Friday, June 29, 2012

We All Left Our Hearts at Quartz Mountain

Now that OSAI is over, all the kindred spirits that made Quartz Mountain so special have scattered on the four winds.  Students have returned to big cities and tiny towns across Oklahoma, and faculty, staff, and counselors are back in New York, Los Angeles, and many places in between. 

The PAC is silent and dark, the classrooms are locked and empty, and the CafĂ© is back to the usual quiet clusters of locals.  At home, we find ourselves wondering what to do with our free time and telling camp jokes that no one understands.  Now that we’ve caught up on sleep, we feel nostalgic for late night cabin meetings and early morning walks to class. 

It’s jarring to go from our little arts oasis to the real world, with all its demands and distractions.  We miss the close friends we made, and we wonder if they have the same strange, empty feeling we do. 

How can a few glorified hills in the middle of nowhere have such a magnetic pull?  How can one place embrace the spirit, dreams, and passions of so many people?  How can two weeks change your entire life?  

That’s the mystery and the magic of “The Mountain,” and that’s why we all left our hearts at Quartz Mountain.  Until you can return and reclaim it, reminisce, keep in touch, and give back.  #qmrocks

Photo courtesy of McNeese Fitzgerald Associates

Friday, June 22, 2012

 Our guest blogger is Catherine Roberts, PR Counselor.
Today’s blog post will get a trifle sentimental. I’m writing as a former OSAI student, a creative writer from 2006. It’s seldom that I practice my craft these days—I’m a journalist, so I tend to stick to facts. Nothing has compelled me to begin again to write creatively more than returning to Quartz Mountain as a staff member. That’s because the work of the students here—not just in creative writing, but across all the disciplines—inspires. But instead of telling you about it, I’ll let the art speak for itself.

The following poems are the collected works of the OSAI creative writers, composed for inclusion in the centerpieces of the tables during this year’s Visitors’ Day.

let your hands be a resting place for time
and rejoice in the aging of your body

let your skin grow rough from your dances in the wind
and celebrate the grace that will come to crease your eyes
from the depth and frequency of laughter

exalt the blaze of seasons
for you will not fade with the fading of the light

so let your  mind burn and falter
when it is best to fall
revel in the salt of your mistaking
because there is the world to be tasted

taste it

—Alex Rivas

Steeplechase Road

Let there be children who
drink orange soda through sour patch straws
and raise dandelions in Mama’s glass bowls.
Let there be children who
lay rusted pennies to sleep on train tracks
and carry thin copper luckthings on thread.
Let there be children who
weave muddy caskets from grass to send a
friend, bumblebee, down the creek.
Let there be children who
climb electrical towers to watch the sunset
and hold nervous currents at their toes.

—Alison Liu

Let there be a soothing slap of skin parting from the gaudy protection
Of the band-aid decorated with the heroes who fought on
A cartoon you never watched
Let there be a cavity in gravity you’ll miss in ten years
When you can no longer fly on construction paper wings
Instead staring out an office window
Let there be rooms that forget the alphabet
With white washed walls that can no longer spell your name
Let there be water that tastes of his favourite flower which died in the glass
Before your thirst was born.

—An-Li Bogan

Where Petals Go

Let there be an unpaved road
with a field beside it and a sky dunked in pinks and purples until the blue drowned above
Let there be daisies in that field
floating in the grass like spirits tied down with green string
Let there be wind to find the daisy
to touch its face with cooling lips and cherish its petals enough to take
Let there be you to watch the petals like white flames
leaving smoke not allowed to touch the sky
And let there be you to free the last petal that clings like heartbreak
so it can move on to higher things

Let there be another wind to help you do the same

—Brooke R. Busse

Let there be lunch lines and clusters of students with red trays.
Let there be rain and clouds that block the Twin Peeks from view and cast a grey shadow across the Oklahoma Arts Institute,
giving the photography students and their cameras a break from the sun.
Let the acting students sit in the lobby in silence as they memorize monologues.
Let the dancers stretch their legs as the sun drifts through the windows.
Let the Rubix Cube hidden on campus be found before nightfall.
Let it solve itself.
Let me write like the Quartz Mountains that rise up and down against the sky.
Let the mountains fill up with green grasses growing on its sides like grass in a bowl.

