evs

If I Lose Myself*

… I’ll use facebook like some of the kids from my project do.

When I started using facebook, I was 17 years old, in 2008. It was the time facebook started becoming popular in Germany, and I started using it pretty early. The main reason back then was to stay in touch with a friend of mine, who went back to Egypt. It was already very popular there, so I started communicating with her over this. By the time I started going to university (end of 2009), it had become common and I used it with my study colleagues, and have never left since. Anyway, you don’t need to know facebook’s story. My point today is:

I’m fucking glad facebook didn’t exist when I was a real teenager. Or, god bless, even younger. Some of the kids from my project started adding me on facebook lately, so by now I have like 30 kids between 9 and 15 years old on my facebook. Also, here in Portugal it’s pretty common for adults to use it as well. I totally can’t imagine my parents on facebook, but here this is more than normal.
Really guys, I don’t even WANT to know what I would have posted on facebook with 13 years old, and it would have been on the Internet forever.

Let me give you some examples:

1) They usually are incredibly polite
Let’s start with a nice one. I don’t know about you, but I never commented one of my own photos just to thank everyone for the likes and comments. Let alone thanking every single person so that I end up commenting my own picture 10x.

2) They share everything they like
One of my kids shares absolutely everything he likes. Where normal people give a like, he likes and shares. Every shit. Thank god you can unfollow people without unfriending them.

3) … and they tag every person they know on that until the facebook limit is reached
Not kidding. Tagging 86 people on a picture? Nothing special. Also: tagging other people on your photos although they have nothing to do with it. Ooookay…

4) They share pictures of random people and express their feelings
One of my kids posted a picture from a girl today, with the comment: “beautiful as always! I know your boyfriend, but you will always stay beautiful!”. I mean. Wtf? Imagine an adult doing that. Imagine, for a second.

5) They add people on facebook that they feel they should know or want to get to know
Or at least that’s the feeling I got. Kids have added me on facebook, that I definitely don’t know. Yeah, they’ve probably seen me dashing around somewhere, Lousa is small. But, come on. What for? The guy that did #4 has a glorious number of nearly 2000 facebook friends. at 14. I’m very positive he adds every girl his age whose profile he stumbles over randomly. I see a lot of girls there I have only one single friend with – which NEVER happens here within Lousa. As I said, this is a small town, there are connections ALL over, they’re practically visible like threads woven through the town.

6) They message you. And have absolutely nothing to say
It has happened to me multiple times, that kids have messages me, just saying olá. There is a short exchange of tudo bem? (how are you), and then they stop texting. If you ask a question, they answer. But that’s it.

I actually think, there are a ton more I can’t think of right now. Not surprising: they younger they are, the worse. I really, REALLY wonder how they will look back on their facebook account in 5 years. If facebook still exists then.

*OneRepublic

The Recipe*

Coming to Portugal, I lost a part of my identity by leaving behind my dance studies and my HipHop crew. It was soon obvious, that while there is a really good ballet academy 2 minutes from my apartment (which I soon joined to keep up with ballet. RAD class award this summer =)), there is NO HipHop community here at all. Well, not that I expected that. I’m in a mountain village, it would have been a wonder 😀
From The beginning on I was supposed to teach youngsters here in my EVS, which would have at least keep me connected to HipHop in general, even when without input from the outside, but due to simply no room available at the right hours, it was impossible.
A few days before Christmas I got the opportunity to teach 60min workshops for a few classes together (usually too many) on the last day before the holidays. Obviously I jumped to the opportunity, developed a choreography (ThriftShop) and had a lot of fun. It was soon obvious that the kids loved it – a lot of adults watched too. So as soon as I returned from Germany after the New Year, someone had been able to find a room. And off we went 😀 Only my project’s kids are allowed to participate, although I got many requests from kids from the school. The inscription list was full fast so I even had to consider if I can take new students in because the room is not that big. AND of course without a mirror. But so far not every student can come every time (the project is during their free time, at that time of the day they are waiting for their bus, but sometimes they have extra classes or get picked up by parents), so I don’t think I have to worry much about that.

Anyway. We started. And I was soon amazed how much talent there is! =) Who expected that, from students who never danced before?! I can even do a lot of technique with them, no complaining … Language barriers? Nah … My Portuguese is already on a level where I can usually communicate without problems, it’s way easier to teach in Portuguese than I had thought.

But back to topic. I actually wanted to talk about teaching without a mirror and teaching in general today 😀

I had thought it would be SO difficult without a mirror. And of course, for them some correction is missing and they can’t control their own movements in the mirror (“Is my arm straight?”), but apart from that? Nearly no problems =)
I had taught classes earlier already, but only for substituting or as a workshop, this was my first ever regular group. So before starting I thought quite some time about how I want to teach, what I don’t want, in which way I want to encourage them, etc. I liked the structure of my trainer in Germany, but there were some things I didn’t like and also a certain time restriction (45 instead of 90minutes n sometimes longer with my crew…). I especially disliked that her students depended on her SO much. She danced with them 95% of the time, so if they were asked to dance without her, they usually failed totally – apart from a few, who had a good memory for choreography and a good feeling for rhythm etc. I was sure that this does not have to be like this. Studying dance, I got used to teachers showing something until everyone had understood the movement, showing it again next class, maybe a 3rd at max and then we were on our own. Talking about daily classes of course.
So I experimented. Also, because without a mirror I won’t be able to watch their progress at all if I can’t turn around. So from week 1, after showing some simple basic steps and a few repetitions, I turned around and mirrored their movements. After 2 runthroughs, I only marked. Then I stopped at all. And you know what? It worked extremely well!
Then I tried the same, but slower, with the choreography we started (we also started that one out very slow in general, as it’s not that easy).

