Sunday, June 26, 2011

Showing up to the barre

I had a dear mentor who had four rules of improvisation: Show Up. Pay Attention. Tell the Truth. Don't Get Attached to the Results.

I've tried to apply these to life, because life is all an improvisation... isn't it?

Showing up has become increasingly important. It's about beginning. Taking that first step. Making the commitment, no matter how terrifying the prospects. Even if it means showing up to the barre.

My love affair with ballet is back on the upswing, thanks to the challenge of Nora Gibson, among other things. The haunting skeletons of foreign teachers with long sticks that would smack any body part out of place have been reduced to dust in my closet. I forgive them and thank them. They, in essence, made me a much stronger individual.

I've begun returning to the barre daily. It's become a practice and a promise to myself. It's a place to begin. And it is sometimes terrifying.

I lead barre every day at the Chi Movement Arts Center in South Philly. Chi MAC is home to Kun-Yang Lin/ Daners and is a haven for artists, art makers, and lovers of anything good. We're developing quite a group of fellow barre-goers who inspire me and challenge me to keep showing up.

I'm trying to advertise the class as "no judgements. No shoes. No leotards. Just technique." My thought is, if you what to engage in the classical tradition, that's awesome. Go for it! I've come to the realization that the classical, professional ballet is not mine, but I can still engage with the techniques and challenges. There is another dance to which I belong and that dance is just as valid. We are all members of the same community, so let's all talk. A plie will always be a plie and it will be wonderful even if it's not executed with 180 degree turn out. Its practice will serve its practitioner well. If you don't want to engage in the classical tradition, but still believe in the power of the practice, come back! It's not scary once you're deep in it. It's the showing up that's scary.

I invite you to join me at the barre. 1316 S 9th Street Philadelpia,PA. Monday-Friday at 9:30am-10:15am. Sunday 10:30-11:30am. No ballet flats required. No leotards or tights unless you want to wear them. No judgements on your body size or shape. Just 45 minutes of technique.

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