Zero Waste Strategies, Guitar-Tap Dance Collaboration, and Street Performing

Hello all…happy belated Groundhogs Day to all you ‘mericans and early Valentine’s Day to my fellow romantics!

Today I have some reflections on Zero Waste Living for you plus some tap dance related news and a bonus plant fact.

As some of you may know, I’ve been obsessed with garbage for a long time…see me and garbage through the years (cue love song: how sweet it is).

 

 

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I’m not sure what this fixation says about me psychologically–a topic for deeper exploration, I suppose–but I do know where this interest has led me, and that is to explore Zero Waste Lifestyle options in an effort to reduce personal waste production.

Its all about “baby steps.”

This year I experimented with a few different dental floss options (Dr. Mercola is the new favorite, works best, comes in cardboard container, thanks Mamãe), switched over to a new deodorant that can be bought in bulk and comes in a glass jar (Meow Meow Tweet), bought “bees-wrap” to replace saran wrap, or “cling-film” as our UK friends call it, and both invested in a reusable-collapsible to-go container design I’ve been playing with for years…and found one that gets the job done (Sea-To-Summit “Seal and Go Set”).

I also continued to use my To-Go Ware (bamboo utensil set), which I carry around religiously, also introducing metal straws to the mix, enjoyed the soft feel of cloth hankies to dab away tears and runny noses, brought my own totes and produce bags when grocery shopping, and went on with what is probably my 5th year of using the Diva Cup, a reusable menstrual cup which has enabled me to live pad and tampon free all this time. Not only has the cup prevented a lot of garbage and exposure to chemicals, but it as also saved a lot of time and money since I never have to buy pads or tampons anymore. Oh yeah, I also started making my own toothpaste using a simple recipe, eliminating toothpaste associated garbage which tends to be difficult to recycle and of course carry a reusable waterbottle so I don’t have to buy plastic ones on the go.

Apologies for all this talk about me, but as Henry David Thoreau, my historical crush put it:

“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.” (Walden)

If you’re curious about any of the topics mentioned above, please ask and I’ll be glad to elaborate.

Reflecting on the areas I can still reduce waste, the first things that comes to mind are to-go cups (for coffee and smoothies/juices) and to-go food containers (for take-out and nuts).

Deeper observation is needed to further analyze my garbage footprint and see where improvements can be made.

What about you?

Food for thought.

Moving on, I wanted also to share some musical projects that have been happening.

Tap Dance-Guitar Collaboration

 

 

That was me and a friend playing around with time and sounds at the American Tap Dance Foundation. More to come!

In other tap dancing news, Gregory Hines, legendary tap dancer who was most prominent in the 1980’s and ’90s and know for collaborating with male ballerino Mikhail Baryshnikov among other things, has been honored by the USPS by being put on a postage stamp. Woot!

Here is a video from the dedication ceremony, held at Symphony Space in Manhattan last Monday. The dancers are Barbara Duffy, Michelle Dorrance, Mikela Lerman, and Ayodele Casel, dancing a piece choreographed by Gregory Hines.

 

As far as street performing goes, I wanted to write a little about that world of experience.

Street Performing in NYC

Metropolitan Ave Station, Brooklyn
Busking in Brooklyn

I have been doing this. I started last year and had the most fun dancing with my then-roommate, Martina the Ballerina. I find street performing to be a good way to work through the nerves of performing, receive feedback, and practice playing loudly, plus it give me somewhere to play other than my bedroom with less pressure than open-mics. When I street-perform (aka “Busk”), I either play guitar, acoustic or electric (acoustic is less cumbersome), or tap dance (either to recorded music, a metronome, or with nothing). The goal is to combine tap dancing and guitar, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet other than stomping out 1-2-3-4 beats.

Thought I’d have more to say about that but turns out no. Just wanted to introduce the topic.

Ok, last 2 things. I wanted to mention a novel product idea that I encountered last year at a craft fair. It was this guy:

Simmer Guy
Simmer Guy at American Feild Trade-show Summer 2018

Simmer is a tomato sauce that comes in smaller package than other sauces on the market. It is meant to be a solution to moldy tomato sauce, which often happens when a single person opens a jar o’sauce. Even though his packaging is plastic, I thought it was clever to address the issue of portion sizes and food waste in packaging. He also had great sample spoons made out of cardboard instead of plastic. If any of you are thinking about giving out food samples, consider these.