—Candace Osterhout

Let there always be caramels in your grandmother’s glass bowl.
Let there be a fat cat to sleep in your lap,
and an old dog to lay at your feet.
Let there be lemonade summers and hot chocolate winters.
Let there never be a time when you can’t come home
and sit on your childhood swing.
Let there be Snuggies, ramen noodles and mystery novels.
Let there be days in which you just do nothing.
Let there be sunlight to wake you up some mornings.
Let there be scary movies and friends to watch them with.
Let there be rain.
But most of all, let there be medicine to heal your body,
and art to heal your soul.

—Erin McCoy

Let there be quartz and people who keep the door open for those
coming out of a crowded concert.
Let there be daisies and marigolds and azaleas.
Let there be jazzy trombones, wrapped Andes mints,
and cats with question mark tails.

May there be casual hellos and soothing cellos.
Give us fountain pens and fantasy books to feel through.
May there be homemade Valentine cards.

Let there be mothers, water,
fathers; let there be children who sing in showers
and men who rent tuxedos.
Let there be the color brown.
Let there be breath.

—Giselle Willis

Let there be hands to create music, words, ideas.
And people will know and invite the owners of the hands to a cradle of stone and foliage.
And the trees will bow and the rocks will tremble in their presence, because the hands
will make them again.
Let the does graze below the bridge on the uncut grass, knowing that no hands will harm
them, and they will be alive.
And the hands will meet other hands, shake, and flourish in their craft; create a beat to
dance and live to.
And the hands are surely placed by the words of a woodsman, encouraging them to
live deliberately.
Let heroes, heavens, and spirits of Helios flow from their fingertips and erupt in song,
heard as far into the universe as the dust of Saturn’s rings.
The hands will find new ways and the people will come to see.

—Madisyn Bowen

Let the doe ever wander green meadows where the dandelions go
Like lions without teeth or claws, each seeds small parachute ready to break its fall.
Silence of the meadows as a haven where the heavens see foals knobby knees.
Let this be sacred ground where nature comes to lie while earth whispers lullabies.
The brook where the doe and her fawn pause to drink,
The shuffling of grass and of leaves in trees and they rustle in the breeze.
Let these tender songs ever comfort those forlorn, the lonely and the lowly,
When the constancy of morning like the certainty of night are to never cease
And let green remain.

—Meredith Winn

Why Do We Let Them Let?

Let—to allow—it is a word of a different color than timshel—thou mayest—less gracious, more furious, a salt-green flexing rather than its nebulous deep. It is not the game of command, ask permission, and the generous timshel—it is, as in, let us go—let us ride our bikes like horses and tilt at the telephone poles. Let us build our medicines, locomotives, bridges—
Let us—
Let us spring furiously from the chthonian body of our home, go!
Go! Rocket—let go gravity—
Burn you trillion cosmic lanterns, spin, other earths. We see you if the gods will
Let us—

—Erin Fuller

Let there be dirt- crumbling, warm, soft
smelling of growth,
pushing forward new life, taking on old.
Let there be silent mornings
alone with a dainty tea pot steeping
and a simple saucer of browned bread.
Allow words to spill forth from pens- an outpouring
 transforming and transformed.

Allow there to be pages, strong enough to cut
 and carry as a vehicle the words,
taking them where they are necessary.
Let there be sound, a taxi bleating, a sprinkler clicking rhythmically along,
 a murmur as  trees converse with one another, a cacophony saying please.
Allow there to be grass, a cushion to lie on,
and the residents building in their own universe.

—Bethany McLemore

Remember your favorite word and remember who gave it to you, precious as any physical gift.
Remember the books and people that changed how ideas appear to you, outside insight is an invaluable thing.
Remember the smell of breakfast, mornings spent among the rustle of readallaboutit’s and the feeling of time spread around you.
Remember your favorite pair of shoes. Impractical, outrageously priced, your mother clucking her tongue, not this time.
Remember your hands, they are the first to meet a new friend, everything is written in your hands.
Remember how much time you spent trying to please others, think about how often you played the kazoo. Weigh the importance of each.
Remember the first time you were told to grow up. Act your age.
Now forget it.

