Monday, May 30, 2011

Please Vote for the CEC

The Community Education Center is a very deserving place to receive this gift. Please click on the following link and vote with as many e-mail addresses as you have. (It's not a scam... and the first time you vote, you get a coupon):

Thank you! Happy Memorial Day

Thank you to those who fought and served for our protection. 

From an interview on NPR:

"We've never fought extended overseas wars with an all-volunteer force. And it does bother me as a citizen that one percent of the country is carrying 99 percent of the burden."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More digging...

A very dear mentor would video tape our rehearsals. She said she would go home, put the video on her big screen, pour herself a glass of red wine, and spend hours watching through squinted eyes. Rehearsal today provided a more embodied sense of structure, but my squinted eyes have evolved into a furrowed brow, pursed mouth, and tilted head. Watching the work provokes a different feeling that being inside of it. I wonder what that means. I'm looking forward to receiving feedback tomorrow and continuing this investigation. Angie has graciously agreed to continue this journey with me, past tomorrow's performance. 

"I beg you... to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer."  -Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Discoveries... !

The following is from an e-mail I received from one of my students. I changed the names within the text, but kept everything else the same. My student gave me permission to post this. I really appreciate his excitement.

Hello Professor,

I am writing you to tell you about my experience that I thought you might find interesting and its something I learned from you. Internal Rhythm. Something that resides in everyone in the rhythm and the timing in all of our lives, especially at the event I worked on last Friday.

First, I worked an event for John Paul II. It's a school for special needs and I worked with a lot of children with autism and down syndrome. The event was their annual prom for kids that ranged from 14-21. I had such a moving experience watching them and dancing with. You best know I was out there busting a move with them. But just the energy I was given from dancing with them was amazing. I wanted to tell you about these two twins and their incredible internal rhythm and beat. Their names are Don and John and probably some of the nicest men I have ever met. Just as a habit, they would swing from side to side and when excited, their swing was harder and a little more rapid. But just watching them, their swings was in perfect timing to the music and they moved at the exact same time, exact same way, without a split second in between. The bond of music that was shared between them and they always clapped along with the music as well. It kind of reminded me of a heavy Stevie Wonder head swing, but with a little bit of waist. It was just so incredible to watch. It was also fun to watch because when I would be in the general vicinity, John would grab my hands and we would just have this step of back and forth and it was so cool the intricate things of music they would pick up on that I never noticed in some songs.

I was also dancing with some of the other kids and their movement and sensitivity to rhythm was incredible. A lot of them had one specific movement they did, but that movement had such energy and such passion put into it, I was floored. I expected shy kids that I would have to bring out onto the dance floor and break a barrier and act a fool to make them even move a foot. So much easier than most people I get to dance.

In seconds, they picked up the electric slide (which I still screw up a lot), cupid shuffle and were making me keep up with them. A couple had an issue with the macarena, but one girl picked it up after the first time running through and was dancing like she had been for ages. I was just so inspired and I thought you might enjoy this. I am sorry if this has been a novel of weirdness, but I wanted to relate stuff I have learned.

And I also have one more thing. I want to incorporate dance somehow in my life with my major and lifestyle of Justice and Peace and with juveniles. I wanna see from you if there is a possibility of a future with dance from your perspective and how I can go about it. I am so lost! 

I hope this gets to you at a well time and everything is good in life :)

Thank you!

Rant Closed.

Information for Last Mondays



You’re Invited to Hybridge Arts Collective’s


In Collaboration with Broad Street Ministry


Join us on Monday, May 30th at 7pm at Broad Street Ministry for 6 multi-disciplinary performances and a homemade pasta dinner!

All of this - for only $5.

This month, we’re serving up a delicious line-up of dancers, choreographers, musicians, poets and theatre artists who are guaranteed to leave you with your bellies full and your brains buzzing!


Last Mondays: May 30th!

Doors Open at 7pm -- Dinner is served


Ezra Donner (Music)

Jessica Warchal (Dance)

Psalmships (Music)

Jihad Milhem (Theatre)

Loren Groenendaal (Dance)

Jenna Horton and Katherine Cooper (Clown)


May 30th, 7pm, $5

Broad Street Ministry

315 S. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA

Please visit

for more information or to apply!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Digging for....?

I've taken to watching taped episodes of "The Naked Archeologist."

As we're watching Simcha Jacobovici trek down crumbling clay steps, Justin looks at me and says, "You so wish you were doing that!" Sometimes, yes. I wish I were throwing buckets of mud to my team members and feathering dirt away with delicate make-up brushes. (As a child, I hacked away at my parents' driveway with my father's golf clubs because they were the closest thing to a chisel they had in the garage. oops... we were relegated to the back yard.)

As I close a two-day rehearsal intensive with Angie, I'm not sure what we've found, but we've been digging for something. Investigating something. This piece is not as conceptual as some of my previous work. I'm sure there's something in it, but I don't know what.

In time...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back in the studio

Angie and I had our first rehearsal for Trenches today. I initially wanted to re-work a section that received a lot of feedback and many people told me they wanted to see more. The section was a short part where Angie and I twisted around and through each other. To me, this part seemed like it needed more investigation.