The result of this? In week 3, I can go to the back of the room, and film them doing our choreography (~1min right now) – and the first few seconds were PERFECTLY SYNCHRONIZED, exact movements, nice timing, even with accents. Because that is something else I didn’t like with my teachers – we learned the movements to the music, but always just in “some way”. She was rarely exact about what and how we are going to do stuff. That left a lot of room for self development, which can be very nice – but unfortunately instead a lot of movements were very “wischi-waschi” (German term), which means like nothing exactly at all. Just a mess of arms and legs. Sometimes it was hard to even recognise the movement our trainer gave us. I personally believe, that even given exact movements with exact accents etc there is enough room to develop your own style. Ask 2 professional dancers to mirror a movement you do, and they will never look exactly the same. And how could they?! Every body and every mind is different.

So I’m really proud of my students and happy with the way I am teaching now. It’s exactly what I always missed. Still, sometimes a mirror would be great, a bigger room would be great, definitely regular coming students would be great (we’ll have to see, this week due to some school activities most were missing, the 3 weeks before it was way better), and more than 45min would definitely be great. Nothing is ever perfect 😉

But so far it’s great and I’m happy to do it. As a last thing, I’ll share my playlist for the class. I don’t use every song in every class, but this is the playlist I used for the past 4 weeks – the choreography is to Dark Horse btw 😉

Warm-Up / Technique:
Chris Brown – Turn Up The Music
Mr Probz – Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit)

Basic Steps:
Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank)
Missy Elliot – Wake Up
Nico and Vinz – Am I Wrong
Mind Da Gap – Guerreiros

Choreography:
Sam The Kid – O povo unido…
Beyoncé – Lose My Breath
Katy Perry – Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)

Stretching:
Mind Da Gap – Aqui Nos Mantemos
The Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?

*The title is a song from Kendrick Lamar. Definitely go check him out 😉

How to be in Braga for 5 days, see nothing and get used to eating every hour

I was in Braga with my flatmate and fellow volunteer last week, one of the cities still on my ToDo list. From Tuesday to Saturday.
Guess what happened? We saw way more on our pitstop in my beloved Porto in 4h on the way there, then we saw in Braga the rest of the week. I´m not kidding. The weather was downright awful, but that was not the only reason. We had to go there for an on arrival training from the volunteering (EVS). I´m not saying the training wasn´t interesting and fun and we haven´t had a good time – but there was one big problem – it was way too tense. We started with breakfast from 8am, first activities at 9.30, coffee break at 11.00, activities, long lunch 12.30 to 15.00 (usually we ended up finishing lunch at 14.30…), activites, coffee break at 16.30, activities, lunch at 19.45, obligatory activities until ~22.00. after that, there were still activities, just not obligatory ones. I´m not kidding, it was like this. Yes, coffee breaks sound like “breaks”. But spend them in a room with 40 people who want to get to know each other and have a lot of experiences to share, and you will realise, it´s just NOT a BREAK. Just a different kind of activity.

So after arriving Tuesday at 18.00, this was the program for Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, we only had activities until lunch and then a free”ish” afternoon. Exactly. That meant that we were divided into random groups and had to fulfill tasks, which basically meant you had to spend your day with them. I don´t call that free at all … And, of course, especially on this day, there was not a second without rain.

And you want to know the best of all this? I had one pair of shoes with me, sneakers who broke on Wednesday morning. And I had no possibility to buy new shoes … When on Wednesday night we went out and walked back in the rain, my shoes got soaked and I walked around the good part of Thursday with extremely wet and cold feet, unless I took them off and later could borrow flip flops from another volunteer. That meant, that the “free” part of Friday was occupied by completing the tasks and desperately searching for shoes. In the meantime, my flatmate, who was also my roommate in Braga, got sick. It´s an absolute miracle I didn´t get sick, although I felt like getting sick for the good part of our stay. We ended up leaving 24h earlier …

The only photos I have, show exactly what we did – ALL of them are made inside. And there are, like, 4 pictures …

volunteer´s art galery

It´s a shame. If possible, I had even wanted to go to Guimarães or Viana do Castelo while I´m so close, but that was simply impossible. I´m just glad we made that Porto pitstop, that basically saved the whole day.

What sticks in mind of Braga? Nothing, only the volunteering stuff… And a constant feeling of hunger now ôO How can Portuguese eat constantly, and still not get fat?!

Looking at my beloved Portugal travel wall now, I feel like a betrayer having Braga on there… Oh well. I think I´ll just have to come back instead of crossing it from my to do list =)

my portugal travel wall =)