"Do I dare disturb the universe?"
~T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A return writing, running, dancing

Well, I've been on a bit hiatus from writing.  Not by choice, but more by the increased amount of craziness in my life right now, which has been impinging on my time to blog, but also to take class.  It's ironic how when jobs pick up, and I'm doing more teaching and choreographing, it impedes my personal time to myself to dance.  I guess you just can't have it all.  I'm looking forward to February, when I head to Israel for Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company's five month apprenticeship/training program.  I'm so incredibly excited to get back to dancing hard-core and studying intimately with a company, in a place where I can be focused on nothing but this art.  I'm nervous for many reasons, like leaving home, leaving my friends and missing things and opportunities here.  I will miss my fantastic jobs that I have been lucky enough to obtain here.  But ultimately, I'm excited, and ready to dance.

One inspirational thing I did recently...I ran the Hot Chocolate 5K in Chicago last Saturday, and it was surprisingly fun and inspirational.  I only began running about two years ago (I always used to hate it!), and have done one other 5K over a year ago.  This race was at 7:40am on a chilly fall morning in Grant Park in Chicago.  I woke up at about 5:15 and drove to my friend's apartment when it was still dark, and I was wondering the whole time, "What...am I DOING?"  It was still dark when we went into the underground parking garage, but when we came up, the dawn was just breaking.  The clouds looked like mountains, it was the craziest sight.  The race went through the park and Museum Campus, and when we came around the east side of the Aquarium and saw the view of the misty lake, less than an hour after sunrise, and the Planetarium in the distance, it was truly a sight to behold.  The gorgeous views and crisp air inspired me, and even though I'm not much of a runner, I was able to keep a steady pace and finish in a time I was happy with.

Running is a truly beautiful sport, and the simple motion is pure physicality and grace.  I really appreciated what a body can do in this moment, and it felt good to be alive on that fall morning.  I ran through AthletiCo Physical Therapy, where I work, and the charity we chose was Cry For Justice, which aides children who have been abused by sex trafficking.  Many other charities were benefitted by various teams, and I heard that the races combined (5K and a 15K) had around 20,000 participants.  What a wonderful thing, to get a bunch of people together to run for a cause in beautiful Chicago!  Plus, we had chocolate fondue and hot chocolate at the finish line.  What a perfect idea!

The only downside was catching a terrible cold afterwards....suggestion to anyone who reads this: Make sure you get enough sleep (not just the night before, but don't be depriving yourself for weeks before, like I was) and dress in layers to throw on afterwards so you're not freezing in your sweaty clothing afterwards!  I learned my lesson...But it was worth it.  I could tell I was going to get sick eventually.  But this feeling of inspiration that kept me on a high for the rest of the weekend...you can't take that away.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interlochen Center for the Arts--"Art Lives Here"

This past weekend I visited a place that is incredibly special to me--Interlochen Center for the Arts.  While visiting family in the pinky that is the mitten of Michigan, I spent a day at my former summer camp that was the epitome of artistic inspiration for three summers in high school. And yes, I know I already have a blog post about Interlochen (http://artinmotionblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/reflections-of-interlochen.html), but inspiration calls for writing, and you can never abandon inspired writing, despite the risk of being redundant. :)

I can't even find words to describe the feeling of being back in that haven of art and nature, where music emanates from everywhere.  I have visited once before since being a camper, so it was not quite the same shock of emotion I received last time.  Still, I did tear up a bit when I approached Kresge auditorium, the beautiful pavilion with its large glass windows lining the upstage wall so that you can see the lake, shimmering behind the performers.  I noticed that overall, the campus seems a bit smaller than my high school-self remembered (perhaps due to spending four years at a Big Ten university...).  Kresge, however, still seems epic in stature to me, and the words "Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship Through the Universal Language of the Arts" that are written above the windows are hopeful and comforting in this crazy world we live in. 

