From 'fairy elephant' to 'ballroom princess'
Hello Cristina and everyone,
Thanks for your blog, Cris, and well done to everyone who completed the sentences for homework. Cris, the photo of you dancing is amazing! Did you really make the costume yourself? I can’t sew to save my life, so I am always impressed by people who can do it. Do you make clothes for yourself often, or was this just a one-off? My sister is a good seamstress and can quickly put something together. When I was 18, I was invited to a ball by my boyfriend at the time (I was in my last year of college, he was at university). I had nothing to wear, so Louise made me a beautiful ball dress in dark green taffeta. I felt like a princess! I still have it to this day and I can almost still squeeze into it.
I enjoyed your passage about dancing and sport, so I came up with a quick challenge for you (and everyone else). It’s just a game – try it and let me know if you like this type of thing, or not. You need a pen and a piece of paper. Ready? You have 2 minutes to make a list. I want you to write down the names of as many different types of dance as you can. For example, ballet is a type of dance, as is belly dancing (from the photo, I think this is what you mean by ‘Arabian’). Ok, 2 minutes…GO!
So, now you have a list of different types of dance. Now, can you think of at least one adjective that describes each type of dance? Think about each dance in turn and write the first adjective that comes to mind e.g. for ‘ballet’ I thought of ‘graceful’. Once you have done that, see if you can add any more words to your list associated with each dance. Continuing the ‘ballet’ example, I thought of ‘poise’ (noun and verb), which describes the elegant posture of ballerinas. I had a go at this last night – I have put my list at the end for reference.
Finally, can you write a short passage using the list of words you have generated, to talk about different types of dance? Think of different dances you have tried (you have already told us a bit about this), maybe dances you have seen or heard about, what you like / don’t like etc. This exercise uses quite specific vocabulary, but I thought you might enjoy it as you seem to be interested in dance and exercise.
Your story is a little similar to mine. When I was young, my mother wanted me to take up the piano. I was totally against this as I had dreams of being a ballerina and joining The Royal Ballet. Somehow, I persuaded my mum to let me take ballet lessons. I did it for some months, but I wasn’t any good. Why did I give it up? Well, I had no poise or grace and I was like a little fairy elephant. I had no real aptitude or ability for dancing to music so I decided to try out the piano lessons after all.
I also love going to the gym. I try to go at least 3 times a week, but don’t always make it. Unlike you, I am not lucky and do put on weight quite easily. I normally just use the treadmill and the cross-trainer. Aerobics is not good for me. I have a weak knee and anything that is high impact causes me problems.
(In these last 2 paragraphs, I have reworded some of the phrases that you used. Can you spot what I have reworded? I have changed at least 5 expressions)
OK, over to the corrections I gave you last time. You got most right, so I will only mention here those which need further correction.
I asked you to reword ** If it weren’t so cold as they are I would go and live there **. This should be, ‘I fell in love with these last places and if THEY weren’t so cold (as they are) I would go to live there. You need ‘they’ to agree with ‘these last places’. I personally would take out, ‘as they are’ as you rightly suggest, but you can leave it in if you want to.
**Hope you HAVE SPENT a wonderful weekend**. You are correct to suggest that you have used the present perfect because the weekend either hasn’t finished or has just finished recently. However, we don’t say **to spend a good weekend (no object)**, we say ‘to HAVE a good weekend’. So you could say, ‘hope you have had a good weekend’ or alternatively, ‘hope you are having a good weekend’. You can use 'to spend a weekend' if you have an object, e.g. 'I spent a nice weekend shopping, or 'I spent a nice weekend with my family'
**Japanese restaurants, actually “the sushi”, are in fashion now**. You are right to say that ‘are’ agrees with ‘Japanese restaurants’. The problem here is ‘sushi’ which does not take an article. And here is a good example of where you could use ‘especially’. You could say’ Japanese restaurants, and especially sushi, are in fashion now. This empasises that it is not just the restaurants but moreover the cuisine which is popular at the moment.
Now, here is something for next time. One of my passions is reading and I’ll tell you more soon. But what about you, Cris, are you a bookworm? One of the readers, Jura asked me about words to replace the verb ‘to read’. This is a tricky question, as ‘to read’ is quite specific’. If we say ‘to look at a book’ it does not mean exactly the same thing. It could mean ‘to read’, or it could mean ‘to stare at the book without necessarily picking it up’. So, this made me think about other ways of saying ‘read’. I came up with,
To flick through
To leaf through
To pore over
To bury oneself in a book
I’ll let you know the exact meanings next time, but in the meantime if you are curious you can look them up.
Bye for now,
PS – I made a really nice meal last night, pork steaks in blue cheese sauce. Really quick, really delicious. What did you have?
I can’t sew to save my life (expression, very informal) – used normally in the negative, means to not be able to do something at all. Other examples are, I can’t cook to save my life (I am a very bad cook); I can’t speak French to save my life (I cannot speak French)
A one-off (noun) – something that is done only once, as opposed to many times
Seamstress (noun) – old fashioned word to describe a lady who can sew. The male equivalent is probably ‘tailor’.
To put something together (verb) – to make things quickly, to create things almost from nothing. Another example is imagine someone comes round to your house and you need to feed them, but you have nothing planned. If you ‘put something together’ for them, it means you make something quickly, using the food that you have in the house at that time.
Taffeta (noun) – a type of dress material
To generate (verb) – to produce, to create
The Royal Ballet (noun) – one of the oldest ballet troupes (or companies) in the UK
Fairy elephant (noun, poetic usage!) – I was quite fat and was not graceful. That, combined with my pink ballet dress, made me look like an elephant dressed up as a fairy.
Cross-trainer (noun) – a type of exercise machine that exercises your arms and legs
High impact (adj) – causes a lot of impact, or pounding, to your body. Aerobics is a high impact exercise, because there is lots of jumping.
Bookworm (noun) – someone who loves to read
Here is my dancing and adjectives list: ballet – graceful; tap – loud; jazz – rhythmic; flamenco – liberating; rumba – groovy; ice-skating (is it a type of dance??) – smooth; belly dancing – wobbly; hip hop - funky; Indian – intricate; tango – passionate; ceroc – French; ballroom – old-fashioned.
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