“Mommy is Dancing”

¬†It has been nearly a year since I last posted anything! I have a lot of catching up to do. I had my 2nd child and there has been a lot of soul searching with regards to art making, dancing, teaching, and identity. There are opportunities that I have forgone since having children with regards to my dance profession and I find myself at a crossroads. I guess I never thought of this before I had children but dance is an expensive art form. You have the cost of dancers, studio space, and babysitters to make your art with other artists. Plus, with the postpartum recovery you have to pay for dance classes and gym membership all so you can once again perform a leap without peeing your pants on the landing and gain the confidence and muscle memory back to explore new ways of moving once again. The first time around it was doable. The 2nd child I found it was time consuming and exhausting because without family around and a husband in school it’s hard to ask anyone to watch a newborn and a toddler.

I don’t want this to be a list of complaints as much as a plea to the dance art world: Please be patient with us mothers. We are trying to get the courage to step back into dance/art world, sacrifice money for the sitter, time with the kids, and all the while asking, “Is it worth it?”

Tomorrow the answer will be a definitive, “YES!” but we all have those days and we just need a heart-to-heart from one creative being to the other encouraging us along the way. I believe in the power of creative doing. I just need a good nights rest, time away from the kids, some rockin’ music, and good food to hold my ground on that affirmation. So good night! (I’ll be up in 2 hours to breastfeed)

Dancing with a Belly

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It has been 5 months since my last post. Not by accident it happens to be the exact amount of months I’m currently pregnant. Yes, baby #2 will be due in February and with that brings again an evolving and transforming body and creative problem solving in balancing dance and motherhood. I am looking forward to this choreographic masterpiece of adding another tike to our family ensemble.

While it seems I have taken a hiatus in dance I’ve actually just taken an hiatus from the internet including canceling my Facebook account and not blogging at all. I seem to get this way every time I get pregnant. Maybe it’s because these transformative moments in life I like to experience and contemplate them within myself and allow time for processing, pondering, and just envisioning a new way of living and being in the world. In a way, I’ve been in the creative process of designing my life that will be both beautiful and challenging.

Because I like to just do a couple of things well, these last couple of months I have been focusing on just my teaching aspects. I taught for the Balletmet Summer Intensive and I was privileged to work with a wonderful group of girls and boys who were eager to move their bodies. They were curious, humble, and talented and that made for a wonderful teaching experience. I learned a great deal from them and reminded me how wonderful the teenage years are if one applies discipline, humility, and spunk. I’ve also have been team-teaching a beginning modern class at Columbus State which always gets my mind and body working in new ways to teach movement efficiently and safely. Next week I start up again on the education residencies with Balletmet in the pre-k and 2nd grade class. I am looking forward to moving with this age group again and as my oldest son just turned 2 I love to observe how learning is taught and absorbed. My only concern as I go in and teach is how my body (particularly my pelvic floor) will handle this dancing. I have to admit my muscles are just not as taut as they once were. After giving birth I felt I was able to recover and jump, leap, and run just like before the pregnancy However, since being pregnant with #2 and having the weight of the baby pushing on my pelvic floor I have felt more discomfort. I guess, it’s back to reading “The Female Pelvis” and other books as I try to continue to jump and run (however slowly) as this pregnancy progresses. My body is definitely different, not worse, but I am learning how to navigate and listen to ways to make movement better.

What I love when I’m not pregnant is the ability to push the body to extreme to see where it’s capable of going. How long, how fast, how hard, are exciting things to explore. When I’m pregnant I get the ying of the yang. Instead, I ask myself what is my body capable of in the moment? how can I be safe for baby and me. What am I feeling and why? Sometimes, I just want to burst out sprinting, but it’s awesome to hear my body respond “This is not right…today, but try moving this way” Then, I know I will get my chance to sprint but not today and that’s okay.

Next Weekend

Also, don’t miss next week when Anna Laurie and I present Wandering Traces at the CityArtCenter in Delaware, Ohio. It has been a great process to work and be inspired by the landscapes of Ohio throughout the year and to be able to show our pieces. I will be performing Opening night, May 19, & 26. Thank you to the OAC, family, and friends for your support!

