"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."
"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."
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!
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:
"But for many of us, there is no form of self-expression that makes us feel more vulnerable than dancing. It is full body vulnerability." ~Brene Brown
Right now, I feel like, in a way, I'm personally emerging. This weekend, I'm presenting work with JCWK Dance Lab and The Crossing Paths Movement Collective in Bethlehem, PA. It's the first time I'm stepping onstage in a traditional theatre setting since February 2020. I'm a bit nervous and a lot excited.
Many of the "normal" pre-performance jitters have been rising, as are some new, post-pandemic apprehensions. Can I still do this? Should I? Does it matter? "Yes!" to all of those questions, but I'm not as practiced as I used to be in calming them down. My trainig has taught me to trust my process and all of the artists involved who are making this performance come to life. I release my breath and prepare to emerge.
JCWK Dance Lab artists Arielle Ridley, Cady Monasmith, and Woosoon Kim have been in the studio with me researching, rehearsing, and creating for several months. I'm grateful for their trust and their dedication to this process.
Composer Stephen Grieco has provided me with incredible music and research into celestial bodies through his album, Dark Adaptation. Again, I'm grateful he's entrusted me with this aural story.
The other producers of The Crossing Paths Movement Collective are Sarah Carlson, Malcolm Shute, and Nick Daniels. I've worked with Sarah and Malcolm many times over the past decade. I trust their work and their voices and am excited to be able to share the stage with them!
Chris Connelly is our Technical Director for this performance. I've also worked with him on several projects at Alvernia and trust his lighting design and direction. This is the first time we're working together outside of the academic setting. I can't wait to collaborate with him in this way!
As I personally and professionally emerge into this next step of my journey, I'm grateful for the relationships that Time has built and strengthened. Although dance is full body vulnerablity, it is also full-body joy, connection, and story sharing.
What are some of the ways you're emerging? I'll return with more from the other side...
*Post was written prior to the weekend, but didn't publish...
Happy World Ballet Day!
During the late part of 2021, musical artist Mikaela Krall, lead of the band Dipped, approached me about a collaborative project. Dipped was releasing a new album in 2022 and Mikaela had a unique vision for one of her songs as a dance/ video project.
As collaborations work, we meet. We talked. We got to know each other through our artistic voices. We dreamt. We planned. We worked.
We tried some things. They didn't work.
We tried some other things.
Mikaela focused on the music. I focused on the dance. Independently, we worked. We came back together.
Covid. We needed to be flexible in our process and timing.
The project grew and changed as it took on its own identity and we added more voices. We listened to the work; reflected; continued.
In February 2022, we performed Domino to a live audience as part of the Reading Fringe Festival. In May, we created the video.
On October 22, the video dropped.
Watch it here:
I'm incredible proud of the dedication, perseverance and creativity of this team. Thank you!
When was the last time you looked at the night sky? When was the last time you stood with the night and allowed the distant stars to reveal themselves to you?
I am left in awe when I allow myself time to be present with the stars and their stories.
I know, this isn't new. People have marveled at the stars as long as there have been people. What is new is that art, science, and technology invite us to experience the stars with an increased depth of understanding and wonder.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson reflected, "the atoms that make up the human body are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core... so that when I look up at the night sky, I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us."
What if we treated each other with the same awe and wonder with which we stand in the night sky? What if we recognized the magnificence in our physical and social environments?
We Are StarDust is the current, multi-year research campaign of JCWK Dance Lab. It investigates the science that our human bodies are made of the same stuff as stars. Like stars, they (we) deserve respect, awe, and wonder. In reflection of this research, this campaign has several layers.
Thank you, Berks Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for recognizing that artists and creative people are also entrepreneurs!
JCWK Dance Lab is a recipient of the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. Stay tuned to see how we're growing and creating Joy, Connection, and Wellness through Kinesthetic stories in Berks County!
Do Small Things with Great Love. ~Mother Teresa
It's National Moon Day. Today in 1969, NASA's Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
A lot has changed since 1969. And a lot hasn't.
The recent images from the James Webb Space Telescope released by NASA remind me how small our perception of space and time is. I'm also reminded of the power of a few people to make a difference.
So, in honor of National Moon Day, I encourage all of us to look up, connect, find our joy, and to make positive waves of change by being our authentic selves.
Save the dates!
When: July 10 at 5:30pm
Where: Reading Public Museum's Arboretum
What: In Nature's Studio brings performing artists out from inside the theater to the beautiful Reading Public Museum Arboretum. Audiences may experience In Nature's Studio through a guided walk or on their own independent journey. Tickets are free, but donations on site are welcome. Reserve your guided walk time by clicking here.
Read the press release here.
Art work by Andrew Pochan
The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange is a platform I've developed through JCWK Dance Lab. It's a show on BCTV.org where I interview local adult dancers, educate our viewers about different styles of dance in Berks County, reveal opportunities for adult dancers, and share the ways that dance can be a vehicle for non-violent, positive social change through conversation, curiosity, sharing, and play. It's also a Facebook page where I post any adult-based dance information I come across that's happening in Berks County.
Last week I interviewed local Hip Hop artist, Richard Maldonado, Jr. I've known Richie for several years and I'm so grateful for his tenacious passion and commitment to community. Check it out:
Today's National Tap Dance Day.
But I don't feel like celebrating.
