Posts Tagged ‘dance’

Friday link roundup 4/28

The complicated relationship between men and dancing. Discusses social stigma, cultural factors, and more.

Do you remember in 1997 when actress Rachel Leigh Cook did a “this is your brain on drugs” PSA? She’s back with an updated PSA about the implications of the war on drugs and race. This time, the PSA tells the story of the lives of two drug users: one who gets caught and one who doesn’t.

Musician Lorde opens up about her experience with synesthesia.

Reflections from Dr. Elaine Aron on neurodiversity and highly-sensitive people (HSPs).

NASA has made their media library more accessible to the public.

New evidence suggests that humans arrived in the Americas earlier than previously thought. 

The list of national monuments that are being reviewed (for potential reduction or elimination) by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Trying out the movement forms: Contemporary Dance.

Nia is based on the energies and movement forms of the dance arts, healing arts, and martial arts.
I have been curious if trying out some of these movement forms individually would help me gain insight and more body awareness in my Nia practice, and possibly help me on the whole. The dance arts include modern dance, jazz dance, and Duncan dance. In January, I tried a contemporary dance class.

I had taken a few modern dance classes before, but it was more of a sampling: a few in sixth grade, a lesson as part of my Dance History course in college, and a class with my expressive arts movement teacher.

The contemporary dance class I took over a month ago was the first I’d taken since before I started taking Nia classes. I vaguely remembered my experiences before: it was sometimes challenging for me to feel fluid and present in the moves. I remember feeling self-conscious as I moved across the floor.
This time around, I was in better physical shape and could keep up better. When the teacher talked about the 8-count, I could hear it in the music. I have more body awareness.

We started with a 20-minute warm-up. I realized then that while I could keep up to a certain extent, I wasn’t in that kind of shape. I haven’t done that kind of intense conditioning, at least not consistently. Also, a big part of the class was learning a section of a routine. Since it was a mixed-level class, there were varying degrees of skill and experience. I felt like I was straining to keep up.  Also, I’m still not that familiar with modern dance/ballet terms.

Nia allows more freedom; this dance class required more precision. Having to learn parts of a routine within a short period of time also makes it feel more performance-based. Nia involves more simultaneous leading and following; this class involved a demonstration, trying it out, more demonstrating, and trying it out again.

Overall, I care less than I did before about whether I do things right or wrong. I know from my experience in learning Nia routines that repetition is key, and sometimes I will repeat movements again and again and again until I get it, and sometimes that’s after many times of fumbling. I have to throw away thoughts of good or bad and be with what is. My perfectionist tendencies can get in the way of moving freely, so I often acknowledge the thoughts and then push them to the side and continue moving. Overall, this meant that I was less hesitant about trying the movements. I was still somewhat self-conscious, but I went into it and did the best that I could.

I would say that that particular class wasn’t the best fit for me. If I could find a beginning contemporary/modern dance class, that might be more my style. It would be ideal for me begin closer to the beginning, to be able to keep up more easily with others in the class. What I did take away was that more warm-up and conditioning could be helpful for me in my regular movement practice.

Friday link roundup 10/28

While I think it’s important to follow the U.S. presidential election, sometimes I feel bombarded by the amount of coverage. NPR provides 5 random facts that are not about the election to provide a little respite.

Need a reason to move or dance in community? The benefits of moving in-sync and social movement.

A contrast of events and outcomes this week: White armed occupiers were aquitted. Native American were teargassed.

Halloween is this coming Monday. Here’s a synopsis of how people celebrate Halloween and similar holidays across the globe.

Friday link roundup 8/5

Am I A Dancer Who Gave Up? A dancer and activist responds to the question: “Did you have any sort of breakdown when you gave up on your dreams?” and discusses how her dream got bigger.

Struggling with insomnia? There’s a series of ingeniously boring podcast bedtime stories specifically made to help people fall asleep.

