Thursday, June 23, 2016

FREE Performance and food

We had a rehearsal for Moving Stories, Embodied Communities tonight.

If you're in the Delaware County/ Chester County/ Philly/ Wilmington area, come by the Freed Theater in Chester, PA tomorrow at 6pm. The evening kicks off the Dance and Creative Placemaking event.

We had a rehearsal tonight and I am so honored and grateful to the artists who are sharing their hearts and souls through performance tomorrow. Join us!

(I'm also performing another version of Bookmarked.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

But what can I do?

Love. Healing. Prayers. Thoughts.

To the families, victims, the LGBTQ community, the Muslim community, the Orlando community, the Latino community, the dance-club-going community, the mental health community, the pro-gun and anti-gun community, and the American community. (Who am I missing?)

A recent NPR story recognized that this tragedy isn't easy to "categorize" because of its many facets. Is any tragedy "easy to categorize"?

No. Every tragedy has facets. There are many stories to be told.

But while the media and the law are figuring that out (or not) what can I do?

I offer five actionable suggestions:

1. Donate blood. 
This is a gift we all can give and is much needed, especially in times of massive human causalities. We live in our bodies and our bodies create life. Donating blood is relatively painless, takes only a few hours (if that) out of one day, and is action. And, in many areas, there are mobile blood donation centers that can come to your place of home or work. Click the link above for more info on donating blood through the Red Cross and learn more about locations in your area and organizing blood drives.

2. Donate Time & Talent
We all have certain gifts and talents in which we excel. We live in a diverse world where it's important to have many people with diverse skills. Perhaps you're an amazing cook, but you only cook at home. Could you cook for a Meals on Wheels service in your area or volunteer at a local shelter once a month? Maybe you're an awesome carpenter. Could you donate your time and services to rebuilding homes? Maybe you're an awesome doctor, lawyer, teacher, or friend? Could you partner with a local non-profit to share your talents? I understand that we all need to make a sustainable living, but sharing our time and talents without expectation on a return is an unconditional gift we can each give to our communities.

3. Donate money.
I don't have a link here because both of the previous links have financial donation opportunities, as do most non-profit organizations. Google "Donate to..." and list your favorite non-profit, including (but not limited to) institutions of higher learning, health care, art, and government organizations.

4. Y(our) vote counts!
(even if you didn't vote...) Your local and state representatives are hired (elected) with the job description that they REPRESENT YOU (ME, US)! Does your HR person or boss let you know when you've done something that doesn't align with the company? (TOTALLY!) Let y(our) representatives know when they're not - and when they are - doing their jobs! Write, call, and annoy your government. One voice is one vote. We are allowed, by constitutional right, to be heard.
Find your House Representative
Find your Senator
Find your Governor

5. "Find your happy"
I borrow this saying from my mother-in-law. It refers to the moment(s) when we can let go of anger and hurt in order to move on and rebuild in a positive emotional, psychological, and physical place. Tragedies like the mass shooting in Orlando (the ongoing sexual assaults on college campuses, racial tensions, military suicides, PTSD, personal loss, grief...) create a social consciousness of hurt and fear, which in turn can create systemic violence. By finding our "happy", even a moment, we produce an energy of joy. Like a pebble in the water, that small amount of joy or happiness can have a large effect. I believe that happiness, joy, and love are more contagious than hate, despair, and evil. All of these are powerful energies, but I do believe that "the greatest of these is love" ~1 Corinthians 13:13.
There are many ways to do "love" - real, honest, non-judgmental, LOVE.

What can you do? How are you doing LOVE?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bookmark. Place holder. Space holder. Grief.

"...this is the first time in four years that I am something other than a bookmark in someone else's story." ~Natalie Lovejoy

So Say We All, a non-profit publishing company produced Incoming: Veteran Writers on Coming Home. Natalie Lovejoy is a former military wife who contributed her story, "Two Roads" (click on the link to read a very powerful excerpt).

"...It's okay for you to be upset, but not for him to be. Because what he's doing is important and what you're doing is not. Because his life is important and yours in not. At least not as important as his. This is your role in life, and you must accept it. You need to accept not mattering as much. But it's really not so bad... Mattering is overrated. Calm down woman, and treat yourself to a manicure.... (...) A military wife is supposed to be there to encourage, not challenge; to enhance his life, not her own...."  (Excerpt from "Two Roads")

I feel this so deeply - as a wife, as a woman, as an educator, as a humanist, as an artist. I come from a strong support system where my husband and parents have encouraged me to dream and fly. But, it's hard to fly in a glass cage.

