Monday, February 11, 2013

WORK - with an E


My wonderful husband and I have had many conversations on the meaning of this word. When I talk about dance processes or pieces, I always refer to "the work". This confused him, when we were first dating. To him, a boots-on-the-ground-Marine-from-a-ranching-background, "work" meant hard, physical labor. To his credit, he didn't discount dance as hard, physical labor, but was also witness to the heavily intellectual side of dance. And to putting on my makeup and focusing on aesthetic. In the ranching world, cows don't care too much about aesthetic. Fences don't have to be beautiful. And I'm just going to guess, but I assume that the military doesn't include waterproof mascara in their list of necessary gear. (I do... check out the ballet emergency bag)

Work meant sweat. Blood. Physical frustrations.

Not beautiful lines in space and clear artistic intentions.

Fast forward to 2013.

Barring definitions of "work," I was surprised to learn that W-O-R-K could be spelled W-E-R-K and would have a similar, but very different meaning.

Pause (Paws) for background information here.

As a pedagogical practice, I periodically ask my students to "tweet." We form a small circle before class, affectionately known (I learned today) as the "hashtag circle," and I ask them to quickly reflect on something. This something or hashtag could be relevant to the class or just a request for them to acknowledge where they are, presently.

Some previous hashtags I've provided:

In 140 characters, I ask my students to add their "tweet" to the conversation of the day. (Note: I don't actually ask the students to count characters or post anything to a Twitter feed, it's just my way of accessing and engaging social media into the studio setting in a practice of brevity and conciseness.)

The "feed" has consisted of "tweets" including (please know I'm trying to honor Twitter formats in this language  but it's difficult to translate spoken word):  

#(hashtag) homework
RT Stressed
Bio test today
RT Ready2Dance

(for those of you less informed than I, "RT" means re-tweet and is an echo of a previous statement. This much I do know.)

So, I was a bit confused when my first "tweet" of today's class went something like this:
"Work... " (pause - that I now attribute to Monday)
Insert nods, confused faces, and anxieties of Mondays here.  (I'm thinking, 'Yeah, it is at that point in the semester when things get to be a bit crazy).
 and then the student added : "...with and E"

Ensuing a new series of nods and faces.

"Yeeeeessssss!"  "yeeeeeahhhh!" echoed in chorus and body language. I didn't know that work could be spelled wErk and mean something different.

But... I am open to learning.

In my humble understanding, "wErk" refers to an intense attention to detail and being FIERCE in the dance context.

But, you'll have to wait for a full post on what being FIERCE means.

Until then, #werk.


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