Yesterday, the U.S. witnessed another elementary school shooting.
It feels more appropriate to scream, shout, make some noise.
So maybe Tap Dancing.
Metal on wood.
Dancing won't stop bullets, but it does bring us together to create joy and build connections. Dance is wellness - mental and physical (May is mental health awareness month). Dancing shares out stories and develops empathy.
We could all afford to dance a bit more these days.
There are many ways to make noise.
There are many was to be seen and heard.
How are you? What is springing up in your world?
Happy Small Business Week! I'm proud to be an artist/ entrepreneur. In this role, if you've been following along, I'm building a dancing world with Joy, Connection, and Wellness at the forefront of Kinesthetic storytelling to inspire non-violent, positive social change.
The past two years have been rich with research, development, and relationship building. The that end, I've created The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange on BCTV.org to bring awareness of dance for adults in Berks County, worked with several organizations on non-violence programming, and collaborated on several projects with local artists and performing arts organizations. I've also written and received several grants and am working with several local small business incubators.
In the interest of sustainability, both from a business and environmental perspective, I've been looking into ways to create revenue to support JCWK Dance Lab's community engagement and professional performances.
I've sprung up a store on Bonfire. The We Are StarDust line is an original creation that reflects my creative research over the past two years. I'll be continuing with this research in the coming months with another performance project and workshops that investigate the relationships between earthly bodies and celestial bodies.
Would you help to support JCWK Dance Lab and join in the movement to create positive social change through We Are StarDust?
I've chosen Bonfire because they "source products from a group of vendors who are WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certified and 100 percent 'sweat free'." I'm sure I'll learn a lot from this initial launch. More designs and adventures coming soon!
April 30th was a special day.
I've written about my involvement with the Berks Youth Violence Prevention Committee. (My small role included creating a dance for a Random Act of Culture that was used for both the YWCA and the BYCPC; attending committee meetings for the past few months; teaching the dance at several pop ups, including in front of City Hall with the Mayor of Reading.)
The months of planning culminated in a walk and a ceremony. Quite a few news organizations documented the event. Click the links below to see the articles.
Thank you, Berks4Peace for allowing me to share joy, create connections, and build mental and physical wellness through dance!
How are you?
I hope that the spring holidays and opportunities for transformation are finding you inspired and connecting with yourself and those you love.
It feels hard, sometimes. (There's a lot going on...)
I've been cultivating sprouts of joy in my own small way through growing my community and connections through dance. It's sometimes challenging and not everyone understands my optimism, and that's okay.
I'm hosting another episode of The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange tonight at 6:30pm EST on BCTV.org. You can watch the live stream by clicking here at 6:30pm -->> click "watch now" -->> click BCTV.org. There's a lot blossoming, dance wise, around the Berks County community right now. In preparing this program, I was inspired by the tenacious endeavors of people who live within a few miles of me to use dance to create joy and build connections. To use dance as a vehicle for non-violent, positive social change.
What is blossoming in your world? Please let me know.
PS. You can watch previous episodes of The Greater Reading Area Dance Exchange on BCTV.org's YouTube channel by clicking here or catch the rerun schedule by checking out the program page, linked here.
P.P.S. In case you're interested in my own germinations... In Feb and March, I continued sharing my We Are StarDust workshops with several communities, both in person and virtually. I've been working with Alvernia University's Dance Company on several projects that involve dance as service, including for Berks4Peace, which is a non-violence campaign in Berks. I led a pop-up dance in front of City Hall with the Mayor of Reading and several other community groups where we performed the dance I co-created last fall for the YWCA's Week without Violence. We'll be dancing again as part of the Berks for Peace event on April 30th, which concludes the National Youth Violence Prevention Week. April 29th is International Dance Day. Happy Dancing!
A few pics of the excitement below....
I'm thrilled to be working with these women on "Domino".
The backstory: In November of 2021, Mikaela Krall approached me about choreographing a ballet-like dance to one of the songs on her upcoming album release. The dance would ultimately be a music-video.
Reading Theater Project graciously accepted this piece in their 5-Minute Fringe and I'm thrilled to have the additional opportunities to learn from live performance for this work.
This process is all new to me and its been an experience of growth, patience, and cooperation. I want to highlight the three women immediately involved in this piece:
Cady R. Monasmith, BFA, MA, is a Certified Dancing Mindfulness Facilitator. Movement is a powerful way of speaking throughout bodies. Cady emphasizes change and choice through movement, awakening the conscious by letting the spirit dance in the flesh. Her use of interpretative movement helps individuals reflect their story of emotional pain, explore the past and bridge their experiences to their present self. Cady has helped her clients reconnect to their bodies by finding compassion, self-acceptance, and a sense of freedom and inner strength, as well as reintegrating physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual aspects into the client’s past experience with present meaning. Cady was given artistic guidance from Philadelphia artists, including Kun-Yang Lin, Jillian Harris, Ellie Goudie-Averill, and Laura Katz-Rizzo. Along with performing, Cady has presented nationally on the topic of mindfulness and dance as beneficial modalities for the older adult population, ranging from addiction disorders to physical rehabilitation. Cady has an M.A. in Clinical Counseling from Alvernia University. A Temple University alumna, Cady received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a secondary concentration in psychology. She is a Berks-County based therapist, integrating expressive arts with evidence-based therapeutic practice.