriental Parade

Check out the crowd!

The free dance lesson taught and led by Rafael from Cuban Fusion





I really should get back into salsa, again!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Sketch class model & Gods and Heroes (20th February 2010)

Alicia had sent me an email asking if I would like to pose for her mum’s sketch class earlier this week and I totally jumped on the opportunity – sure, why not? It would be a great opportunity for me to practice being a sketch model before the upcoming Dr Sketchy event where I would be posing AND performing over the 3-hour long sketch session.

Around 1.30pm, I drove to Khandallah to Alicia’s home where mum and art teacher, Marian van der Velde, conducts regular art workshops in her home studio. Scott was one of Marian’s former art student and he absolutely enjoyed his weekly art lessons with her. I can see why – Marian has a lovely studio with natural light that has a view of the grassy backyard, a peaceful and calm place for artists to work quietly on their own masterpieces. I may not be much of artist in this art form (i.e. drawing/sketching/painting) myself but I like being in the studio – gives me feeling of floating happiness and I would happily just sit or lie on a plush bean bag on the polished wooden floors for an hour or two, relaxing with a book and coffee.

Marian’s class today was a day workshop where 7 students sat with their desks in a U shape using charcoal to sketch the faces of models me and Alicia’s younger brother, Anthony. These students had been taught portrait drawing techniques this morning and it was now time for them to put what they have learnt into paper. Each student would sketch their model based on the view they saw and us models would swap seats about every 20 minutes over the course of 2 hours so that the students could work on a new sketch drawing the face at a different angle. Us models were seated on chairs and told to be in a relaxed state – no poses as such but just to keep still during each sketch. I found it easiest to stay still if I kept my eyes focused on a particular spot or object.

It was amazing to see the work of the students, how each of them had their own artist interpretation of what the models look like on paper. Sketches of me seemed to hone in on my thick lips and big hair (very bold sketches in those areas)…hmm…Was paid $35 for my 2 hours effort – good bit of pocket money for me! I actually quite enjoy such work, posing for others to draw (I think I just like to be admired and worshipped and this is the nearest I can get haha :P), get paid and admire the artwork of others :) Thanks Marian and Alicia for the opportunity to pose today!

Around 4pm, I headed to Jono’s and we went to the supermarket to pick up some porterhouse steak for burger dinner at his ex-flatmate Steve’s place in Brooklyn. I’ve seen Steve in an improvised comedy show during the NZ International Comedy Festival with Claus last year but this would be the first time I’m officially introduced to Jono’s good friend. Hey, come to think of it, I think it was that particular night that I first met you, babe…yes, because Jono was playing the saxophone for the show and the whole reason why Claus and I went there was because he said his workmate (Jono) was performing in it. Quite different how things are between us now versus back then ;)

Steve had spent some time living in New York and recently relocated back to NZ, staying at Matt & Jen’s (I’ve been to this house last year for a Halloween party with Jono). Nice to finally meet you in person, Steve! I like Steve – he’s an interesting person to talk to, has an air of charm and wit (his passion for improvised comedy was obvious in his personality), and makes a mean beef patty burger, a simple blend of chuck meat and porterhouse steak roughly chopped in the blender and grilled on the BBQ. It was yum and definitely filled up my steak craving for the week with the huge serving!

Jono suggested we check out the improvised comedy show by the folks from Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) at BATS tonight (Steve’s recommendation – he’s also a member of WIT) and had Liviu come join us for the 9.30pm show. Cost $16 each for the 1-hour show entitled Gods & Heroes: Improvised Myths, a show that was part of Fringe 2010.

The show was about the Greek gods coming down from their throne to Mt Victoria to check out the place and looking into the lives of mortals only to discover interesting and some, peculiar, things. I love how they managed to weave the audiences’ suggestion of keywords ‘Twitter’ (this was Jono’s idea), ‘fear’ and ‘naked cycling’ into little skits, each with its own humorous story based on those keywords and merging them back together for a grand happy ending. The cast flitted between stories and changing their attire as necessary to suit their different characters played during the whole show.

With ‘Twitter’, they portrayed how at this day and age, communication is via computer rather than face-to-face and had a couple (female character played by a man) going on a blind date and still twittering each other as part of their bedroom foreplay. ‘Fear’ was of a recluse man living in Newtown that had facial warts, and how a young girl became friends with him and reunited him with his long lost love.

Frankly, I was surprised that the cast went ahead with the ‘naked cycling’ idea (they could have ignored the suggestion and picked another keyword thrown at them). It was so funny that the man playing Greek god Zeus (Geoff Simmons) had to strip down to his briefs (thank god he had a hot body) and pretended to cycle past a Christian couple who were appalled at such sight, and at some point, the whole cast started to take their clothes off too (no nudity, if that’s what you’re thinking). The theatre was roaring with laughter at their spectacular and cleverly improvised performance. I really have to take my hat off these improvise theatre folk – they have to be so quick on their feet, be very aware of the latest trends and happenings of the world and still keep the flow and humour alive – a feat only for the quick-witted! Definitely recommend the show if you haven’t already seen it – it will change somewhat each night, since new keywords are introduced but I’m sure you’ll still have a great time laughing :)

After the show, me and the boys had a cuppa at Deluxe Cafe before heading home. Hmm, I might have eaten too much earlier and some parts of the meat may have been too rare for my tummy that it’s now making strange gurgling noises…