Spinning "in character"

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#860513 - 22/04/08 05:31 AM Spinning "in character"
Mucky Offline
Rum-Swilling Combustioneer

Registered: 07/04/08
Loc: Macungie, PA, USA
So I'm getting to the point that I know enough solid moves, some variations, and enough transitions to move between most of them that stringing them together differently seem to feel like different styles, even though all the basic elements don't change. Obviously a different mood of music, or atmospthere, will evoke different styles, but even without music it seems like just the basic order of the moves - or the order of tempo-changes - seems to create distinct styles.

Then again, I think a lot of it might be an overall change in body-motion, too, e.g. moving the feet more broadly or more narrowly, crooking the elbows up or down, and so forth.

So does anybody who's been doing it for a while has different "characters" that you use while spinning? Kind of like traditional jugglers might do a "jester" style or a "street" style, the real changes not being in the "style" of juggling, but the actions of the performer?
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#860514 - 23/04/08 03:58 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Mucky]
natasqi Offline
addict

Registered: 04/07/07
Loc: Perth
Ummm.. I think definitely I have a 'sexy' style, a 'I'm just listening and flowing and dancing to the music' style, a 'ballet/contempory' style...

Sexy style
- would include .. Oh god, this is where I should really know NAMES for moves... ok, so you're in butterfly and you go behind head, front, behind back, alternating hands... - that one leads to really great hip wiggles,
- butterfly behind the head - body undulations.
- weave kneeling on floor , maybe also bend back and place head on floor - can be changed for buzzsaw if you want...
- lot of hands still at hips, cheakily looking over shoulder... :P

Ballet/contempory style
- I think you have to know when the music has pauses.
I stall a lot, even just to the sides, larger swings, lots of sideways movement... It is about using your whole stage.
- if the singing is about being tormented or confused or there is a buildup, horizontal above head windmill/corkscreww/whatever people call it with spinning to show confusion and turmoil...
- and I'd always change move/plane/timing at a chorus/verse change.

And I guess you can always change in a routine, starting with smaller, slower moves then becoming more sure of yourself, expressive, moving around the stage with open arms...

Hope this is what you were after!

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#860515 - 24/04/08 01:27 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: natasqi]
Pele Offline

the henna lady

Registered: 15/12/00
Loc: WNY, USA
Yeah I do because we perform at different themed events.

My character for Ren Faires is bouncy and flakey, and her style represents that. It's not patterned, alot of change involve, lots of turns, lots of talking with the audience and reaching through the box and such.
My Vaudeville character is tighter. Her movements are closer to the body (partially because I have to perform that indoors alot), and smaller.
My Dickens fest character is *very* childlike and more slapstick, her style is eratic, start/stop, lost in thought, intentional hits and knots to play with and just fun. There is alot of body and expressive raction for her more than spinning....for example.

When creating a character I personally find it easiest to start with and idea of the demeanor I want to convey. Innocent, sweet, shy, sexy, etc. Then watch other people, note the ones who convey that demeanor. What part of the body do they lead their movements with? Or I can even practice myself to get a feel for it. Lead with the chest, the shoulder, the pelvis, the nose for a couple turns in the yard. I can *feel* the change in my body, and 'tude.
I also note in my people watching energy levels. How people move within that energy, that leading.

Then I adopt the physicalities I am comfortable with and practice my arts within that. Make a costume that fits that, including a make-up and hair design. For me it's about a complete package being presented.

Hope this helps you, or even makes sense
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Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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#860516 - 24/04/08 02:19 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: natasqi]
Durbs Offline

Classically British

Registered: 23/09/01
Loc: Epsom, Surrey, England
 Written by :natasqi


- weave kneeling on floor , maybe also bend back and place head on floor - can be changed for buzzsaw if you want...




Nothing personal here, but I hate this move

I don't affect a character, I just spin.
Maybe pose a bit more if it's a performance, but on the whole I just play around, switch the rest of the world off and play.

