Monday, June 30, 2014

Musings on Dancing Horsecrabs - Imagery!

Mid-May through mid-June is a unique time at the Delaware Bay. Migratory birds are passing over head, tourists are beginning to line the beaches, and horseshoe crabs come to shore to "meet and greet" and lay eggs. The crabs are a keystone species for this region, as they & their eggs often become food for the thousands of migratory birds passing through the region. Minus the tourists, this cycle has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years.  

They're kinda ugly and scary looking at first. They move slowly on the sand, hidden by a hard shell. But, upon closer inspection, they're quite fascinating! 

I've been thinking a lot, lately, about perception. First impressions. What's visible vs. what's invisible. Questioning beauty. What's an acceptable dancing body. What's acceptable. Who determines that... How can the invisible become visible? Is it possible to have a strong, yet pliable exterior while remaining vulnerable, yet actively seeking and powerful internally? 

It's with this last question that the horseshoe crab revealed her truths to me. The answer is a resounding "Yes!" 

On a visit to the Delaware Bay, I watched these crabs be washed up onto shore. Externally, they rolled, tossed about by the surf. But! They were safe! Externally manipulated by their environment, but rolling with the tide, undeterred from their quest to make it to the sand. Internally, their bodies grasped and pulled and reached forward, constantly moving. When the waves turned them onto their backs, their internal limbs fought to right themselves.... sometimes needing an external helping hand. Or waiting for the waves to toss them onto their bellies again. 

What does this have to do with dance?

Dancing artistry requires that we be vulnerable - have our metaphorical bellies exposed to the elements. The small, soft body that we need to access our artistry is constantly seeking. Striving. Reaching. Our kinesphere becomes like the horseshoe crab's shell - protective, but pliable. Tossed in the sea of experimentation, yet, creating a safe, internal space from which our small body can reach and search and grasp. Creating space to seek. 

I'm playing with this idea in my own practice. Constantly seeking, allowing vulnerability to exist, yet knowing I'm safe and protected within my own kinesphere and within the studio space. Existing in the practice of dance that has endured hundreds and thousands of years, despite being tossed within the surf.

What do you find with this image? Report back! 

For more info on horseshoe crabs - click on this link from the Ecological Research & Development Group on Horseshoe Crabs  

For more info on the Delaware Bay's ecological system, click here

the hard exterior of the horseshoe crab

Lots of horseshoe crabs on the shore

The soft belly of the horseshoe crab

And this allows me a new opportunity to understand what Mary Oliver meant when she wrote "Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves..."

Where is "your place in the family of things"?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ballet frappes again in the corporate world!

Frappe'  means "to strike" (pronounced frap-pay with a little accent over the e).

There's something in the virtual air these days! Taking the stage today - another(!) story about how a dancer's training has helped her in the corporate world.

Here's the link to How Ballet Helped Her Become a Top Exec at Google, via Americans for the Arts.

Check it out! Take a dance class! Hire a dancer!

Dance Training and Valuable Life Skills - Reinforced!

Leigh Thomas is a pretty high-powered woman! She's the CEO of DARE, a pretty high-powered tech company that uses creative solutions to help businesses. In I went from ballet dancer to CEO and this is what it taught me by Leigh Thomas she credits her ballet training as shaping her work ethic, discipline, drive, "obsession with detail", and "the power of emotional availability. I want my team and clients to feel I am there for them."

Even if you're not planning on making dance your career, or have find your journey leads you into a direction seemingly different than dance, the skills we gain as dancers are valuable and transferable. And it is "always useful to be able to break out into interpretive dance"!

Thanks for sharing, Leigh!

Check out my post - Dance Training = Valuable Life Skills

Thursday, June 26, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday - Ballet tonight!

I don't do this often, but I'm really excited to teach ballet tonight, so here's a throwback. Enjoy!

I'm teaching tonight from 4-5:30pm at KYL/D's CHI Movement Arts Center! Come and dance with me if you're in the area! (If not, enjoy the trip down memory lane...)

Nora Gibson Performance Project shoot

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Simple reminders

It's pretty normal for dancers to be self-critical and self-judgmental. We're always looking in the mirror. We're always in class - a situation that's set up to learn and grow from trail and error. We're always striving to be a little bit better - every day - in our artistry and technique.

(Shoot - with all of the media images bombarding us, it's pretty normal for anyone to be self-critical...)

I visited an organic farm stand today and purchased the most delicious strawberries I've ever had! I was surprised at how small they were - not the big, plump, perfect red strawberries that line the shelves in the grocery store. These strawberries were smaller, not heart shaped, but round and bumpy. Some of the seeds were clustered on one side, instead of evenly spread out. But they were the best tasting strawberries!

And I began to remember that one of the most wonderful aspects of this world is our diversity. Of thought, of culture, of background, of language, of cooking, of music...

Of strawberries and of dancing bodies on stage.

Perspective comes in all shapes and sizes.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

This is one of my favorite quotes from my father:

Thanks, for all of the guidance, support, patience, and strength you've provided, Dad!

Happy Father's Day - regardless of the shape your family takes. May all of your "middles" be beautiful!

Sharing this from my good friend's parents - "I've lived my life one moment at a time/ You know you have to fall before you fly" ~Jim & Lynna Woolsey

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Upcoming classes - recent choreography

I'm teaching at the CHI Movement Arts Center this summer. Join me in the dance!

KYL/D's home in South Philly - CHI MAC!

Saturdays - Dance for PD 10:30-11:30am. (no class June 21st or July 5th). The summer session runs June 14th through August 2nd

Saturdays - Ballet Barre 11:30-11:15am (no class June 21st).

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers Company Class, Modern Dance (open to the public!) - Tuesday, June 17th 4-5:30pm.

KYL/D Company Class, Ballet (open to the public) - Thursday, June 26th & July 17th 4-5:30pm
Here's the full line up of classes for the summer: CHI MAC class schedule

CHI Artists Summer Workshops - July 7-11th from 1:30-3:30pm. Drop in for one class or join me for the whole week! We'll be exploring CHI Awareness Technique and playing with some of my choreography.
Click here to save your spot: CHI Artists Summer Workshops

Here's some recent choreography so you can get an idea of some of my work:

Questions? Please let me know! I look forward to dancing with you!