I spent the day watching orchestras and bands rehearse, meeting new teachers in the dance building, having a moment in my favorite, sunlit studio, and wandering the campus (including finding my name and a quote I had written on the walls of a former cabin!).  As I sat on the grass outside the Bowl, another outdoor pavilion, I thought of the final closing performance of every summer, Les Preludes, in which a 500-piece orchestra performed Liszt's piece of the same name.  Us dancers waited eagerly for our cue to enter toward the end of the piece, and we danced on top of the roof of the Bowl, a thrill I will never forget.  Not to get too mushy with things like destiny, but when I step foot on the grounds I feel as if I have arrived home.  I have always thought that some day I want to teach there.  Now I feel that desire with more power and certainty.  I want more performance experience, and definitely need more teaching experience, before I could be hired at Interlochen.  But I know in a couple years I can see myself spending my summers there as I did before, this time, on the other end of the studio.  Thinking about the time that has passed still saddens me in some way, and I know I can never go back to being the innocent, excited, youthful recipient of knowledge like I was at age 15 to 17.  But I hope that being the bearer and deliverer of knowledge with the power to transpire information and plant a seed of inspiration can be just as powerful.  I know that when you teach art, it can be a truly shared experience.

On a more practical topic, without much transition...I have always been surprised that Interlochen has no physical therapist on staff...When I was a camper there, I was dealing with some extensive ankle injuries and remember going to the "Infirmary" after every intense day to get ice.  Working in the physical therapy field, I am increasingly aware of the need for performing-arts-specific PT's who understand dance-specific injuries.  I also know that musicians are incredibly prone to injuries of intricate, intrinsic muscles of the wrist and hand, and I remember a cabin-mate of mine, a violin player, who did exercises every night for tendinitis.  During my visit, I inquired at the Infirmary if they have since hired a PT, and the nurse did not seem to understand the necessity and said it would not be cost-effective (they send students down the street to a hospital if one needs physical therapy).  It's amazing to me that even during the school year, when Interlochen runs the Interlochen Arts Academy (boarding high school), they still do not have a PT.  So, of course, in the back of my head, here I am thinking that I can change all of this and might have a future job in store, granted I go for  DPT.  Perhaps if I do not end up teaching dance at Interlochen, I can be hired as the first on-staff physical therapist!  Maybe....:-)

So, in conclusion, visiting Interlochen has brought about a lot of wishful thinking....But among the goals that are stretches might be some realistic ones as well.  In any case, it's wonderful to have a reminder for why I do what I do and why art matters.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Concert Dance Inc. Review

Concert Dance, Inc., the resident dance company of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, is presenting an impressive and eclectic performance on June 10-11 at the Ravinia Festival.

I was fortunate enough to see CDI in action during a rehearsal at the Ruth Page Center.  When I arrived, the dancers were eagerly working on an exciting Ravina premiere, “Irregular Pearls,” created by Artistic Director Venetia Stifler, with input from the dancers.  The piece was inspired by the CDI’s 2009 tour to China, where they performed in Beijing and Shanghai, and participated in an exchange with dance students at Nanjing University as part of the International Dance Learning Project.  Stifler explained that the piece’s four sections represent different themes or emotions relating to their interactive experiences in China.  The piece is a reflection of the customs, art, and history they witnessed abroad and the reaction to the vast culture gap and formality of Eastern etiquette. The Company’s desire to honor Chinese traditional dance and ideas are juxtaposed with the desire to build further on these practices and push the boundaries of dance and art.

This interdisciplinary piece utilizes projected images of historical sites and ancient Chinese art and music given to the Company by the students at Nanjing.  The dancing contains touches of meditation and ritual and ruminates on toeing the line between tradition and revolution.  These images of custom, demonstrated by simple gestures, heavenward motions, and geometric shapes with the body, are set against contemporary movement of diving into the ground and pulling each other in wild but graceful motions.  The dancers exemplify the idea of being pulled in multiple directions by spiraling around themselves or other dancers.  They use their breath as impetus for movement, which gives their dancing a living and evolving quality.  The finale of the piece makes use of beautiful, draping, silk sleeves that are of traditional Chinese dress; the sleeves are the lone representation of traditional garb, which makes a statement of simultaneously honoring the past but not being suspended there, and instead, moving forward.  Stifler said that the “goal is to create specific images,” and I clearly saw these pictures as the dancers paused briefly at perfect moments of suspension.  As the piece progresses, the sleeves are pulled, twisted, and used as a means to suspend, images lingering both on the stage and in our minds.