I know this is just because I don't feel comfortable pretending to be something I'm not... I ain't gonna come striding on to stage full of machismo and grrrr, equally i'm not going to come on stage on points and pretend I'm a paper bag blowing in the wind.
Somehow moonwalking on to stage suits me, i'm not sure what this means.
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#860517 - 24/04/08 03:14 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Durbs]
Pele Offline

the henna lady

Registered: 15/12/00
Loc: WNY, USA
 Written by :Durbs


I don't affect a character, I just spin.
Maybe pose a bit more if it's a performance, but on the whole I just play around, switch the rest of the world off and play.

I know this is just because I don't feel comfortable pretending to be something I'm not... I ain't gonna come striding on to stage full of machismo and grrrr, equally i'm not going to come on stage on points and pretend I'm a paper bag blowing in the wind.
Somehow moonwalking on to stage suits me, i'm not sure what this means.



Durbs brings up something interesting too.
It depends on the type of performance. There are those that require characters, which are the performances I gravitate towards.
Nightclub spinning, ambiance/background spinning, they don't really require a character. A costume and props tend to work for those.
It depends where you choose to perform.

As for the moonwalking...that you are secretly harboring dreams of being a Michael Jackson impersonator someday?
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Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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#860518 - 24/04/08 03:25 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Pele]
Gnor Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 31/03/03
Loc: Perth
 Written by

equally i'm not going to come on stage on points and pretend I'm a paper bag blowing in the wind.






Butt skipping
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#860519 - 24/04/08 04:25 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Durbs]
natasqi Offline
addict

Registered: 04/07/07
Loc: Perth
 Written by :Durbs


 Written by :natasqi


- weave kneeling on floor , maybe also bend back and place head on floor - can be changed for buzzsaw if you want...




Nothing personal here, but I hate this move



You hate the kneeling part or the bending back part?

Would a no handed bendback with leg kick over be just as bad?

Or bendback with behind the back buzzsaw - thats always an aim for me...

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#860520 - 24/04/08 09:31 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: natasqi]
Durbs Offline

Classically British

Registered: 23/09/01
Loc: Epsom, Surrey, England
Hmm, tough call. Personally if it were up to me I'd ban any move involving bending backwards whilst doing a buzzsaw, whether on the knees or not.
Especially doing this back-to-back with a partner.

Kneeling is acceptable as long as it's done artisically

(I'd just like to point out I'm being very over cynical and you just keep doing whatever you're doing)
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Spinner of poi
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#860521 - 25/04/08 12:20 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Durbs]
Mucky Offline
Rum-Swilling Combustioneer

Registered: 07/04/08
Loc: Macungie, PA, USA
Haha Durbs I hate to say it but those bendy moves are crowd-pleasers! When I first figured out the Leaning-Forward-With-A-Buzzsaw-And-Bringing-It-Around-And-Behind-Your-Head-Then-Overhead move I kinda thought it was fun to do, but then I realized I was in danger of becoming more flexible!

Thanks for the responses, guys! The great thing about HOP is that there's every kind of expert here, so you get every kind of opinion.
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#860522 - 26/04/08 01:05 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Pele]
Bernie_Flame Offline
Poi junkie

Registered: 06/12/05
Loc: In your face!
I love ballet poses with Poi, leg raises and posing. This works well with character/contempory stuff and from what i have seen, not many spinners can spin & dance well at the same time. Its about time all this stuff was included in some of the festival workshops.
People love to see dance with Poi, its just those that can't dance that have a problem with it!
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#860523 - 26/04/08 01:54 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Bernie_Flame]
Durbs Offline

Classically British

Registered: 23/09/01
Loc: Epsom, Surrey, England
Mucky - there are several other crowd pleasing moves which aren't sooooo tired.
And people only like it cos it shows off lady bumps

Bernie - I like to see a specific style of dance with poi, whether ballet, bollywood, body-popping or boogaloo (Alliteration FTW!). It's a really nice contrast to the generic semi-dance that many spinners use, it also (to stay on topic) portrays more of a character if you're sticking to one particular style.
I can imagine ballet working really well - in my mind conjuring the same energy as tai-chi with poi...
Personally, i'm working on body-popping/liquid with poi.. Botting/ticking too, but that's really hard without stalling the whole time
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Spinner of poi
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#860524 - 26/04/08 02:26 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Durbs]
Mucky Offline
Rum-Swilling Combustioneer

Registered: 07/04/08
Loc: Macungie, PA, USA
 Written by :Durbs


Mucky - there are several other crowd pleasing moves which aren't sooooo tired.



