Movement Connects

This week, I co-led MAEIA Re-Ignite!- a day-long Professional Learning event for the Michigan Arts Education and Instruction project (MAEIA). We used Simon Sinek‘s The Golden Circle as a lens to reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the arts-education community at large. Representatives from individual schools, school districts, local and state arts organizations, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), Creative Many Michigan, the State Policy Pilot Program (SP3) and the Michigan Department of Education were present. It was a moving day, one in which I felt reconnected to people and the ideas which have driven my work through the years.

There were a few important lessons which I needed to hear, and ironically, came out of my own mouth. Have you ever had that experience? For me, it is one of the motivations for presenting. I am often reminded that the answers to questions I am holding ARE in fact inside of me.

This time:

-Movement connects.

The purpose of my work is to reconnect people to themselves, to each other, and to the world-at-large. For a few years, I have been calling my community-driven, movement class Creative Self-Care. What we do, though, is process life in broad terms and for the invididual to apply the more narrow terms. Sometimes I get distracted by the what/how of what I am doing– worrying too much, perhaps, about the movement modality and less about the purpose.

-Go to the people.

This can be conceptually, but it can also be physically. I am currently without a base studio to work out of but have a list of community, arts, and academic venues. I am currently booking classes and workshops for the coming year which are taking me into interesting spaces with interesting intersections of people. (Let me know now if you’d like to book!)

-Operate from openness.

Anytime you plan a big event, propose to move people away from their standard operating positions, there is risk. Though I enjoy presenting and do this often, there is always vulnerability involved- bringing with it a vulnerability hangover (as coined by Dr. Brené Brown). But it is ALWAYS worth it.

-Communities make change.

We need each other. We rely on each other to hold us accountable, honest, and to drive the work further. Even when doing the internal work to improve ourselves, it is helpful to do this with a community of others to remind us the work is worth it, and so are we.

I am ever so grateful for the movement and education communities to which I belong for pushing me to dig deeper and be better. For reminding me I am not working in isolation, and for sharing vulernabilities, discoveries, experiences, and stories.

What have you been up to this week?

Biting Your Own Teeth

According to Pinterest (I know, I know) Alan Watts said, “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

I have written about defining and labeling at several points over the years on this blog as well as for Dance Advantage.

I am in the midst of change with my relationship to dance and the proportions of focus through which I see and do. I think I write that every summer.

In my graduate study, I explored a movement curriculum as a method to alleviate symptoms of PTSD. Over the years, my teaching has taken principles of that work and implemented it into the structure of my classes as I worked with at-risk youth and others. I am finding myself currently drawn back into that world as I embark on some projects this summer. More on that to come.

This year, Daria Halprin’s book The Expressive Body in Life, Art, and Therapy: Working with Movement, Metaphor, and Meaning has never been far out of reach.  It has been influential and it brought me to this (page 64) about dance therapy pioneer Mary Starks Whitehouse, “She first called her approach movement in-depth and later authentic movement. She remarked that a significant turning point was the day when she realized that rather than teaching dance, she was teaching people. More than theory or philosophy, the inner life of the mover was of primary interest to Whitehouse. For her, movement was a way of becoming conscious more than a way to “act out”.” And here I am.

I have many friends navigating the waters of change right now: people leaving classrooms, leaving traditions, leaving fields, leaving relationships, leaving countries.

Change equals movement.

Once upon a time, I wanted to use my teaching to produce dancers. Then it was to also produce thinkers. Now it is also to help guide people to the knowledge they already hold. Do you see it? It is and, and. Not either/or.

Movement changes what we think and how we think it. What we think changes how we move.

I am observing the consciousness surfacing through my own movements. I am curious about the consciousness of inner life for these friends of mine as they move. I am finding the more I drop the labels and definitions, defense and offense, I am able to honor more of who I am rather and what I offer. My inner life is more thoroughly realized. I wonder if they are feeling the same.

I have spent years, decades actually, defining.            I want to stop.

I think the challenge of change hasn’t been about the change itself- the tasks, the environment, the affiliations. It has been about the shift in definition. If I am this now, does it mean that I am no longer that? No. At least not in my situations. It is altering the proportions, gaining more dimension by accumulating “ands”.

How are you moving these days? What is surfacing? What are you accumulating?