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Wild Life

I know this is a newsletter about dancing, but there is so much wildlife happening here this summer, I can’t stand it!
1. Hummingbirds in the courtyard.
For the past month we have been watching hummingbird parents fly in and out of the nest they built, to sit on their eggs. 

Recently the eggs cracked open and now the parents swoop in every half hour or so to feed the baby birds, whose beaks point straight up into the sky.  The babies open up their beaks and urgently reach when the mother or the father fly in to feed.

 

The nest the hummingbirds built is stunning:  there are bits of flower petals — yellow and purple — mixed in with the weeds and the grass.

 

2. Coyotes howling, wild turkey’s fighting, deer feasting, last summer the sighting of a moose (not this summer though, at least not yet), bunnies hopping, bob cats prowling, foxes darting, ravens roosting,

 

3. AND my most favorite moment of all (I’m soooooo jealous I missed it):

 

A mountain lion sauntered in front of our house last week, in the middle of the day, bolted up the mountain, jumped on a deer, KILLED THAT DEER, and then ran.

In the middle of the day, right in front of our house!

 

Glen, who saw it all, said the whole thing happened in seconds.

We looked at the body of the deer through our binoculars until the mountain lion came back that night and dragged her to a more secure location, to feast in private, I guess.

 

Awhile back, maybe 5 years ago or so, I was taking my morning hike and I came across the body of a deer. It totally freaked me out, and it took me a few seconds to realized what had happened.

 

I remember thinking, “Murder. There’s been a murder”, which of course is a silly way to think about it, but that’s what popped into my head when I saw the body. I stared at that body, covered in sticks and leaves, wondering who was trying to hide the evidence.

 

For the next week or so, I hiked up there every day, and watched as a part of the deer disappeared until all that was left was a pile of fur.

 

What this has to do with dancing, I have no idea, except for this:
At every wild sighting I see, I exclaim “Ah” and “Oh” and “Hmmm” with a little burst of breath at the end of each exclamation.

 

And those sounds, as I’ve mentioned before, also happen in class.

 

No matter how hard I try to keep quiet, a sound creeps out of me, as surprise and beauty spill into the world.

 

“When before the beauty of a sunset or a mountain, you pause and exclaim, “Ah,” you are participating in divinity.”  — Ancient Hindu Text.

 

Let’s add dancing in there too.

 

With Warmth,
Joanna
of
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending
www.joannaandtheagitators.com
So many PS’s today, you might want to get your calendar out! 

1.
Free Community Dance Classes:
Tuesday, September 5th
Thursday, September 7th
10:15am-12:15pm at The Boulder Circus Center.

2.
Fall Dance Session:
The Anatomy of Improvisation
Tuesday, September 12th – Thursday, December 14th.
10:15-12:15pm at The Boulder Circus Center.

3.
First Friday of the Month Dance Club:
Practicing and presenting improvisational performance

Meet at The Boulder Circus Center the First Friday of each month from 5-7pm.
October 6th
November 3rd
December 1st
January 5th 
February 2nd
March 2nd
April 6th
May 4th
Showings on January 5th and May 4th.

4.
Dog Dance:
Next Performance of Dog Dance is on Friday, August 18th
Next Learning to Dog Dance Workshop is on Saturday, August 19th.

If you’re interested in participating in any of the above offerings, email me.

xoxoxoox

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2017-03 Adult Class Thu 19s

The Hum of the Pelvic Floor

We’ve been dancing from the pelvic floor these last few weeks in class.

 

At the end of one such class, when the buzz between everyone was especially high, Agness said,  “This strong connection between all of us today…I think it’s being generated from the hum of the pelvic floor.”

 

We continued to speak about the pelvic floor in more detail, where it’s located and how it’s held in the body.

 

We spoke about the pelvic bowl, a basket-like structure where the organs, like fruit, sit and hover just above the floor of the pelvis, where there is a hum, isn’t there?

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2017-03 Adult Class Thu 08s

love and fear

In a little dance studio, out in the fields, the last rural outpost within the city limits, down a dirt road, only land, all around, doors and windows thrown open to the prairie and the wind, the sound of meadow larks filling the space, under the radar and far from the mainstream — something is brewing.

 

As this country unravels at breakneck speed, we are slowing down.

 

The dance we are doing in this little studio on the edge of town is unhurried and meandering.  It’s a tiny blip in a world that can be mean.

 

But it’s our blip, and as this country and the current leaders of it, break the codes that keep us standing, we keep dancing, in that unhurried and meandering way.

 

Valuing stillness as much as movement, and silence as much as sound, this dancing:

 

Can it keep a world that is falling, or so it seems, aloft and possible?

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Between Everything and Nothing

It’s a fine line between everything and nothing, and I am only at the beginning of understanding this.

I fall off the line daily — bumbling along, until I climb back up and try again.

For me, everything is:

  • Bodies moving across the earth while carving into air.
  • Bodies expanding and contracting with other bodies that are also moving across earth, carving into air.
  • Breath:  my own and others’.

That’s the balance I’m trying to find on the little line that I am forever walking.
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Women and Guns

I am making 2 ginormous assumptions about the 400 or so of you who read this newsletter every week.

1.
I assume that each and every one of you respects, cares about, and is kind to women.  True, yes?

2.
I assume that you feel the same way about guns that I do.  I have no idea if this is true or not.

I am bringing this up because two things happened on my vacation last week related to these assumptions.

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what if you danced more?

Like, everyday?
10 minutes, right after you wake up perhaps.
Roll out of bed, find your way to the floor.
Notice your breath, see what arises and follow the thread, first thing in the morning.
Two students of mine have been doing this for awhile now.
They made a pact with each other — a simple nod when they see each other in class — “I’m dancing every morning…you?”
What’s happened is that they are able to “drop-in” more quickly, with more depth, and for longer periods of time.

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2017-03 Adult Class Thu 26s

Looking for Legs

My mom started taking a cocktail of medications for nerve pain in her lower back a few months ago.

Because of the mix of meds she’s on, she’s hallucinating now and then.

She’s clear and bright eyed when she re-counts her latest sighting:

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2017-03 Adult Class Thu 13s

i’m nervous that i’m not sweating

I know that’s weird, but it’s true.

 

I thought dancing was about sweating and breathing hard:  hands on knees after a long and complicated sequence of movements, or a melt to the ground to rest and recuperate after spinning and leaping, catching and falling.

 

That’s what I’ve known and loved for many many moons, and yet it isn’t what I’m following these days.

 

Even if I try to make that happen, I can’t seem to find it right now.

 

Even when I’m pulled into a current of sweat and breath and balance, I step out at some point to follow my weight instead, bringing myself back down and into gravity.

 

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

 

I thought I was one way, and now I’m another.

 

I thought I understood, and now I don’t.

 

I thought I inhabited this human form with a set of rules and expectations when it came to dancing and yet…this isn’t so.

 

I can’t seem to settle and rest, until I do.

 

And when I do — rest — I become curious about the body in space, carving through earth and air, as others also carve, draw, push through, and emerge.

 

I’m a mistake maker.

 

I make mistakes multiple times throughout each day:  small ones that nobody notices but me, bigger ones that get a side glance from time to time, and then the gigantic ones, where I have to clean up the mess I’ve made.

 

Is this one of those mistakes?

 

Have I made a mistake by turning my attention to the interior when I dance?

 

Have I made a mistake by opting out — at least for now — on the bigger, grander, more understandable way of dancing?

 

Have I made a mistake by not working harder, longer, faster?

 

Sometimes my mind does that thing where it wraps around itself.

When that happens, I can’t find the quiet of what I know.

 

I search and grab and search and grab, and then the dancing is flat and mundane, no matter how big, or how fast, or how strong.

 

But when I come up and out for air, I can feel it:   The outside is the same as the inside when the inside is given the time to slow down.

 

Then it doesn’t matter if it is a spin or a fall, a roll or a jump, a balance on one leg, or a crumple to the ground.

 

It’s all coming from the same place:  the body as animal — sniffing around, scratching at the earth, digging a hole, running through the woods, being still, and burrowing in.

Your dance mission for the week is to do just that:

Sniff
Scratch
Dig
Run
Be still
And burrow in.

 

Dog Dance is happening this Friday Joanna.
There’s a workshop called “Learning Dog Dance” the very next day.
Let me know if you are interested in joining me for one or either of these weekend events, and I’ll send you all the info.

 

With Warmth,
Joanna
of
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending
www.joannaandtheagitators.com

2017-03 Adult Class Thu 22s

Dancing and Aging

“To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.”
— Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

 

Immediately after reading this,  I received an email from Johannah discussing her experience in class this past Friday.

 

Johannah has been taking class with me since I started teaching in 2003, and the Friday class has been a struggle for her at times:   I don’t always use music, there is very little instruction, and sometimes there is a minimal amount of big muscle movement  (i.e.. leaping, jumping, locomoting, spinning, swooping).

 

A question that continually comes up for Johannah about this particular class is, “Is this really dance?”

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2015-05 Adult Class Tue 06s

What Happens When You Dance?

What happens when you dance ?
When you are in motion, what do you feel, sense, perceive?

 

What about stillness?

 

What about the in-between?

 

Just yesterday I was dancing with my class and a new pattern emerged.

 

I felt the thrill of new and old laying ground.

 

As I sat on the sidelines later on to watch, long moments of fullness and ease moved in, and stayed for awhile.

 

I felt, sensed, and percieved awe.

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