“The Better Angels of Our Nature,” which premiered at Ravinia last season, returns to the stage this summer.  This theatrical, creative, and often comical work uses text from personal letters and speeches written by former President Lincoln, and is narrated by Ravinia President/CEO Welz Kauffman.  The dance is set to the music of Lawrence Dillon, whose work was selected as one of three winning pieces at Ravina’s first composition competition.  The aptly named Lincoln Trio will perform the music as the dancers bring Dillon’s score to life.  Using a mix pedestrian, gestural, and highly technical movements, the piece pays homage to the Lincoln’s language without literally mimicking the words.  A particularly poignant moment occurs during an excerpt from The First Inaugural Address, when the dancers become “the better angels of our nature,” rising up by lifting each other, acting as a stronger force against a tide that wants to shake and rock their unity.

Two additional pieces are featured on the concert.  One is a world premier entitled “El Salon Mexico,” which was created in honor of the 20th anniversaries of Copland and Bernstein’s deaths, and also to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence.  The piece is set to rhythmic, Mexican-inspired music of Aaron Copland and arranged for two pianos by Leonard Bernstein, which will be performed by Welz Kauffman and Adam Marks.  The dancers create images of family portraits as they change and shift through time.  Also on the program is “When All Is Said and Done/German Songs,” which, using both highly physical movement and subtle connection between dancers, traces the relationship of a couple through different levels of intimacy, including initial chemistry, romance, conflict, and reconciliation.

Stifler spoke to me about the CDI’s rehearsal process, and how, though she is the choreographer of all the pieces, the dancers’ input is crucial.  Regarding the rehearsal process, she said, “They might do something that’s more interesting, and I’ll say, ‘Oh no, that’s better—do that!’”  The company is also multicultural, and I noticed a blend of Spanish and English being spoken throughout the rehearsal.  Two of the artists are originally from Cuba, and Stifler said this melting pot of backgrounds informs their work, as the different perspectives and native cultures inspires an environment of sharing and collaboration.  I saw this sense of trust as I witnessed the dancers rehearse and alter soaring lifts with no fear.  The beautiful Ravinia Festival is an idyllic setting for this coming together of artists.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A year since the cap and gown

A year ago from today, on May 17, 2009, I graduated from the University of Illinois.  It is a strange thing, reflecting on a year's worth of changes, roadblocks, accomplishments, and decisions, and all of the emotions that go along with these.  It's been a little bit of a roller coaster ride for me, and there were times that I missed college so much that I was on the verge of applying to grad schools simply so that I could live a student's life again.  This transitional year is so complicated and difficult in so many ways, emotionally, socially, economically...

As crazy as it feels to be a year out of college, and as difficult as some of the times have been, I am beginning to realize how much has happened.  I'm grateful for the opportunities that have arisen, in the fields of dance, teaching/choreography, writing, and physical therapy.  It might have taken some time after graduation to sort out my life, and I'm still reaching towards some lofty goals that will take years to accomplish.  But I think I have climbed a few steps of the ladder. I am terrified, excited, nervous, and anxiously awaiting the future...

"And now...let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." -Dumbledore, in HP6

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't underestimate high schoolers--They just might rock your world

While one girl was practicing wild leaps across the studio, another was attempting a break dancing pose.  The boy of the group was humming a song he probably was learning in choir, while the other girls were discussing which senior boys were the cutest.  The seventh member was temporarily MIA, frantically trying to find a teacher to whom a paper was overdue.

This could have been a typical scene before one of my rehearsals with my high school students.  But beyond the drama and chaos were some really awesome kids who wanted to dance.

This past weekend was the debut of my choreography in the real world (aka post-college work), but more importantly than that, an amazing experience that I will never forget.  For the past three-plus months, I have been back at my former high school each week, where I set a piece on dancers to perform in the annual Dance Show.  I was hired to set a piece on some dancers who are "apprentices" to the company (one couldn't fit Company into his schedule this year, and the rest didn't quite make the cut for the competitive after-school group). The rehearsals were challenging, as it involved working with a wide range of skill level and under time constraints.  The rewards, however, were unbelievable.  As I got to know the dancers, I realized how much fun I was having and how these weekly rehearsals were often the highest points in my semi-monotonous week.

