Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dance Church(es)

Dance Church was everything I wanted and hoped it would be, and more. I saw so many friends. We mostly danced our greetings and joy rather than spoke them. At Dance Church, there were just a couple rules: leave your shoes in the coatroom (unless you brought dance-floor only ones) and keep conversations off the dance floor. Simple. Easy to follow. Made space for everyone to do their thing.

It was so inspiring to feel entirely comfortable putting out your you however you wished without having to worry about anyone invading your space. When people did come into my space, they felt it out first and I did the same, which made our exchanges all the more joyous.

My hear feels SO full. I truly physically feel as though my heat is growing in size, like in the Grinch! I gave and received so many hugs, all welcomed. Several of them were with people whose names I didn't get to catch, and it doesn't even matter. Shoutout to the woman in the pug-doing-yoga tank! I'm realizing in my immediate reflection here that I've been craving something exactly like this. It's all ages. It's in the morning. The music is killer. The DJ feels the room, including bringing us down gently at the end so we could feel everything we had experienced and carry it with us in body, mind and soul when leaving. The people - from so many walks of life. There were physicalities of bouncing with cane, contact improv, bellydance, modern floor work, jumping up and down, and plenty of who-gives-a-shit what you call it!

I've been really missing going to festivals. I think it's because I've been romanticizing what I want from them - and really, what I wanted I found here. While I love the live music, friends and goof-off of festivals, what I really, REALLY want is TRULY open people with no auspices, free movement, good grooves, and for access to all this at a time of day that works for me. It was thrilling for this morning person to get to put it all out from 11am-1pm on a Sunday. MAGICAL. I also came across, by word of mouth and flyer, other opportunities that share some of the feel that happen from 7-9:30am on Tuesday and Thursdays - I will definitely be checking these out too!

I feel utterly ecstatic to add this opportunity to my awarenesses of things that will satisfy my social dance needs. I cannot wait to go back.

This week I also got my ass out swing dancing at 301 Main on Thursday night, which was totally refreshing. I am definitely going to keep going right at 10pm in the future - it was excellent to have plenty of space to dance and there were definitely people already out to get it at the beginning :)   It was also wonderful to have a partner in crime in Kristina: I am so grateful she texted me a couple weeks back, because she's now very much on my radar again as someone with which to go out social dancing.

On a related note, it was fantastic to see so many dance community friends at Dance Church, each of them noting they are surprised more dancers don't come. I wonder if the organizers just don't know about the Dance Community Newsletter, or if they want to keep the word more controlled to be sure the folks who are coming are the ones who really want to be there. When chatting briefly with her there today and expressing my enthusiasm, Mary Ann Bradley said "Welcome to world peace," and she was totally right. So many different types of people working out their problems on that floor, together. It was utterly inspiring.

Back on a swing dance note, Kristina and I had some exchanges that were really lovely when talking about the purposes social dance serves in our lives. She mentioned that having started working in the emergency room of a hospital in a major metro area at the age of nineteen gave her soul a lot to process early on, and that swing dancing was her outlet to do so. She eloquently mentioned something about "that dance floor being the best listener, with her just stomping it all out." Talk about a totally beautiful way to phrase that.

I'm really glad I held myself to this new year's intention better this week after checking in with all of them last week. Experiencing live music, social dancing and interaction with folks in these scenarios GIVES ME LIFE, and I know I give life to others these ways too. While I'm bummed I missed the opportunity to hear some life music on Friday night, I really did hold myself true to this intention in several other ways this week, and I look forward to keeping myself right with this the best I can.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fall Check-In

It must have been thinking about expectation management at the start of this week that got me going on doing another check-in on my New Year's Intentions . . .


Presence: Holding good on making space, keeping my mind clear on my morning walks, really being with the moment and the folks in it, feeling this within dance.

Simplicity: Keeping it simple - only taking in and putting out what will best help me live my values and accomplish my goals.

Embodiment: Putting the above into practice in all my actions, and directing all of that toward "living my best life" and contributing to others living theirs.

In action (revised):

creation every day
contribution every day
inspiration every day

Actions that fit under "creation every day":

Movement every day: I have made pretty good on this, be it a walk or my circuit workout or a yoga or dance class or rehearsal or a performance. Opening up my perception of what qualifies has made a huge impact on my feeling successful in this area. Occasionally I have a day where I don't experience movement as I define it, but it IS occasional, and I'm proud of that. 

