Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Do you visit this planet often?"

Recently a new planet, Gliese 581g, was found. From all planets it is the most earthlike thus far. It has a gravity around 1.1g - 1.7g.

Until it is confirmed if it contains ice and water or not, we can have wet fantasies about this planet next door. The distance is only 20 light years, but thanks to time dilation, once we develop near-light-speed travel, people will be able to travel there and back without dying of old age in between. Only their relatives at Earth will all be gone.

So here's my suggestion: let's put TEKES funding into a big technology program which aims at manned space flight to Gliese 581g. That should produce more tanglible results than the current projects.

As FuturePundit points out, this is also a question of global security: When will the invasion space ships from Gliese 581g arrive overhead and begin planetary bombardment? Robert Heinlein taught us in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress that the side which can drop stuff from planetary orbit has a huge advantage. In this case, attack is the best defence. It is either us or them.

One side of the planet is always in the sunlight, while the other is always in the dark. This is because the planet rotates around its star in the same cycle as it rotates around itself. The most habitable zone is guessed to be somewhere between scroching sunlight and eternal darkness, in the interim region called the terminator.

Who should we send there? Let's offer Arnold Schwarzenegger a promotion from governator into gliesenator ask him once more to step in the terminator. When he'll be back to earth, his muscles will be once more in prime shape after living 24 hours a day in heavier gravity and telling "hasta la vista, baby!" for any pretty green femme fatales who try to seduce him into the dark side, controlling the horizontal and the vertical in the outer limits.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pole dancing criticism

Pole dancing is frivolous waste of time

Regarding age-appropriate activities, men in their 30s should be doing graduate studies, starting families and companies, learning martial arts and investing, but not dancing. Dancing in the nightclubs is appropriate for people in their early twenties.

Therefore I emphasized the fitness angle: Since you have to put in the hours anyway to stay healthy and fit, pole dancing is just as good way to do it as any.

Male pole dancing is for homosexuals

Let's face it: most male pole dancing clips in YouTube are damn gay. I prepared for probing questions about my sexual orientation by using opportunities to emphasize heterosexuality, the last time being 5 posts ago. Fortunately pole dancing is so unknown that this never came up. It is much easier to convince that I am not a 20 years old stripper girl than to explain "No, I am not gay despite having abysmal sexual track record and being interested in dancing."

Nobody forces you to send stripper vibes by doing deep squats, rubbing yourself against the pole and removing your clothes. Also nobody forces you to send gay vibes by dancing topless and spreading legs clothed in Latex pants while high-pitch disco music plays in the background. There are plenty of other styles. It's all about what you want to express.

Pole dancing is what strippers do

Miley Cyrus pole dancing
The most common counterargument goes something like this: "Once I saw a movie where a stripper was leaning against the pole for support while doing deep squats and shaking her ass, with thick wads of cash portruding from her mail stamp sized strings and fuck me boots in her feet. What are YOU doing among THEM!?"

First of all, the single message which pole dancers try to get across to broadcast media reporters is that pole dancing is not striptease. This is visible in various What Is Pole Dancing pages, which invariably emphasize its roots in Chinese circus acrobatics.

I wonder if these people have never gone to a strip club to demolish the glamorous and sexy images which movies attach to striptease by seeing how grim and frivolous places they are in practise. Or have they patronized porn bars often enough to see performances which are actually good? Anyway, my experience is that and you can be lucky if you see a few elementary level pole dancing moves. Strippers end up looking sexy in the same way as Anssi Kela is touching: They are so blatantly manipulative that counterreaction exceeds intended reaction.

What you won't see there are gymnastics and acrobatics which are typical to pole dancing:

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Visual style of parapara

Summary: This post lists the rules which give parapara its distinctive look. The rules are described on a level of abstraction where they can be applied to pole dancing.

Parapara is a japanese dance style which emphasizes hands. Various organizations publish official parapara routines for dance songs popular in Japan. Everyone dances the same way. Some dance clubs hold parapara evenings, where people gather together to dance the song routines, which they have practised among friends or at home from official videos.

In parapara, the primary goal is to synchronize moves with music. Dancers do similar moves when similar musical patterns are repeated in the song. The moves closely reflect the rhythmic structure of the song.

This maximal synchronization has been achieved by emphasizing choreography for the whole song. Each move is precisely timed, for example "the next full sweep will last for 4 beats".

The moves are very simple. Simplicity is a priorization choice. It enables rhythmic synchronization, since simple moves can be done quickly. It also enables emphasis on routine for the whole song, as dancers don't need to practise individual moves. The moves don't need strength or flexibility. Speed requires some practise. You may not be immediately able to reproduce all moves from a video, but when someone shows them in slow motion face-to-face, not a single move poses any challenge.

Parapara moves have lots of straight lines, round swirls and symmetry. Usually either the moves are symmetric along vertical or horizontal axis, or they are followed by 'mirror moves' which complement symmetry.

Finally, parapara moves have the same clarity as a single beat of a drum. Sometimes you can see if a move is correct or wrong, just like you can hear extra beats among repeating drum pattern.

In parapara, human body becomes a visual rhythmic instrument which complements musical rhythmic instruments.

It is a mystery for me, why most dancers ignore the rhythmic struture of their songs. It seems to be a kind of 'dog whistle' which is hard to see for some, while for others it is an elephant in the room.

For example in SubTV's Dance program, Turo Kankaanpää's dance moves are well synced to the rhythm, and one commenter notices it. However, the judges didn't comment on it at all, even if one commented positively about the immersion and appeal it created. In Dance, the first round can result in 3 outcomes: rejection, pass or a second try in group choreography round to get more data. Turo went to the choreography round.

In some dance traditions, sync is so secondary that the song can be just switched to another at will. This would be unthinkable in parapara. Also when talking about parapara, for example Paula doesn't get it:
Paraparaa tanssitaan yleensä eurobeatin, trancen tai muun jumputuksen tahtiin, mutta oikeastaan sitä voi tanssia mihin tahansa rytmikkääseen musiikkiin. Paraparassa ei ole tarkoituksena sheikkata peppua ja näyttää seksikkäältä - päinvastoin! Tarkoituksena on oikeastaan vain heilua puolelta toiselle ja käsillä viuhoa sarjan mukaan.

What would it mean to apply the rules of parapara for pole dancing?
  • Search for positions like the half flag or pole sit, where hands and feet are free to do parapara-style patterns.
  • Practise how to do easy moves with accurate timing (for example a fireman spin for 4 beats).
  • Practise how to do a series of quick transitions between easy positions.
  • DON'T practise sexy & lusty move from striptease tradition as they are not in line with parapara's abstract & flirty body language.
  • DON'T waste time in practising individual difficult tricks.