I found it a bit of a trip to be back at my old high school.  Hearing their stories of drama and life as a suburban teen took me back a bit, though it was really only four 1/2 years ago that I was there too.  I am still learning how to be a teacher, and sometimes I regretted getting too close to them and revealing myself in a way that teachers generally keep better in check.  Regardless, what I shared I could not take back, and my piece was a very personal one--I wanted to get to know them personally, and for that, it takes trust and an equal amount of sharing.  I told them silly, embarrassing, or sweet stories from when I was in high school.  They opened up about themselves as well.  They cried about those who are battling depression, and I tried to insist that life will get better, and it can be better now.  We talked about the heroes who survived in Haiti.  We wondered who could have written a bomb threat on a bathroom wall one day and caused a wave of fear to penetrate the school.  They inspired me as much as I inspired them.  I remembered what it's like to be 16 and to want to be loved and accepted so badly that it hurts.  And to desire change, and to want make a difference in the world.  The idealist artist in me still feels that.

When we got down to dancing, they worked hard to prove to me they had what it takes, technically and performatively.  They grew as dancers and as people, bonding together as a company, supporting each other literally and figuratively.

On the last night, they gave me a card that affected deeply.  They said I have had a amazing impact on them, and that I truly changed their lives and filled them with knowledge of dance and life.  They were grateful, they said, to have not made the Company, because otherwise they wouldn't have had this experience.  It's amazing to think I could have such an influence...I am really touched.  I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with them; they reminded me why teaching is influential and creating art is relevant.  I am excited because my work was well-received, and I will probably be working again at the high school in the future.  It's nice to have a job in store.  But it's even better to know that it's something truly meaningful.

"Do I dare disturb the universe?"~T.S. Eliot

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dance Blogs article

I am happy to announce that this blog has been added to the "50 Best Blogs for Dance Students" article 
(http://www.onlinedegrees.net/blog/2010/50-best-blogs-for-dance-students/).  For anyone interested in dance and/or dance-writing, it seems like a really helpful compilation of blogs.  Thanks to Carol Brown for sharing this with me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dance Anywhere

I am spreading the word about dance anywhere, next Friday, March 26.  The idea is for, at a certain time depending on where you are in the world (2pm here in Chicago), spontaneous dance occurs, bringing people together through art, and transforming ordinary spaces into ones that are creative.  The press release is as follows...


San Francisco, March 19, 2010 – On March 26, 2010, dancers worldwide will come together simultaneously in dance to celebrate the universal importance and joy of movement.  In its sixth year, this conceptual event will take place on Friday, March 26, 2010 at noon Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), 3pm EDT (New York, etc) 8pm in Paris, Rome, etc. 
Artist and dance anywhere® originator Beth Fein says, “This conceptual public art is an open invitation to all: to stop and dance wherever they will be at noon on March 26th in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Rome and other cities.  dance anywhere® is a public art project and free to all participants.
Since 2005, dance anywhere® has had hundreds of performers participate on the streets, bridges, in schools etc. dance anywhere®  integrates art into everyday public spaces and exposes unsuspecting audiences to dance.  The project also transforms perceptions of where and how art can occur, demonstrating that art does not need to be exhibited in a gallery, and dance does not need to be performed on a stage. It brings everyone's awareness to the space they are in: the street, the office, the library, the grocery store or park. Anyone is encouraged to participate, and the project involves people of all ages, abilities, nationalities, and backgrounds.  
For more information about participating in dance anywhere® on March 26, 2010 please go to:   
For more information about the event or photo requests, contact Jennifer Roy at  roykey@mac.com 
or 415-706-7644
Bay Area locations for 2010 include:
 Asian Arts Museum
 Berkeley Art Museum
Rockridge BART
Dancers from across the United States from Hawaii, California, Colorada, Mississippi, to Chicago, NY and Pennsylvania (partial list) and around the world including: Argentina, Chile, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, England, Ireland, Austalia, New Zealand, and Guinea have all been a part of dance anywhere®.

