Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Winter Solstice full of Wonder

It's been a while since I've been able to sit down with this blog.

(But I've been writing! Check out my reflections on Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers' Faith Project blog!)

Happy Winter Solstice.
Photo of the 2017 Eclipse by Paul Fejko

How are you? What have been some of your sources of light in 2017?

On this, the shortest day of the year, I'd like to carve out some time to share some of mine...

Tristan Wayland King burst into our world in early June. He's a beacon of joy! In the past few months, he's prompted me to reflect and revisit how and why I'm a dance artist. I've needed to honor my body and my recovery from pregnancy and birth, which has limited my ability to move, to create, and to perform in the capacity that I had. But, this new awareness has taught me to be more empathetic, understanding, and clear with my choreography, my teaching, and my writing.

Tristan encourages me to create the type of world in which I want him to grow, so I've invested in:

CLARITY. The Embodiment Project, LLC is adopting the name JCWK Dance Lab. The letters are my initials, but they also just happen to be the first letters of a lot of words that describe who I am and what I do:
Am I missing any?

CHOREOGRAPHY. Over the summer, JCWK Dance Lab performed in NYC and Philly. Jennifer Yackel, Grace Stern, and Laura Baehr performed One foot in this wonder place, one testing new ground that feels more like home at 8 in Show presented by Dixon Place. The piece was inspired, in part, by Michael Lancaster's poetry, Ellen Rosenberg's Photography, the salt marshes of NJ, and Paul Fejko's music. Keila Perez-Vega and Brian Cordova performed Cloudshapes and Daydreams in NYC at the Moving Beauty Series and in Philly at Koresh Dance Company's Come Together Festival. I created the work from a challenge by Rob Smith of Carrington Kay. I LOVE their music and often use it in my classes. (If you've danced with me, you've heard Wonderful World, Dear Friend, and Ocean Breeze - go ahead. Jump up and dance. I'll wait...) 

Dancing with Alvernia's
Seniors' College.
Pic by Rachel Boscov
CLASSES. Tower Health (Formerly Reading Health Systems) invited me to teach dance classes for people with Parkinson's and other movement challenges. We'll be continuing these classes through January. I'll also be sharing dance with the folks at Alvernia University's Senior College in February.

COMMUNITY. New and exciting projects that connect professional dancers, community members, and students are on the horizon - including NACHMO 2018! NACHMO Chester last year was a huge success and I'm looking forward to 2018. The National Brain-Trust-Team has been hard at work getting ready for the new year. Want to participate? Register at Let me know if you want to help out locally.

Pics of One foot... by Peter Yesley
If you're interested in creating connections through dance and supporting these and the future work of JCWK Dance Lab, please consider making a tax-deductible donation through my Fiscal Sponsor, Fractured Atlas. 

Thanks for taking some time with me today!

What new adventures have filled your journey this year? Let me know. I look forward to continuing this creative conversation!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day 2017

Thank you, Veterans.

Thank you for being the ones to "hold the line".

Thank you for your integrity and honesty as an example in our current state of affairs.

Thank you for standing on the wall.

Thank you for allowing me to create and perform my art.

Thank you for demonstrating honor for my son.

Thank you will never be enough....

But, thank you.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dancing with Parkinson's

Tower Health in Reading, PA has asked me to lead a 10-week piolet class for people with Parkinson's Disease!

Join me!

Who: You! The class is designed specifically with people who have Parkinson's Disease in mind, but isn't limited to people with PD. Some of the dancers have be diagnosed with other challenges in addition to Parkinson's and have asked for additional dance classes addressing those movement concerns. Dancers of all skill levels focus on mobility, strength, flexibilitly, creative thinking, and problem solving during class - all while having fun and building relationships with the other dancers! If you have PD, come dance! If you're a friend, family member or care giver with PD, come dance! If you are interested in exploring dance to facilite other movement challenges, come dance!
What: Dance classes designed for people with Parkinson's Disease (and others!)

Where: Tower Health Rehabilitation Center

When: Every Monday from 11am-12pm in Classroom 1

Why: Because dancing creates joy, builds community, develops awareness of the self, and keeps us moving!

Questions? Let me know!

See you there!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Support Dayspring Homes!

Join us today at Berverly Hills Tavern for the Berks County Parrot Heads Club "Parrot Daze"!

This year, proceeds benefit Dayspring Homes, Inc!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Moments from May

May was full of making memories and moving forward. What made your May memoriable?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day is for Remembering

Who did you remember today?

Thank you...
... to those who gave their lives for the protection of our country and our freedoms
... to those who continue to sacrifice - through remembering or trauma or service
... to those families who have stayed on the homefront, supporting and serving from a different front line
... to those who respect and honor our freedoms and rights and live the example of remembering through their daily actions and decisions
... to those who will choose to enter into the armed (and unarmed) services

May your memory be a light in times of darkness.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spirit's Charmers

I continue to dive deeper into Michael Lancaster's poem "Heading Old".

He wrote on Facebook that this was to be his final poem... but he continues to write.

I'm reminded that sometimes endings are not endings, but opportunities for one element to replace another element.

A transition.

A little death that leads to a new birth.

A cycle within a an endless pattern of cycles.

When we started "One foot..." in the fall, I felt as though I was in transition; within the seasons but also within my life.

Paying mindful attention during this pregnancy has reminded me that I/ we am/are constantly in transition, passing not only from one moment to the next, but shedding and regrowing as part of the journey. I marvel at how much I've shed in order to grow and, in reading and reflecting on Michael's "Heading Old", how much more shedding and growing there is to come.


We continue, also, to work with Paul Fejko's music. Another challenge, because his organ improvisations have always sounded so harsh to me. But his is providing a context for this journey and his sound allows us to identify a place-space within the shedding. It feels unfamiliar and yet honest and comforting. Like a new planet - like a new place to call home.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to take this process in pieces as we journey to an ultimate, possibly evening-length work. Each step in the journey allows me the opportunity to situate myself within the layers of Michael's poetry, even as I unravel and rebuild my own cocoon.

The soup of this work contains:
1. Michael Lancaster's "Heading Old" - specifically the lines:
"And now my cadence slows to bird song,
Soft, spare, vulnerable to all,
Mine to teach me a rarer, slower
Exquisite truth, the Spirit's charmers, who
Soar at such speeds as to defy vision,
Who bring passion and beauty as
They companion my slower life."

2. Some of the images that influence his writing:

3. Ellen Rosenberg's images. In these I see time, geometry of the physical body, life-breath, and echos of soft, spare, passion, beauty, companion, slower:

4. Paul Fejko's haunting sound score.

5. Four technically precise dancers.

Join us at KYL/D's InHale/ ExHale Performane Series this weekend