With the elections coming up, gender inequality is at the forefront of many conversations. A particularly striking job interview comes to mind. In a private conversation, my male tour person warned me, "I think you'd be great, but this is a good ole boys club here and you're a woman. Make sure you get the compensation you want and don't be afraid to fight for it. You'll probably have to fight a lot if you come here. I don't want to scare you, I just want you to be prepared and have as much information as you can before you make a decision."

As a teaching artist, "the organization is in a serious deficit and we're going to cut the dance classes. We see more of a revenue stream from non-arts related subjects. And it's just dance - the students have Zumba as a wellness option."

No, it's not just dance and Zumba is a form of fitness (albeit an awesome form of fitness), but it's not art! It's not teaching young people self confidence from being on stage; problem solving from collaborating on group projects; trust from weight sharing exercises; community building through moving together and challenging each other to improve technically; creative thinking through imagery; non-verbal communication and awareness through choreography...! I scream in my head. I take a deep breath, and calmly continue to advocate for the power of dance as a form of positive, non-violent, social change.

Maybe I need to start screaming. Really screaming.

"Calm down woman and treat yourself to a manicure."

Several years ago, a very smart medical researcher at Jefferson University asked me "I know you're a dancer, But do you work?" (click the link to read more). This question is a challenge not only to my ability to produce money for my copay, but also to my ability to create value and meaning in this corporate, capitalist world.

Art matters, friends. Dance matters. Who I am and what I do is not just taking up space. I'm taking up a challenge to combat the norm.


So, I'm working on this solo for a performance of KYL/D at the West Park Arts Festival. I'm inspired by Natalie's words and challenge myself to be as brave as she is/was. I'm moving, improvising, researching, crafting, reflecting, returning, reflecting, returning, reflecting... and I realize that I've been grieving. I've been grieving for my perceived role as a bookmark, place holder, space holder. I've been grieving my "mattering" being "overrated".

According to, there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. "They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief."

I've grieved a lot - loss of family, friends, opportunities, work... and I'm grateful to realize that "mattering" is something I can grieve too.

Awareness is the first step - right? Now that I'm more aware, I have the power to act. Natalie made me aware that I'm not the only one grieving. And knowing means I have a responsibility to act. To dance. To share my voice.

"Bookmarked" is one of those steps in the process of acting.

The performance tomorrow will provide me with more information on the piece. How is it perceived? How do I perceive the work as I'm sharing it, rather than just rehearsing it? Is the work a process of relief or am I actually telling a story?

If you're there, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks, friends. May you know that you, too, matter!

KYL/D is performing on the Dance Stage (there are two stages - the Main Stage and the Dance Stage) at 1:30pm and 3:15pm. The Festival goes on rain or shine!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Swing into Summer

I have a few days away while visiting family in Texas. The Ranch is a perfect retreat with limited cell and Internet and vast, open spaces. 

But, the summer will quickly swing into gear! Join me at these adventures:

Now- Applications open for the Dance and Creative Placemaking Workshop in Chester:!workshops/j4w9r 

First week of June- Reiki Workshops with Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin. Reiki is an ancient healing technique that (in very brief) utilizes the energy of the Universe to focus, heal, and balance the physical bodies, mental bodies, and spiritual bodies. More info:

June 11- KYL/D at the West Park Arts Festival in Philadelphia. I'm previewing a new solo -  "Bookmarked Grief". More info: 

June 13- August 19th. KYL/D's CHI Artists Summer Workshops.

June 13-17- Open classes with Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet:

June 20-24- AUDITIONSHOP for The Embodiment Project. I'm looking for dancers for projects during the 2016-2017 season. But, if you just want to dance with me and don't want to audition, please come and take class! I'm teaching as part of KYL/D's CHI Artists Summer Workshops M-F 10:15-11:45am. Join me:

June 24-25- Dance and Creative Placemaking in Chester, PA. Join me for a weekend exploring the possiblities of dance and creative placemaking. Widener University and the city of Chester are diong good work bridging the communities through art! Apply here:!workshops/j4w9r

July 4- Happy Birthday, America! (And Happy Anniversary to me and Justin!)

July 18-22- KYL/D's Auditionshop. Register here:

July 23- Showing of "Left Behind" as part of the Summer In Process Residency at The Whole Shebang. More info TBD but here's the location info: