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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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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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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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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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2015-08 Adult Class Thu 07s

Trisha, Angela, and Helen

Getting ready for Dog Dance after hearing Dr. Angela Davis speak this weekend about undoing structures and re-thinking assimilation.

Getting ready for Dog Dance after hearing the incredible Judge Helen Whitener speak about understanding the codes — the rules of conduct — and advocating from within.

 

The opposite of what Dr. Davis was speaking of perhaps?

 

Not sure, though the back and forth between these two women had me sitting at the edge of my seat.

 

Getting ready for Dog Dance after a weekend spent in Florida listening, learning, and struggling to understand the systems that have shaped a world that is not fair or just.

 

Getting ready for Dog Dance and wondering about the fate of the NEA, the EPA, PBS, NPR and all of the things that I care about and participate in.
Getting ready for Dog Dance and paying attention as best I can, so as not to miss any steps.

 

Getting ready for Dog Dance and feeling lost sometimes, found at others.

 

Getting ready for Dog Dance and reading about Trisha.

 

I wonder what she would have said on that panel with Dr. Angela Davis and Judge Helen Whitener.
Would she have steered the conversation in an entirely new direction that we can’t begin to imagine, or would she simply have started to dance?

 

Warmth, Love, and Wonder,
Joanna
of
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending
www.joannandtheagitators.com

 

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i’ve been thinking about you

I wonder how you are choosing to walk through the world after reading the news or not reading the news.
I wonder how you are doing, hearing the first 12 minutes of this, as you hang the laundry.

I wonder and hope that you are going to dance class — because you must continue to go to dance class — even as you hear these first 12 minutes, and want to run, screaming into the streets.

Do run — screaming into the streets — but also:

Go to dance class.

We cannot let him take that away from us.

I wonder how you are moving in the world right now, in this moment in history.

I wonder where, and how, you are finding stillness.

I wonder if you are spinning.

I wonder if you are spiraling.

I wonder if you are sensing your weight — in space — as it shifts and drops, and then rises.
It is difficult

to get the news from poems

Yet men die miserably every day

for lack

of what is found there

~ William Carlos Williams
Katharine sent this me when I said “I don’t have time for poems right now.”

I decided, then and there, to make time for poems.
I’ve been thinking about you.
I wonder how you’ve been doing.
xo
Joanna
of
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending
www.joannaandtheagitators.com

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are you awake?

I am.

The wind is blowing the house down.

So I’m up,

I’m giddy and unable to sleep because something woke up in me last Wednesday — right after I sent you that last newsletter.

That something has been groggily waking up for a long time now, but last week it got me sitting up straight, eyes wide open.

This thing I asked us to imagine?

It’s taking shape, in a way I couldn’t have imagined, and it’s moving fast.

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Let’s get together and…

Imagine.

 

What if we all meet — in the middle — to take our shoes off, sit on the floor and roll around for a bit, before beginning the work of dreaming the world we want to walk in.

 

What if we all meet —at dusk —to watch the moon rise, and to sing a hallelujah.

 

What if those who gather are artists and politicians, teachers and mail carriers, front desk workers and chiefs of police.

 

What if those who gather are dishwashers and lawyers, tribal leaders and midwives.

 

What if you and I and everyone else takes a deep breath, closes our eyes, and dreams.

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A Naked Ballerina

A little boy came home from school and told his mom that his teacher had asked all of the kids in his class to come to school the next day, dressed as the thing they wanted to be when they grew up.

 

His mother said,  “What are you going to dress up as?”

 

The little boy replied,  “A ballerina.”

 

The mother said, “Boys can’t wear tutus.”

 

The little boy said, “Oh.”

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