How to Listen When You Disagree: Whether it’s about a controversial issue (as in this case, where the author stood outside the Republican National Convention and offered space to listen about anything people might want to share) or something smaller, this post gives  insight about how to listen to people’s differing opinions – and to understand that behind strong opinions, there can be very personal stories.

In this post, a disturbing train ride brings a white woman new perspective on racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sometimes a career change can allow someone to “bloom” again:  Lisa Congon talks about her journey from schoolteacher to successful artist and blogger.

Beginning.

The Fool card

The Fool card from my Oracle Card deck

The Fool: Beginner’s Mind. Stepping into the Unknown. Spontaneity. Trusting the process.

It’s challenging for me to be a beginner. To acknowledge my mistakes and use them as learning tools, instead of weapons. I’m a recovering perfectionist with high standards. While I have generally learned to adjust my standards to a more realistic level, I still sometimes find myself doubting my abilities when I’m learning something new.

I step into teaching Nia and I am determined. I practice often, I watch the DVD to review the moves and cueing. When I don’t get something the first or fourth time, I listen, watch, and try again.

I step into teaching and I am vulnerable. After class, I sometimes have this feeling like I’ve just shared an important piece of myself. It’s vulnerable to show where I am in the learning process. I’m not exactly polished; there is a rawness to some of my movements. I I stumble at times, which sometimes causes the students to stumble or pause. In those moments, I make a mental note and keep going.

I’ve been given a gift: One of my Nia teachers, who teaches three classes a week, needed a little bit of a break. She offered me one of her weekly classes for the next two months, which is most of my remaining time here before my wedding and move. Yes, I have to pay rent to the studio, but I don’t have to promote my own class. I can still dance with my regular early morning Nia community – I get to teach people I know.  While subbing for my teachers, I appreciate the experience, and it’s not consistent enough. In order to learn to teach, I need to teach regularly. For the next two months, I’ll be teaching every Monday.

Now, I have the opportunity to practice. I get to practice being a beginner. I get to practice hearing my doubts, the voices that speak to frustration. I’m learning to hear what they have to say, take any useful feedback, and keep going.

I’m learning. I’m beginning. There’s something beautiful and raw about a time where not knowing gradually becomes knowing. Where doing something new slowly becomes an intentional practice. And hopefully, where teaching Nia becomes a vital and regular part of my life.

Nia: Continuing to step in

I have now been practicing Nia for two years. As of this week, I have taught five Nia classes, filling in as needed when my teachers are on vacation.

When I’m in the middle of teaching, I am very present. I stumble at times, and I keep going.  I also find more ways to play, to be silly, to decide and say things in the moment.

Sometimes, afterwards, I feel exposed, vulnerable. Like I’ve opened myself to others and it was beautiful and heart-ful and also very deep. Sometimes, when I get home after teaching, I want to crawl underneath the covers for a few minutes and stay there. In reality, I don’t, but I acknowledge the feeling. I tell myself to keep going, that this feeling doesn’t mean that something is wrong or out of place. The truth is: as I dance more, as I teach more, the more in place I feel. There’s something about this that feels natural, and other parts of it feel uncomfortable. It is exposing. It is new. And it also feels like home.

I find myself thinking: I want to do this more. My body and spirit crave it.

On Tuesday, I found myself giving suggestions for modifications for someone with an injured hip and I realized I sound like I know what I’m talking about. I’m going to check an anatomy book out of the library so I can become more familiar with specific muscle names.

I see the ripple move throughout my life, the confidence I’m gaining, how the strength and agility of my body helps me feel like I’m more solidly here. The way I experience music continues to change, the way I sense the beat and how I move to it. I feel more connected to the energy and around me, more connected to myself.

Friday Link Roundup 5/20

How to Avoid the Trap of Self Improvement. How self-compassion and mindfulness may be more important than striving for a set goal.

There are many types of grief. This article addresses three that aren’t often discussed.

I didn’t know Emily Dickinson was an amateur botanist. Knowing this fact kind of makes me want to go back and read her poems in a new light. The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson.

“See what it looks like when you teach women in prison to dance.