The Art of Making Dances

Among other things

1 note

Jacob’s Pillow

A winding road,

shrouded by trees, 

the only hint of dance: small flags

of some of the most reputable companies in the world,

lightly hugging the trees.

The road turns to gravel,

a gentle dust rises into the air,

as the rustic barns come into view.

the Ted Shawn theatre,

Doris Duke,

the Inside/Out stage,

a gorgeous outdoor space,

marley that fades into a gorgeous view of the Berkshire mountains.

The sun sets and casts a glow on the smooth marley panels.

The archives,

the store,

endless books and archive footage,

thousands of years of history.

I could cry.

Leave me here forever,

and I will still be reading,

watching,

learning.

Leave me here forever,

and I will dance.

My eyes couldn’t take it all in at once,

there were so many things to see.

Such a short trip,

a glimpse of history.

But enough to feel the gravitational pull, 

of my heart strings.

I will be back soon,

to rest my head on the pillow again.

Filed under jacob's pillow dance dance history love inspiration

4 notes

Move and be moved.

Being away from home is liberating.

I am the person I want to be here; myself.

There’s sad realization, when I think of the person I am when I am not here. 

She is not who I want to be.

She is sedentary.

She is lost.

She is confused.

Murky.

Not clear.

No clarity whatsoever.

No independence.

No way to express what needs to get out.

Like dirt clogging the pores of my conscious.

 Let your body move the way it wants to move. Employ a circling sensation, like waves of the ocean. Let it carry through your feet, ankles, knees, hips, legs, spine, torso, shoulders, arms, and finally neck and head. Circling, circling, circling. Move the way your body wants to move.

Choreographing a work of my own again for the first time in over a year has been immensely rewarding so far. I haven’t yet told my dancers it’s about me.

Don’t make it pretty. Feel what needs to be felt today. Increase your intensity to a 2.

People living parallel lives, coming together for brief moments of recognition and acknowledgement of the similarity in their paths.

But ultimately, it’s a journey and a path you must take alone.

Feeling alone in a crowded room.

Isolated.

Increase the intensity to a 4.

Like everyone else is moving together, moving ahead, but you are stuck.

Standing in complete stillness as everyone else grows around you.

Doing the thing. Doing the thing. Doing the thing. Doing the thing.

And you are not.


Intensity to a 6.

Seeing my vision come to life is emotionally invigorating.

Elation, seeing the opening moments, the questions posed.

Curiosity, as a movement looks different on their bodies then it did in my mind.

Intensity to a 7.

Admiration, at their intention and talents. At the few who are finding their talents over the course of the process. It’s the feeling of giving someone a gift they’ve been wanting for a long time.

Intensity to an 8.

Overwhelming sadness, like a giant weight in the center of my chest, as I see the trajectory falling into place, and my vision come to life. All that is missing is the feeling. The feeling that makes it real. That makes it me. Mine.

 Intensity to a 9.

Do I give that to them, or leave it as the missing piece? Putting yourself into your work is scary, sometimes. Do I let it be open ended, and let my audience decide if the piece meant “this”, or “that”?

Intensity to a 10.

Does giving them a piece of myself serve them, or burden them. Who I choose to burden with my thoughts is a delicate operation. Those I choose to share with are strong. They hear me. They listen. I listen back. They offer themselves right back to me. And I don’t feel empty. I am grateful for those people. The relief they provide. Or empathy. 

Intensity decreases to a 9.

Many of us are similar.

Traveling along similar paths.

Living parallel lives.

Coming together for brief moments of recognition and acknowledgement of the similarity in our paths.

But ultimately, it’s a journey and a path we must take alone.

8……7……..6……..5……4…….3……2……..1.
Stop.
Be still.
Breathe.
Just breathe.
Feel the energy flowing through your body.
Out from your distal ends,
The crown of your head,
The base of your spine.
But also inside you.
In your core.
Radiating out to your end points.
Circling.
Let it anchor you,
But also move you.
Even though you are still,
You are still in motion.
Let the energy move you.
Let it move you.
Circling.

Filed under personal dance dancer choreography modern dance life

1 note

Goodbye For Now

I’m currently in the midst of dance recital festivities, and then I am off to work at the greatest camp ever… teaching, choreographing, and hanging out with some of my favorite people/artists!

So posts will be less frequent for the next couple months! Sorry!

7 notes

Jacob’s Pillow

Ever since I was a young teenager, learning new dance steps via youtube videos, I found a video of a gorgeous dancer on an amazing outdoor stage, with a mountainous, tree filled landscape in the background. I  was spellbound. “I have to go there,” I thought.

Years later, I was sitting in dance history class, and we started learning about Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis, pioneers in the world of modern dance. They joined forces and became Denishawn. In 1930, Shawn bought the farm as a retreat. The Denishawn Company had popularized a revolutionary dance form rooted in theatrical and ethnic traditions rather than those of European ballet. Their trailblazing work and cross-country tours paved the way for the next generation of legendary modern dance pioneers such as  Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, and Doris Humphrey, who were all Denishawn members.

Shawn had long harbored a dream of legitimizing dance in America as an honorable career for men. In their “off-time”, Shawn and his male company built many of the structures still used today at Jacob’s Pillow.
Summer workshops paved the way for the famous festival that would be celebrated for years to come.
On July 9, 1942, the Ted Shawn Theatre, the first theatre in the United States designed specifically for dance, opened its doors. Architect Joseph Franz, who also built The Music Shed at Tanglewood, had agreed with Shawn that the theatre exterior must harmonize with the existing farmhouse and barns.
(Source: http://www.jacobspillow.org/exhibits-archives/history/ )

 ”I have to go there," I thought, again. 

