The gang and I before heading off to the event.
On the topic of dance, squad auditions have been going on and, while it has been very tempting to audition again in my third year, I’ve managed to keep to my word and will be focusing this year towards my degree, especially now that I’m fairly confident a career in research is the path I want to take. I’m really enjoying the research for my third year project and learning new skills in the lab. However dance is still a passion of mine, so I won’t quit dancing altogether!
At the weekend I met up with one of my dance friends who graduated in July before she moves to Singapore in November. Together we went to the local Mayflower Theatre to take a ballet class taught by one of the dancers of the English National Ballet, who were in Southampton performing the ballet 'Coppélia' last week. We were also taught a short variation from the ballet which was a lot of fun, especially since it has been a while since I’ve danced any ballet. It was great to get my body moving like that again - I had forgotten what good exercise ballet is, and how challenging it is to find and work those specific muscles that ballet uses.
The class was taught on the Mayflower Theatre stage, so this photo was taken from the stage looking out into the auditorium (which I find quite cool, since usually it’s the other way round).
After the class we were also given a little demonstration of some of the costumes they use in the show, how they are made and reused and how much they cost. I had no idea how expensive some of the tutus for the lead roles were, costing up to £1,800 and even more shocked at the cost of the wigs which could cost up to £1,500! I guess they want to be able to give the audience the best possible performance so they pay a lot of attention to quality detail.
As I just mentioned, I’ve really been enjoying working on my third year project. I’ve been doing increasingly more lab work and learning some new laboratory skills including working with liquid nitrogen and dry ice when grinding the leaf samples I collected in Italy, preparing them for RNA extraction. More recently, I’ve been working through the protocol for RNA extraction of poplar leaves.
So far I’ve only executed the protocol using tester leaves, but I will be using my actual samples later this week which is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking because if I make a mistake I won’t be able to fly back to Italy and collect more leaves! Equally, if I manage to do this right I will be one step closer to getting some data which I can then start analysing. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some good results!