03 May 2015

May 2015: California by bonjpki

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Already within my first 32 hours of being in California, I have experienced everything that SoCal meant to me: KBBQ, boba, sun, SoCal hip-hop dancers, late-night food, traffic, LACMA, travelling inane distances to meet up with friends who also live in 'L.A.', food, food, food.

I watched my first major dance competition this weekend, Ultimate Brawl 2015. (A dance competition becomes 'major' when Gerald Nonato covers it, of course.) This did not come without its struggles of course. My friends drove across the whole of LA to pick us up, just to have to drive all the way back across LA and beyond, to Riverside. And this had to be on the day of both the Mayflower-Pacquiao fight and the Clippers game which meant that the LA freeways were packed. Well, at least I learnt about the concept of the carpool lane.

So we entered the theatre late and somewhat flustered - without the pre-show hype that I usually go through even as a spectator, I was not mentally prepared for the fact that I was about to watch some great dancers on stage.

My friend's team, ACA, won first place. The previous night he had told me about the rivalry between his team and CADC. The latter had beaten ACA to first place in a recent competition, and they would be performing those same sets at Ultimate Brawl. It's always tense during the announcement of results, when the phrase 'in 2nd place...' is followed by your rival's name. That's what it was like for my friend and his team.

Around midnight, after the post-show team gatherings outside of the theater, my friends and I went to a Korean soon tofu place for late-night dinner. I had been to this same place with the ACA friend and another good friend almost two years ago, just after we had watched Kick-Ass 2. Memories.

Also, while napping in the airport waiting for my flight to NorCal, I experienced my first minor earthquake.

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After staying up practically all night at LAX, taking the 7am flight to NorCal, and getting hardly any sleep through napping, I somehow made it through the day reuniting with many friends who I hadn't seen for a year and a half, rehearsing for a dance show, and performing at the actual show.

With old friends, it can feel as though you hadn't left at all. But you're still not prepared for that rush of feelings you get from reuniting with some friends. Incidentally, the two friends who picked me up from the airport were the only people over whom, later, I would almost tear up over when we said our goodbyes.

I performed at the showcase hosted by my old dance club tonight. Except it's not really my old dance club anymore, since I would probably know only 10% of the people there. It's changed a lot. Past meets present meets future.

I was a complete outsider to the post-showcase hugging, photo-taking, celebrating. I even wondered why I had come back to a place which didn't seem to need me anymore. People move on without you.

But then, I realised I wasn't sad or regretful about no longer being part of this dance community. I took this to be a sign of closure, of me moving on.