Watch “RAIN – an interactive poetic experiment” on YouTube


Dancers really need paid blogging services, I just can’t keep up.

But please!!! Give me some YouTube likes and participation in this new project! Be sure to read the WHOLE description and share with your friends. Coming soon, a FRAMe to the classic Mozart Moonlight Sonata with pianist Dyane Rogelstad.

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Copy, Create, Collaborate! – Choreography Challenge

Today’s addition to the growing 30 day choreography challenge was inspired by a phenomenal masterclass I just got to take with the Paul Taylor 2 dance company!!!

They are in residency at UNCC for three weeks while director Kim Jones resets Paul Taylor’s lost work TRACER.  The New York Times has featured the project this summer and I’m SO thrilled to get to see it when their done!  How Do You Reconstruct Lost Choreography?

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So here’s my Choreography Challenge Day 5 – Copy, Create, Collaborate!

COPY – Pull up a YouTube clip of one of YOUR favorite choreographers works and learn a few phrases. Notice how they move, what makes their technique unique, expressive, and emotional. Try to COPY it!! 2-3 phrases tops.

CREATE – As soon as it’s solid in your brain and body, and without peaking at the video, create your own 2-3 phrases. Memorize your work but don’t take too long with it!!

COLLABORATE – Put them together!   And make a video 😀

Time: 30 minutes tops

Journal: How did you feel learning the choreographers phrases?  Did your piece look anything like his/her work? What was different? What was the same?  Was it fun?

(disclaimer: I am not advocating steeling another persons choreography for personal profit. If you blog your work be sure to give appropriate credit for the inspiration!)

Have fun!

Choreography Challenge – the next submission! Days 3-4

Wow, life is really getting ahead of me these days! BUT I did have a chance to go down to the park and try out some new improvs for my 30 day challenge.  See my blog Choreography Challenge – First Days for days 1-2.

Day 3 is simple.  Get outside, warm up, and then find things that make SOUND.  You can use sticks in your hands, throw leaves, crunch them under your feet, or maybe find a great echo!  I found a bridge with nice vibrating thump that I could manipulate with my feet. And the railings made it even better!  As you warm up, play with what KINDS of different sounds you can get from your chosen objects/surroundings. Then improv 2-3 short phrases before moving on to another spot. DON’T overdo one area! The goal isn’t to create a masterpiece or have perfect technique, it’s to PLAY and walk away feeling more in tune with your world as a mover.

Here’s a couple videos I managed. One on the bridge, the other on a raised cement pad that was uneven.  The bugs out here are REALLY noisey so you may have to IMAGINE the kinds of sounds I’m making, haha! Oh well 😀  It’s all about surround sound right?!

In this improv I was inspired by the pad but also by the passers by and the possibility of shyly experimenting with the concrete where I’m not quite sure if IT, or others, would approve.

Day 4:  Yup, you guessed it.  Follow the same pattern but only use YOUR OWN body to make the sounds.  Shoes, clothes, skin, mouth? Why not! Hair? toes, bum, etc. etc. etc.

Contemplation, inspiration – Are we observing art or interpreting the artist?

It seems like ages ago that I went to the Goodyear Arts exhibit, but the thoughts the experience left with me have not changed.  In such a naked exhibition you are truly seeing the artist in their entirety, often in their own workspace!  Drafts are strewn on the tables, wire cuttings and clay mar the floor, and what is UP on the walls could be a finished project or just an experiment. I had a different mental, emotional and physical reaction to EVERY new space in the exhibit, and it’s hard to go to a gallery like that and NOT find yourself wondering how to give all the artists equal appreciation.  Is every exhibit even deserving of equal appreciation?  How do you decide?  This prompted me to find a quiet corner to journal in and ask more questions, and at the center of these questions was the one that prompted my title.  

When we express a reaction to an artists work are we observing the art,

or actually interpreting the artist?

When you talk about Van Gogh is it because you studied him, or his art?

For the purpose of discussion, let’s get on the same page about what is meant by “interpretation” and “reaction” (I understand that these change in different context). 

Reaction: Everyone reacts to art initially. Even the absence of obvious reaction is a sign of a reaction, but only if we include ALL of our senses in the list of possibilities.  The way our brains work it is more likely that your BODY will react to a stimulus before you can form a conscious thought.

Interpretation: I’m thinking of interpretation as the relevant application of a thought that comes from an observation, like that of appreciating a piece of art. By the time you’ve made a decision about whether you “like it” “don’t like it” or “are not sure” you have already filtered your reaction, beginning with your body, to the point of a comprehensible sentence in your native language, and your filter is YOU. Your WorldView, Presuppositions, etc.,  That phrase will then be followed by what you will DO about it rather quickly. Will you move on? Will you include a friend in your observation? Will you buy the piece? Will you review the dance?  And each of those actions is the result of, you got it, an interpretation.

So, for me, I think I would answer yes to my first question. I DO think that there is a strong sense in which a person’s observation of a piece of art is actually also an interpretation of the artist herself in some degree.  How does that make you feel?  Would you LIKE to be “interpreted”?  With no rules? 

