Mariangela Lopez. Movement Mastermind.
At four pm today, I was sitting and chatting with Mariangela Lopez
in the hallway outside Eden's Expressway. She was nice, petite, and full of smiles. Little did I know that this woman would soon TERRIFY ME.
Well, not really terrify me, but really challenge my comfort zones in a really productive and wonderful way. Mari focused on movement-the movement that we do as children, full of curiosity and wonder, and completely void of judgement.
This is harder than it sounds. Leaving judgement behind to revert to former childlike bliss sounds wonderful, and I feel like I caught it in moments, but it was all together just really...scary!
Dance can be like that. Completely terrifying. I think that lots of people are terrified by dance because they don't think they can dance, or they don't think they look good while dancing. I know I can dance, and I think I look just fine doing it, but what was scary was suspending judgement of my own towards what I really wanted to do-rather than just popping out what I was 'supposed' to do. Because while dancers are used to taking risks, we are also used to being very very obedient.
The workshop is still open, and runs for the next three Sundays in May. Registration can be found here
. I cannot be in attendance this Sunday due to work, but I will see Mari and everyone else for the remaining two workshops. Please come join us! Many of the registrants are not dancers, but rather people interested in movement experiences. Come join the fun!
Where the heck did this week go? I honestly am amazed it is already Saturday...ah well.
So, this was the second week of classes at Eden's with Luis, however my jaunts to Sleepy Hollow and then some sight seeing I did with my dear friend Karen and her parents sent my left foot to a place called swollen town. :(
So I had to force myself to sit out, and I did not attend friday morning class. On a "sad but trying not to be sad" note, Karen has returned to Ireland. I miss her very much, but we are connecting on skype and she has wonderful dance news up and coming in her own neck of the woods. To keep up with Karen, check out her site here
However, this week Melissa West resumed rehearsals for Pretty Little Things
, set to debut on June 18th in Staten Island (also-That is my fathers birthday! Just like old times, isn't it Dad? I was always dancing in my childhood school recitals on his birthday!)
Melissa's rehearsals are like trips into your inner childhood happy impulses. The five of us (Melissa West, Laura Brandel, Kat Gorsuch, and Melissa Knestaut) hula hoop, sing, gogo dance, and dance like bugs to our hearts content. I believe we will have an amazing show, and I'll be sure to keep the information available here. Check out Melissa's site here
In addition to Pretty Little Things
, Melissa will be restaging People in the Sun
, an excerpt from Pictures
her senior choreographic project at Hunter College
which I had the pleasure of dancing in it's original creation and casting. Kat Gorsuch will be joining in this duet.
Melissa has invited me onto the bill as a guest artist, and I will be debuting a solo, When Was the Last Time you Danced?
based on my current film work of the same title. I'll incorporate quotes, video, and audience participation to give an interesting glimpse of my present research.
Speaking of my film-I am scheduling my final interviews, most notably with one Ruth E. Grauert, also known as Reg. Reg is the director of Bearnstow
in Mt. Vernon, Maine. It was there that I have been influenced and transformed by the invaluable lessons of the environment of people, dance, and work. I cannot wait to interview Reg this Thursday-look out for a preview!
I am really really happy that, as a Movement Research intern, I get free classes. KJ Holmes is the April teacher for the Sunday Evening Contact Improv class at Eden's Expressway at 6:15. She is just lovely. I did however have to sit out for most of the class, due to my swollen metatarsals, but such is the life of a dancer. I'm just trying to remember-don't push it, don't push it!
This morning was exactly the same. I could only do half the class, but it's alright. My foot will heal, I won't injure it again (I've learned so much) and I will dance and dance and dance.
TODAY WAS HUGE!!!
First, I met Karen and her parents and aunts at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market around 12 or so. We didn't stay long, and Karen and I had a bigger goal in mind: GET OUT OF NEW YORK CITY. One day. Nature. Spooky Things. These elements, of course add up to taking the Metro-North to Sleepy Hollow.
So, we traipsed off to grand central, caught the 1:20 towards Croton-Harmon, and basked in our take off. I was making a video along the way (soon to be edited) about our excursion and we were H U N G R Y, with no time to eat before departure.
40 minutes later, we are in Sleepy Hollow, and it begins to rain. We walked on the highway, smelling the grass (I miss that smell here in Bushwick), and trying to to get hit by cars. We clearly didn't look at the map correctly, but you know what? It was fun. We saw daffodils and beautiful homes and found the cemetery quite easily. Like I said, Karen and I were really hungry, so we walked a bit further to the Horseman Diner
for a Burger and a Rueben.
Full up, we walked back out into the wind and rain. Our umbrellas were bending shields, but we were still all smiles. We explored Philpsburg Manor
and heard some stories from the actors, checked out the sheep, and got an in-depth tour of the manor house. We crossed the street into the cemetery to check out Irvings grave, but it was 5pm and completely pouring. We shortened our trek, walked the correct route to the train station, and put some more images to video.