Ooh, like bending backwards while doing TTN? Or bending backwards while doing a weave?

Seriously, though, I think it'll be a little while before I'm coordinated enough to incorporate actual dancing into my spinning, but I can imagine a poi-ballet style would be rather stunning!
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#860525 - 26/04/08 02:45 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Durbs]
Bernie_Flame Offline
Poi junkie

Registered: 06/12/05
Loc: In your face!
Have studied various forms of dance from a young age. For me Ballet is central to all forms. It is great for posture and flexibility, and lot's of it can be transfered to other styles, contempory, Jazz, Modern theatre, ball room Poi etc. Basic par de bra's can teach you so much to do with presentation. My dance teacher always said that ballet helps all styles of dance, and I'm inclined to agree.
I love Street and Tap. Much of the foot work in Street derives from Tap, just with more body pops, and butt shaking.
Personally, I'm not keen on mixing Street with Poi. All you can fit in is a few body pops, Air walks etc. Street should be left alone. As a dance form it is perfect the way it is.
Contempory dancing with Poi is beautiful because its all about style and grace. How long have you been dancing Durbs?
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#860526 - 26/04/08 02:59 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Bernie_Flame]
Durbs Offline

Classically British

Registered: 23/09/01
Loc: Epsom, Surrey, England
"pas de bras" - wasn't that one of your others posts?
[/poor french jokes]

Er, dunno... been vaguely learning waving/popping/liquid for 4 years-ish but with very little discipline and 90% self-taught. I mostly use it with CJ, but am trying to incorporate it more into poi. I already use floats and glides for footwork, but there's a lot of potential for body waves and isolations whilst spinning... arm waves tend to mess up the way the poi are spinning, so i've been trying to make this happen on purpose e.g. taking the energy out of a spin into a stall into a wave. Should look nice once it's actually solid.
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Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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#860527 - 26/04/08 05:25 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Durbs]
Bernie_Flame Offline
Poi junkie

Registered: 06/12/05
Loc: In your face!
Lol! I thought you were professionaly trained by the way you talk about dance.
Less talk, more dancing me thinks.x
I can always spot a spinner who has had professional dance training. Not only do they have style, but they also learn quickly.
Oh and the french term means a carriage of arms, with head movements. It helps a dancer develop good presentation in all styles.
When you have danced for a long time, dancing is becomes more natural and instinctive.
For me my Poi is an extention to my dance, not the other way round.x
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#860528 - 27/04/08 02:09 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Bernie_Flame]
newgabe Offline
what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.

Registered: 03/03/05
Loc: Bali
Have a look at some Flame Oz vids. They are quite character-based; from 'serious martial arts' to cheesy disco to 'spiritual centred' to burlesque.
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#860529 - 11/05/08 10:57 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: newgabe]
FoxxyLove Offline
~An elegantly bound book in a language you can't read~

Registered: 12/04/08
Loc: Moscow, Idaho
All I know is I was at a festival 3 years ago and I'd seen spinners before but I just automatically passed it off as something I'd never be able to learn, and was comfortable being a spectator.

One night this girl came out and there was a drum circle going. She was spinning fire so slowly and perfectly in sync with the drums and incorporating some belly dancing moves. She looked so graceful and beautiful...her hair was down and she was so confident with the moves she was doing...I decided then and there I wanted to learn and well...here I am! My friends scoffed at me but now I spin circles around them haha.

