Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Think for yourself... but it's a good idea...

A student of mine sent me the following link. Before I include it, let me provide some back story.

This past spring was filled with a lot of emotion and commotion. During one of the classes I taught, we investigated different styles of choreographers. The universe directed me to include Martha Graham when I was creating the syllabus in January. I love her early works and her incorporation into the social justice model that was modern dance in its very early days... and continues as evidenced on the book "How to do things with Dance: Performing Change in Postwar America" by Rebekah Kowal. http://www.amazon.com/How-Do-Things-Dance-Performing/dp/081956897X

We happened upon this chapter in the syllabus shortly after the tragedies in Japan. I guided the students in a movement meditation mandala, introducing the histories of mandala with which Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers had been investigating. The student who sent me the following link said that it reminded her of our mandala class discussions - and the experiences other students shared during our reflection time after the movement.

As an educator, my gut reaction is to research everything included in the video. As a person, my gut reaction is to agree... the video asks and promotes nothing but time and love. Skeptics may question. Theorists may claim, "Aliens!" I've read and heard from yoga instructors that 3-10 minutes a day of meditation can make a different in the individual, and therefore, in the world. That's not a lot of time and a simple enough request.

So, that being said...

Thanks for sharing, Ashley.

Think for yourself. Research the claims. ...and then maybe find a few moments...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Indian Dance Workshop Day 1!

Based upon previous posts, it might not be a surprise that I'm a little obsessed with learning about different cultures. Krithika Rajagopalan is a beautiful Bharata Natyam dancer and teacher. She's teaching a workshop at the Chi Movement Arts Center this week. I was terrified to take her class... primarily because I'm so scared of bastardizing the technique. The first day of class was/ is incredible! The tension in the movements totally resonates with my body structure, but wow! I am so sore! We might not be doing a lot of grande plies at barre tomorrow morning.

Here's a video of part of the class. I'm not in it because I'm taking it.

The workshop is open to the public, so come if you get the chance!
Chi MAC is home of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and is located at 1316 S. 9th Street in South Philly.

You can read more about the class here:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Showing up to the barre

I had a dear mentor who had four rules of improvisation: Show Up. Pay Attention. Tell the Truth. Don't Get Attached to the Results.

I've tried to apply these to life, because life is all an improvisation... isn't it?

Showing up has become increasingly important. It's about beginning. Taking that first step. Making the commitment, no matter how terrifying the prospects. Even if it means showing up to the barre.

My love affair with ballet is back on the upswing, thanks to the challenge of Nora Gibson, among other things. The haunting skeletons of foreign teachers with long sticks that would smack any body part out of place have been reduced to dust in my closet. I forgive them and thank them. They, in essence, made me a much stronger individual.

I've begun returning to the barre daily. It's become a practice and a promise to myself. It's a place to begin. And it is sometimes terrifying.

I lead barre every day at the Chi Movement Arts Center in South Philly. Chi MAC is home to Kun-Yang Lin/ Daners and is a haven for artists, art makers, and lovers of anything good. We're developing quite a group of fellow barre-goers who inspire me and challenge me to keep showing up.

I'm trying to advertise the class as "no judgements. No shoes. No leotards. Just technique." My thought is, if you what to engage in the classical tradition, that's awesome. Go for it! I've come to the realization that the classical, professional ballet is not mine, but I can still engage with the techniques and challenges. There is another dance to which I belong and that dance is just as valid. We are all members of the same community, so let's all talk. A plie will always be a plie and it will be wonderful even if it's not executed with 180 degree turn out. Its practice will serve its practitioner well. If you don't want to engage in the classical tradition, but still believe in the power of the practice, come back! It's not scary once you're deep in it. It's the showing up that's scary.

I invite you to join me at the barre. 1316 S 9th Street Philadelpia,PA. Monday-Friday at 9:30am-10:15am. Sunday 10:30-11:30am. No ballet flats required. No leotards or tights unless you want to wear them. No judgements on your body size or shape. Just 45 minutes of technique.