Monday, January 30, 2023

Creative Team, Creative Dream!


Arielle Ridley found her passion for dance at the age of thirteen in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. She joined her local dance studio and was featured in shows such as Jasmine and the Lamp and Alice in Wonderland. At the age of seventeen, Arielle began exploring her own choreographic skills and found a passion for teaching and performing. She earned her BFA in Dance Theatre with honors from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where she attended both the NY and LA campuses. She has trained under choreographers and instructors such as Genevieve Carson, Laura Berg, and Tracie Steinfield. She currently resides and works in the Philadelphia area, performing as a company artist with Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company and JCWK Dance Lab. In addition to company work, Arielle has also performed works with choreographers such as Grant Jacoby, Michael Kerr, and Stephanie Tolbert-King. She currently teaches contemporary, jazz, ballet, and more at Synergy Dance Center and the Ballet Guild of Lehigh Valley. When she's not dancing, she loves spending time with her big family and giving herself and her friends manicures! 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Getting Muddy with Play

 This is often how I know my child has had a good day: 

Please notice the mud all over any surface that wasn't covered with an additional layer (not pictured). The hair matted from sweat. The face reddened from intense physical exertion (tactile learning). The readiness to shed one layer in order to fully jump into the next adventure. 

This is a GOOD DAY. 

JCWK Dance Lab is continuing the process of creating choreography/ dance performance to Stephen Grieco's Dark Adaptation. Please click here to learn more about Steven's process and experience for yourself. 

We're also preparing to share one of these pieces at the Reading Theater Project's 5-Minute Fringe Festival in February. Click here for more details of that performance. 

And, friend, we're covered in mud and matted in sweat! As director, I'm so frustrated, unclear, confused, covered in an uncomfortable layer of soot. I want to keep my people safe (which I can still do, even if we're trenched in the dirt. I recognize that safety isn't the same as comfort and comfort has many layers based on individual experience. I'm grateful that my dancers recognize that too). 

We're in that metaphorical/ real place where, after you've seen the river and are ready to cross it, after you visualize or see what might be on the other side, you have to take the first step into the undisturbed, clear, water to begin the crossing journey. 

Maybe not with the first or second step, but somewhere along the way across, you look down to see a bubbling of murky water around your feet. The path forward is no longer clear and you recognize that not only your feet are cold and wet but water has also slowly infiltrated your clothes. The skin of your legs is clammy and a cold dampness seeps through your skin. 

Wow! This moment is uncomfortable! 

Do you go back to the known and stop the journey or do you continue trusting what you saw and what you think could be? Do you keep mucking through the immediate moment, not quite being able to see or feel the next step? 

Your breath quickens. You start to sweat even though you're freezing. 

But! This is also the moment of PLAY. (Especially if you're in the metaphorical river and not a real one).

This is the moment of LEARNING. 

This is the moment that needs to happen before the next and the next and the next. 

Below is a fuzzy image of yesterday's rehearsal: 

We were in a new space. We're still relatively new to each other. We're developing a dance based on trust that our feet will find grounding even though we can't see through the mud right now. The mud is present because we've been together for a few rehearsals that were beautiful gems/ clear water. The mud is present because we've passed the point of knowing and are moving into the unknown.

We're literally getting sweat soaked, tripping, forgetting, trying again, falling, and getting more dirty.     

And, yet, we're able to continue. 

We're able to laugh through the uncomfortable moments and acknowledge them as such. We can say with our voices and our bodies "This moment is MUDDY!" (Other words might have been used in real time and real life....)

The process of play - of learning and growing and developing and creating - is covered in dirt and sweat soaked. 

Play is work. They're both 4-letter words. Work can be play. 

The above image is fuzzy, but there's movement. There's incredible trust. There's security and alignment. There's safety in venturing into the unknown. 

In a few weeks, will you, as an audience member, get to see this moment onstage? Honestly, I don't know. I don't know where this journey is going to take us. You might see this or you might see something that became because of this. 

We've taken more than the first few steps and the next few have been murkier and muddied by our ambition. 

How exciting! 

Human-development experts write that a child's work is play. They learn and grow and develop through play. In the class I teach about Creativity, the students reflect that my encouragement for them to play is "like when I was a kid" 

"I felt free"

"I could let go of my stress"

"I didn't feel judged" 

"For a moment, I could do anything!"

When do we lose that? Why do we lose that? 

What is possible if we allow ourselves to be emersed in the muddiness? In the play? 

Friend, I hope you find a time and space to play. What might that look like for you? 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Orbit - A Collaborative Performance


Orbit: a performance of music and dance by Dr. Mara Parker and Jessica C. Warchal-King

When: March 23, 2023 at 4pm

Where: Widener University's Kapelski Recital Hall (LC1). Click here for map and directions. 

Cost: Free and open to the public

More info? Email Dr. Mara Parker at

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Reaching back, pushing forward

 "One hand holds me in the past. 

One hand pushes me into the future. 

The moment right now is the present. 

It is a gift."

Photo by Thomas Kay Photography. A moment from Dark Adaptation. 

Happy Winter Solstice!

In this season of reflection, I'm taking time to share some of the moments of the past year - where JCWK Dance Lab has been and plans for where the company is going. The mission of JCWK Dance Lab is to Create Joy, Connection and Wellness through Kinesthetic stories so, through that lens...

Joy - Each of JCWK Dance Lab's rehearsals, performances, workshops and classes have provided me with moments of joy. We've had over 50 hrs of rehearsal; led nine public workshops; hosted six episodes of The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange on; and shared four live, in person performances. I've had so much fun and learned so much!

Connection  - JCWK Dance Lab presents The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange on The latest episode aired last night. In it, I reflect on some of my earlier work and the through lines that continue. If you missed it, you can watch a similar reflection from 2021 by clicking here. 

Wellness - I'm thrilled to be working with David Leventhal and the Dance for PD team again! JCWK Dance Lab artists are currently training in Dance for PD (Parkinson's Disease). I'm developing partnerships with local hospitals, wellness organizations and senior centers to offer this and Dance for Wellness in 2023. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more, click here to watch a demo and let me know. Thank you to Berks Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for supporting this training through the Creative Enterpreneur Accelerator Program!

Kinesthetic stories - Performances are scheduled and are coming up! We've been researching Stephen Grieco's Dark Adaptation and that premier performance is schedule in April for Reading,  PA. Click here to learn more about the research and the music! I have a solo show in March with my dear friend, Dr. Mara Parker in Chester, PA. Stay tuned for more updates or check out all of our upcoming activities by clicking here. 

On what are you reflecting? To what are you look forward in the new year? 

Sending you light for all of the transitions of this season! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

National Joy Day

 Today's National Joy day. 

Joy is the first cornerstone of JCWK Dance Lab. 

How do you create Joy?

How do you experience Joy?

Moving together, connecting with ourselves and our communities, developing physical and mental wellness and sharing stories allow us to create Joy!

Join us in the dance!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


 Today's #GivingTuesday. 

I've been a bit overwhelmed by all of the emails and ads to buy, get, and do over the past few days. 

JCWK Dance Lab is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas and donations can be tax deductible. But, instead of financial support I ask this of you today:

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Dance for Wellness on BCTV

 For October's episode of The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange (GRADE) on, I led a Dance for Wellness demo. Create some space and let's get moving!