—Tori Hack

Let there be Orwells
and Hemingways
Fitzgeralds Shakespeares
Dickinsons Poe

Let there be contradictions
And then let there be words
too simple
for simple.

Let there be poems while I’m brushing my teeth
And stanzas while I sleep
And meter in my shower
And syllables
In every moment
That words
Can barely touch

Let there be Holy Sundays
And let there be Sundays

I set out to write the
King James Holy Bible
And this is how
The words have settled.

            —Evan Rathjen

You can hear more from the Creative Writing class during ONSTAGE Weekend performances. Creative Writing performs tomorrow at 4 p.m.
Our guest blogger today is improvisation assistant Caroline Horton.

            As the improvisation assistant, I was able to see a side of the students that most faculty, staff, and counselors weren’t able to experience. The students were able to take a break from their disciplines, let loose, and most importantly, laugh.

            Regina Saisi, a native San Franciscan, has made the trek to Quartz Mountain for years now to teach the improv classes. Regina is a part of a three-person traveling improv troupe based out of San Francisco.  She has been in the improv theater world for more than twenty-five years and has no intentions of quitting anytime soon.

            There were three improv sessions every day, each comprised of students from different disciplines: choir, ballet and modern; acting, creative writing, drawing/printmaking, and photography; and orchestra. It was a delight not only to see the students lose all inhibitions and have some fun, but also to see the different disciplines working together. Each group developed their own sort of improv “personality.” The choir, ballet, and modern group were completely different than the acting, drawing/printmaking, creative writing, and photography group, from sense of humor to subject matter.

            Regina would sometimes tailor the exercises to fit each group. This either meant using an exercise that would be in the comfort zone of the disciplines in that group or completely out of the comfort zone. In this way, she was able to challenge the students and stimulate their imaginations. Men would play women and women would play men, creative writers would sing, and choir students would dance. The students learned that anything goes in improv and the goofier and less inhibited, the better.

            There were struggles in the first few classes. Students were afraid of not being funny or being made fun of for what they chose to do. Regina made all at ease with an exercise where every student had to go to one another, throw their hands in the air, and yell, “I FAILED!” She taught that it is okay to fail, everyone fails, and it is just part of the process. After this exercise, the students were more comfortable and relaxed with their peers. This made for an even better time.

            A favorite exercise across all groups was a role-playing one. In this exercise, two students have to explain to a teacher why their friend was late to school. While this explanation is happening, the “late” student is waiting outside so that (s)he does not hear the ludicrous explanation. Then, the “late” student has to come in and try to tell the teacher why (s)he was late, trying to corroborate the story the friends just told. How is the student supposed to do this? Only by watching the friends act out the wild scenario they had built. Regina said the crazier the story, the more fun it is, and this was definitely true. One group came up with this story:

The student was late because his grandmother got “bronchlotia” (an illness, they explained, that is a combination of getting bronchitis and then being allergic to lotion). An easy cure for this bronchlotia would be to go to the hospital, but the grandmother was a Christian Scientist and did not believe in hospitals, so INSTEAD, the late student had to ice down his grandmother with a mixture of ice and salt every few minutes, and THAT was why he was late.

Now, imagine two students acting that out and having a completely clueless student try to guess the story… hilarious. Not only were the actors having fun, but the audience was, too. The students could not stop laughing.

            A truly beautiful moment in improv happened on the last day with the choir, ballet, and modern group. The exercise Regina was doing involved her playing music randomly and then one, two, three, or all of the students dancing to it in whatever fashion they wanted. Everyone was having fun, some choir students pretending to do ballet, ballet students acting like they were at a hoppin’ club, modern students doing tribal dances, and then the song “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 came on and every single student started to sing. There was a mixture of beautifully trained chorus voices with perfect pitch hitting breathtaking notes, and the obviously untrained students belting it out, not caring in the least that they couldn’t sing at all. The choir was dancing and the dancers were singing, and it was an amazing moment of unity. Their disciplines collided, and you could tell a connection formed between them that had not been there before.

