Thursday, May 26, 2016

Alabama Adventures

This morning at 4am, I was awaken by the neighbors, calling up to the upper floor from their car, right outside my door. River, actually is what woke me up. He responded with a loud bark. The neighbors had what seemed like a pretty long shouted conversation from across the parking lot. Finally the loudmouth got in her car and drove off and we fell back to sleep.

A couple hours later, i hear a lot of dripping coming from the bathroom, like someone is taking a shower in there. I go in and see that there is a waterfall coming from the lighting fixture in the shower stall, it's splashing all over the floor, which explains why it was a bit wet when I checked in last night, and why it seemed like the shower stall floor hadn't been cleaned. Obviously whenever they shower in the unit above, I get the run off. Gross.

And then finally, it was actually time to wake up and get ready for class.  I had about an hour of driving ahead, so I got up and out in plenty of time.
I-20, I-65, US-31, US-278, US-431, US-78, I-285, US-29

We arrived at the civic center with enough time to run on the grass for a little bit before getting set up for class. About ten people showed up for the Woodstock Experience. Last year, when I was here, I taught a workshop on How to FreeDance.  A few of the participants from that were there today, but it was less than half of the group. I talked a little bit about Anything Goes and about taking my choreography as a mere suggestion, and I explained how I envisioned this class to be an homage to the original music festival. Much to my delighted surprised, this group took me at my word. I start the class by having everyone wander around lost, and then I start the music, and without saying a word, go into my very simple warm up choreography. For two songs, I don't usually speak, as Jefferson Airplane does a fine job underscoring my movements. 

Every other time I've taught this routine, the group immediately connects to my movements, and within moments of my saying that this is meant to be freedancing, are doing my exact choreography. But today, they didn't. They kept wandering around, some of them were kind of doing what I did but no one was following exactly. I found that I had to actually give some cues to stimulate full body warm-ups, since they weren't doing my movements. It was great. 

I was a bit concerned too about the 10 minute Ravi Shankar raga and if I could sustain holding the space for them to freedance. It is a fairly tame bunch. Not the most adventurous, and very comfortable in their comfort zones. And despite the obvious fact that it was not something they were used to doing, they went along with me and after my giving them a few carefully planted suggestions and enough time to settle into the music, even the most staunch resistor was finally joining in and exuding that magic glow that comes from totally free dancing.

I was very impressed with the ladies in Cullman.

We also had a young girl with us, named Ally. I'm not good at telling ages in children, but I'd guess she was four years old. She was dancing with us, and she was well in touch with her free spirit, so for one of the songs, I had everyone follow her.  She didn't know that's what we were doing. She was so caught up in just being herself. But we got some great moves from her.

It's interesting that my Woodstock Routine so far has had two juvenile participants. I don't get children in my classes that often, but maybe there's something about this particular routine that inspires women to bring their daughters. In both cases, the child was interested and participating for about half the class, and then went off to explore other fun and games. 

I have been having all my students on this trip commune with my crystal. I ask them to tap it, hold it or give it a hug so that it can exchange energy with as many people as possible across the country. I joked not to hold it for too long, since it now has so much energy in it, it might be overwhelming.

Ally, who had just eaten a Hershey's Kiss (a tradition post-Nia ritual in Cullman) gave the crystal a chocolatey kiss. 

After class, we all met at a local deli called Berkeley Bob's. Inside, a guy on an accoustic guitar was singing Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd. I got noticed when I walked in with my tie dye shorts on. I fit right into this place. I asked the woman what was good and she recommended the Reuben, so I got that. It was really good. My producer Ann, bought my lunch for me, which I always appreciate so much. Thank you!

We chatted with some of the students who came to lunch with us and then River and I got in the car to head east. I wanted to stop and visit the Talladega National Forest, which was on my way to Atlanta.

As I was passing through a town called Gadsden, it flashed in my memory that I was out of River's food and needed to find a Petco. I quickly asked Siri and found out that I was less than two miles from one. It was on the road I was on. I needed to make a U-turn. I must've subconsciously seen it, or smelled it because I think I thought about it just as I was right in front of it. Kinda weird. 
Our next stop was on the way out of Gadsden, headed for the forest, still. I spotted a filtered water dispenser and stopped because two of my jugs were empty. Well the quarter fell through the slot and didn't register in the machine. I hit the coin return and nothing came out, and I hit the Dispense Water button and it was inactive. So I jostled the flap that covers the coin return tray and I must've loosened up the last ten people's lost quarters, because it was like a slot machine paying off! I grabbed the quarters and took off without my water. I still have one full one, so it's not a crisis situation yet. 

I made it to the Talladega forest according to my navigation. No sooner did she say "You Have Reached Your Destination" than I saw a sign saying "Leaving Talladega National Forest". I guess I found a narrow section of forest. I turned around, hoping to find something more interesting, but I didn't. And it was getting late, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time driving around looking for pretty trees to look at. So I just got back on the highway and headed to Atlanta. 

Right as we passed the state line into Georgia, I saw a beautiful rest area. One of the best I've ever seen, maybe the best. I fed River his dinner and we ran around on the expansive lawn. The grass was so nice and soft and clean, that I actually took off my shoes and ran around barefoot. I know it's kinda nasty because it was a Pet Run Area, but I didn't see any poop and the grass felt really good. 
I hit the tiniest bit of traffic going through Atlanta, but considering it was 6:30pm, I think it was actually flowing really well. My motel is in Tucker, a suburb of Atlanta.

I checked in and consulted Zomato and found a pub that served hamburgers down the road. I ordered a Greek burger for pickup. It had feta cheese and tzatziki sauce. 


It was so delicious. I asked for it cooked medium rare, and it came very pink in the middle. It almost ruined the experience for me as I was worried whether it had reached a high enough internal temperature for safety. I ate it anyway. 

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