I'd really like to take some bellydancing classes!
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#860530 - 09/08/08 04:18 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: FoxxyLove]
Nifelium Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/08/08
Loc: Melbourne, Victoria
im more of just a costume guy myself. although its not all that different to normal dress.

googles and some thai pants and heaps of chains covering my body. also i use replica guantlets when performing with twin swords just coz it looks awesome and protects my hands from burn.
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#869637 - 05/09/08 10:30 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Nifelium]
Jareth Offline
Fire Arts Dabbler

Registered: 03/09/08
Loc: Netherlands, Brabant, Uden
I try to dance in character, depending on the discipline I'm performing. For Fire Breathing I use a dance that is slightly dragon like, with swoops of my upper body and sudden jerks and bursts. Noting the fact that I use a fire poi as my torch, I do some simple swings with it while breathing. For poi I tend to step a lot with my feet, bend my back and dance in a more tribal way.

I'm still learning staff, so I don't have a dance style for that yet...
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Gender: Male
Age: Almost 22
Location: Uden, the Netherlands (when not on the road)
Disciplines: (Fire)Poi, Firebreathing, Diabolo
Learning: Staff

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#869783 - 06/09/08 01:05 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Jareth]
avalanche Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/09/08
Loc: londonia
i love going into ninja stylee ninja
been doing martial arts for quite a while, that probably got me into the staff, so love the rapid martial arts inspired moves....kilik from soul caliber has some sick moves ninja

although is does depend on what music im listening to, theat completely determines the flow

love listening to rodrigo y gabriela and spinning grin
any fans out there??

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#870989 - 20/09/08 04:24 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: avalanche]
MRC Offline
Funky Blessings Daily

Registered: 17/06/08
I love Rodrigo y Gabriella, I recently showed a friend the ways of dancing to flamenco. I find it a VERY good music for fire dancing.

As for character, I dunno, with my rope dart I guess it probably borders on being more jester-like. My palm torch/breathing is probably abstract, and so perhaps more mime-ish. Staff is very tribal for me so far.

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#871015 - 21/09/08 03:01 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: MRC]
Stout Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/05/04
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: MRC
I recently showed a friend the ways of dancing to flamenco.


That's quite possibly one of the best ideas...EVER clap bounce

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#871193 - 23/09/08 11:37 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Stout]
MRC Offline
Funky Blessings Daily

Registered: 17/06/08
I got to be in charge of the music for our last meet. The Playa Del Fuego peeps were there, and one of them said we were the first meet he'd been to without electronica playing.

We basically kicked it to rodrigo y gabriella and gogol bordello.


Edited by MRC (23/09/08 11:42 AM)

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#882616 - 12/02/09 12:11 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: MRC]
TheAmazingBaz Offline
stranger

Registered: 02/06/08
Loc: Boston, USA
MRC - that's probably because a big chunk of the fire spinning scene south of NYC (DE, VA, NC) is drowning in house music smile

Generally speaking, and I invite debate with what I'm about to say here, but I feel that there are 3 general levels of progression as far as "dancing when you spin" goes. First, you have your beginner-intermediate spinners who either A) have dance training, learn a few moves, and then work on incorporating their dance styles into how they spin or B) THINK they can dance, and flail about while thinking they belong to group A. Then, they learn more moves, and start forgetting about dance, while having to deal with mutual-exclusivity when it comes to posture, arm movement, and their natural limits of multitasking. Finally they hit a wall, and they have to bring dance back into it, but this time it carries the mark of their efforts, exhibiting lot of changes as a result of the types of moves they are capable of performing.

I also want to clarify and say that these ideas are centered around the assumption that all spinners want to improve both technically and aesthetically. I know there are quite a few professional performers who are are perfectly happy to learn a dozen simple moves and then switch over to dance and acro. I just personally find that limiting and disappointing, but then I think spinning is first and foremost an art form, and its ability to generate income is only a bonus side effect.

Durbs (btw, I've been a big fan for a long time) - I think one of the reasons popping works so well with poi is that a lot of moves follow many of the same arm movements as tutting (for example, horizontal split time wall plane elipses that come together and plane bend into a wheelplane buzzsaw are a straight up, undiluted tut figure). Also, popping is itself a geometric dance style, characterized by a drive for cleanliness, crisp combo skills, and convincing visual illusions...sound familiar?

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#883260 - 24/02/09 01:28 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: TheAmazingBaz]
MRC Offline
Funky Blessings Daily

Registered: 17/06/08
I'd enjoy some funky house or electro, but often it's oldschool house, trance or DnB. Which is often lacking in verve.