After a lovely orange cream Magnolia's cupcake
in grand central compliments of Karen, we parted ways. I headed to Hunter College to see "Sharing the Legacy, Alwin Nikolais"
It was the last event in a year long celebration of Nikolais
centennial. An enormous tribute to his creativity and foresight, the event was filled with works such as Pond, Tensile Involvement, Mechanical Organ, Water Studies, Imago, and Gallery, reconstructed by Alberto Del Saz
The really special moment of the night for me was of course Aviary. Only performed once before, Aviary was restaged and reconstructed by Gerald Otte
. Otte is a Professor at Hunter College and danced with Nik for many years. I loved seeing my classmates perform such a rare and beautiful work, and of course I was so sad I didn't audition last fall. Ah, well. We win some, we lose some. It was excellent to have the moment to be an audience member and really be influenced by the art form in it's final presentation, rather than the process. I think seeing shows is just as important as going to class. It keeps your eye on the prize, reminding you that while the journey is and can feel paramount, the audience sees the final destination.
If you ever can, please see any Nikolais work. It won't disappoint you with it's amazing mind bending creativity, and before it's time total visual theater.
I admit I'd like to write more, but the day-oh the day, it gets away from me.
Luis' class (of course) kicked butt today. We worked on descending down into the floor in order to go out into the space. I was feeling rather bouncy today, so all I wanted to do was jump around. I admit I had a trouble focusing, and I've got a shoulder bruise to prove it.
Alas, I moved onward and upward and had a very sweaty and productive class.
Later, in Chinatown, there was a misunderstanding in a restaurant regarding a plate of pork, it's temperature, it's place on the bill, and well-the cops.
All I can say is the slammer isn't worth some cold pig, and I was reminded of this particular quote:
So that was that :)
So may I please recommend Thai Yoga Massage to EVERYONE!?!?
I went to Astoria today and was that hour train ride ever worth it! I'll be writing up a recommendation soon, but I want to ask if it is okay that I share his information on my blog first.
So many images came to mind during the massage, but mainly I could feel the seizing and releasing of my muscles. I am in bed, and a little sore now, but looking forward to tomorrows class with Luis at Eden's.
This morning I decided to sleep in and really relax. I didn't budge out of bed until 10:00 am. What a rebel, I know! It's inventory day in the Carafice Bushwick abode. I'm detailing my resumes, and applying to performance opportunities and generally taking an office day to manage my life. Every artist needs to take stock, and make sure they are on the right track! I am going for a Thai Yoga massage later, and I'm really curious about it. I've heard quite a bit, but never really anything with lots of detail. All I know is that I have been opening up my joints more and I feel looser and more vulnerable, so I want to take extra care that I don't get hurt.
I've added some of my past videos to the video section of this site, so please check them out. I am also currently working on a film titled "When was the Last Time You Danced?"
If you'd like to be interviewed for my film, please contact me and we can set up an interview date. The usual interview takes approximately 5-15 minutes, unless you are really jazzed about talking about dance (like I am).
I am also in collaboration with Mark Ince, a fellow student and artist at Hunter College for a film project currently titled "Pablo" exploring the creativity of the three Pablos: Nerauda, Picasso, Casals. Each a master of their art, I will be exploring Picasso through dance. Updates and video studies to come!
I am a current intern at Movement Research and for the next three weeks I get to take morning class with this amazing man, Luis Lara Malvacias. He is so goal oriented but so playful and clear that you can't help but have a really focused and fun time while dancing. We had 15 students pre-register for todays class from The School of Dance in Ottawa, so we had quite a packed house! 29 total students in little old Eden's Expressway! It was interesting to see the type of training in their bodies I used to think was so desirable. They were absolutely well trained, but absolutely over trained; and they absolutely gave a huge effort in class to get it RIGHT.
It was kind of lovely to see that energy again, and to know that the precision in weight I seek and see in dancers I admire comes from understanding the body in motion and it's weight and not from muscling it around to force it do to what you insist. I love how much enthusiasm younger dancers have, and though I'm only 29, I can begin to feel my maturity and always developing passion. I don't think i'm quite conveying this the right way, but the sort of hyperactive nature they possess makes me nostalgic and grateful that I'm not quite that way anymore all at the same time.
Luis is a smart teacher, and is confident without pushing into arrogance. He is open and makes you want to dance smarter.
I stayed for the Alexander Technique class with Cori Olinhouse of Trisha Brown. She has a private practice in brooklyn and has her B.A. from Bennington. She really had a vivid and logical way of explaining Alexander Technique. I find that most Alexander classes can be so abstract, I'm not even sure what I'm meant to focus on. I can feel changes in my body, but I'm unsure of what my job as a student is while in class. She really helped me find some patterns I might have and discussed the possibilities of directional pathways with us. I really recommend her classes.
Karen and I are going to brave another night at Yankee Stadium. Hopefully the weather will hold out and they will play!!
For a complete guide to Movement Research classes, and for upcoming performance dates and applications, please visit www.movementresearch.org.
This is my new personal blog. I want to keep this simple, personal, and daily. It's my online record of daily events-usually related to dance, but not necessarily. If you are reading this, you probably know me.
For example, today I went with my friend Karen to a Yankees game. They were meant to play the Orioles, and we had really killer seats (such an amazing view!) and we woofed down hot dogs and garlic cheese fries. It was gross, but they are the things that I would never eat anywhere else other than at a baseball game, so it really gets you in the mood for 'experiencing', and that includes the food. After we marveled at the field, dried our seats, and licked our fingers clean-the game was cancelled. Ah well. Hopefully we can make the rain date, but Karen leaves on the 20th to go back to Ireland. I am not looking forward to that day.
See? None of that was about dance :)