            When the class was over, girls and boys left the room arm in arm, singing, skipping, and laughing. The transformation that happened in fifty-five minutes was stunning. It is cases like that that prove the pure power and magic that OSAI has to offer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Victoria Harrell, OSAI PR Counselor, is today's guest blogger.

Lights, Camera, Action!

As a counselor here at Quartz Mountain, with students working on projects all around you, you may be asked to participate.  The film and video students have been working in small groups on a few short films that will debut on Saturday, June 23 here at Quartz Mountain.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to play a small role in one of these short films alongside my good friend and fellow counselor, Corey Davidson.

While filming, I tried to pay close attention to the whole process, and what I noticed was how much has to be done to get just one shot.  Even the scene that we filmed outside with natural light required a handful of people helping.

From holding a gold reflector steady, to holding the microphone above us, to precariously balancing on a chair to hold a piece of cardboard to block out the shadows cast from the rafters above, everything had to be set just right.

The students were allowed a lot of freedom as far as the scenes, with assistant film faculty Beau Leland asking a few thought-provoking questions to lead the students in the right direction.  I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of the students, and I appreciated being part of the process.

Good luck, film students, and I am anticipating a fantastic movie premieres this weekend!  The screening is free and open to the public, and will take place on Saturday, June 23 at 4 pm at the Robert M. Kerr Performing Arts Center at Quartz Mountain.

Students Perspective on the Mountain

Morgan Edwards, 2012 OSAI counselor, is our guest blogger today.

Today, I went around at lunchtime to talk to some of the students about their favorite parts of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. 

First year chorus student Emily Cole said:

"I just wish I would have tried out for OSAI in previous years; it's the most incredible experience I have ever been a part of."

Third year chorus student Sarah Carr noted the supportive atmosphere:
"Everyone here supports each other in both performance and friendships. I hope to maintain that characteristic for my personality."

First year photography student Charity Jack said:

"I like meeting new people and getting inspiration from people in my discipline as well as others... I also really like the hash browns!"

Second year acting student Jared Rey said:

"I love being around incredible artists and getting to see so many different perspectives."

Regarding her performance of a monologue for the talent show, acting student Robyn Wheelock said:
"It's incredible to perform for such a big audience. I was awestruck from the energy -- I felt like a movie star for days."

So there you have it!... No matter if the students are first or third years, they love the atmosphere and the support provided by the students as well as the faculty. They also like the hash browns, so props to our chef here at Quartz Mountain! I am so glad that the students are enjoying this incredible camp as much as I did when I was a student. Until next time... hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying the summer... You know our students are here at OSAI!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Today's second guest blogger is Catherine Roberts.

One of the (seriously numerous) things I love about Quartz Mountain is that as soon as camp starts, we are inundated with music. It’s everywhere: from the halls of the lodge during sectionals to the evening performances by faculty and students.

Fortunately, we’re provided with handy programs letting us know which pieces we hear during concerts. A few songs we’ve encountered this week, however, have been more incidental. In today’s post, we’ll revisit some of those fleeting moments of the past week and a half with this short playlist of songs that didn’t show up on any programs and whose titles were never mentioned, but that helped provide a soundtrack to OSAI 2012. Now you, too, can relive these moments in the privacy of your own home.

1. “That first song from last year’s video yearbook”
Race You, by Elizabeth & The Catapult

Last year’s yearbook producer did a great job picking music to back up all the fantastic photos from OSAI 2011. So much so that after seeing the film three times through (once during counselor orientation, once at the faculty welcome dinner, and once with the students on the first day of camp), I finally remembered enough of the lyrics to the first song to look it up on iTunes. Now you can too! It’s available on iTunes for $0.99.

