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?



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!


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.

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! 

Choreography Challenge – First Days

I must confess that I’ve bit off quite a bite trying to write and DO my own choreography challenge, but it’s coming along!  For those who don’t know yet, I’m creating a 30 day challenge of creativity for MOVERS.  At present it’s 30 days that can be in more or less days depending on the schedule of the Mover :), because if you’re like me you have a lot going on.

So I’ve written two days of challenges so far.  Day 1:  The first is to take photos or videos of creative movement inspired by your household chores! Everyone has them, we all loathe how they get in the way of our imagination, so USE IT.  While it might feel mundane, I found that trying to do dishes, play with my children and take these photos was a lot of fun and gave me a much broader perspective on the kids of creative inspirations in my own home.  I recommend repeating this one.

Day 2: This exercise is straight from the Intimate Act of Choreography with a slight adaptation.  Chapter 3 on Speaking Body isolates the specific movement of body parts in order to help the mover to be able to speak LOUDER and more poignantly with even the smallest appendage. How?  By experimentation of course!

Body Discovery (pg 17) Start with your hands, your non-dominant hand, and begin moving it.  Make small movements and gestures taking pains not to move any other part of your body.  This is where I deviated a bit. I started my improve while on a late night walk :).  Sometimes I just can’t sit still but I’ve done this improv both ways and they are both fantastic for different reasons.  Let your had become more animated, then let it start moving your arm joint by joint and JUST as you get to the shoulder, pass the movement over to your other hand.  Again, begin small.  Next try it with your toes and feet, then let your feet and arms dance together. “Com on, hand, try to ripple, spurt, stiffen, quiver, clench, scratch, hang, pulsate, drum, point….[Let it] show off a bit! It likes that…throw it away.”  Now do this with other body parts.

I recommend trying this for several days in a row, either for Days 3-5 or overlapping the next challenges.  Body discover is a lot like massage. The more you release the mental muscles the more parts of your “speaking body” you will discover.

That’s what I’ve got for today! I’ll create several more this week and post them over the weekend…Stay tuned :D.


Poetry Competitions -A Part of My Art Journey


I’ve entered my first writing competition with a piece of poetry and am preparing submissions for two more; a local competition here in South Carolina (we moved. Long story) and the annual Reader’s Digest poetry/short story competition.

I’ve always doodled poems and story ideas in my homework margins and journals, mostly children’s poetry and adventures in literature, but have never taken time to see about publishing or sharing beyond family.  So, this is exciting.  It would be fantastic if I could actually make a little pocket money on the side with my stories 😀 and a wonderful legacy for my children who inspire much of it.

WE shall see….;) 2016-07-18 20.17.11

Who Has Seen the Wind – a part of my art journey

I was so surprised to be allowed to perform a dance piece last semester for a seminary theology class.  The purpose of the project was to reflect a certain point of theology and integrate it with a practical area of ministry in which we find ourselves.  For me, my dancing has always been worship, but with a deep desire to go beyond the perceived “liturgical” dance traditions common to western Christianity, and use the art to challenge perception, create questions, and demonstrate its unique beauty.

So, with that I am VERY excited to announce my next dance performance in the community!


The Promenade  is an outdoor location, pictured below. The piece will be performed around the fountain at about this time of the evening.

2016-04-21 20.11.37.jpg

Choreography is almost finished. Now it’s only a matter of the weather 😀

Making Culture

In his book Culture Making, Andy Crouch writes that ” In cultural creativity, innocence is not a virtue.” 

This is a constant challenge for modern Christians who want to make new culture, but refuse to immerse themselves enough in the existing cultures to understand them. Crouch’s point is the more nitty gritty details we know about our world the more powerful our creations will be. 


One of my own biggest criticisms of Christian culture in America, and Crouch agrees, is the pitiful efforts at responding to Hollywood with culturally barren films. They are getting a little better through the years but they are still failing to enter the mainstream audience of our country.  Rarely do such efforts by Christian groups seek to cultivate the existing parts of a culture, like movie making, with an eye to preserve what is already good. The art of good acting, for example, which takes thousands of hours to perfect.  The beauty of a well shot scene developed through even more countless hours of understanding light, motion and sound.  Or perhaps a kind of storytelling, often used to convey all sorts of messages with great success but passed off by a Christian director because it’s “secular”.

We often think that innocence is a virtue to be prized and protected, but we have mistaken righteousness for innocence, those are two different things.  “Be holy” says the man who ate dinner with prostitutes, thieves, atheists and homosexuals.  True righteousness is not what we make but what God makes of us. Innocence is ignorance.  Some kinds of ignorance are good and healthy, such as that in the development of a young child.  But if we are truly going to change culture, we must get our hands dirty.  In trying to preserve what was never ours to determine, what is holiness and righteousness, we have neglected our role as keepers and makers of culture.


In this statue commemorating the child who was never born, I grieve the loss of generations of children who are lost because of our failure to engage culture in a way that captured their hearts with the beauty of goodness, the adventure of creating with the Creator, and the inspiration of true freedom.

Perhaps we should take a note from Mr. Wilde and decided to “draw”.