Sunday, June 24, 2012

Graduation Flash Mob

For the past month I've been keeping a secret...

I had the idea germinating about how fun it would be to do a flash mob for months... And we pulled it off last night at Graduation.

The seniors were so surprised and loved it, and I think everyone had a really great time!

Of course, nothing really went quite the way we'd planned...

There ended up being WAY more chairs around each table than normal, so all the choreography we'd come up with for between tables became impossible. People couldn't even get from their tables to the tiny little central path, so everything we had planned other than pretty much on stage in the tiny, tiny center couldn't happen. Some people couldn't make it up to the stage on time to join in, and we missed the whole part with brothers and sisters jumping out during the first verse of "We Are Family"... Really sorry that I didn't just have a few of those sisters up on stage with us the whole time; they knew the moves—but I was counting on them for the big 'Brother/Sister' part down the aisle...

Another main thing that happened was that since everyone got so excited, and stood up to cheer us on, you couldn't tell when "new people" had been choreographed to join in. It looked like just a really fun big group dance—but since we all had such a great time, and the only reason we did it was to make the seniors happy, who really cares?

Two of our big soloists missed a cue since the mob ended up starting earlier than it was supposed to—so we ended up actually staging the last part of the mob all over again. Irregardless, it was great!

On a more minor note, the music didn't start as loudly as needed and exactly when we had planned, and I got a little flustered... I ended up messing up our initial trio choreography and everyone missed out on my amazing ninth grader's choreography that the three of us somehow had managed to learn! My two colleagues were SO on the ball and simply followed my lead so we all still were in unison. They're wonderful!

The angles of these cameras don't do justice to how fantastic my other colleagues were, especially our usually rather austere male math and history teachers who obligingly got so into this and were stars—much to the delight of the students!

I had had my senior English class over after their national exam and these two songs had been on one of my playlists... The students LOVED them and started breaking out in dance... One of them was particularly excited and all I could think of was how her mom and brother had just been at rehearsal working on a number to that very song...

This is just a little montage I put together w/recordings form two little Flip cameras... The school will be doing a much better montage video with other angles from better cameras and more zooms in on the students' surprised faces.

I'm so thankful to everyone who helped us to pull this off!!!

Throughout all of this, there were some "Russian/American" cultural moments... Russians, well, dance in their high heels no matter what. And brilliantly. I could barely walk after wearing my new  heels and having to walk around in them for four hours before the mob began... I had welts on my heels...

Another thing... All the Russian women just don't sweat! I felt so embarrassed at the end, literally dripping my way back to my table!

Congratulations, Seniors!!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

GUM, Spectacular GUM...

I've posted about GUM (the famous shopping arcade that borders Red Square) before... It is so darn beautiful... Right now the decorations are just stunning. Retro bicycles everywhere, and replica hot air balloons... It's contagiously cheerful! I love how the place has been revamped, along with Gorky Park. There's now a reasonably-priced cafeteria on the third floor, and the people-watching is as fun as ever. 

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to snag complimentary VIP tickets for me and Katya to attend a small talk with Pixar's John Lassater... We definitely saw "Brave" yesterday with a different level of appreciation for what went into making the film!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"The Passenger from San Francisco"

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This evening Katya, her friend Spencer and I made our debuts as an officially paid actors; we did some voice-overs for a Russian-American film, "The Passenger from San Francisco"! It was SO much fun!

The kids were VERY excited beforehand; I took them out for some Italian while we waited for the studio to be ready for us. Since Spencer and his family are moving to England this summer, it was really nice that these two got to share a special experience before we all set off this summer.

The film is about a mafia war between the Russians and Americans, and Katya's character is shown in the trailer... She's a Russian-American girl who is kidnapped with her brother (me and Spencer). The kids are forced into drugs and we basically recorded their final scene when their father rescues them—but too late, since they're dying from pills they were told to take. Rather morbid, but the director was wonderful, and had the kids work in a way that they weren't scared.

We had to go to two studios—underneath the Olimpiskiy arena, and then next the British embassy. It was fun to do something different! The director was excited to meet us and is going to use us in the future!

The kids were really excited to each earn $50...