2. “Those songs they played during Paul Austin’s performance”
            Wings of a Dove, by Ferlin Huskey 
            Wayfaring Stranger, performed by the Wayfaring Strangers
            He’s Always There, artist unknown

For you Johnny Cash and Alison Krauss fans who perked up when this trio of songs played during Paul Austin and Rilla Askew’s reading of her piece “Strange Business,” we’ve done our best to provide title and artist information. The first two, “Wings of a Dove” and “Wayfaring Stranger” are both available on iTunes for $0.99. The third song is, as far as I could tell, a fairly obscure gospel song. This one you probably won’t be able to find on iTunes. But let us know if you want the track; we have a copy.

3. “That one that Jeff Grogan used to teach us to conduct”
            Cadillac of the Skies, composed by John Williams

We only got to hear a short snippet of this song during conductor Jeff Grogan’s faculty presentation, but the full version has even more to offer. It is also on iTunes for $0.99, so get a copy and practice those moves!
Our guest blogger today is Victoria Harrell.
Sunday Funday

Sunday was a more relaxed day for the faculty  and students here at Quartz Mountain.  There weren't any classes or rehearsals, giving everyone a chance to reboot and prepare for the following week. 

Some students chose to leave campus with family members for a few hours.  For students who didn't leave, there were workshops available throughout the day.  These classes included African dance, a screen-printing workshop, a music improv class, and a labyrinth-making class. 

Sunday evening was the annual "Etcetera" student talent show, featuring interdisciplinary student acts. Christine Hrubik, one of the choral liaisons, hosted the variety show alongside guest host Chantry Banks, last year's acting liaison.


The students put on a great show this year, showcasing almost all of the disciplines in at least one of the performances. After Etcetera, there was another Thunder game watch party, as well as karaoke on the Sundance Cafe patio.

Now that everyone has had a chance to relax and recharge, students are back in class, working hard and preparing for this weekend's performances.

Monday, June 18, 2012

This past Saturday was Visitors’ Day at the Summer Arts Institute, and lots of VIPs made the trip to Quartz Mountain.  Visitors toured classes, attended a special dinner and program, and saw the OSAI chorus and orchestra perform.  Our students, faculty, and staff were excited to welcome our VIPs to Quartz Mountain and show them how their support makes OSAI possible.

Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Kim Baker took a class tour and visited with drawing & printmaking students Aubrey Ginsterblum and Alex Hazel.  The Oklahoma Arts Council has supported OSAI since its inception.

Photography student Johnathan Wilkerson demonstrates a photo transfer technique to (from left) President Julie Cohen, board member Suzanne McAuley of Norman, Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Kim Baker, and board member Adrienne Barnett of Tulsa.

OAI Board Chairman Mike Joseph visited with OSAI student Maris Mills at the VIP dinner.

Speaker-Designate of the Oklahoma House of Representatives T.W. Shannon gave the keynote address at the VIP dinner.  His wife Devon and his two children also visited Quartz Mountain.  OAI is supported through a unique public/private partnership and receives a significant portion of its scholarship funding through the state of Oklahoma via the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

The evening concluded with a phenomenal concert by the OSAI chorus and orchestra.  Highlights included the chorus’ rendition of Mendelssohn’s Weihnachten and the orchestra’s performance of Stravinsky’s Firebird suite.  Both groups received standing ovations.

The Oklahoma Arts Institute sincerely thanks all of our donors, board members, and supporters for their dedication to OAI’s mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Catherine Roberts, OSAI PR counselor, is today’s guest blogger.

Thursday night’s faculty presentations yet again received standing ovations from the students of OSAI. On the roster were ballet instructor Mary Carpenter and chorus conductor Paul Tucker. Today’s blog post will bring you a few of the evening’s highlights, illustrated by some of the night’s best quotations.

1.  “You’ve not lived until you’ve had a Parisian look down their nose at you and say, ‘Zat is a very nice shirt from ze Gap.’” – Mary Carpenter

Along with performing and teaching ballet, Mary is a master pointe shoe fitter. She gave a talk on the history of pointe shoes and a lesson on how to fit them. This quotation was in reference to the French aesthetic. French dancers have always been innovative and quick to adopt the latest dance aesthetic trends.

