November 16, 2015
An entire season has passed since I last wrote to you. Here is an update and a glimpse into what is currently in progress with Cradle to Grave Arts:
Film of Threads and Thresholds
Over the summer, I selected footage from the two days that Leslie and I shot film at the Kent Museum in Calais during our weekend dress rehearsals. Those selections are now with Lukas Huffman who made such an excellent film of Dear Pina. I am excited to see what he creates. I will notify you when it is complete and posted on my website.
Coulter Cluett is in his second year as my student and I have included another – Lisa Spencer (see photo below). We meet at Contemporary Dance in Montpelier on Mondays where I mentor each of them individually in 2+ hour blocks. Once a month, we delve into duet ideas for 4 hours. My main goals are to: encourage their explorations to find and cultivate their own movement language; match them with other teachers in the area who are doing extraordinary technique and kinesiology work; give them support in understanding their instrument (body); and discuss questions that arise about the world of contemporary dance. I love this work and always leave the studio filled with energy.
Once a month, I am teaching an Improvisation Laboratory at the Flynn Theatre in Burlington. This morning class is open to all levels and focuses on the core technique in what is considered the deepest study for dancers. It is followed by Looking Deeper masterclasses. I have been the curator of this series for two years, bringing in world-class contemporary dance artists to lead our community of dance makers in various avenues of inquiry. We are fortunate to have them in our state. For November, Dai Jain was our teacher. He was a member of Trisha Brown Dance Company for several years and is currently gaining his masters at Bennington, after which he will move to France as a freelance dancer.
My partner Dave is working on a piano quartet. I am working on a duet to the music. We hope to have something to show in the spring. I will keep you posted.
I have another site-specific project in the wings but need help securing permission to use the site. Ever since I moved to this part of Vermont, I have looked longingly at the flooded granite quarries near Barre that I pass on my drive home. I have selected one and am seeking the person/partner who will bring the various civic players on-board. If you have a suggestion, please be in touch.
All donations to Cradle to Grave Arts are tax-deductible and help make possible the creation, development and presentation of contemporary dance in Vermont. This year, your monetary gift will make it possible for Cradle to Grave Arts to pay me to train Lisa. As of now, I am working pro bono with her. She is a single mother who eeks out a living with Pilates/ gardening/housecleaning. I was close to her age of 33 when I too was smitten with dance. She has enormous potential as a dance artist. Click here to make a secure donation. A year of my mentoring Lisa = $5000 (10hrs a month x $50 = $500 x 10 months)
Finally, for the past 2-3 years, I have been receiving a weekly newsletter from a woman dance artist (Joanna Rotkin) in the Boulder, CO area. Her thinking and articulation about this art form brings me to laughter, tears and gratitude. We are part of a large group of artists who are creating a web of radiance in this otherwise often bleak world. What we have to give to others is needed, maybe more than ever. Here is how she describes her first time in an improvisation class:
I was told to follow what was true for me, rather than focus on what I looked like or if I was doing it right. I had no idea what this meant, how to do it, or why this instruction was given.
But I came back to the class, over and over and over again.
I slowly began to soften in my belly, and for the first time in my dancing life, I had a felt sense of my body. I had a felt sense of who I was in relationship to everything around me. I had a felt sense of my connection to the earth, and I discovered the larger delight of following my own instinct, intuition, and knowing.
Lisa and Coulter