Dancing Gratitude: Pop-Up Dance Performance

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Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I have been fortunate to discover nearby some lovely, generous souls who share my passion for spreading the joyful, healing power of dance.  We came together in October to do a pop-up performance in nearby public spaces.  I realized on the way to the event that I hadn’t even met one of the dancers and that none of us knew everyone involved.

But I needn’t have spent a second of thought or worry on that.  For once we started dancing, I could feel that deep connection which dance and art so often spur.  It was fun, challenging, inspiring.  So much so, that we decided then and there to take the whole thing to other towns.

The performance was improvised, tailored to some specific sites I had scoped out ahead of time.  We had some improv structures to work with, e.g. each doing “50 things” (thank you, KL) to use as a warmup, starting at a bike rack as “home base” and ending there when we had finished our movement.

Mostly, though, we listened deeply to each other and the environment, and followed one another pretty seamlessly.  Fueled by our enormous gratitude for our dancing lives and our desire to share that.

An unexpected bonus was that a friend of one of the dancers videotaped the whole thing, which one of the dancers has edited here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0ZLPIGQ81Cub3JUODZaWDlzZFk/view

Wishing you peace and joy.

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Photo credit–Top: Nikki Carrara; Video credits: Adrian Nieves, Linalynn Schmelzer; Dancers: Christine Poland, Marisa Valdiserra, Linalynn Schmelzer, Chloe Carlson.

 

 

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Sparking Wonder and Imagination

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Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”~Socrates

A friend of mine sent me the link to video featuring the amazing and breathtaking dancing of Bandaloop.   That description doesn’t do full justice to the astonishing vertical dancing that Bandaloop performs, though. For they do their stunning work on the sides of buildings and on mountains.  Providing the rest of us with the opportunity to marvel at and be inspired by their sheer grace, fearlessness, and gorgeousness.

If you want a boost, check out their signature combination of dance and mountaineering, along with a whole lotta technical support.  A key, and ineffable, element which abounds in their art is seemingly boundless imagination.  Creating dances that push limits and soar to new heights of what’s humanly possible.

Watching Bandaloop’s videos reminds me how essential it is to cultivate our imaginations, even when, perhaps especially when, we are discouraged.  If we  just can’t fire up our own imaginations, we can refuel by witnessing and supporting others’ imaginations, ideally getting back on the horse when we can.  The sky’s the limit…or actually, as Bandaloop declares, it isn’t!

And like Bandaloop’s visionary, eloquent Founder/Artistic Director, Amelia Rudolph, we can then share our gifts.  As she says in the videos, the Company’s work is life-affirming and intended to empower the audience, encouraging them to let go of unneeded fears. Right on!

So, if you go to their site, you may see me there, too🙂. No matter how many times I watch, I am thrilled and awed by such unexpected beauty and courage.  Enjoy!   And thank you, Bandaloop❤.

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W.B. Yeats

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Photo credit–Top: Nikki Carrara

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On Spaciousness

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I’ve been ruminating on spaciousness a lot lately.  Some of this is because I am fortunate enough now to live in such spacious surroundings.  Between our backyard neighbor of the vast marsh and the beckoning sea right down the road, I have Mother Nature’s constant reminders about the inspiration, the aspiration, of being spacious.

Of course, voluminousness is something I often focus on with my dancing.  How can I realize the movement more fully?  How can I fill or cover space more?  How can I open up to the moment and the movement, embodying and performing roominess without impediments of distraction, of unnecessary blockages?

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Serendipitously, a blogger buddy, Elysha Lenkin,  posted recently about meditating on the Third Eye and intuition, including a lovely, potent guided meditation by Tony Samara about the Third Eye.  The visualization spurs connecting to a divine source and tapping into Its/His/Her  boundless positive energy, while focusing on breathing and releasing undue blockages caused by doubt and suffering.  We are invited to practice internalizing and sharing breathtakingly expansive benevolence.

Mother Nature reinforced this practice the other day when I sat out on the deck.  For a long time, the profound silence engulfed me…and then was broken suddenly by church bells chiming!  Their tones startled me, as I was immersed in nature. I finally realized that the bells must have been ringing from a church in town.  Since the wide open marsh presented little to obstruct the sound, it could pour over us here at the marsh.

