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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

An (un)expected Journey...

This is a night for reviving my blog from the depths of hibernation.  I feel like sometimes, whenever I am involved in a really intense, deep experience (training in Israel, teaching at Interlochen, etc.) I have a direction in which to write, and my words and reflection upon the experience keeps flowing due to something like inertia.  But when I come to a stop, it’s hard to get momentum going again.

This is not to say that this fall has been a sleepy time; on the contrary, I’ve been wildly busy.  For years now, I have been trying to decide on a supplementary career path in addition to (mainly freelance thus far) dancing, these either being the route of pursuing a degree in physical therapy, or achieve a public school teaching certificate.  I have chosen the path of teaching (or perhaps, shall we say, it chose me?) and just completed my first of three semesters of a post-baccalaureate program through UW-Milwaukee to achieve a Dance Education PreK-12 certification.  Getting back into the swing of school again has been challenging (my brain is out of practice at focusing on a paper/assignment for long periods of time, working multiple jobs simultaneously is a bit overwhelming, and I must commute to Milwaukee once-twice a week).  However, I think the program is extremely worth it, and I’m feeling a new sense of purpose and decisiveness about my choices.  To be honest, I wish I could skip ahead to the endorsement tests and have my certificate in hand.  Next semester is about to be crazy, as I will be taking enough credit hours to be considered a full-time student as I push to cram all of my classes, observations, and Elementary student teaching in (Secondary—my personal focus/main enjoyment—will be in the Fall).

I have written before about how I unexpectedly was drawn to teaching when I decided to get a subbing certificate and began subbing and choreographing at my former high school.  Since then, I have fallen in love with teaching, sharing, educating, and experiencing along with my students—young dancers—from whom I am all not that far removed in terms of years.  I truly cannot wait to be well on my way to my high school student teaching and begin my job hunt.

I believe so fiercely in arts education.  I think—no, I know—that art has the power to change people.  To lift up those who are sick or in need of healing (a topic close to home right now, for my family).  To feel compassion.  To choose diplomacy instead of violence (Would things have been different if Adam Lanza’s mother had collected musical instruments rather than guns?  I would argue yes, again and again, though it is tragically too late to pose a case study...).  To inspire a different way of thinking.  To connect to another person.  I believe it like a religion, so it only makes sense that I would go into this field about which I am so passionate.

Even though I’m feeling excitement and relief at choosing a path, I still have conflicting emotions regarding leaving my job in physical therapy behind (I am currently somewhat phasing-out of my job at Athletico.  I expect/hope to still receive odd hours here and there, but mostly not, to make more room for school, studying, dancing, and teaching).  When I think about it, as a close third to dance and music, physical therapy has been a very stable, sustaining, and positive source in my life, since I was a teenager.  After about a year of ankle pain and difficulty dancing, especially en pointe, from age 16-17, I had ligament reconstruction surgery to correct ankle instability.  I was introduced to Athletico as a patient, my mom driving me to Evanston twice or more times a week to see an AMAZING performing arts-certified physical therapist at the clinic there, Sarah (At this time, there were fewer performing arts PTs than there are now, as it is a growing field…so we made the half-an-hour-to-45-min commute).  My time in rehab was not only successful, but my PTs and the aides I worked with made it enjoyable and exciting.  Various summers in college, I found myself back for therapy with Sarah.  And recently, I went back for a couple more month of therapy in Evanston when I had a reoccurrence of inflammation in the same ankle.  Again, Sarah proved to brilliant when she figured out that malalignment in my knee was the root cause of my ankle irritation.   So that’s me as a patient.  My relationship with Athletico as an employee began in July 2009, about two months out of college.  I have worked at my “home” clinic of Bannockburn since then, working with an amazing team of PTs, aides, office staff, and massage therapist.  At times when I have needed more work, I have acted as a “floater” working at other northern clinics.  I absolutely love working with patients, most especially high school-college/20’s athletes.  Seeing young people who are motivated and excited to get back to their game is always so fun, inspiring and reciprocally motivating.  In more ways than one, Athletico is equated in my mind with sustenance, resilience, and forward motion.

I don’t want or like to think that I am leaving the field of physical therapy behind as I move forward with my plans to teach.  I know that I will continue to incorporate safe teaching practices and injury prevention in my classes.  But I do wonder if I can ever achieve anything more than that.  I sometimes still think I may eventually go back to school—perhaps not for a DPT—but maybe for a PTA (assistant).  As far as I understand it, PTA’s have less school and can practice most of the same skills as PTs do except they are not allowed to evaluate patients for the first time.  If I am eventually able to achieve a PTA, my dream would be to continue working in a high school but with a greater connection to the athletic trainer and knowledge to work with dancers with injuries.

Well, I suppose I wrote this blog entry as an introduction to further entries, so that, for people who follow, if I mention “school,” you might know what I’m talking about.  However, sometimes I wonder WHO actually reads this. (??)  I know that when I blogged in Israel, I attracted many followers who were also interested in the contemporary dance scene in Israel, Gaga class, Batsheva and KCDC, travel abroad, etc, and also wrote some of my entries with publication in mind. When I wrote at Interlochen, other alums read and reminisced through my blog. When I wrote about the sad and sudden death of a friend, it was a way for me to grieve and memoralize him, and it turned out his friends and family loved hearing a friend's perspective. That being said...however...with an entry like this, sometimes I wonder….excuse my language but…. “Who the **** actually cares?”  I feel slightly narcissistic, writing about myself and putting it onto the open forum that is the internet, and if there’s anything I don’t want to be, it’s a narcissist. So, if you are a reader of blogs or a fellow blogger, can you lend me some insight?   I do gain a cathartic release and pleasure in writing, and I have a huge appreciation for language as an artistic tool.  In addition, if I want to work on my writing skills for future possible publication, practice is necessary.  However I could easily keep that to myself in a journal, not post it online, for all to see.  So….what is the point of all of these ramblings?  Why does anyone write a blog?  If you can answer this in a way that makes plain sense, I owe you much respect!

Until next time….Good night, on this beautiful, crisp, wintry evening....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Interlochen wrap

I got a bit behind on writing about my Interlochen experience, but here I am at home, and I'm beginning to fully process by time there in the "land of the stately pine."

Starting in the second week of camp, my schedule became insane, as I was working on a couple pieces for our faculty concert.  I choreographed a piece inspired by the song made famous by Alison Krauss, "Down to the River to Pray."  I intended it to have a feminist tinge to it, using all females and changing the lyrics to only refer to women..."mothers," "daughters," "sisters," etc.  It's awesome how at Interlochen, you can find live musicians anywhere.  I sent out a facebook message to a couple people I had met, and instantly I found myself a singer. Because of scheduling, the first time we got together for a full cast rehearsal with Leah Pulatie, our awesome vocalist, was just a couple days before the show.  She blew me away though....her mezzo range was deep, thick, and soulful.  Just beautiful.  Because most of the Dance Department faculty was busy by the time I decided to make a piece, I used a cast of counselors/dancers around campus who wanted an opportunity to dance and perform.  I ended up with a piece that was really meaningful that received really nice, positive feedback.  Partially because of time-constraints, I used a different methodology of composition....I used a fairly simple verse-chorus pattern, with movement becoming larger or slightly altered each time.  I think the result was better than I even anticipated....clean, clear and easy to follow.  I think I am often guilty of over-choreographing and making things too complex.  I'm liking this trend...

I also performed a solo choreographed by one of fellow faculty members, Matt Lindstrom.  I mentioned the piece a bit in my previous entry, so I won't completely repeat myself, but the piece represented a struggle between outward beauty/calm and inward danger/calamity.  A friend passed away in the middle of the session (see previous entry), having taken his own life.  So this these really resonated with me, and the idea of these emotional complexities was on the forefront of my mind.  It was very meaningful to perform something I dedicated in my mind to this friend.  On another note regarding the piece, Matt worked quite quickly when teaching me the choreography.  I am not the fasted-study, and picking up sequences is sometimes a struggle.  Particularly with his movement, it didn't really follow much of a pattern, or if it did, it would suddenly change.  I confess I was incredibly nervous I would blank out and screw up during the show.  However....all was well, and Matt said it was the best run I ever did.  It felt great.

