Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Growing Joy

Recently Kevin and I were privileged to perform at a grief support group in Littleton (pictures above not of this show, they are of the Boulder show July 2010). It was one of the most moving and unique "shows" I have ever done. We basically set up in a big empty room and performed for the 12 members of the group on their break between sessions. Ever since I started choreographing this piece ("that which was lost") I knew I wanted to eventually use it to reach out to those who are grieving and going through exactly what I have gone through.
One sweet woman came up to us afterward with tears coming down her face and thanked us for performing for them, telling us: "I have never been so moved by dance before." She asked what the music was from and I gave her the composer and title. This is exactly what I wanted-- to bring comfort and healing to those suffering through loss. It was one of the most rewarding things I have used my gift of dance for. It has turned my own personal grief into a vessel that others might, because they have seen the piece, heal and move on just a bit faster than they would have. These opportunities to perform have turned my sorrow into joy-- I am so grateful to be able to use such a difficult experience to reach out to others and help even just a little bit.

For more info on the piece and more pictures from the summer show, go to our facebook page dedicated to the grief outreach this piece has become:!/pages/that-which-was-lost-Grief-Outreach-Through-Dance/171242346221582

Please let me know if there is any venue, event, group or performance we might be able to be a part of.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kicking Nutcracker in the Head.

It's Nutcracker time again... We've officially hit the season again at my new dance company. The photo at the right is me as "Clara's Friend" in DTDT's production of Nutcracker two seasons ago. My bow was not cooperating for the photo and you can see I was frustrated, so my mom took full advantage of this moment to capture it :). Speaking of frustration, most ballet dancers who have hung on for more than 10 years in this career will tell you that they dread this time of year. This is because the sheer repetition of this ballet and its music sometimes makes a veteran "nut cracker" want to, even before the start of any rehearsals,  kick it in the head. I am happy to say I haven't felt this for this year's production yet. Maybe it's because I know I won't be rehearsing for hours daily (a guaranteed way to make ones head/toes explode), but only three days a week. Maybe it is the positive environment I find myself in. Whatever it is, I am glad to be dancing the roles of Frau Silberhaus (Clara's mom), Snowflake, Arabian solo, and Flower Demi-Soloist this year. Another reason to be excited-- I rarely get to dance sultry roles like Arabian, and even more rarely a role that denotes any age over the teens (ie a mom!).  It is nice to know I will be stretching the boundaries of what I've done in the past. Can I hear a WHATWHAT for artistic growth!

My initial reaction after this first week with the company-- I am very excited for several reasons: a) Not only are the dancers in the company fabulously talented, they all seem genuinely sweet and friendly already. b) The atmosphere is awesome-- supportive and appreciative. I feel at home there already which is a great sign for me.  c) Artistically, it seems to be a great place to be as well. We will be performing three shows before the end of the year. The director and ballet mistress seem excited to rehearse us and excited about the shows. As a company we do a mix of narrative story ballets (one of their well known pieces is "The Chase" about Charlie Chaplin, and we are doing a new ballet about Molly Brown's life in the spring), classical ballets (ie The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, etc) and contemporary pieces. It is a great mix and seems to suit my abilities well. Many companies today lean either toward just the contemporary or (less often) only the classical. The narrative story pieces are the ones that especially excite me, because of my theater and acting background.

Upcoming shows: We will have a collaborative Halloween show ("Monster Brass") with the Denver Brass on October 23rd at the Newman Center (2:30 and 7:30). We'll be doing the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "The Pink Panther" to the live music of the Denver Brass. 
November 7th (Sunday at 1 pm) we'll be performing with Zikr, a local dance company directed by David Taylor, at the Brooks Center in Denver. I'll be performing a solo and trio from the ballet "Napoli", a contemporary pas de deux called "Polar Equals" (with one pointe shoe!) to Nine Inch Nails, and "Peter and the Wolf." If you haven't seen me dance in awhile this will be a great one to come see because I get a lot of stage time.

And then of course Nutcracker at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theater December 11-12 (3 pm shows), and Dec 18-19th (also 3 pm shows)...
It's going to be a great season I think. It is nice to not want to kick Nutcracker in the head for sure, and I am really looking forward to seeing what else this year holds.