This is really where I begin to think. EVERY other academic discipline, the sciences, humanities and literature have very strict rules for interpretation, but it is often the arts which produce contrary or avant garde ideas that can change the rules.  In other words, the arts change PEOPLE.  They are formative.  This art exhibition changed me!  So, should art appreciation be governed by rules?  Would that restrict artistry, or make it more popular? 

If I’m honest, my observations in the business world, religious studies sphere and stay-at-home parenting circle would suggest that more people might turn their creative juices to something artistic if they knew there were rules to protect them from attacks and negative criticism.  Do you want people to behave according to the rules when they interpret YOU and observe YOU? Why? Why not? 

And it is here that everyone will have a different idea or opinion and I’d like to hear them!  What do you think of my questions? My interpretations? Why should I care? 

Quirky Teachers and Underwear

After all our car troubles I have gotten WAY behind on writing my curriculum for the year!! So what am I doing for Labor Day?   I’m being a quirky teacher and exulting over coloring page websites and science projects 😀

Here’s our fantastic science curriculum resource for this year Blue World TV with Jonathan Bird who makes these fantastic videos:

Every webisode has lessons plans under the For Educators Tab, and many have full curriculum for older ages!  On OUR science day, we’ll watch a video and color sharks and whales from this great site:
Here’s how my schedule is working out –
  • Monday is MOVE day with piano, scarves and lots of giggles in our dance space,
  • Tuesday is NERD day where we’ll bathe in exciting science explorations,
  • Wednesday is ART day and we’ll get really messy!
  • Thursday is DO day where we get out the door and have an adventure! working in the garden, visiting the aquarium aquarium or learning about dirt in the park :D.
  • Friday will be FUN day, we’ll play games to review all our reading and writing lessons, we’ll whistle while we work cleaning up the house (so we can have some fresh underwear!!) and the yard, color more pictures, visit the library, the list goes on. 
Saturday is REST day, Resolved to Evade Sticky Tribulations day (or something like that 😉
Sunday is the BEST Day where we get to worship together and eat with our family.
Homeschool here we come!

Reading Music, but not

I found this gem on Facebook today and HAD to write about it.  I have to write about it because given that I can’t read sheet music well at all, my melodic emoting is barely discernible if I try to put it on paper.

You see, THIS is my alphabet:  E, A, G, B, E

and then they get crazy on you and ask you to play in the Am, but don’t mistake the major notes in that scale for minor ones. Playing songs in the Am does not necessarily mean that the Bm or the Em will be present. Confused? Yeah me too.

Anyway, enjoy this diddy about something guitarists never use. May this enlighten you!

Art and Car Trouble

Wouldn’t you know that the day I get to go SOAK in a free art gallery and relish the delight of resting in the presence of inspiration, would also be the day I don’t get home till 1am and have my car towed?  Yes it was.  Fortunately I overheated near the heart of traffic for the Friday Panthers game, so it was safe to walk the 20 minutes to the gas station and back.  Two friendly cops directing traffic also proved excellent guardian angels and made sure my little VW Golf didn’t get towed to an impound.  Not so fortunate was the car itself. She has a blown head gasket and possibly more internal damage since the cops gave me a limited choice on parking places that were a few hundred feet from where I first stopped.

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I maintain the grace and provision of God, however, since we’ve been offered the loan of TWO cars in the interim weeks, and friends from out of town were able to rescue me :D.

Enough about the car, let me tell you about the ART!!

I drove into Uptown Charlotte for the Goodyear Arts  July/August exhibition on Friday evening.  This arts center thrives on the truth that artists need “Space, Time, Money and Community” in order to do what they do.  Artists can reserve free studio space and enjoy the fellowship and critiques of fellow artists of all kinds!  There were no dancers or other performers at this month’s exhibition but I did find this ad 😉


I’m hoping to start something similar with the ArtsCharlotte Performing Arts group this coming year.  Since our group is a mix of dancers, actors and musicians our gatherings will be open places for people to move, improvise and create collaboratively.  Sound Fun? Sign up for our newsletter to stay tuned for updates!

The exhibition itself was very eclectic. You could easily tell that some of the painters and photographers were very new to their work, while others had a more defined aesthetic and talent in communicating it. For example, one artist had about 50 photographs on display of city bus stops.  I love the concept and instantly thought of a dirge of creative ways to tell that story! But the photographs were so identical in content and aspect that I felt bored, and didn’t return to the exhibit. Less wou
ld have been MORE in this scenario. By contrast, another artist used multiple spaces throughout the event center to treat her viewers to a multi-sensory experience of her art as you went from one to the next.  She used art, sculpture, enclosures, the written word, spoken word and sound to communicate her exploration of art and language.  It sensed a real flow from one portion of it to the next and walked through several times.

Could both have been better?  Yes. But isn’t that what we ALWAYS think about ourselves and our work?  The question is, did you take a risk?  Were you willing to let your self be seen through your art?  My constant effort in creativity, whether I’m writing a poem, setting a piece or writing school curriculum, is be excellent in my work and to LEARN something new.  It’s in communities like Goodyear Arts where the experienced and inexperienced can mix without fear, and we all help each other in the learning part of the process.  Overall, I enjoyed the whole adventure!

 During a video presentation I found a lit seat near the door to journal a few ideas about  art appreciation and interpretation, which I’ll go into more detail  on in my NEXT blog!