Monday, May 25, 2015

Who will you remember?

For many Americans, "Memorial Day" means:
1. The beginning of summer
2. A day off
3. Sales!
4. Bar-b-ques and picnics
5. Parades

For many Americans, "Memorial Day" is every day. 

Everyday is remembering friends and family oversees. 
Everyday is remembering friends and family that never returned. 
Everyday is remembering friends and family that returned, with the stain of war. 
Everyday is remembering the struggle that those who served faced - from our government, from employers, from heath care professionals, from us who don't know or understand what they endured...
Everyday is remembering the struggle that those who love and support those who serve face. How do we help those who protected us and protect them from the challenges they face from government? From bad employers who don't understand or aren't willing to work with the challenges of their service? From health care professionals who won't or don't accept insurance for their injuries and are too costly for the veterans (who often struggle with "normal jobs") to provide on their own?

What are you/we really doing on this Memorial Day? What can we do?

As an artist, I create.

What will you do to support our military? 
What will you do to support those who support the people in their families who are in themitary?
What will you do today to remember? 
Who will you remember? 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mothers' Day!

Families take on many shapes and forms.

I'm a day late in posting this because we were celebrating, ourselves.

Happy Mothers' Day! (Thanks, Mom!)

Original pic by Bill Hebert. From JCWK's Wheels of Light

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Protected - May 8th is Military Spouses' Day

The Veterans' Health Association posted on their Facebook page that today, May 8th, was "Military Spouse Appreciation Day."

Thank you!

I didn't realize there was a special day for military spouses, but I'm glad there is. And I'm grateful for all of the military and their spouses. Thank you for supporting and protecting those who protect our freedom as U.S. citizens. 

I performed "The Protected" for the second time today. Yesterday, after the performance, a young friend inquired about the piece. "I'm still in the process and it's really personal so I'm not quite sure how to talk about it, yet," I responded. As an artist, herself, she seemed to understand.

But then, I saw the VHA posting and thought about gathering the courage to talk a bit more. 

"The Protected" is inspired by those who are left behind during war. The ones who love the soliders, the protectors of our freedom and American values (a term, I realize is currently up for debate.) HOWEVER, the debate does not deminish the value of the work being done by those who put their lives on the line everyday - military, police, firefighters... In fact, the debate IS ALLOWED because of the work of these individuals. 

Personally, I am grateful to have the freedom to be an artist in this dynamic culture, of the U.S. 

These "protectors" are also people who also need protecting. 

Who protects the protectors? 

Military spouses and parents are so patient with their protecting. They wait. Pray. Don't watch the news. Watch the news. Lose sleep worrying and waiting for a phone call. Pray for a phone call. Pray not to receive a certain type of a phone call. Write letters and notes not knowing if they'll be received. Cry. Pray. Wait. Continue with life as normal -whatever that means. Cry. Pray. Wait. Yell where no one can hear. Hide. Smile. Pretend. Breathe. Wait. And when the time comes, they fight. Fight to understand. Fight to help. Fight to provide health insurance and care, mental and emotional support. Fight not to bring back what was lost but to provide protection for those who have already lost so much in protecting. Fight for what is and what could be. 

I don't ask questions but I know the role of the protector is one of challenge and sacrifice. As is the role of the protected.

The images below are from a second piece created for me by my collaborator in the process of "The Protected". Jessica Hardinger wrote and performed the music for this work. I deeply appreciate her own roles as a protected and protector, as an artist and educator, and as a friend. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Protected - a new work

I sit in the lobby of CHI MAC with one of my dancers as she's preparing to run to another engagement after our showing/ rehearsal. She, also, exists under the space of wearing many different hats (costumes?).

"I'm so sorry I can't stay to see your piece," she apologizes as if she needs to. (I choose my dancers precisely BECAUSE of who they are and the stories their bodies contain. Despite the technique or the direction that I might give them as a choreographer, these stories always will bleed through onto the stage and into the creative process. I invite them to.)

Then comes the hard question.

"What is is about?"


I smile. I look away from her supportive gaze. I look at the floor. I look out the window. I take a deep breath. A moment to procrastinate as I gather the truth - no, as I gather the courage to say the truth.

"It's about being on the other side of the military."

*  *  *  *  *

As I write, I don't know what more to say. As I cannot understand that challenges that our veterans and current military experience on a day-to-day basis, I don't expect anyone to fully understand what it means to be on the other side of that (insert word here - experience? trauma? loss? pain? lifestyle? culture?).

Dance is abstract and I don't expect that my audience will see what the work is "about," but feedback from showings suggests that something about the feeling is being communicated.


"I see you as a very protective person. In this, it looks like you're struggling. Who protects the protector?"

"From what is 'the protected' being protected? Or are they?"

May through September at Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ,
the flag that draped the coffin of a veteran is flown.
This is the flag that draped my grandfather's coffin.
Thank you, to all those who serve.
Sunset Beach flag Ceremony

Saturday, May 2, 2015

KYL/D's Building HOME: Deconstructing HOME

KYL/D has been working on "Home: S 9th St." for several months now. As part of the process, I've participated as an artist in several research and community based events: KYL/D's Open Dialogs, Story Circles inspired by the practices of Cornerstone Theatre, and impromptu story telling about family, safety, and what it means to be "home".

Over the course of the next few weekends, KYL/D will be sharing more of the process of "Home: S 9th St". But, I'm honored that they're also opening up the process to showing us, their artists, in a different light. We will be performing the work of Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin as part of KYL/D's Deconstructing HOME on May 14th-16th at the CHI Movement Art's Center, KYL/D's actual "home space". This upcoming week (May 7th-9th), KYL/D will be presenting the creative work of the company's artists. In addition to being performers and active in that course of creative investigation, each of us are also creators, choreographers, educators, and exist in the roles of friend, lover, daughter, partner... This weekend is a unique opportunity to really go behind the scenes of the artists, ourselves.

I'm sharing excerpts of (in)visible veins and a new work in which I'm collaborating with long-time friend Jessica Hardinger. More on that forthcoming.

See you next week at CHI MAC! Space is limited, so reserve your tickets: TICKETS for KYL/D's Building HOME and Deconstructing HOME