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?

Current Trend: 5 Favorites

So my husband, Scott D. Southard, does this thing on his blog where he features 5 things he is into right now. I thought I’d steal the idea. Here goes:

Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance by Janice Ross

On my birthday, I read this interview at Stance On Dance and it inspired me to pick up Ross’ book (again). Halprin’s philosophy of dance education, dance-making, and life in general hits close to home these days and is helping me articulate some of my own thoughts and feelings in these categories. The body-mind connection has been a point of direct interest within the last few months for me, as has the utility of dance for self-acknowledgement, self-assessment, self-reflection, and self-expression. This has lead me to weighing dance education and dance performance in a variety of ways. As I have been examining my own personal strengths in these categories, as well as my experiences in professional-track dance and liberal arts environments, this reading has been quite a welcomed source of connection to like-minded artists and educational guides.

Journaling

For my birthday, I received a new journal (always a great gift) and I have been putting it to good use as I sift and sort through the thoughts and feelings notes above. This newest book is the official Dr. Who licensed TARDIS journal inspired by the one owned by River Song in the series. Love.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company DVD recording of the final performance at the Armory.

Another b-day gift, this has been playing in my mind over the last week as I have been thinking about “tea-cup breaking” (to reference the opening anecdote in Ross’ book about Halprin) examples of dance-making by interesting dance-makers.

John Dewey, Educational Philosopher and hero.

I am so “Dewey-ian” in my approach to teaching in that I view every learner’s education to be individual. He just keeps cropping up in my life in various contexts. I have been inspired by him for some time but have been enjoying revisiting his influence on the development of dance education through pioneers such as Margaret H’Doubler, who shifted the role of dance in academic curriculum.

MAEIA, DITA, and other neat acronym-ed dance projects.

My work with the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project amps up again tomorrow and it appears I will be performing with DITA within the next few months. Details to follow as they become available…..