Dance, magic dance

I just spent the last half an hour or so watching highland dancing videos on Youtube.

You should probably do this too because, for lack of a more eloquent descriptor, THEY ARE AWESOME.

I love watching these videos because they totally jazz me up, and I remember the good old (olden) days when I too used to be a highland dancer.

No joke.

From the ages of five to twelve, I flinged, reeled, and jigged with the best of them.

And I loved it, truly.

In so many areas of my life, my passion for dance bled through: Instead of walking places, I just danced. Sitting at the computer, I would curl my feet up into tight points, always trying to strengthen my arches, and I would hum different bagpipe tunes under my breath while I wrote tests.

Highland
Sorry for the crap quality!

More than anything, I really wanted to be Canadian champion, and more than that I really, really wanted to get married in my National costume.

A little highland dance background:

National costumes are different from Highland costumes (Highland being the “traditional” outfits that will most likely spring to mind when you think about highland dancing.)

National outfits instead are much softer and, in traditional terms, much more “feminine.”

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This makes a lot of sense when you think about how the dances you complete in the Highland outfit are the Fling, Sword Dance, Seann Truibhas, and the Reel, whereas the dances associated with the National costume are the Blue Bonnets, Lilt, and Flora Macdonald.

Not exactly hard core stuff.

I highly doubt any Englishman felt a quake or two in his boots upon espying a bunch of bonny lasses, heel-toeing about to the Blue Bonnets Over the Border.

The Sword Dance on the other hand?

There’s no way in heck you’d want to mess with the crazies jumping about on top of multiple, sharp sabres.

Anywho, highland dancing was my total jam pretty much all through out elementary school. I even spent two weeks away from home after the summer of grade four at a dance camp in Red Deer, Alberta.

I stayed in the college dorms all by myself, ate at the school’s cafeteria (I had a punch card that let me know how much money I had left on my tab!) and signed up for different activities through my dorm mother and dance lead (the oldest girl in my training class.)

Every morning I would put my hair in a bun, put on my tights and leotard, and walk across the campus to class.

I don’t know if to this day I’ve ever felt as grown up, mature, and accomplished as I did at eleven during those two weeks.

The pièce de résistance was when a young piper asked me out the night that we went to the carnival. (What was this, Dawson’s Creek!?)

I mean, the guy couldn’t have been older than thirteen, but this basically exploded my on-the-cusp-pubescent mind.

A BOY LIKES ME AND IS ASKING ME OUT.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT GUYS.

I didn’t think things could get any more epic until the last night of the camp: all the dancers participated in a big gala, and we all performed the group dances we had been practicing over the length of the camp.

(I loved my group’s dance SO much that I practiced it every day for the rest of the summer.)

At the end of the evening, they announced the dancer who had won the scholarship to return following year’s camp, free of charge. The winner would also receive free accommodation, food, and receive a small living allowance over the course of the camp.

And would you believe it?

They announced little old me as the winner!

I was so shocked I didn’t really know what to do, so I kind of just continued sitting there, smiling like the pint-sized loon that I was.

I remember two older girls sitting behind me said something like, “Way to go Vanessa! You totally deserve it!” They then kind of pulled me out of my chair and pushed me towards the stage.

It was such an unbelievably happy moment for me walking up there to receive my certificate. I had just spent two weeks doing something I loved more than anything in the world, with a new group of friends, in a setting where I felt incredibly grown up.

Over the years I have definitely enjoyed other similar moments – different iterations of that pure joy and incredulity – but this one was definitely my first.

And watching these amazing videos is a great reminder of the brilliance of that feeling.

I hope so much that you too have a similar memory.

And if you do, take a moment and just sit back.

And press play.

Looking so darn foxy

I’m not sure how many of you out there are acquainted with the amazing hilarity that is “Ylvis”, but for those of you neophytes, I present to you, for your viewing enjoyment – “The Fox”

I first got to know Ylvis a couple of years ago, when my rad chum Adelle played me their music video for their song “Stonehenge.”

(They like to keep their titles short, and very much to the point.)

We were at work, eating lunch together. It was one of those nondescript Vancouver winter days where everything seems grim – the sky, sea, and city all somehow meld together into one grey, gargantuan mass, and everything just feels damp. We had made plans to go out for lunch, but due to an onslaught of thick fog-like rain, and the accompanying on-set of general mid-week malaise, we decided to forgo venturing outside and just ate in my office.

After we polished off our food, we puttered about online, showing each other the latest viral videos that were tickling our funny bones.

It was at this point that Adelle turned to me and asked, “Do you…do you know Ylvis?”

“EEL-VIS!?” I asked. “You meanlike Elvis!?”

Adelle burst out laughing.

She has this incredible way of going from completely expressionless to gut-busting laughter in under a second.

It really is amazing to behold.

“Yes…Ylvis…” She managed to squeak out in between laughs. “They’re a Norweigan group.”

It was my turn to laugh.

“Norwegian!? Like, Norway’s version of Elvis?!”I was trying desperately to figure out what that may both look and sound like.

Also, one thing you should all know about Adelle is that she really loves Michael Bublé, so I just assumed that whoever she was talking about was just the Scandinavian equivalent of Canada’s own lounge crooner extraordinaire.

“Not really,” she answered. “They’re more like Josh Groban. But funny.”

This I just had to see.

So together we watched Stonehenge.

And boy was she ever right.

These dudes can both carry and tune and bust a gut.

(Although I really need to specify for reasons silly enough that I’m really not that big of a fan of the J. Grobes. I think he’s a cool dude, and his Twitter feed is hilarious, but that music – phew. Not my bag AT ALL.)

Ylvis on the other hand – Ylvis I can enjoy.

Plus, now I really, really want to know: WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?