Non-plastic sample spoons
Plastic-free sample spoon, great idea!

Finally, a plant fact for you that I learned at work. Ficus, a common house-plant, is a fig plant! I didn’t know that but it makes sense.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 12.23.26 PM

According to Tina DeSanto of The World is Your Dumpster, also my co-worker at Verdant Gardens, Ficus binnendijkii ‘Alii’ is more commonly known as Alii ficus or banana-leaf ficus. Originally from the Philippines and south east Asia, this tree was originally cultivated in Hawaii and has been in the industry about 10 years, the name Alii means chief in Hawaiian and ficus in Latin means fig.
And finally finally, a dream catcher I made out of plastic bags and odds and ends I’ve collected in the past few months from life and litter.
Garbage Dream Catcher
Garbage Dream Catcher
Thats all folks!
Stay groovy,
KB
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Tap Shoes vs. Clogging and Irish Step

Ahoy!

Greetings to my new readers: Cindy the tap dancer and Kimberly from American Field!

Thank you for following my blog…welcome to the brain drain!

Today I’m departing from writing about upsetting environmental issues like turtles getting plastic straws stuck in their noses and chimpanzee refugees displaced by mining activities to cover a more light-hearted topic: Percussive Shoes!

What is the difference between tap shoes and Irish clogs?

Its a question I have been asked quite often and wondered about myself, so here we go:

Noise Making Shoes (Percussive dance), Demysified

First, a quick youtube video to illustrate three dancing styles which are often confused: Irish Step, Tap Dance, and Clogging:

As you can see, these three dance styles use different movements to express music with their feet, aka dance. Which brings me to…

The Shoe Breakdown

Tap shoes look like this:

https:::i.pinimg.com:736x:e3:68:1b:e3681b9a1dc9ae7f80e37c7fcec5fbea.jpg

There are high heel versions as well:

https://i.pinimg.com/564x/2e/fa/b7/2efab77bc2b684a6e0ddb45f0d5c9e92.jpg

 

Irish step shoes look like this:

http:::www.irish-danceshoes.com:images:PROFLEX2.jpg

 

And Appalacian Clogs look like this:

http://www.clogon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/clogging-shoes-from-clogon.com_.jpg

 

Appalacian dance can also be done with no taps, which makes the dance called flat-footing, I believe, and with regular tap shoes.

Without doing much research, I can tell you the taps and soles are different on all three shoes. While the appalacian clogging shoe has a thinner sole and more intricate taps, which makes for a more jingle-y soud,  the tap and irish step shoes have a thicker wooden sole. Tap shoes have four metal plates screwed to the bottom, attached to the toes and heels, and Irish dancing shoes have fiberglass tips on the bottom, according to this Celtic Heritage blog. For an expalaination of the difference between the taps on clogging shoes vs. tap shoes, watch this nice mother-daughter video and you will sort-of understand, like me!

In addition to all three of these noise making shoes, there are flamenco shoes which also have some sort of metal stuck on the toes and heels, but instead of metal plates, looks like they are tiny pins.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f8/2f/d8/f82fd8eaa72112f879b6eda9cf6b871a.jpg

And to round it all off for today, here is a video of an amazing Flamenco band and dancer. The reason I am including it and not a tap dance video is because the singers in this video are quite….special.

Check it out:

 

Ok ok and here, some clips of me tap dancing so you can see progress in motion:

Street performance with Ben Hoopes on guitar:

https://vimeo.com/271177208/94447c03a6

And my tap class’ end-of year showcase choreographed by Felipe Galgani, a sometimes muse (see sketch) and fabulous tap dancer and teacher from Brazil.

Sketch of a moment: Felipe explaining triplets

And also, a clip from a recent performance by Dorrance Dance, today’s TOP touring tap dance company. You will see a little appalacian clogging inspired tap in the 2nd video. Enjoy!

 

Finally, if you’re into listening to silly things, here’s a podcast about Appalacian Dance and other topics, recorded at Big Irv’s, an art collective in hipster Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York.

Sidewalk Scrapings
Die Hipster, or The Hipster? Williamsburg, NY 2018

 

Thats all for today folks, lay off the plastic!

With great ape love,

KB