Monday, August 31, 2009

Moving to Ananda

I just signed the papers yesterday to move into an apartment at the Ananda community in Mountain View. I'll be doing the actual move in late September, and I'm greatly looking forward to it.

I'd been vaguely wanting to move to the community for a while now, especially after spending two weeks at Ananda Village, the original Ananda community, for the Living with Spirit retreat. But I hadn't let myself get too attached to the idea, since I didn't think I could justify raising my rent as much as I thought I had to. Then last week I found out that there's a "junior one-bedroom" apartment there with almost exactly the same rent as I'm paying now. So I just tossed the excuses out the window and went for it.

Since the apartment is a "junior," I'll have about 1/3 less space than I do now. But I don't really need all the space I currently have, and there's a bunch of stuff I've been wanting to get rid of, rearrange, and/or simplify anyway. So I think it'll be a fun challenge to find a way to fit well in there.

And it's a nice little apartment, in spite of being small. It has a lovely fenced-in patio, with space for all my potted plants, and even some actual dirt to plant things in. (And of course there's the community garden I can play with, too.) It's probably one of the sunniest apartments in a complex with lots of big, shady trees, so that's sort of the best of both worlds in that department. And I think it's literally the closest apartment to the meditation temple, which is just a very nice place to be.

Add to all that the fact that I'll get to live in a beautiful community with a spiritual family of wonderful people, and I think this will be a very good move. "Ananda" means "Joy" in Sanskrit, so as we say at the end of service every week, "I will live in joy!" (Literally!)

Sunday, August 09, 2009


One thing I was appreciating during this latest season of So You Think You Can Dance was the solos. It seemed to me that more people were actually putting some thought into choreographing their solos to the music, and we had less of the "just turn on some song and do your stuff" kind of thing. I find that hugely important, since to me dance is inextricable from music. If you really want to have the biggest impact, you've got to get the most out of each part of the equation.

Brandon, however, deserves special props for taking this to still another level during the penultimate week of the show. He went beyond simply choreographing with the music, and also optimized both his choice and editing of the music. I didn't know the piece he used, but it was orchestral, choral, and hugely dramatic. Not only that, but he used the ending of it, with a powerful, bravissimo!-sort of ending that practically commands you to stand up and applaud your hands off. Combine that all with the fact that Brandon is a fantastic dancer, and it's no surprise that he got a standing ovation from the judges.

In fact, I think it's incredible that I've seen 4 seasons of this show now and this is the first solo like this that I remember. You'd think it would be a no-brainer, but so many dancers just let their music get cut off wherever the 30-second break comes. So even if it was a beautiful solo, you're left with a sense of frustration at the interruption, rather than a sense of satisfaction from the completion of an excellent performance.

As for the actual results, I thought Brandon had it in the bag after that solo. But Jeanine was tied with him in my own preferences, so I was quite please with her winning in the end. (And she had a wonderful tango-esque solo the last week.) I was surprised at Evan making it into the top 4. As much as I love him, Ade was honestly the better dancer. But oh well, it was still good to see the "nice guy" get that far.

And as for the choreographies, I thought the final competition show was kind of weak for a finale, aside from the Paso Doble, which was probably the best one of those they've had on the show yet. Throughout the season, though, there were some really good routines, so the final results show with the judges' favorites was excellent. I thought the hip hop routine that started the whole season was excellent, and I was also very impressed with the "Addiction" contemporary piece, and Brandon and Jeanette's tango. Lots of good stuff.