5, 6, 7, 8.

The countdown is on, people.

The first annual Movement Mission performance is just weeks away. EEEK. February 7 and 8 we take the stage for three performances only. Have you bought your tickets yet?? (DO IT.)

The funny thing about shows is that you always think you have SO MUCH TIME. I mean, we started rehearsals last summer. That was an eternity ago. But all of a sudden, it’s crunch time. Costumes to buy. Choreography to finish. And tired (tired!) bodies.

This week I couldn’t stop smiling through rehearsal. All this women are so beautiful. Sometimes I want to pinch myself. That such an eclectic group of strangers could come together to produce so much beauty is beyond me.

As the shows get closer, the weight of not only being a dancer, but being a first time choreographer is setting in. Choreographing is terrifying for a few simple reasons.

What if no one understands the story?

What if I haven’t been a very good teacher?

What if we just look…well, stupid? (I mean, it could happen.)

No different from other forms of art, it’s horrifying to lay a piece of yourself out for the public to chew up and spit out. But at some point you have to let it go. Just like the quote says, there comes a point when the pain of staying closed up and held tight is worse than the pain of letting go and blooming (extremely rough paraphrase by moi.)

Regardless, I’m so happy and proud to be telling this story I’ve been carrying around for a few years. It’s like a part of me has come to live in the world. I can’t wait. I better see you there (yes, you.)

And while I can’t give you an actual sneak peek, I thought I’d give you a little taste of what’s to come. Here’s our song! I’m a sucker for acoustic music and I love me a chick rocker.

Advertisements

We Have Come to be Danced.

As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post, I thought I’d share a poem that we’re currently working on a dance for. It’s a beautiful piece and the text summarizes The Movement Mission almost to a tee. When you find your thing, it goes all the way to the core of who you are. And that’s what this is about.

Have you found your thing yet? I want to hear about it! Happy Thursday, loves.

We Have Come to be Danced
by Jewel Mathieson

We have come to be danced
not the pretty dance
not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
but the claw our way back into the belly of the sacred, sensual animal dance
the unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
the holding the precious moment in the palms of our hands and feet dance

We have come to be danced
not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
but the wring the sadness from our skin dance
the blow the chip off our shoulder dance
the slap the apology from our posture dance

We have come to be danced
not the monkey see, monkey do dance
one, two dance like you one two three, dance like me dance
but the grave robber, tomb stalker tearing scabs & scars open dance
the rub the rhythm raw against our souls dance

WE have come to be danced
not the nice invisible, self conscious shuffle
but the matted hair flying, voodoo mama shaman shakin’ ancient bones dance
the strip us from our casings, return our wings sharpen our claws & tongues dance
the shed dead cells and slip into the luminous skin of love dance

We have come to be danced
not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance
but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath & beat dance
the shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
the mother may I? yes you may take 10 giant leaps dance
the Olly Olly Oxen Free Free Free dance
the everyone can come to our heaven dance

We have come to be danced
where the kingdom’s collide in the cathedral of flesh
to burn back into the light
to unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
to root in skin sanctuary
We have come to be danced
WE HAVE COME

Photo by B.Hockensmith Photography, www.bhockensmith.com

The Movement Mission

Have you ever had something that makes you feel completely alive? Something that is a safe space you can retreat to?  That challenges you but you look forward to that? Where you feel completely like yourself but yet sometimes you can’t believe it’s even real?

The Movement Mission.

The Movement Mission came from my good friend Christina and her niece Michela. It grew out of a desire that they, and many of us, have had for years; to dance for ourselves and for a purpose. It’s a group of 30 or so women (we’re looking for some men to join us!) of various ages, backgrounds and technique levels. It’s a place where we come to move  and support each other. A place where we dance for ourselves, not necessarily for an audience or a class of students (many of the women are dance teachers.) It’s a place where we dance for a bigger purpose…more on that in a bit.

Photo by Klatte Photography, http://www.klattephotography.com

About half of us came to be part of TMM because of a previous group, a dance ministry Christina started with our church about six years ago (yowza the years have flown!) Joining this group of women was where I rediscovered my love of dancing, which I had hidden down inside since I was in elementary school, thinking that I wasn’t “really” a dancer. It unlocked a passion inside of me that I had been stifling for years. It showed me that dancing is often my therapy. My way to connect with the Lord and worship. My “me time” in a world where I usually spend my days giving to everyone else around me.