I'm finding that Interlochen was pure fuel for my desire to teach, and has completely influenced my decision to move forward in my plans to start school in the fall to obtain a teaching certificate.  I was on the fence about this because it involves commuting twice a week to Milwaukee; after Interlochen, I feel inspired to pursue teaching.  It was reciprocally inspiring to see kids so enthusiastic about learning dance....to see their faces light up with an "I got it!!" or to see excitement and pride for having learned and memorized a minute-long combination.  In the third week, I had my favorite high school kids for their last rotation of "general dance," so I did Jazz with them.  Well, I've had a lot of awesome experiences with high school kids, but this is definitely up there as one of the absolute best.  They were so incredibly enthusiastic and grateful...it honestly made my day to hear them thank me after class and say "I love your class so much."  I couldn't ask for anything better.  In the last couple days, I opened the class up to anyone on campus who wanted to take it, so some staff and counselors came to jazz-ify with us.  I did a totally melodramatic/musical-theatre-style combination to Fun.'s "Some Nights," and they loved it (some of these counselors are actually studying MT in college, so I think they got a kick out of it).  When your students ask to stay after class is over to do the combination one more time....that's when you know you're doing something right.

It was really hard to leave at the end of the session....a lot of the dance faculty is only one session or another, so most of us were leaving.  We had many goodbyes, hugs, and a few tears.  The accompanists with whom I had begun to develop close relationships stay on for second session, so they were saying goodbyes in order to soon meet new teachers.  It's kindof incredible how close you can become with someone in 3 weeks.  You share your space....sweat and tears included....with these people, share your life's stories, your anxieties, anticipations, failures and successes...and then all of a sudden you don't see these people anymore.  I suppose it was even worse after the KCDC program in MASA where we lived and worked together for 5 months.  But still.  Something about knowing that we only have 3 1/2 weeks seemed to speed up and intensify things in a way, forming bonds quickly.  And when Jason passed, there was a wave of compassion that rushed up toward me.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but hope I can return to Interlochen next summer.  It really is an amazing place, a haven where inspiration is the very soil from where art springs.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In memorium for Jason Lindahl

Lately I’ve been a little out of sorts and feeling a bit multiple-personalitied, not because of anything related to Interlochen, but due to an unrelated tragedy regarding friend.

I found out on Friday at a friend who was very dear to me in college passed, having taken his own life.  His name was Jason Lindahl, and he was a Theatre-Lighting Design major at U of I.  He most-recenly lived in New York and worked lighting and video-projections on Broadway (the most well-known project being Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark).  I first met him when on crew for November Playhouse Dance my freshman year, his junior year.  He taught me how to.....basically run an efficient gel crew, shifting, operate spotlights, and the basics of lighting design.  I developed an intense crush on his incredibly nerd-tastic and adorable self, and I’m pretty sure I stalked Krannert Level 2 in hopes of just running into him there.  We continued to become close friends throughout the next year, working on multiple student and theatre/dance department shows together—He designed an absolutely brilliant Bernstein’s Mass, and I took a bit of personal pride in being a part of the production and just “being friends with that awesome lighting designer.”  When we talked together, our conversations were filled with laughter and smiles, and we got each other because we would talk geekily of quantum physics, science and art, being band nerds (formerly, or for me, current), and theatre or dance lingo.

We continued to be in close touch when he graduated and moved to New York, and when our mutual affection became clear, we briefly dated, attempting a pseudo long-distance….not official relationship but something or another.  He was the kind of person who had an amazingly beautiful heart, a good and kind person to the depths of his soul.  I felt very deeply for him, but it became clear that distance wasn’t going to work.  When I moved on, I still always remembered our time together with no bitterness--nothing but fondness.

This is how I remember him
I was able to become and maintain friends with the woman he chose for his too-short life, Ya-han, a beautiful, talented young woman who we both had known at U of I as well. I realized how perfect they were for each other, and felt true happiness that they could be together in New York.  I am saddened and feel awful that I was not in great touch with Jason minus a few texts or facebook messages here and there, for the last two years or so, not for any particular reason, but just living in different places and having different, busy lives.  I was actually probably in better touch with Ya-han than I was with Jason (perhaps because she was on facebook often).  They married last year, I believe while I was in Israel, and their engagement and wedding photos filled me with joy.  I was so happy that they found each other and were able to provide for each other in a way that was so loving, fitting and beautiful.  Their beautiful baby Arya who was born last year is the most gorgeous of infants, seeming like Ya-han in her eyes, Jason in her baby face and smile….It seemed from the outside like they could be poster children for the perfect, artistic melting pot of a new American family.

