Mitten Part 2

2013-05-09 14.58.08This is a bit delayed.  Since we got back from Michigan, I’ve been busy with family weddings, teaching, and my student’s recitals.

On day two of the Dance in the Mitten Festival, April and I got to take a wonderful Contemporary Class from Joori Jung, director of ArtLabJ.  It started with a lovely warmup on the floor (and if you know me, you know I love the floor), which easily flowed into center work that quickly progressed into jumps, movement across the floor, and then some repertory.

After that we had some down time, had a late lunch/early dinner at a fabulous cafe, the name of which I unfortunately cannot remember and then it was time to check in at the theatre.  2013-05-09 15.07.00

We were the last dancers to perform.  I must admit I am terribly impatient waiting to go on stage, but the time finally arrived.  The performance went well.  We had lovely feedback from the audience after the show.  Often in the dance world, we spend hours and months rehearsing a piece, to only perform it for one show, and then never dance it again.  It was wonderful to dance this piece again.  I was able to be present in the dance and my character (although I did have a small brain fart moment on stage…which I expertly covered).  Now that April has graduated from Ball State, I am very grateful I got to dance with her one more time, and hopefully we’ll get to dance together many more times 🙂

We left the theatre at about 10:00pm, filled up the car with gas, I got my Tim Hortons (April got her low calorie Starbucks iced coffee) and we made the 4 hour trek back to Indiana.  We loved being a part of the first Dance in the Mitten Festival and can’t wait for next year! 2013-05-09 14.58.23

the day before the mitten

Photography by Sara Drebelbius

Photography by Sara Drebelbius

Tomorrow, April and I will leave to represent the =ibrium Dance Project at the Dance in the Mitten Festival in Michigan.  We will be performing “Open”, a duet that is very close to my heart.

This piece was choreographed just two years ago.  But in that time it’s been a part of many shows.  I was fortunate enough to set it on the beautiful Amanda and Charise (shown in the video of a studio run in 2011 ). Then I had the pleasure of dancing it with Charise myself, and now for the second time with the lovely April.

This performance with April is particularly special because this woman just graduated from Ball State!  She is one of the fabulous dance majors I’ve watched grow and become an amazing artist over the last 3 years I’ve been at Ball State.  I’m honored to share the stage with this talented young woman!

Happy International Dance Day!

One of the things I love about being a dancer in the 21st century, is the rich global community we live in.  While we can take pride and learn from our own cultures, due to technology and a broadening appreciation for cultures other than our own, there are so many beautiful things to study and be inspired by!  I find inspiration to explore the possibilities of movement within my art of Modern/Contemporary Dance from the diverse cultural dances I have studied.

218167_1050577116365_2100141_nThe University of New Mexico, where I received my BA in Dance, has a strong program in Flamenco.  Because of this, I was able to take Flamenco from the best teachers and dance with a meet some wonderful Flamenco dancers.  I was also fortunate enough to be at UNM while the lovely Rujeko Dumbutshena was there, and to take some wonderful African Dance classes from her and have the opportunity to perform with her company, Blue Tribe African Dance Company.  I also had the privilege of taking Folklorico from the late Miguel Caro while in Albuquerque. Teaching Intro to Dance History to non-majors at Ball State, I have also have the pleasure of further exploring dances from multiple cultures and the varying roles dance has played in them.

I must say that my study of all of these wonderful dances has made me a stronger, more well rounded dancer and choreographer and helped me to more deeply understand the cultures they come from.  I have also made some lifelong friends that have forever changed me through the cultural exchange of dances.  Humanity is so diverse.  As we come together in this new 21st century global community, I hope we continue to celebrate the beauty of where we’ve come from and look forward to an even better future!  Happy International Dance Day!

I leave you with a video link of the beautiful, enormously talented Alina Casanova Ochoa (seen with me in the photo on the right, from a department show in 2001) performing for her company out of Madrid, Spain, FlamencoMexicano.  Enjoy!

why you should dance outside

404692_4607252391024_1234549853_nMany of my teaching inspirations come from my “dance mom”, the lovely Mary Anne Santos Newhall.  One of these is to bring my technique classes outside at least every semester.

Monday, on Earth Day, I took my Modern 121 class outside to dance in front of Ball State’s famous Beneficence.  Not only was it fun to dance outside, but it brought on a different movement quality.  I remember when Mary Anne had us dancing outside, she pointed out all of the sensations; having a wide open sky instead of windows and walls, feeling the sun on your skin, and taking in all of the sights and smells around me.  As I watched my class dance movement phrases I’ve seen them do many times before inside, I was amazed at how their movement quality changed just from changing our location.

I had the students perform an improvisation around Beneficence and then we pieced together some phrases that they just learned that day and others from throughout the semester. The combination of the beauty of mother nature and these lovely young ladies is quite a site to behold.

last day of classes

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Today was filled with final exam reviews and creating my new website with breaks of meeting with my Modern 121 students for their end of semester meetings.  Today was the last day of classes and while the exhaustion that comes with the end of the semester does have a tendency to make one emotional, I must say I am very sad that I won’t get to dance with this group of young ladies all together again.

For any educator, it is hard to help guide someone along their path, watching proudly as they grow as artists and individuals, and then have to let them go.  Just like dance, education for me is very much about the moment.  In dance, you have that one moment in time that can never be fully re-created or happen again.  It is unique.  It is the same for my classes.  They exist for that time and then that group of dancers is gone. (Yet they are always a part of me). I can teach the same class and even have some of the same students, but that same group and their unique energy can never exist again.

Thank you to all of my students for letting me share a short part of your movement lives.  May you think of me every time you shift your pelvis or use your Effort Actions 🙂