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Ebony Spring

March 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm
By Claire Weinberg

Hey everybody! So sorry I haven't posted yet this term; it's actually been much busier than I anticipated. I'm only taking two classes, Transformations in African Ethnography and Bollywood Nation, but the latter involves watching a lot of 3-hour films, and the former involves projects like writing an "ethnographic fiction" piece about a Cameroonian photograph from the 70s, so they've been occupying me well enough.

Mostly, though, what I've been doing is EBONY, and lots of it. This term I choreographed a dance for the first time, to "I Wanna Go" by Britney Spears. All I can say about that is that I'm extremely sad I've never done it before, because as soon as I started teaching the dance to my little group of dancers I knew that this was one of my favorite things to do, in the world, ever. My dance style (as suggested by the song) is that classic Ebony combination of upbeat and comically sexy (think dancers making shocked faces as they crawl out from between each other's legs). It's really as much like directing a play as choreographing a dance, because what the audience wants from this kind of thing is the attitude, so it's as much about the facial expressions as it is about the level of dance skill.

Obviously, this is also my last Ebony ever, which means that I will definitely cry, a lot, possibly onstage. It'll be fine, don't worry about me. I'll be okay. Sniff. 

I'd like to commemorate this with a little selection of photos, starting with me as a little baby freshman in my 80s-themed costume for "You Shook Me All Night Long":

Ebony II

 

Sophomore year, "Take Me Out": Ebony II

 

Junior year, w/ future roommates, preparing backstage, with failed sexy faces:Ebony II

 

Junior year, dressed as a milkmaid, getting my pigtail pulled by a girl dressed as a vacationing middle-aged man:

Ebony II

And a few videos. This is a dance I was in last term: E.T.

And this one – I usually don't go for the serious dances, but this one shows the kind of emotion Ebony is capable of, even though it has a reputation as just a silly activity: Set Fire to the Rain

But seriously: even though it's "just" a silly thing to do, I got more personal happiness out of it than out of anything else at Carleton, certainly more than anything "serious". There's a sense of community and camaraderie in it that I've never experienced anywhere else, and believe me as a generally pessimistic and cynical type of person when I say that every time I leave an Ebony rehearsal I'm filled with just pure untainted positivity. I came to Carleton having never danced for an audience before; until this year I never thought I could choreograph, and now I never want to stop doing it. Okay, now I actually am getting emotional, but it's the truth. There's a certain virtue in doing things you're "not good at" that people tend to overlook. Ebony has convinced me that for the rest of my life, if I think I wouldn't like something, I should probably try it.

Now, off to watch a 3-hour Bollywood movie. Pictures and video from this term's show forthcoming!

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