Fast forward. I bought the documentary, “Never Stand Still”, about the history of the Pillow. My need only increased as I was completely inspired.

Then, just last year, working hard on a blisteringly hot summer day at camp, a sign up sheet for Jacob’s Pillow was put up. I couldn’t go. I had a rehearsal and a designer run through that day. I was devastated.

This year, I’m working in the dance shop at that camp. And we’re going to Jacob’s Pillow. I’m overcome with emotion, excitement, and desire to soak in all of it’s history.

FINALLY. THIS IS THE YEAR. Fingers crossed there are no snafus.

Filed under dance dance history ruth st. denis ted shawn denishawn jacob's pillow inspiration modern modern dance

3 notes

HIRE ME!

Are you an employer? Do you have a connection to someone who is hiring for full time/part time jobs in or related to the arts in any way?

I need a full time job, starting at the end of August… in NY, NJ, NYC. Any of the above.

… yes, this is me asking for help… on the tumblr-verse. Scary…

I’m searching for everything and anything, but it’s a hard knock life, am I right?

Any help would be appreciated?

Filed under job search arts jobs employment help hire me dance dancer dance education dance teacher choreographer dance administration dance jobs

2 notes

Womp womp

I know my posts lately have been extremely vague, whiny, and not really about dance (directly). Sorry. I know.

I just need to vent. I need to write.

I need to get it out so it doesn’t stay in and explode out of me at the wrong time.

I need to get it out so I can get on with my life and be functional.

I used to do this to my mother when I was in my first year of college. I had  roommate issues, and I’d call her sobbing and whining and then hang up and feel much better, while she worried constantly that I was hating my life.

So, welcome to motherhood tumblr?

Don’t make it weird!

Lol!

1 note

Not even the tides…

can rid me of all the insecurities, fears, disappointment, stagnancy, and stress I’ve been riddled with for months.

Even after demolishing an already fractured plan, backing out of a promise, and admitting a complete restart to ground zero…

An impromptu trip to the beach; Point Pleasant.

A day lying on soft sand next to the calm, gentle, waves at the perfect temperature.

Ice cream,

Tony awards,

Salty air,

a slight breeze,

Boardwalk,

Beachy things.

Friendship,

Movies,

Etcetera,

etcetera.

It certainly was pleasant.

Nirvana, even.

But all a temporary respite.

Here I am again. Burnt by reality as well as the sun.

But I’m sure now that sunburn doesn’t hurt as much as the facts.

Still circling.

Circling… what?

Hell, I don’t know.

All I know is,

This summer better be seriously kick ass,

in the mean time.

Seriously. fantastic.

I need to feel needed.

I need some serious mojo.

172 notes

Stagedoor Manor Fired Me Because I'm Gay. Basically.

emilyfayeoakley:

I’ve spend a lot of time in the last 9 months thinking about how to write about my experience at Stagedoor Manor, yes that Stagedoor Manor. The Stagedoor Manor with a book, and a documentary and a movie and all those starry alumni. My quick and dirty answer to what…

WOW, wow wow wow wow. This needs to be read. This is absolutely eye-opening and brave, but also disturbing and sad.

2 notes

Thank you, Maya.

The New House

By Maya Angelou


What words
have smashed against
these walls,
crashed up and down these
halls,
lain mute and then drained
their meanings out and into
these floors?

What feelings, long since
dead,
steamed vague yearnings
below this ceiling
light?
In some dimension,
which I cannot know,
the shadows of
another still exist. I bring my
memories, held too long in check,
to let them here shoulder
space and place to be.

And when I leave to
find another house,
I wonder, what among
these shades will be
left of me.

Heard this beautiful poem last night, preceding a stunning dance theater work in a small but quaint theater in upper Manhattan.

Filed under maya angelou the new house moving on moving forward moving moved

4 notes

You know that feeling…

…where you’ve gone in a complete circle and are back where you started?

No, not the one where things have come full circle.

The other kind of complete circle,

the unintentional one,

that leaves you feeling lost and confused,

stupid and stuck,

yet strangely relieved,

because now you know,

you’ve circled around,

and the only way out must be forward.

Unless you end up going back the way you came.

I certainly hope not.

Euuurrrghh. Sorry for the vagueness.

Filed under vague life circles stupid metaphors decisions awkward enough hashtags now

8 notes

In A World...

shapeswemake:

Looking for a good movie to settle into on a rainy night? We loved Lake Bell’s “In A World…” The feminist flick explores gender bias in the voice over industry through the experiences of aspiring vocal coach Carol and her intersecting network of friends and family. “In A World…” is at parts…

Well this looks amazing! Adding it to my must see list.

17 notes

SYTYCD is literally making me gag. Why do I do this to myself and watch this show every single summer?

So far, one person threw up on stage, one person contorted (with hyper extension and hyper mobility) in ways the human body should NOT, and original sob stories of girls who started dancing at age 3 and don’t know what they want to do with their marketing degrees.

That said, there is some remarkable dancing they’re showing. FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.

UHG.

I hate this show.

But I love to hate on it even more… for it’s heteronormativity, exploitation  of extreme technique over artistry, and a single minded view of what dancers bodies should look like.

Sure, many things about this show can and should be praised. But there are a great number of things this show does that are detrimental to the meaning of dance as an art form.

And with that, I will end my rant and step off the soap box. Like many other dancers, I have too many thoughts and opinions on SYTYCD. 

Guess I’ll watch this pretty french girl who calls herself Marie “Poppin’” pop and lock to some weird bossa nova music?

Filed under sytycd so you think you can dance dance