2. “It was like when Lady Gaga wore a meat dress.” – Mary Carpenter

Mary described what a sensation it was when the first ballerina rose up to dance on the tips of her toes, even if the era’s primitive pointe shoes allowed it only for a moment...

 ...Much like this!

3. “I want you to sound like well-trained kitties.” – Paul Tucker

Paul’s presentation highlighted the various ways expert singers can control their voice to turn sound into music. He had help from—whom else?—the chorus students, who performed a few lines of vocal exercise to demonstrate the concepts he was explaining. He had them sing one line using the word “meow,” and this quotation came from stopping to correct their technique.

And finally, our best quotation of the night:

4. “If we had something like this in every state, we’d change everything.”  – Paul Tucker

This was an answer to a query from one of the students, who asked Paul what his single most affecting experience with music was. His answer? The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Midweek at the Mountain

Morgan Edwards, 2012 OSAI Counselor, is our guest blogger this week.

Students are working hard here at the mountain, practicing, rehearsing, and learning! After putting all of their energy into their artistry as well as watching their instructors put on incredible shows and presentations every night, they are wiped out by the time they go to cabin meeting with their counselors. 

Despite their tiredness, the students have been working extremely hard in their disciplines. 

This picture shows OSAI acting student Cassidy Callahan practicing her monologue on the amphitheater bleachers.

Yesterday, drawing and printmaking students sketched in the ballet class. OSAI allows students the unique opportunity to be inspired by and appreciate all of the fine arts, not just their own discipline. 

OSAI ballet students dancing at the barre.

Orchestra students constantly practice their instruments for their performance of Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird" on Saturday. 

The past few nights have also been very eventful for the students. After working all day with their instructors, they attended performances and presentations where their instructors showcase their art in some way.

Photography instructor Susan kae Grant demonstrates how she creates her dream-inspired shadow photography. 

Creative writing instructor Peter Richards reads his poetry to the students. 

Last night, students saw a film by film and video instructor Tom Quinn. Following the film and a long standing ovation from the students, Quinn had time for a Q and A session.

As you can see, students at OSAI are immersed in art throughout the day as well as in the evenings. The energy continues to flow throughout this magical place, and the students are learning more than they could ever imagine. Look forward to pictures of student performances that will take place on Saturday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Catherine Roberts, OSAI PR counselor, is today’s guest blogger.

Just a few days into camp, and it already feels like weeks—for my legs and abs, that is. In the interest of inquiry (and so I could share with our readers), I’ve taken it upon myself to attend each of the three fitness classes offered here at Quartz Mountain. These are elective classes available to all students, faculty and staff, and are taught by Rebecca Penniman, a Pilates instructor from Baton Rouge.

Yesterday morning, after I finished complaining about the soreness of my poor, weak limbs, my office-mate and fellow counselor Victoria Harrell advised, “You should stretch after you work out.” That’s an excellent tip for everyone. Rebecca, resident tough girl and fitness instructor, works her student to their limits. She teaches three classes: plyometrics/cardio conditioning, total body conditioning and Pilates.

Plyometrics, Rebecca says, “involves a lot of jumping exercises.” The class features jump rope, jumping jacks, squat-thrusts, etc. On days without rain, Rebecca holds class outside, in the Great Plains Amphitheater, for multi-level maneuvers.

“The steps in the amphitheater, instead of a traditional aerobic bench, we just use what’s out there, which has been great because the weather has been beautiful,” Rebecca says. “It keeps us outdoors; you feel really healthy being out there.” The morning I participated, we had rain, so the amphitheater steps were a no-go, but we’ve got many days of sunshine in the forecast.

Total body conditioning, the first of the triad that I attempted, is just what it sounds like. The exercises work your quads and hamstrings, glutes and abs, biceps and triceps, and I’m sure many other muscles that will be sore the next morning regardless of whether or not you know their names. Rebecca says what differentiates this workout is that much of it is done standing, and while it’s hard work, your heart rate won’t be elevated as much as in the plyometrics class. This workout consists of simple and targeted movements and is great for anyone looking to build strength in every part of the body.