WHAT: dance anywhere®, a participatory global public artwork—anyone who wants to dance can participate, or as audience, shoot photos or video.
WHEN: Friday, March 26, 2010, at noon in San Francisco
WHERE: Various locations throughout the Bay Area and world
INFORMATION: danceanywhere .com

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thinking like an Olympian

Ever since the Olympics, I have been feeling more inspired to give what I do everything I have in that moment in time.  In particular, Evan Lysacek's performance had me absolutely floored.  I'm not usually as interested in the men's figure skating; but the finale of his free skate, when he knew he had nailed all his jumps so well, was so incredibly exciting to watch.  I was hooked by his power and command of the ice.  I became so emotionally invested in his performance, because his passion, the freedom and grace of his movement, and his pure happiness and joy was so beautifully evident.  Personally, that is what I love watching in the Olympics--when the athletes know they have done well, and they are just riding it out, milking the performance for all its worth--not in an arrogant way, but in radiating way that is giving the audience as much joy as he or she is experiencing (or ironic grief and amazing will, such as Canadian skater Jeanne Rochette, who performed so beautifully after the sudden death of her mom).

I watched some interviews with Lysacek about his regimen, and similarly to most Olympians, it is slightly insane.  Practice and working out takes up 7 or often more hours of his day, and he rarely had time to go out with friends, attend a birthday party, or go to the movies.  It's a shame that such seemingly great people have to be so isolated, but I suppose that is the sacrifice they make for their craft.

I am inspired to hone my craft and focus my work ethic. Right before college I bought The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green with Timothy Gallwey, recommended to me by my high school band director.  In the middle of college, I bought Fight Your Fear and Win by Don Greene, another motivational performance book recommended by a music major friend.  I admit, I have only scimmed and leafed through these books.  Right now I am finding myself in preparation for audition season round number two, and I am revisiting these books in hopes I can quell my audition nerves which sometimes leave me nearly a wreck.  The first thing that The Inner Game of Music teaches is that we all have a criticizing voice in our head that gets in the way, distracts us, and inhibits us during performance.  We all can remember that voice loudly and clearly during those moments where we crashed and burned.  However, during an amazing performance, we don't really remember anything but the joy and trill of our performance.  The key is to hush that voice in our head so that we can allow our bodies to take over and and enjoy what it does best--the craft at which we have worked so hard.

Of course, it starts with a dedicated and healthy lifestyle, which is what Olympic Gold Medal speed skater Apolo Ohno advocated when he was in Chicago this week.  (He spoke to fifth and sixth graders about making positive choices.)  At the age of professionals or semi-professionals, however, the issues are much deeper at hand.  I have learned that even all the right and healthy choices might not add up to self-confidence and focus in an audition setting.  I'm sure I'll be writing more about these books as I delve further into them.  For now, I can reflect on my handlful of great performance moments in my past, and on the nearly physics-defying performances at the Olympics, as inspiration.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Dance COLEctive Review

The Dance COLEctive, founded by Margi Cole in 1996, is an athletic company whose physicality and versatility was exemplified at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts on January 28-30.  The program, entitled “Meet Me There,” explored ideas of personality, identity, and how we define our place in the world; the physical and expressive program was presented in three pieces.

Three Women, by distinguished Chicago choreographer Shirley Mordine, was first performed in 1974.  Three dancers, including Margi Cole, entered in an amber light, clad in tattered country dresses.  During the first section of the piece, they conjured images mischievous girls, frolicking, stomping, and flinging each other around the stage in amazingly controlled wildness.  Rhythm played an important role, and even though much of the piece was in silence, their breath and footwork kept the dancers in synch.  The golden overhead light was filtered as if the women were dancing in tall fields at sunset, and their sly smiles were genuine and unaffected.  Later sections of the piece were more somber, accompanied by chanted spiritual music and spoken text referring to religious obligations.  The women took turns with solos; one lifted her heart and arms to the heavens, the next was childlike and playful, and the last was frustrated and angular.  I found the piece to be a beautifully reflective, echoing the often-cyclical paths we take when we question, disregard, or welcome faith into our lives.  The dancing showed interaction between manual work and play, belief and rebellion, and childhood naivety and the adult burden of knowledge.

