Friday, February 20, 2009


I great many days between posts. I have not had much time to process quietly to myself through words for quite a bit. The last couple weeks have been a constant stream of goings-on; this is not a complaint, but rather, just something to notice. I cannot suggest, however, that I have no strong feelings regarding what was keeping me busy. A dance festival that I had choreography in, Kris coming to visit, rehearsal for a show for DJD and classes are all REALLY wonderful things to keep busy with.

Walking home after cashing my check today from DJD, it hit me that this is my job right now - performing. I felt exhausted, and had a check in hand to compensate for said exhaustion. What a great feeling. I have been paid for dance before, but not as much (for performing) and not as regularly. It occured to me on my walk that this could be the situation all the time. Of course, I am fully aware that you can make a living in just dance, even just performing, but I have not experienced it quite as fully up until now. A good feeling indeed.

I have also had some revelations regarding teaching, as I have been doing quite the amount of subbing as of late. I always through I just did not care for teaching much and that I just was not very good at it, but that is not it at all - it was just the content of what was being taught, and to whom. I will put it this way - I am not a children's ballet teacher. I have been subbing adult funk and modern, and have very very much enjoyed myself. Beyond that, the students have enjoyed themselves as well, making it clear by coming up after class and asking where I normally teach (to which I have to sadly respond "Nowhere at the moment!") With adults and forms I am interested in, I can communicate clearly and comfortably, and can really see a change when I provide insight to the class. It is so exciting to see the concepts get embodied. I have of course experienced that with advanced dancers in the choreography that I have created, but there is just something special about seeing a beginning student have a lightbulb flash in their brain - I am usually equally to MORE excited than them when this occurs! I have been able to gather that I truly do enjoy teaching, and have made it another quest for before I leave Calgary to have solid beginning and advanced jazz classes ready to teach, to bring back to the Twin Cities. I met with Joanne about this, and she provided me some of her insight as a teacher, as well as the information that we are welcomed to check out any videos in the DJD library, which include videos of some of the company dancers teaching specific techniques (Luigi, Matt Maddox, Betsey Hauge, etc.) I have been doing my best to write down some good, solid basics of these masters to use in class, but it most certainly will be helpful to have a video to reference when really trying to get it all notated solidly. I am feeling very excited about the idea of having these solid classes to try and offer back home - try to find a Y, a studio, somewhere (I was thinking maybe Tapestry Folk Dance Center?) to offer a beginning adult jazz class so I can get the practice teaching, as well as begin to further stir interest in the form at home.

As for the next choreographic project, I suppose I should contenplate the last one before moving on. Alberta Dance Explosions went fabulously. There were a couple tech fumbles on closing night, but it was solid other than that. Our tech on that Monday night went longer than I expected, but that was due to the fact that they actually hung some specials for me, which was a lovely treat. Tech run Tuesday, public dress rehearsal on Wednesday, the same day that Kris came in. I actually felt that dress rehearsal was the best run of the piece we had. Good thing the audience was full! The audience was close to sold out every night of the run, which was also very pleasant. I had a great time getting to meet some other area choreographers and seeing what they had to offer. I also really enjoyed seeing how they ran their festival as well, as someone who would like to put together more such shows myself. The one big thing I did note was that they offered a survey to each choreographer at the end - a splendid idea, and I was sure to fill it out and return it promptly. I know I always love to get feedback, and they certainly deserve to receive some after providing us each an opportunity to showcase out work. I wanted to be sure they knew I appreciated the opportunity, so I made cards for the key players. Closing night was lovely - my dancers got me a gift (the sweetest hood-scarf ever, which has barely come off my head since then). I really appreciated it - it was me that should be giving gifts and not them, but I wrote them cards and am taking them out for wine and sushi this weekend, so I figure that is a valid thank you. I also really enjoyed receiving a check for the presentation of my work - it has kind of been a stretch of several days of payment for dance, a REALLY nice departure from the norm of not receiving paychecks. Just receiving a paycheck was nice, but the checks all being for different dance-related things was the icing on the (dance cake?) The best thing about the festival for sure was how the piece turned out. I can say honestly that I feel very sure that the piece, at its moment in time, turned out just the way it should be right now, and Kaja and Andrea performed it better than I ever could have asked for. Their willingness to be a part of the process and great decisions for active performance were overwhelmingly wonderful. I certainly had a lot of moments over the weekend of 'Wow, I am so glad I came here. I would not be here doing this festival with these wonderful people had I not come.' What a great thing to feel.

Kris' visit was very nice. It was for the most part great, good fun, and the parts that were not great, good fun were great and good in their own ways. I have really appreciated both of us being able to open up to one another more as we get to know one another better, as well as developing the ability to talk about important things when they need to be talked about, as well as when to leave them on the backburner in favor of enjoying more simple things presented in the moment. It'll be a tough three months (who ever thought I would be thinking such a thing about anyone? Certainly not me - I call that personal growth :) ) but it'll play out just fine. I am definately not wanted to wish my last couple months here away - there is simply too much to be done to be thinking in such a way.

Now that the festival is over, the focus of this big busy stretch has become Live and In Synch, the DJD educational touring show for kids. We finished rehearsal this week and had our first show this morning. The show is about an hour long, and is absolutely PACKED with material. Between the show itself, set-up and tear-down, it makes for an exhausting couple of hours. And we do it twice a day! Though I am quite tired at the end of it, I am certainly not complaining - today was awesome, and I am truly looking forward to the next two weeks. The kids enjoyed the show so much, and it is great to see very clearly that you are having an impact. I love to spread a love for dance to an interested audience, and they are certainly that. Additionally, I feel so strongly for the work that DJD is doing, and am so happy to be a part of spreading that to people. All jazz dance and music-interested people have to band together to further this fringe form. I am pleased to be doing that here, and it makes me look even more forward to doing the same thing at home.

As for the next project (finally!), unfortunately it will not be Fringe Festival. We were not selected in the lottery, and are 60th on the waitlist (unlikely in my thoughts). Despite this, I still really want to do a show that presents the work of Twin Cities jazz dance artists, especially considering that I have had solid interest from several very talented and high profile people in the community. I am trying to collect my fleeting thoughts regarding how to put this show up myself (though not by myself, as the lovely Heather Parker has confirmed interest in co-producing) in time to make something happen. It is certainly exciting, but it is another ball to juggle in a currently rather full circus. I have never had a juggling problem in the past, but have had the luxury of not having to quite as severly for the last several months, so I am going to have to get in practice. I figure I will put my all into the kids show, and once that is over, I can focus on compiling my notes and thoughts from my experience up here, while also trying to nail down some details for such a show (theater space, dates, etc). Woo!

While many things float in an undefined space for me right now, there are two things of which I am positive - I am really excited to live at home for the summer, and I am so very glad that I came up to Calgary this year!


Nikki said...

I would totally take a class from you if you taught here this summer!

Адам said...

Hey dot!

Great to read the full low-down on things.. sounds like it is as jam packed a life-sandwich right now as you love to enjoy, and I'm happy for you!

I also bet that your friend 'Kaja' has Estonian parents. Her name means 'echo'. Sweeet.

I've not much incredibly exciting to report on from here, though should be jumping around the country on some travels soon and will do my best to rake up some good tales for your enjoyment.

Talk with you soon!

Oh, yeah.. remember that 'Some of Erinn's Favorites' mix you made me back in the Day? Definitely a hit when I play it off the iPod in the cafe here. Well done.