I cannot begin to grasp what happened, why, or how suddenly this beautiful portrait shattered.  Next thing we all know, we are reading email threads and news reports that his body was found washed up by the Hudson river.  It is incomprehensible and unreal.

I’ve been in touch both on the phone and through various online communications with friends from U of I.  It’s a comfort to realize we are all going through similar emotions that seem to change every 10 minutes.  One moment just numb with shock and disbelief, another just very sad, and the next, guilty or angry.  Being here at Interlochen, my classes and rehearsals must go on, and I’ve been extremely busy at almost every hour of the day from 9-5.  Sometimes I put this out of my mind for half an hour or an hour, but when I remember it, it hits me in the gut, sometimes even worse than the preceding hours.

I actually just spoke to Ya-han on the phone, and she is amazingly put-together.  I don’t know how she does it.  She is a strong, beautiful, loving, and admirable woman.

I said to one of my friends/co-workers, Patty, something like “It’s weird that this is happening to me here.”  Here, at Interlochen where things are so beautiful, where I think of it as a peaceful haven, and now that peace is being wrecked with death and sadness.  She said, “well maybe it’s good that it’s happening here, of all places, where people are connected to emotions and compassion.” I’ve been realizing what she meant.  My kids that I teach have been amazing.  They cheer me up in unbelievable ways, and even though I only told one of my classes (the one that I had to teach right after finding out), I feel like all of my classes have come together in a place of more intense bonding, and they have been open with their warmth and affection toward me and their enthusiasm toward dancing.

I’ve been attending band, orchestra, and choir concerts as refuge.  (I’m reminded of how on September 11, 2001, I was in band and choir class when the towers fell, and how the bond of musicians provided me some comfort—this idea of comfort through music has been fresh on my mind because I recently delivered an alumni speech at DHS with this main point)  Here, I feel it’s the same.  The arts are healing, and are helping to buoy me up even when I feel like my head is spinning into a downward spiral of sadness.  I only wish that Jason had felt the same comfort….

And even when I feel like sitting at home and wallowing in melancholy, I’ve forced myself to go out with my coworkers and appreciate our time together.  Whether we are going out for a drink or just sitting in the staff office together, my fellow staff and musicians have given me many hugs and gentle touches along the way.  Even just a light squeeze touch on the shoulder can mean so much.  I appreciate them immensely, and am grateful for their support.

I am performing in a piece in the faculty concert next Thursday, choreographed by Matt Lindstrom, to the song Tornado, by Jonsi.  The song and the choreography reflect what Matt called “being so beautiful on the outside but destructive on the inside.”  It’s a completely coincidence that this lines up so perfectly, thematically.  Personally, I am dedicating my performance to him, wishing I could have provided him some shelter from the storm.

If you are one of the people here that has lent a hand during the past few days, I cannot thank you enough.  Your support helped me hold everything together so I could continue to be a good teacher for the kids, and continually reaffirms that Interlochen continues to be a house of healing.   I am dancing and making my art for the rest of my time here in memory of Jason and all things light and colorful.

"Glass shines--brighter--When it's--broken..."-Bernstein's Mass.

With our friend Annah at a theatre/tech theatre gathering in Urbana
Under some kind of art structure in NYC

Monday, July 2, 2012

One week of dancing at Interlochen, come and gone

Yesterday and today, I finally got to breathe for the first time in about 8 days, since Interlochen weekends are Sunday and Monday (don't ask me why).  It's been a heck of a week getting into the swing of my classes, and each day is physical and full of activity, which means I pretty much am crashed by the end of the night. It's exhausting but incredibly fulfilling.  I was honestly quite stressed and seriously nervous before the start of classes, but I've found myself actually almost surprised at how well it's been going (or at least, I can put on a facade of confidence that may actually be blending with true, real confidence, building each day.)