Two Weekends of Dance Making

I hope you will join me at the OhioDance Festival April 27-29. I will be performing with Lindsay La Pointe in the “Moving Works Showcase” April 28 at 7:00 pm in the Balletmet Performance Space. Details about our work “Black, White, and Read All Over” can be read here. After our last rehearsal Tuesday night we turned to each other and simultaneously said “I’m ready to show!” It is great to be in a place where we feel we’re ready for an audience. We have danced, discussed, filmed, played, danced, sewn, danced some more, and sweated to get this piece together. It’s great to come to the stage prepared. I hope you will get lost in our world of news and devices!

 

3 Months of Dance Recap

As natural for me, I usually slow down during the months of January-March figuratively and literally. However, with a busy toddler and my teaching load I was fortunate enough to survive the winter months by dancing through them.

In March I finished 2 Teaching Residencies for Balletmet’sMoving Into Literacy Program for 2nd grade, taught a 4th grade composition workshop, guest instructed at Ohio Wesleyan, and finished up a modern course at Columbus State. Each time I work with various populations within the community it re-affirms to me how essential movement is in all stages of life.

I love kids. Their creativity, insights, general desire to be good, and their unique movement qualities really make them the best kind of creators- one’s without inhibition and a love for the task at hand. I am a different person, artist, and mother for the better each minute I dance with children. They are simply brilliant! It’s not always easy but those moments of epiphanies and brilliance make it worth it.

Now it’s off to Utah to perform and teach. I’m looking forward to the mountains, though I have been enjoying the 80 degree weather in Ohio. I took advantage of it this week by filming with Lindsay La Pointe on two films (one for the Ohiodance Festival and one for the gallery show in May)

Filming along the Olentangy….who new Rainboots make AMAZING dance shoes. After my Converses these come a close second. They work great in water and when you get water in them they make a wonderful cushion.

Lindsay and I are still plugging along on “White, Black, and Read All Over”. We’re in the editing phase and the “This dance maybe too hard to perform, we got to get our stamina up mode.”

 

Breathe

I have taken quite the hiatus, but I have been creating, making, writing, and teaching dance (just not documenting it online). My family and I took a 2 week Christmas vacation to visit our family out in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah. As we traveled by plane, car, and foot from landscape to landscape, I took the opportunity to Breathe, recuperate, and reflect about what is important in my life and why.

I am a part of the dance world because it makes me a better mother. I am a better dancer, choreographer, and teacher because I am a mother. Balance is important and If I’m too tired to dance at home with my son, that reminds me I’m dancing too much outside the home. I don’t want to miss these precious moments with my son and yet, there are many dance pieces inside of me bursting at the seams to take root and be created. I remind myself to be patient, enjoy being present with my family, and to keep those gems of movement ready for a rainy day or at least an hour nap.

In Construction

This sign can be found in Columbus, Ohio at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in the play area for children 5 years and under. Sometimes people will view my art or others while scratching their head and say “I don’t get it.” Well, I think this sign pretty much sums up what we all learned as kids but sometimes forget. Maybe, that particular piece¬† or work is not about “getting it” but simply the artist’s remnants of the journey that has passed. Over the years I have found an artist’s process or means of working far more interesting than the product itself. I have to remind myself to be more daring and be willing to embody a new way of working so as to allow my imagination to expand.

Process…hmm…yes! I have been thinking about how others work, relate, experience, and express because I had opportunity to view a few concerts in the last month- Balletmet’s Carmen, an OSU MFA Concert: Byars/Abbott-Main/Sol, and J√©r√īme Bel‘s C√©dric Andrieux. I was blown away by all three performances and the tools, aesthetics, and vocabulary used to define and crystallize the movement inventions and production elements to make clear the choreographer’s vision. Each took me on a physical and spiritual journey that opened my eyes to the endless potential of movement choices and expression. Perhaps Cedric Andrieux said it best in his final remarks, “To experience movement without judgement.” Was that what he said?…If not exactly that is what I took from his marvelous solo and what I am currently exploring in my own life as a mover and viewer of dance. Yes, I’m CURRENTLY IN CONSTRUCTION.