I have a reoccurring conversation that disgruntles me.
I regularly speak to adults who didn’t grow up dancing and who want to learn a contemporary dance form, but they feel like they “don’t have anyone” to learn from.
the classes they’ve found aren’t satisfying,
the classes they’ve found hurt their bodies,
their local communities only offer non-professional classes (usually for kids and teens),
diving into the pro community with no skills is super intimidating so they’ve rejected the possibility,
they actually went to a class and dove right into learning choreography. They had fun the first few minutes when the sequence was short or easier, but then the instructor moved on, and on, and on. With rapidly dwindling confidence, they were left stumbling in the wake of a complex sequence. They became an outsider who felt the hollow sensation of not-fitting-in.
When you’re new to a form, learning a lengthy piece of choreography (maybe alongside people much younger or more skilled than you) is daunting, and dare I say, not very helpful. The length of many routines delivered in dance classes is unreasonable for the beginner. Depending on the dance form you are learning, choreography may not even be how the dance is meant to be practiced.
The first time I went to Hawaii, I was 4. When my parents told me we were going, I started crying. I wailed, 'I'm not going! I don't want to die’. I locked myself in my bedroom in protest.
I. Was. Not. Going.
We'd been watching nature TV (whatever the 1987 version was), and I saw a feature on Hawaii's volcanoes. As I understood it, Hawaii was covered in fiery death mountains, and anyone who went there was sure to burn alive.
My young attempts at autonomy were (luckily) foiled, and I was gifted with the most vivid memories of my childhood.
I remember feeling tropical air kiss my skin for the first time as I breached the airplane's exit. At the end of the mobile stairway, there was a line of locals there. They placed an orchid and plumeria lei around my neck. I'd never smelled flowers so sweet. Within the first 60 seconds, I was transformed.
Mom bought me a hula skirt with a red floral bikini top. I wore it over my tighty whities every minute of our visit. Droves of strangers complimented me. People loved the uninhibited costume and panty-rocking, I suppose.
I snorkeled for the first time in Hanauma Bay, saw Polynesian fire dance at a Luau, and wove palm fronds. I learned new words: 'mahalo', 'mahi-mahi', 'kahuna'. I learned about why Pele would not approve of me taking home a rock. It was delightfully different than Charlottesville, Virginia, where we lived at the time.
We even flew right over a spewing, glowing volcano in a helicopter. The extreme heat cooked my feet, but it didn't bother me at all when I was there.
The memories lack-chronology but there are full of color and sensation.
Coming back 31 years later has been very impactful.
Bringing you some new rolling bass to get your spine in motion.
Here are a few impactful books I’ve read recently:
The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker: Though this book is primarily written for those who organize social and corporate gatherings, I found loads of inspiration for my classes and events within. If you are interested in creating memorable, welcoming, and transformative experiences, check out this beautifully written book.
The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs: I knew this book would be heartbreaking, but I didn’t expect to gently carry it around the house for a day after I had finished it while I mourned the loss of the author and reflected on what it means to produce impactful creative work that lives beyond you.
Presence by Amy Cuddy: If you are interested in developing confidence and that elusive quality of authenticity, in yourself or your students, this book provides some great insights. I found myself taking notes on nearly every page about how I can apply these ideas to my dance practice and creative movement instruction.
Why take a normal group 📸 when you can revisit an important concept from the workshop and get a priceless video memory? (Yes, bouncing proved to be an irreplaceable exploration for this group ⬆️⬇️⬆️⬇️) The Portland Pole Flow Intensive’s willingness to try new things blew my mind. Every day, all 19 of them showed up down for absolutely anything. Amidst ample laughter, we saw movement quality breakthroughs and technical paradigm shifts.
I love teaching these Intensives because we take it waaay back to the most fundamental concepts of pole. Oftentimes, we take it so far back that those in attendance had never even considered, or been exposed to the concept.
When you are up for a deep look at what leads to ease, fluidity, presence, ‘lines’, and pattern-breaking, join me for a Pole Flow Intensive June 3-5, 2019 in Boulder, registration open now.
Pumpkin Flow Giveaway:
If you flow with a gourd of your choice between now and Nov 5, I’ll send you a code for $5 off any event or video.
Get busy with you pumpkin and catch it on video.
Post at least 15 seconds on FB or IG and tag #pumpkinflow and @flowmovement
Send us a message on either platform with the link to your video and we will send you your discount code.
Yesterday, I witnessed a group movement experience that I was SO glad I was not a part of.
After a month away and a week of living the truck driver life, I got a month-long pass to a nearby gym. It’s primarily a rock-climbing gym, but they have a weight room upstairs.
This particular gym runs some group conditioning classes inside of the weight room. While I was gleefully doing irreverent things on the back extension bench, a voice came over the loudspeaker letting everyone know that “Body Blast with Mr. Blasty Blast” [ok, not his real name] was starting soon. I thought, “Oh nice, I’ll get to see if I would ever want to join the class.” Consensus:
OH NO, I WILL NOT FUCKING EVER. (Unless you pay me. I’d consider it if money were involved.)