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The experience reminded me of how expansiveness free of obstruction welcomes flow. Whether it’s the flow of sound or the flow of movement or the flow of love or the flow of life.  Inhabiting our inimitable selves as generously as possible, with as few avoidable impediments possible, allows us to create ease, focus, openness and breadth that nourish vitality.

And living that expansively, that full of possibility?  Is a gift for those around us and the Universe.

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Photo credit: Middle–Nikki Carrara

 

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Tenacity and Resilience

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For my country, and her friends everywhere:

I remember another November day, way back in 1963, when we were taken home early from elementary school to mourn the tragic loss of our beloved President, John F. Kennedy. I remember reeling, bewildered and scared to death as our seemingly invincible elders sobbed, temporarily paralyzed.

While we may have felt that we couldn’t go on, we did. Sure, keeping on led us through more unspeakable tragedies–the assassinations of our beloved Bobby Kennedy and beloved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam war–and keeping on also led us to the realization of the expansive dreams and lofty goals our heroes had championed, reflecting our better selves: the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; Title IX and women entering the paid work force in unprecedented numbers; people landing on the moon, the election of our first black President and on and on.

Today, I am reminded of how great we have been, how great we are and how great we can be. And so, for me: tenacity; fierce expansiveness, and abundant kindness! LOVE 

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whispers of the heart


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I am your soul’s breath

warmed by desire

now caught, calling to you

I am the tingling

electrifying your skin, racing your pulse, echoing your heart

I am the smile

drenching your lips, igniting your eyes in delight:

passion’s undeniable

passion’s irrepressible

dance through the body,

heralds repeating

hear me! heed me!

and follow your heart

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“Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman

Photo credit: bottom–Nikki Carrara

 

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Loving, Generous and Unafraid

Find out what makes you kinder,
what opens you up and brings out
the most loving, generous,
and unafraid version of you—
and go after those things as if nothing else matters.
Because, actually, nothing else does.”~Nick Offerman

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Ah, yes.  Of course.

This lovely reminder showed up from a wise friend yesterday (http://amagicd.blogspot.com).   So many corners of the world seem to yearn for the kinder, the “most loving, generous and unafraid” versions of us.  Whether the world models this through her magnificence or cries out for us in her suffering.

Sometimes going after what inspires us to be our most expansive selves seems impossible-financially, logistically, physically, mentally, emotionally.  And yet, as Offerman sagely notes, that pursuit is ultimately what matters most.  The pursuit of realizing as fully as possible for as long as possible who we are and what we have to offer illuminates both our lives and the lives of those around us.

So today, because for me dancing works that magic, I planned to perform in a public art offering with several other dancers in a lovely town nearby.  The gusty, cold and rainy weather forced us to postpone…but another, unexpected opportunity to dance arose, so we jumped on it. Allowing us to connect with some other dancers and a talented musician who happened to be making a music video about an hour away.

As I raced to the theater, bobbing and weaving around traffic backups and directional miscues, I wondered for a moment what I was doing.  I had run out of the house with barely a goodbye, late for a gig with people, a venue and a project I didn’t know, an hour away.

Yet, so often, when we show up for our passion, our passion rewards us with untold riches. This adventure was no exception as we met and danced with new folks, joined a project that was full of hope and positivity in a gorgeous old theater being renovated as part of a city’s renaissance.

At one point,  I looked around at the other dancers rocking out.  I had met most of them a mere 10 minutes before.  As I was dazzled by the sparkle of all of their irrepressible grins, I heard Offerman’s words echo.  Feeling ever more deeply that this, this, indeed, is all that matters.

Imagine a world populated by billions expanding in their unique juju!  What’s yours?

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Photo credit: Top–Nikki Carrara

 

 

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grace rising

 

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like the majesty

breathed

by earth’s mystery

within

each of us:

possibility

promise

grace

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Write a thousand luminous secrets upon the wall of existence.”~Hafiz

 

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