Taking Hold, choreographed by Cole in collaboration with the company, began with a strong diagonal light along which the dancers were advancing, commanding immediate strength and intention.  The dancers held an intense focus, falling to the ground and helping each other up again as they seemed to be struggling to reach a destination. The music—a plucked-bass beat with a strong cello line—emphasized the intensity and painted the setting like a film score.  This piece highlighted the company’s physicality and athleticism, and as the dancers seemed to persevere on toward the thing that kept them going, they dived into the ground, suddenly leapt into a partner’s arms, and lifted fellow dancers off the ground.  The unique movement juxtaposed curved spines and seamless fluidity with forceful, angled, swift arm movements, and I became aware of the feminine strength and grace of this company of all women.   Much of the interaction between dancers was fleeting—the appearance of a dancer in another’s arms, or a sudden connection where one body was encouraged to change direction or carry on—there was a moment, however, when one dancer put her hand on a fallen dancer’s back, and I was struck by the tender stillness.  The company embodied perseverance, and they seemed to say that despite any struggle encountered on this journey, they still had each other.

The final piece was a clever interplay between comedy and serious reflection. Entitled, IMe, co-choreographed by Margi Cole and celebrated Chicago choreographer Jeff Hancock (in collaboration with the dancers), it served to comment on our self-conscious tendencies, especially in today’s age of technology, to constantly observe ourselves and tweak or recreate our identities.  Two mirrors cut from reflective foil were placed on the stage, and the piece opened with three women observing and admiring their reflections while changing poses. The dancers wore pedestrian clothes, and each of their T-shirts featured a cutout cartoon avatar that resembled their own image.  The scene at the mirror introduced the work’s style of movement, and as more dancers entered, their quirky movement utilized this twisting and posing.  Some dancers also spoke text while simultaneously gesturing, spiraling and quickly falling in and out of the ground.  They told stories regarding identity and the self, such as google-searching yourself, curiosity about that other “me,” and creating a doppelgänger-like identity.  Hancock’s recorded voice narrated a comedic love letter to himself while two women mirrored each other’s movement and fell in and out of grasp. Hancock later read a witty, narcissistic response while two dancers fought viciously to steal the other’s avatar image on their shirts, personifying identity theft.

The Dance COLEctive is an established company that pushes traditional boundaries of modern dance while harnessing a unique physical and theatrical aesthetic.

The Dance COLEctive will present their concluding performance of the season on May 21-23 at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tragedy in Haiti--Commitment to Life

This past week, the earthquake in Haiti awoke in me a sense of simultaneous helplessness, as well as deep appreciation and gratitude for life.  Over the past week, watching the news with only a vague understanding of the scope of the tragedy, my eyes were dry until today.  On ABC news, I saw a 5-year old boy, who miraculously survived for eight days without water or food, pulled by his uncle from the wreckage of a house.  Seeing him lift the small body out of the rubble and hearing the people yell for joy made my eyes well up and sent a shiver of disbelief down my entire body.  He must have desired life so badly, with all of his being, in order to survive eight days without sustenance, and it seems that in some wildly distant state, he was connecting his lungs and heart to his body with all his might.  I realized, curiously, how it was this scene, not the awful piles of bodies and shaking video, by which I felt the most moved.  (I was instantly reminded of how, when I visited the Holocaust museum in Israel, Yad Vashem, I did not begin to cry until I came to the hall of the Righteous Gentiles, which documents the courageous deeds and sacrifices non-Jews committed for the sake of saving Jews during the Holocaust.)

I am conscious of my thirst for life, and I express this through dance.  I took a great class this morning, by an fantastic teacher I recently discovered, (Ronn Stewart, originally from Moving People Dance in Santa Fe) who is committed to dance as a human, living, breathing art form.  The class actually reminded me extraordinarily of Ohad Naharin's Gaga Technique that I studied two summers ago in Tel Aviv.  Both techniques (I believe Ronn's is called MoPed) utilize elements of improvisation--experimenting with the geometry of our bodies, testing our balance, walking/running through space, grooving to our own beat, shaking out the limbs, falling to the ground and recovering--to feel and gather energy to move and dance.  Ronn said our bodies are "miracles."  Some dancers, he continued, "dry up" after a while, becoming too committed to the mechanical execution of steps, and forgetting their expression and musicality.  Sometimes all we need to do is breathe, and we will be reminded how dance is inherently human and an expression of life.

I feel occasionally removed from this understanding, amist every-day monotony, worries of finding work in the dance world, lack of great financial or romantic success at this time in my life...However, terrifying images of wreckage in Haiti remind me to put things in perspective.  For how can I take for granted what was so cruelly taken away from them?  Similarly, amazing stories of heroism and survival exemplify the miracle that we are.