It's time to leave NDEO 2014. #ndeo2014. The hashtag became a poignant piece at the conference, but this isn't a post about virtual space... more on that later. This is about reflecting and remembering and trying to hold fast to the memories and the moments and quickly file them into my tool box of teaching and learning and growing.
I want to remember the amazing conversation about Service Learning that I had with a new friend right outside of my presentation room. In order to do that, I remember my somewhat-bland-and-difficult-to-eat-with-a-plastic-fork salad. I remember shifting my space (defined by my things - my bags, my coat, my "lunch") closer to hers after a feeling of awkwardness and an acknowledgement that I wanted to connect but didn't want to invade her space. I go back to that feeling of slight insecurity. I am sitting and am at a low level - we both are - against the glass barrier that lets in the light through from the high windows. People walking are passing us by. But at this low level, I'm able to pull out my notebook and jot down her tidbits and suggestions for organizations to research.
I remember being excited and nervous and a bit flustered for my own presentation because someone else was excited about Service Learning.
I remember the strangeness of the chic couches - their deep backs with not quiet enough space to sit with both legs folded on the base, but deep enough not to allow me to sit up straight. You know - the kind of couch that forces one to slouch - especially painful for one whose body is trained to allow all of the curves of the spine to exist naturally.
I remember the darkness of the room around me and the three people standing in the front of the room. I remember my heart caving in my chest listening to the stories of the veterans they interviewed. I remember the emptiness of the room, yet the fullness with which the story of the presentation gripped me.
I remember my body feeling heavy, but my energy lifted in David Leventhal's workshop on Dance for PD. I remember the grip of the two hands that held mine in the reverance circle that closes every class. I remember the excitement of moving and the connection that the Dance for PD classes always brought me.
I remember the well-worn and walked carpet in the hallways between presentation sites. I remember the 15 ft ceilings and glass walls that opened up to the outside world - protecting me from the Chicago chill, but allowing me the space to think and feel that anything was possible, especially in this microcosm of Changing the World through Dance.
I remember the faces after our presentation on mindfulness and the kinesthetic gestures that performed what the dance teacher actually did in class as opposed to what she might do as she reflected on our suggestions.
As I shift in literal time and space, it's these memories of place, sight, feeling, sensation, and taste that will bring me back to the moments of the conference.
The airport is surprisingly empty for a weekend. As I travel to PA, the air quality changes. As I write this, the air feels more dense. Thick. Heavier. As it should - the Chicago air was dry and the PA air is full of moisture. What's more interesting to me is that my body notices the changes and is returning to sensory memory to process the events of NDEO.
These physical memories will allow me to return again, and reflect more critically on what I've gathered and learned. But, in this moment, my body is telling me that she needs some rest. Although I can't honor that request for too long, I do need to take the time. Thanks for taking some time with me.
NDEO's Annual conference is this weekend and I'm so excited to be sharing some of my research. I'm presenting a case study, Thursday, about Service Learning and KYL/D's InHale Performance Series. Saturday, I'm presenting with a dear friend and super smart educator, Elisa Foshay, on incorporating mindfulness into an arts organization.
In Chicago? I hope I get to see you!
In the Greater Philly area? Go see Alvernia University's Theatre Productions:
Or one of the many other performances that are happening this weekend: Philly Dance Performances (click here for a list and more info)
Merde to all of the presenters, performers, choreographers, directors... !
I had the opportunity to peek at the costumes for "Puppets at the Fairground." They're beautiful and stunning! I'm so excited for the actors to wear them.
And I was reminded of putting on KYL/D's "Land of Lost Content" costume for the first time. "Land was the first KYL/D performance I saw and was the moment I fell in love with the company. Putting on the costume was an honor and I was surprised at how much I was effected and empowered when I put on the costume for the performance - even though I've been dancing with the company for several years.
Costumes are so powerful for the performer. They assist in telling the story and getting into the character.
Several years ago in a Dance Appreciation-like class, my students asked me about costume choices. The students seemed to assume that costumes and colors were arbitrary. Until I asked them how many of them thought about what they were going to put on this morning. How did their clothing choices effect the way they felt and the way they presented themselves throughout the dance? How did they think about how their clothing choices made other people perceive them? Almost all of my students (even the ones that looked like they just rolled out of bed to attend an 8:30am class) acknowledged thinking about their own clothing choices.
Choreographers, directors, and costume designers also think a lot about costume choices. The costumes are an essential part of telling the story.
To say it better, here's Martha Graham. The first part of "A Dancer's World" provides insight into preparing for a performance.