And now we have come together as a group to share our love and dance for a cause. Currently, that cause is the Bonnie Lavric Scholarship at Dublin Dance Center. Christina, Michela and many of the women involved with the group are teachers or students at Dublin Dance Center, and that is where our ministry group has danced since we started. Bonnie is an amazing woman whom I only had the pleasure of meeting a few times, but who lives on through stories of those who love her very much. Bonnie lost her fight with cancer several years ago and the studio supports a scholarship in her honor which is awarded annually to some of its dancers.

The inaugural Bonnie Lavric Cancer Benefit Concert will be held on February 8, 2014. We dance not only in Bonnie’s honor, but also in celebration of so many we all know have fought cancer. We dance to raise funds but also to inspire. It will be a great night of heart, dance, music and a variety of performances.

More details on tickets and times to come. We’re also looking for more musicians/dancers/performers who want to participate…so if that’s you, please get in touch! We’d love to have you as part of this story.

What’s your thing? Your place that makes you come alive. Your Movement Mission. If you don’t have that thing yet, I challenge you to start seeking it out. You’d be amazed how it can change your life!

Those Winter Blues.

Let’s all be real here for a hot second. It’s winter. In Ohio, that means it’s cold, it’s dark by 5 p.m. (which if you aren’t aware, is the time we all get out of work and actually see the outside) and the motivation gauge is usually on empty. It’s the winter blues. A funk. Depression. And though I am not a psychological or medical professional (and if you are having extensive difficulties, you should definitely see one of them) I thought I would share a few of the ways that I try to keep myself moving during these winter months. I’d love to hear any techniques or activities you have! I’m always interested in new ways to find inspiration and motivation.

1) Get some people time. I will openly tell you I am one of the most introverted people you will meet. I love me time. I NEED me time. But I also know that when I let that get off balance, it gets ugly fast. I know that if I’ve gone too long without real social activity, I’m in trouble. Don’t let that happen! Right now…call, text, Facebook message, tweet a friend. Set up a little hang out date. This is one of my first go-to ways to pull myself out of a funk: I fill my social calendar. I think you’ll realize that when you spend time with others, you want to spend more time with others, and that makes even my little, internal self jump for joy. It also keeps you from sinking into yourself. And just as it helps you, your presence is beneficial for the other person; because you’re pretty stinking awesome.

2) Get outside! Vitamin D my friends. Even if it’s cold (let’s be real…it’s cold.) Take a walk at lunch. Sit on your porch for a few minutes. Take a moment, breathe and get some fresh air. It’s an instant mood changer.

3) Dance it out. I mean it. You’d be shocked by what 15 minutes of shaking your groove thing can do. Don’t worry, no one is watching. Just have fun and laugh at yourself. Find yourself a good Pandora dance station (I have a Beyonce “Single Ladies” station) and go for it. My favorite is to dance while I’m cleaning my house…and sitting in my car…and sitting at my desk…and waiting in line at the store…ok maybe this one is my favorite tip 🙂

4) Be task oriented. I love to-do lists. In fact, I need them to function. I mean, I make to-do lists when I’m on vacation to make sure I don’t miss anything. And when I’m having a bad day, or I’m lacking motivation, usually having at least one task to work towards keeps me moving. So I’ve been trying to break up my lists into small, daily projects. I don’t have to do everything at one time, that’s overwhelming and then I give up. It’s just small steps. Today, pay bills. Tomorrow, emails. Another day, run errands. Little things can result in a lot of forward motion.

5) Write a love letter. Over Christmas break I stumbled upon this amazing project, www.moreloveletters.com. It was started by a young woman when she was struggling with depression. It’s an act of anonymous encouragement; literally writing love letters and leaving them for whomever should stumble upon them. How fun?! You can learn more about the organization and how to be a part of the letter writing if you go to the website. I just got my first request for letters (they send a monthly list of people who have requested letters for someone they know) and I can’t wait to get started! You can’t imagine how encouraging another person can really benefit you as well.

What about you? What do you do to keep yourself going?

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: The Nutrcracker.

Saturday was a fantastic day.

I started my morning baking cookies with a dear friend, a tradition we started last year. Always fun to catch up over some sweets!

The afternoon, however, was where the real fun was waiting. This year, Breena and I finally decided it was time to take Eisley to see The Nutrcracker performed by BalletMet. Being a tiny performer herself, Eisley has talked endlessly about Angelina Ballerina for the past couple of years. She even got to take her first dance class last year. So I of course thought it necessary that she see this holiday classic.

There is something magical about seeing art performed live. It could have something to do with the fact that we were in the amazing, historic Ohio Theatre, decked out for Christmas, among hundreds of excited kids dressed to the nines.