My class of juniors was the most challenging--these kids are 8-12, and they are all studying other disciplines as their concentration, or doing a general arts study.  I've worked more extensively with kids both younger and older than this range, so this provided me with a new challenge.  I also had two classes of Intermediate kids, which were also general or non-dance majors.  Intermediates are about age...13-16 or so, which is my more preferred age group.  I was able to work more dance technique into class with these groups, teaching them the basics of modern dance (prances, contractions, high releases, triplets, double-stag leaps...) and classic choreographer movements (from Graham and Humphrey). Especially my afternoon class was honestly a blast--I had the more advanced kids (whereas my other two classes were the lower groups), and not only were they more skilled dancers (which doesn't matter to me much, I have loved working with beginners before), but they were more enthusiastic students who really wanted to learn.  They were seriously such a joy to work with, and I'm sad that we are switching next week--they go on to the ballet portion of the rotation, and I get a new set of kids.  On Saturday, our last day, I took them outside for the last 15 minutes of class, where they danced the final combination we had been working on the lawn in front of the Bowl, and our percussionist joined us as well.  Ah, how awesome it is to see kids be so receptive and passionate!

I've also jammed with the accompanists a couple times on horn for the Improv class, which has been seriously great.  I was pretty wary of joining them at first, because I hadn't played horn in a year 1/2, and though I used to play for improv sometimes in college, I never really knew what I was doing or had a huge grasp on music theory/harmonizing, etc.  I realized here though that improvising musically is really no different from dance, and as long as you are aware of what is going on around you and are creating something that jives and compliments, you are golden.  And though my chops give out much faster than they used to, and my range isn't complete....I'm really not quite as rusty as I imagined I would be. :)  Also, maybe it's because I'm older now, but at U of I there was part of me that was always a bit embarrassed to be seen with my horn.  Maybe it was because the dance department was so intense and I felt guilty for devoting some of my precious time to something else.  Or also because I was still concerned about appearances and being in band was definitely revealing my ultra-nerd.  But here at Interlochen, the kids seem to actually think it's really awesome that I have this unique skill, and they applaud and thank me for my talent.  Everyone's a nerd here, so if you play an instrument in addition to whatever you're focusing on....it seems to kindof bump your status as an uber-nerd, which is actually making you cooler...in an extremely geeky way that only Interlochen can be. :-)

Next week my schedule will get even busier, as I add a high school class (which I'm very excited about, I love working with high schoolers!) and will have some rehearsals for a faculty concert.  So I'm not sure if I'll have a ton of time for extra classes I've been doing (not just the accompanying, but I've been doing ballet barre every day).  We shall see....there's an awesome coffee stand on campus that I've been spending too much money at but is often my saving grace.

Last night was the first WYSO (World Youth Symphony Orchestra, the top orchestra here) concert of the season, and it was beautiful.  It featured work of American composers, including the two famous Olympic fanfares (Arnaud was the orignal, now the NBC theme, and John Williams'), which highlighted awesome brass, and Barber's Adagio for Strings, which was expressive and beautiful.  The last piece always played (or sung) at any music concert is the Interlochen Theme by Howard Hanson.  I confess I got seriously choked up and was crying at the end.  It's almost as if I couldn't fully believe I was here on this campus until that moment, when I heard the haunting horn melody....at the end, the house lights rise and the stage lights dim, and as per tradition there is no applause at the end, the last notes hanging in the air to linger on into the night.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interlochen--Where art lives

I’ve arrived at Interlochen.  My home away from home I’ve missed incredibly.  A haven for creativity and inspiration.  "Art Lives Here," as their moto beautifully notes.

So this means for the next month I’ll actually be getting back into writing!

We’ve just been moving in and meeting our roommates (I’m in a pretty bare-bones cabin with four rooms, but cozy-feeling since it’s surrounded by woods.  We had a new-faculty dinner tonight where I finally met the Dance Director.  She seems so awesome, enthusiastic, and encouraging.  I feel so lucky to be working with her!