Cooking every day: Again, opening myself up on how I define this has been really helpful. Most days I cook breakfast, many days I cook at least two meals, and on most days, I'm likely to have listened to a food-related podcast or read a food-related article, which I deem to fall into this. Keeping with this expectation, and feeling really good about it being reasonable. I'm also realizing as I type this that both this and "movement every day" seem like nourishment - for the body. I see my morning walk as nourishment for the soul and my morning writing as nourishment for the mind, and I do these things every weekday . . . I think what I'm getting at is just recognizing this idea of nourishment.

Social dancing: This one has been challenging, as the ways I visualize wanting to practice this action are often late at night, and that just doesn't jive with how I tend to work best as a human. I keep putting things on my calendar and not going, which sets me up to disappoint myself. What I know I need to do is re-think how I wish to involve myself, and I've already gotten some leads since starting to think this way! First, Kairos events. Second, Dance Church (on my calendar for this week!). Third, accountability partner and buddy! Kristina Anderson randomly texted me about going out dancing, and I was so grateful! I GO by myself, but it's a lot more likely and a lot more fun when you have an accountability partner/ buddy! It also helps to know that she, like me, enjoys ALL social dance, so she is a potential friend for pretty much anything I wish to attend! 

Artistic and organizational development: My actions in creating new choreography, developing better organizational systems for my projects (and life in general) and upping development efforts to support them are all examples of this.

Dance classes more suited to my interests: Creating movement. I am still a bit delinquent on this action, as ballet and modern are often the classes offered when I am most able to take. I am trying to be diligent about getting to classes like tap and African styles, though I've been doing the same thing as with social dancing - adding items to my calendar like that will make them happen, even though they are at times like Saturday afternoons that don't feel super-conducive to the activity. Right now, I super-enjoy that a great deal of my weekend time is free/ unstructured, and I've tended to think that my sheer desire to attend classes like this would win out, and it often doesn't. One work-around I'm trying is to consider other times I can conveniently take class (like when I am already at the Cowles) and try to take advantage of those scenarios. This one may be a balance of clever work-arounds and continuing to try and put my head down and "just do it," even when conditions aren't completely perfect (like Saturday afternoons).

Profession-reflective writing: I'm in and out of feeling success with this. I continue to keep the NDEO presentation-into-article and Improv articles on a (highly organized, segmented and dated) project list, though continue to push them back with little progress made to make time for things that feel more pressing. On the front half of the year, I was a lot better with writing reactions here to the shows I saw. This is definitely an area of opportunity: I continue to see shows regularly, so I want to continue to hold myself accountable to sitting down the next morning and writing something up. Another thing worth mentioning here: I've folded my category of writing (also recently titled "thought") into my "education" category, which helps with simplifying the way I think about these things, but keeps me from seeing the "writing" word, for better or worse. Perhaps having reached out to Jill about whether or not we'll actually go for that article will work to clarify that I should set my sights on the NDEO presentation-into-article project when it comes to writing, and in that, it seems logical to me to consider the time in mid-December before the holidays, when I'm off from teaching, as a high-point for really getting some work done on it. Right now, I'm in a high-point of working on admin for RS, so by then I'll have made progress on that and will hopefully feel more space to put some focus to writing. I'm grateful that I'm coming to recognize and understand this flow of mine and to work with it!

Actions that fit under "contribution every day":

Movement every day: Technique teaching and rehearsal and performance all work for me as sources of contribution, as they bring movement to others, and that's how I work within my profession to contribute!

Social dancing: Dancing socially provides joy not only to me, but contributes joy to the experiences of others! 

Artistic and organizational development: Many of these actions also create opportunities for dancers and choreographers :)

Profession-reflective writing: Something really cool that came out of the practice of writing about the shows I saw this year was producing writing that helped two artists I addressed. I hope this affect of my writing being useful to others (that's often the point) continues in these small ways next to the bigger ways.

AND . . . actions that don't really fit either of those . . . so I added "inspiration every day":

Movement every day
Cooking every day
Social dancing
Artistic and organizational development
Dance classes more suited to my interests

Experiencing live music: Turns out this really only fit under this category - though I suppose there is a case to be made for "creativity," as not output comes without input. That said, it's important to me. And this is another one where much is to be desired in how I'm handling it. Perhaps I need to 1) take a little time at the end of each month to consider when and where I DID hear live music, and 2) take time at the beginning of each month to add ONE live music event to my calendar. Hearing live music at least once a month would feel like a success to me, at least now.

So, all the actions I desire to take to fulfill my value-driven outlook fit under this category. Seems like it's worthwhile to add this way of thinking :)

Reflection on what's working and what isn't
Affirmation for what is
Ideas for making what isn't actually work