Or, it could be something else. It could be the idea that at the core of all of us, is the desire for something beautiful. And art is beautiful. I can’t count how many times Eisley leaned over to me during the show and said “Oooooh, look at how pretty that girl (dancer) is”…it was like each costume was more spectacular than the last one to her. By the end of the day, she couldn’t stop talking about Clara, the lead character. And I couldn’t help but find a sense of great joy and thankfulness…that in light of Friday’s events, I got to spend a few hours with a little girl, where the scariest thing we had to encounter was the Mouse King, and how he was really just a kid with a costume so she didn’t need to be afraid.

I was thankful that I had the opportunity to go with Breena and Eisley and share something that I love so much. I remember watching older dancers when I was little, thinking they were so pretty and perfect and thinking that I could be just like that. And I hope Eisley got that too; the understanding that she too has the opportunity to be beautiful and make magic in her own life and in her own way. Because art ends only with our imagination.

In Eisley’s own words, “That was just too much fun.” And it really was.

And of course, pictures! We are three fashion-loving ladies, so of course we were excited for a reason to dress up. Eisley even got to wear a little make up because it was a special day out.

20121216-205320.jpg

20121216-205333.jpg

20121216-205730.jpg

With her Clara Christmas tree ornament she got to pick out.

 

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: My New Favorite Thing.

And before you get excited…no this is not like Oprah’s Favorite Things. Though I wish I could give you each a copy!

My new favorite thing is a book by photographer Jordan Matter called Dancers Among Us. It is literally 229 pages of joy in everyday life (goes with the PM theme, right?!)

In the artist’s introduction, Matter states:

” What happens to this enthusiasm, this ability to be wholly present in the moment? Why are these pure moments of passion so often replaced with cynicism, boredom, and indifference? As I played with my son, I thought about creating photographs that would show the world as if through his eyes. The people in the images would be alive and in the moment, celebrating all aspects and emotions of everyday life.”

What does happen? How do we get so caught up in doing, that we forget to look around and just be? As I read through the book, (yes I sat down and read/looked at each and every single page in one sitting), I found myself finding a peace that I had been missing the past week or two. The pictures did make me want to celebrate the everyday little moments. We’re alive, we have emotions and we’re meant to embrace all of it!

And the photographs really do just bring you pure joy. Of course, I have a passion for all things dance, but beyond that, they show you real life and how it could look if we’d let our imaginations play out.

Life really can be a playground, it doesn’t have to be so serious all the time, you just have to know where to look. While we’re taking this holiday season to be present, I wonder if you’ll notice any of these magical moments. Let’s try?

Photo by Jordan Matter. http://www.dancersamongus.com

Photo by Jordan Matter. http://www.dancersamongus.com

Photo by Jordan Matter. http://www.dancersamongus.com

It’s October!

Hello friends!

September has flown by…hard to believe we’re already into fall. I know I’ve been a little MIA, so here’s a snapshot of what this month brought…

I made this for my front door with my sweet friend Jae.

I took a trip here for work.

Niagara Falls!

I danced with these lovely ladies in Breathe for Bonnie (see last post).

I took this handsome guy on a road trip…it was equally traumatic for us both.

And I finally planted something in my flowerbed!

Baby steps…one thing at a time.

And I spent a lot of time with great friends (and I cannot find pictures to account for everyone…so in an effort to not leave anyone out, I will leave everyone out :))

What I’m looking forward to in October…

– Kimmy and Bryan are getting married!

– My fourth work anniversary at Capital.

– Gatsby is old enough to be fixed and de-clawed…praise the Lord.

– STILL wearing fall boots and scarves.

– My first trick or treat in a neighborhood with kids.

Happy October…what are you looking forward to in the next 31 days?

Gratituesdays: Dancer Girls.

These girls have been somewhat of a family to me for the past five years.

Breathe for Bonnie 2012

Before our dance ministry group started, I had a giant hole in my life. It had been years since I’d danced and wasn’t sure how to get back into it. Right after graduating college, I saw a notice at church that the group was forming and couldn’t wait to check it out. Now, five years later, we’ve grown not only as an ensemble but as friends. We’ve had the opportunity to share our love of the Lord through our love of dance. We’ve also danced for some very important causes. And more than that, dance is like therapy to me; we meet and have rehearsals simply to move and have “me” time, even if there is no performance. I’m so very grateful for the chance to perform and be creative with these women.

Do you have a hobby or passion that you’re particularly thankful for?