Other than preparing, I’ve been taking advantage of being back here by visiting my old haunts and exploring new avenues.  My favorite place to read or write used to be “Sundecker,” the deck overlooking the lake in the High School Girl’s division.  Since hanging out there now would be quite strange (and would involve potentially awkward encounters with my students), I found a fantastic—or even better—substitute.  There is a place just down the beach from there called the Minnesota Building (don’t ask me why—do Minnesotans create nice beaches?) with lounge chairs, board games, a coffee stand, waterfront activities, all just for camp staff!  They call it the “gathering place.”  I’m so psyched to dedicate some R&R time here.  Or if resting will be a near-nonexistent concept, at least watch just about every single sunset, like I did the last two nights. :)

I also was lucky enough to bring my 11-week old kitten with me!  She’s being generously housed by the High School Girls director in a wonderful cabin on the lake, with a glorious breeze and many rooms and hideouts to explore.

What I love about this place is how art doesn’t just exist here.  It lives, breathes, emanates from, and is a part of every molecule here.  Walking around, I love hearing melodies coming from the practice huts.  Even some scales and arpeggios I heard today sounded so much more rich and meaningful than warmups I might here in some other less beautiful place.  Yesterday afternoon, during my first few hours of free wandering, I stumbled upon the Horn Institute Recital (a pre-camp workshop), which was a fun first concert to attend.  I brought my horn with me, and even though I haven’t played in a year ½, I’m sure I’ll be inspired to play again.  It would also be awesome to take a voice lesson or two while I’m here.

There’s so much I want to take advantage of here!  I find myself being constantly simultaneously so incredibly grateful for being back here and landing this amazing job (I actually cried yesterday when seeing the lake for the first time), and feeling rushed to to experience everything in such a short amount of time, as I am only hired for the first session….

Today I planned out the details of an injury treatment/prevention lecture I’m giving on Tuesday—I have therabands and exercise sheets to hand out to everyone, and I am so nerdily excited about it.  Tomorrow and Sunday I need to crack down on reviewing my lesson plans for the classes.  I confess I’m seriously nervous, but I need to project a confident act so the students don’t sense it.

Thanks for reading about my latest adventure.  More to come!

“Because I can count on my fingers the number of sunsets I have left, and I don't want to miss any of them.” --Suzanne Collins, "Catching Fire"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Somehow plies tonight....with the studio lights dimmed, rain pounding on the skylight, and a beautiful string melody to dance to...turned into some sort of magical ritual. I'm barely getting by in some ways, but in others I feel so lucky and grateful to do what I do. How many other people get to move and breathe and sing with their bodies in the way that we do?? This path is all I've wanted to follow, and despite all the injury-hell and financial stressors...I'm glad I'm on it.

Trying to get back into blogging, as it seems I've gotten out of the habit.  Maybe being more poetic and thought-provoking will help. :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reflecting on the Dance Village, Kibbutz Ga'aton, Israel

Exactly a year ago, I arrived in Israel and began a journey....the MASA Dance Journey to study with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel.  Here, I became inspired in unthinkable ways and worked harder than ever before. Keeping this journey and the people I met in mind as I continue along, in dance and in life.

I distinctly remember panicking as the cabin doors closed, once I boarded the plane.  I started to cry, and had trouble breathing.  I've never felt so trapped before...too late to chicken-out, like I was seated in the car of a roller-coaster, right after the safety bar was clicked permanently into place.

After I breathed some Tel Avivan air, fresh off the Mediterranean for a few days, and then got settled in my little room with my awesome Australian roommate on Kibbutz Ga'aton, I realized there was nothing to be afraid of (except, perhaps, preparing to begin a program that was harder and more exhausting than anything I had ever been a part of before).  I  began a new life, in a new home, and it was more illuminating than I imagined it would be.

It was here that I danced all day in a gorgeous studio overlook the green Galilean hills, learning from teachers who were fierce dancers and amazing people.  They pushed me to work, dance, think, and sweat harder than I ever have in my life.  It was, at times, extremely rigorous, and tears occasionally accompanied my aching muscles....and ice packs, Icy Hot, ace-wraps, my trusty foam roller, homeopathic creams, and NSAIDs.  But in the end, I was inspired, always inspired to keep learning, keep dancing, and work ever-harder.  I came out of the program a more technical dancer, a faster study (picking up choreography was always past struggle of mine), and even more more inspired and confident with the craft.