A Pilates workout focuses on the core. Rebecca is quick to provide an accurate definition of the term.  “I hear the term ‘core’ ad nauseam,” she says. “The core is your abdominals, your rectus, your transverse and your obliques. It also is your glutes, your hamstrings and your quads.” If that sounds like a lot, it feels like it, too. Going into the Pilates class, I had only a vague notion of it being something related to yoga, but with all of those muscle groups to strengthen, it too is a workout. Rebecca says that her focus is less on flexibility and more on stability, especially for the dance students. 

 [Staff and students take Pilates at today's lunchtime class.]
This is Rebecca’s third year teaching fitness classes at Quartz Mountain, and she says she loves it. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the faculty, staff and the other students to remain active while they’re here,” she says. I asked whether most people who take her classes at camp are beginners or gurus. She said she thinks most are beginners, and she’s mindful of it as she teaches. “My philosophy this year,” she says, “and my motto to everybody is, ‘you can adjust [the workout] to your fitness level.’”

I’ve certainly had to “adjust.” But my goal is to be able to keep up and complete every set by the time camp is over.  (Secondarily, to have a six-pack.)

The Basics:
Classes are offered twice each day—before class at 7 a.m. and during lunch at 12:15 p.m. They’re only about 45 minutes long, but Rebecca makes every minute count. If anyone needs to leave early, they’re welcome to do so, and will likely still have gotten a great workout. There are also a few more guided hikes and runs that anyone at camp can sign up for—if they’re willing to get up even earlier.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today’s guest blogger is Victoria Harrell, OSAI PR counselor.

Monday night’s artist showcase and presentations were dancer and choreographer Daniel Squire followed by drawing and printmaking instructor Marwin Begaye.

Daniel Squire’s performance began with accompanist Shelley Burgon plucking her harp while improvisation coach Regina Saisi softly read one of her favorite excerpts. Regina’s voice fluctuated between a whisper and a more projected voice while Daniel danced.

Throughout the whole performance, OSAI photography students were allowed to approach him, and took shots of every part of the performance. A clock projected onto the background counted down to the end of the performance. In this collaborative performance, there was movement and sound coming from every part of the stage. From the clicking of the cameras to the subtle sounds of the harp, from a few strokes of the piano as Burgon changed instruments to Squire’s audible breathing, it felt more like sound effects than an actual song being showcased.

Squire closed the 22-minute performance with a few intricate moves. The enthused audience gave a standing ovation.

 Regardless of your favorite discipline, from the instrumental pieces to the choreography; from the poetry to the photography, there was something to interest everyone in the audience. After Squire was done answering question the students had for him, Marwin Begaye took the stage.

Begaye presented highlights of his life’s work projected on a giant screen.  An internationally recognized printmaker of Navajo origin, Begaye’s prints and paintings reflect his interests and personal values.  Begaye creates woodblock, linoleum, and other types of prints as well as paintings.  Begaye shared stories about printmaking workshops he has participated in around the world.  He told personal stories about his culture and family and how they influence his work.  He also shared a photograph of his first grandchild, born on Saturday! Congratulations Marwin!

In the cabin meeting fellow counselor Jessica Tankersley and I had with our girls, we had them discuss how they felt about the performance and presentation.  Some of the girls weren’t sure what to think about the avant garde modern dance performance and were still running it through their minds over again to understand it better.  Others thought it really illustrated what modern dance is all about. What we did agree on was that modern dance, if nothing else, starts a conversation and leaves the meaning behind it open for a personal interpretation. Furthermore, modern dance lends the audience an opportunity to interpret and create their own story. All of the students were impressed with Begaye’s bird prints, and touched by his sweet stories about his family.  Marwin Begaye invited students to stop by the drawing/printmaking classroom today to really see what printmaking is all about as well as tell stories about pieces he did not have quite enough time for, and I have a good feeling there was probably a line forming out the door!  It is safe to say that everyone learned a lot about the two disciplines showcased and developed a newfound appreciation for a discipline they may not be familiar with.