Saturday, January 7, 2012

Resolution No 1

I have been trying to decide what my New Years Resolution will be and out of the many possibilities.....too many unfortunately....... I have finally started to follow Matt Cutt's advice and have chosen a 30 day activity. So from 3 mornings ago, as I wait for my kettle to boil to make a cup of tea, I create a small dance sequence. My goal is to keep going for the full 30 days. No worrying if is good or bad, or athletic enough or even interesting. Just doing it is fine at the moment. I calculate if I create 15 seconds a day by the end of the 30 days I will have 7 1/2 minutes of dance that can be cut and pasted, turned upside down, danced backwards, danced fast and slow, improvised on and generally played around with.

I find I am someone who functions best with some sort of structure in my life. The Zen way of letting life unfold and simply responding as I mentioned last week is fine in the improvisation class but for me something is missing and that is a goal. After a week of holiday I start getting tetchy and being around me can be a bit explosive.......I might attend to this issue as a resolution as well.......because I don't like being unfocused.

If I didn't have the goal of a performance at the end of the year to choreograph I am sure I would never have made any dance at all. I would have always found an excuse mainly that I was not ready or good enough but "needs must" and consequently this goal has helped me in my own small way develop a choreographic muscle. My dance may not change the world I but I love doing it all the same.

I wonder if others out there find the need for a goal important for their well being. Or if not, what are your strategies in making life meaningful? I would love to hear.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

To Make Resolutions Or Not To Make Resolutions

Oh no its resolution time! And what am I to do? There is so much to improve.....myself, my relationships, my home, the job that I do. Where do I start? I am exhausted and need a lie down or another glass of wine to help me get over the stress of so much needing to be fixed!

But I am taken with Matt Cutt's TED talk on Trying Something New for 30 Days. He started out cycling and ended up climbing a mountain. He makes the point that small sustainable changes are likely to stick rather than the big, grandiose notions of betterment that I have a tendency to go in for.

So where will I start? Keeping my fridge organised and throwing out what is past its used by date would be a good start. Drinking more water. Making a contact list for the school. Learning to be more computer savvy. Keeping up my Yoga practise during the holidays so I am not terribly stiff after the first week of classes. Writing this blog once a week. Agghh....

And then I think maybe accepting where I am right now is the best thing to do. Life will go on and I just have to show up and do what has to be done at that moment as best I can. And can it be bad when there is so much lovely dancing in my life like the class this photo was taken from?

But climbing a mountain does sound interesting....perhaps I should jump on my bike straight away!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Love iTunes!

This is a section of my CD collection and it is not a pretty sight. CDs were supposed to be indestructible but they are certainly not in my hands....especially the cases. But now that I have discovered iTunes this mess is a thing of the past.

Not only I am doing away with the mass of CD's cluttering up my home, it is also costing me much less. Previously I would hear a track that I thought would be just right for class and buy the CD. I would be lucky if I would use more than 3 tracks per disc...sometimes less.

Now I listen to Breakfast or Drive on ABC Classic FM, hear a track that catches my fancy, find it on the playlist published on the ABC website, search on iTunes, buy it for $1.69, put it on my iPod and off to teach I go. Fantastic! I'm in love with the technology! Not only that Ping makes suggestions that are similar to what I have downloaded.

The following tracks are my latest discoveries and how I use them.

The composer Einaudi was a major find for relaxation and finely articulated gesture. Particularly "Igioni".

Lily's Eyes has a track "Sakura" which is also relaxing.

For traveling in different ways the following have been very helpful:

"Say Django" Kora Revolution
"Spring-Migrant's Return" Howard Goodall
"Jota" Vallancios Dances
"Flute Concerto in B Minor" Neapolitan Flute Concertos
"Andante e Rondo ungarese Op 35" Karen Geoghegan
"Paris Texas" Gotan Project
"The Sinister Minister" Bela Fleck
"Saxophone Concerto" Eduardo Larez
"Playful Pachyderm" New London Orchestra

New music can spark up a class when one is feeling a little jaded and repetitive so I hope some one will find something of use here. I would love to hear anyone else's new faves.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It is almost a year to the day since I last blogged and what a year it has been! It seemed best not to write about how I felt if the world needs more talk of failure and despondency. The comings and goings in the school, a knee injury, general feelings of stress and doubts of the value of what I do were best kept to myself, though my friends certainly heard about them. Now through to the other side I am glad I didn't throw in the towel and I am looking forward to 2012 with great enthusiasm.

One of the interesting things I found during this time was the meaning that emerged through two dances my teenagers and I created for our Performance. From random movement sequences arrived at through improvisation we started to build dances that were about transitions. One in the Spring part of the Performance (our Performance, Bzzz, Ahhh, Woosh, Brrr, was an exploration of the Seasons) was called Growing Pains, the other in the Winter part called Dulciate was about looking back and the looking forward. As they are teenagers this is very much part of their life right now but also mine. The transition from the classes only being taught by me and the school only being my vision to being more open to other teachers and ideas has taken some time and struggle.

If I had not been in this frame of mind would their dances have ended up being about something else? How much does our state of mind influence those around us? How much does it contribute to what we see as our reality?

I was reminded of my friend and colleague who was going through a particularly difficult time one year. In her Performance there were many pieces where the dancers leaned on each other or supported each other in some way to music that whilst very beautiful was quite sad.

Has anyone had similar experiences? I would love to hear.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Here are my own Christmas Angels! How lucky am I?

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous, wonderfully creative and fulfilling year with all the dancing you desire. May your dreams come true.