I met amazing dancers from 15 other countries that became my family.  We shared stories and cooked foods from our home countries, helped each other through rough rehearsals, inspired creation of choreography, and provided a look into the life of a fellow dancer from across the world (which was often an incredibly similar life, and yet simultaneously vastly different).  Many of us were living completely on our own (meaning financially, too) for the first time, and we helped each other through the new responsibilities (and freedoms) that that allows.  Some of these friends I hope to remain close to for the rest of my life.

I created a piece for our Nitzotzot concert (our choreography showcase, meaning "Sparkles") about long-distance communication, keeping in touch, and technology.  This was inspired by Skype and how video-chatting was such a huge part of our life on the kibbutz.  Spending our free time with each other would often be scheduled around "Skype dates" with family or friends.  Sometimes there would be an incredibly frustrating technology-fail, where either the audio or video would be off or the internet would be flickering.  But even with the frustrations and limitations, I am so grateful to live in an age of Skype....it really was amazing to be practically face to face with my family, from over 6000 miles apart.

Living as a part of nature was a huge inspiration for me, and part of the reason I cherished my time on the kibbutz.  I lived in an apartment, but it was essentially a camp-feel, stepping out onto a small road, in the middle of greenery, amidst an agriculturally-supported village.  The kibbutz gardeners kept the grounds blooming gorgeously, and I couldn't get over how green and sprawling it was to live in the midst of this flowing country.  Lemongrass and other herbs grew right outside my door with which to make tea, and I could pick and eat citrus fruits and apricots right off the trees, provided they were communal kibbutz-trees.  I loved going to the market to get fresh mint, basil, and vegetables, and I really learned to cook here for the first time, experimenting with basically throwing a bunch of things in a pan with olive oil and seeing how it turned out.  Buying salted cashews, dried strawberries, and spices that I didn't know the names of from the markets....everything was so fresh in Israel, and I began to see myself turning into even more of a organic, naturey, tree-hugger than I already was.

I am incredible grateful for this experience....and am constantly being informed by my knowledge.  I will never forget my time in Israel, and I know a piece of my heart (or rather, my feet) will always reside in the Dance Village that is Kibbutz Ga'aton.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Therapies....physical and otherwise

It's a new year, and my resolution is going to be to write more! (clearly I have failed at that lately...) I've had an amazing Fall, with so many job and teaching opportunities that it's been almost overwhelming (in a good way).

In the past couple weeks though, everything has come to a screeching halt in my mind, because I'm dealing with a really nasty ankle injury. What I thought was just tendonitis that I was pushing through for months and months is actually a reoccurrence of an old injury from high school. I'm hopefully going to get through this spring and summer ok through doing PT at AthletiCo (yayyy I am not a patient AND employee there...), including ultrasound and iontophoresis treatments, wearing a brace or tape, and not pushing things. I will be teaching for a session at Interlochen Arts Camp this summer, a job I was so ecstatic to be offered that I cried, and an opportunity on which I cannot miss out. After July, I will deal with things and see what can be done....it seems surgery is an option on the table to stabilize and fix a peroneous brevis tear. :-/

This was the first week of the spring semester for Foster Dance. Tonight I took the class I refer to as dance-therapy....Lindsey Leduc's jazz/lyrical class. The studio was jam-packed the students, oldies and newbies, college-kids still home on break, and dancers fresh to Chicago. It was amazing to see everyone who showed up to share in movement tonight. I got through the class on few-releves and no jumps, but with a full range of emotions from frustration to joy. When I got in my car I was shaken at how much the class had affected me. Lindsey's is one of my favorites of the whole week, and it is always an invigorating, fulfilling, affirming hour and 1/2. This time I was filled with extreme frustration and depression about my injury, but simultaneously a feeling of being supported and lifted up by Lindsey, Ronn, and my other friends and students who surrounded me. Injuries are never fun to go through, and I've been here before. But maybe I can get through it without falling apart emotionally, if I can allow the positive, healing energies from everyone around me to fill me....I don't know how much I believe in energies, but whatever good may come from sending love to my ankle, I will take it!

"My body tells me no, but I won't quit, cause I want more"
-Young the Giant