I also do recommend belly dancing. I had to quit lessons due to money problems at present. I also have personal issues I need to address before I can focus so much effort on dancing, but I ADORE belly dancing. I recommend it very highly for spinners because even if you use NONE of it to perform, it improves your movement at large. While a lot of breaking involves a lot of speed are very fluid movement, belly dancing requires very slow, very controlled movement which teaches you to pay attention to every part of your body, while in any move. This is beneficial to spinners in MANY obvious ways.

I also tend to agree about the either "dancing experienced" or "not so dancing experienced." Although I'd add a lot of spinners I know had no preconceived notion they could dance, but now know they need to know more to be better performers.

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#885002 - 23/03/09 06:09 AM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: MRC]
Skatto Offline
Walking on whims...

Registered: 12/01/07
Loc: Eastbourne, UK
I've just started spinning in character for a performance/audition piece. I play a very bored and very lazy janitor, to the sound of Zorba the Greek (Gypsy Kings). My movements are a lot slower and relaxed, and any large movements seem to resemble stretches. This character doesn't dance around much...
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#885450 - 30/03/09 08:48 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Skatto]
Oysta Offline
Spinner

Registered: 23/03/09
MRC - I'm working on a Belly Dancing / Fire Poi fusion routine as we speak - the movements tie in really nicely together, and hopefully the end result should be quite a seamless fusion of the two. At the end of the day, it boils down to practice, practice, practice and (fingers crossed), the end result should be a natural movement incorporating both??? To me, each style is an extension of the other. I learnt my poi in a circular courtyard, so when I stated Belly Dancing I was stunned at the similar movements...(I also find that Yoga helps for both too - especially having the strength to hold positions etc)

Thats the theory anyway - the reality could be something different entirely! Performance is mid April, so there's a bit of time to work on the fine tuning yet...

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#885588 - 01/04/09 01:05 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Oysta]
MRC Offline
Funky Blessings Daily

Registered: 17/06/08
I have some performances smattering my entire april.

I'm sort of hammering out the details on what I want in a character. I've done a lot of personal revision on it. I like the idea of being a sort of...lascivious gentleman. As a friend of mine would comedically intone "classy, yet sassy."
Right now I'm working on acquiring lots of formal wear, I intend to start spinning in suits and such(three piece preferably but two piece will due for now). I'm trying to use my work in belly dancing as a guide for how to kick little flourishes of playful sexiness into things.

Playing on rigidity and fluidity.

Though I'd still like to assemble at least one decent jester/clowning outfit...

I'm trying to work on finding music that's very accommodating.
Koop for example. Or some old fashioned Quincy. Or other modern stuff.

I want to try and avoid being too tribal, or even fashionably edgy. I want people to be brought in, made comfortable, then freaked out or amazed.


Edited by MRC (06/04/09 12:15 PM)
Edit Reason: link clusterfuck

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#885593 - 01/04/09 04:44 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: MRC]
Oysta Offline
Spinner

Registered: 23/03/09
That sounds wicked. The extremist in me really likes your concept, the contrast would be really great. Lull them into a false sense of security, then whamo. yup.

So, another don't is become a cliche huh.

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#885902 - 06/04/09 12:20 PM Re: Spinning "in character" [Re: Oysta]
MRC Offline
Funky Blessings Daily

Registered: 17/06/08
Originally Posted By: Oysta
That sounds wicked. The extremist in me really likes your concept, the contrast would be really great. Lull them into a false sense of security, then whamo. yup.

So, another don't is become a cliche huh.

So far, in just two nights performing in my dark wool suit...consensus is that I stick out a lot. This seemed more emphatic than I was expecting. But yeah, I mean if everyone looks like some shirtless neotribal guy that wandered out of a rave...then that look doesn't have a whole lot of significance.

So I'd sort of advise that people not try to be nonconformists or anything truly conformy either. Being formal works for me because I walk around in suits...just because I like them. It's a strong part of who I am, so it's not even much of a character. People need to just find the part of themselves they want to put forward and figure out how to polish it up so that it speaks to the audience.


My thoughts anyway.

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