In a few moments, we re-embodied the vocabulary of the piece and then got to work. The information I gave Angie was that I thought this version of the piece seemed to be more about getting our hands dirty within a process. The digging and the messiness of a lived experience. We began improvising with that notion and weight sharing.

The process took a different turn.

After several sessions of improvising, we sat and talked about the experiences. Angie said that she felt like she was trying to manipulate and control me and sometimes I responded and sometimes the roles reversed. She got very confused when the roles reversed and did not know how to respond.

Art imitates life.

I found it fascinating. We began to talk about the messiness of this past year. We've had several e-mail discussions with our peer group from our MFA, which has now dispersed, globally. In these conversations, we discussed priorities, needs to dance and create work, the complications of being an artist in the current economy, we talked about feeling alone and needing to find our own way without the collaborate spirit we had experienced during our time under the educational umbrella. During these conversations, I realized how important my peer group was to me.

A year later, we're all standing firmly on our feet. We've negotiated the first, second, and third bends in our rivers and we're still trudging forward. Our rivers have long since diverged paths.

Angie's observation was keenly interesting given our situations in life. At this point in time - on this day, I have many, many options. I trust that the universe will provide me with the tools to make the right decision, but that decision is not to be made right now.

Angie's path is clear and set for the next year. She seems very happy and content. We're both in a place where we are confident and happy, yet these places are very different.

Strange that during our improvisations, our bodies reflected our states. Not strange. Very clear and almost predictable.

Of course Angie would want to control me and push me into a specific path. Of course she would be confused when I resisted. This is where her body, her energy is in life.

After two hours of improvisations, we found a common energetic quality. Our movement was not less aggressive, but we complimented each other. Angie still felt like she was controlling me, but my response was less of resistance and more of acceptance. Again, seeming strange, but obvious and exciting.

We did not set anything during this rehearsal, but made the decision to get back into this process and see what the piece was dictating. We reflected on where we were in September, and where we are now, almost a year later.

I feel that this is the second installation of a much longer process. We're meeting again next week and I'm excited to see what's in store!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Revisiting and reentering

I have a memory of witnessing an energy-balancing with crystals. My memory places me in the lobby of one of the many studios where I worked. Two women, one a practitioner and one a skeptic were talking about the ability of crystals to balance internal energy. A third was baring witness to its principles. I was young and did not understand this energy stuff, but it was interesting. The woman bearing witness to the power of the crystals was talking about the importance of meditation and the moment after a yoga practice where you lie and recover. She said, "That's when you see all of the colors and everything."

I have never seen colors during my savasana, but at that moment, I deeply wished that I could.

In a very different, but similar instance, I remember one of my teachers having us jump for 20 minutes. We were learning about trance dancing and the power of physiological changes in the body to influence psychological changes. For those of you who are unfamiliar, trance dancing is present in many non-Western cultures as a medicinal and spiritual practice. Oftentimes, it is through repetitive movement, dancing, that an individual can allow another spirit to "take over" their body. After jumping for 20 minutes, I still maintained a consciousness, but...

I've engaged this exercise with some of my own classes, but I shorten the duration. After only several minutes of jumping, we stand completely still. My students state they feel a "rush of energy"or a "wave pass through" them.

Today, these memories have become incredibly relevant. Today, the deadlines I create are my own. The expectations I encounter are my own. Today, for the first time in a very, very long time, I have space to breathe and reflect. Recently, all of my deadlines have been externally placed upon me. I have chosen the projects, but the deadlines were preset. I've been working a lot. I've been teaching a lot. I've been rehearsing a lot. I've been directing a lot. These past four years have been intense and wonderful.

I've had people say to me, "You're working too hard." To which I think, "There is a lot of hard work to be done." In a very strange way, this pace has become rhythmic, almost meditative. Once I had gotten into the groove and rhythm of plugging away, day to day, I relished in the constant motion. I allowed myself to get lost in the energy.

Then I stopped.

Now, I feel the rush. I (only metaphorically, unfortunately) see the colors. I am experiencing a different type of savasana, but a period of rest, reflection, and rejuvenation.

Tomorrow, Angie and I re-enter into the process of Trenches. With this new insight, I reflect on the title itself. I love being in the trenches. Working. Struggling. Making something happen. Performing. Engaging. I've only been away from it for two weeks, but I miss it terribly.

I plan on letting the work develop its own voice, based upon our practice, it's various lives, and the feedback I've received. Reflecting on its initial concept, dealing with obituaries and their lack of life, I think the trenches are just another metaphor for all of the digging and the excavating and the living that one does. The professional titles do not matter. The time spent in the classroom, on the stage, in the research, with the family, making the apple pie... the time doing is evidence of our lives. But I'm realizing that there is an excitement that makes that doing equally being. And then the meditative moments come and the colors emerge.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Jack Kerouac. "The only people for me are the mad ones, the one who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."

I think I've been burning the explosive red, and yellow, and orange flames. I feel it's time for me to burn the quiet, very hot, blue flame for a bit. I'm excited to begin the exploration and re-investigation of old stories and new revelations. More to come...