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Month: October 2015

CHARGE: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico

October 30th 2015  6:00pm-8:00pm and 9:00pm-10:00pm

Kara McDonald

One of my students, and dear friends, has been battling breast cancer for the past year and a half.  It was a top priority for me to make it to Santa Fe to be with her.  I wanted to be here sooner.

This project is predominately about working with people whom I don’t know, however I knew there would be a few exceptions along the way.  Kara being the first of them.  She just finished her last chemotherapy and I knew we needed to dance together.

We began by catching up on health issues, family stuff, and romance.  I told her about CHARGE and she was in, immediately.  I was really excited about collaborating, to make something co-created by the two of us.  I have so far created with people in an all “follow them”, or “follow me” way.

We just started moving.  I used some of my Pilobolus technique to open my mind and body and receive.  There was some awkward moments in the beginning, but we were both patient and kept discovering.  We kept digging physically without much dialogue.  We banked what we loved without counting or solidifying too much detail.  It was beautiful.  We were just moving, laughing, and connecting.

We took a dinner break after about 2 hours and walked her crazy ass 9 month old puppy to grab some food.  Then back to creating for another hour.  We video’d the piece for memory and agreed to hit downtown Santa Fe the next day to find a great place to document.

Day 2
Halloween day!  We taped in numerous places.  Warehouse 21: a youth safe house, and a few spots in the park.  My favorite was the tunnel.  Kara and I were inspired to re-work a couple movements to adapt to the tunnel.  It was a truly beautiful experience to dance the sequence numerous times in her comfortable surroundings.  I don’t remember which take it was, but at the end when we were back face to face, I saw her struggle, I saw her victory,  I saw her fear, and I saw her strength.  It moved me to tears.  The rest of that story is really hers to tell.

We went to a local pub for Halloween festivities that night.  I wore a tiger onesie, stayed up late, got up early, hitched the trailer and on my way South to Carlsbad.

I think this is Raven’s favorite piece so far.  I sang this song over and over in my head for a full week following this event.  I love you Kara.

CHARGE: Concho, Arizona

Concho, Arizona

October 29th, 2015  9:00am-9:05am


Raven’s Dad and wife Tori bought some property in Concho, AZ.  We made it a priority on this trip to make it out there.  It is 150 acres in the middle of the high desert.  20 miles on a dirt road with the nearest neighbor over a mile away.

Raven’s Dad is a good ‘ole fashion country boy with a side of red-neck.  He moved to Arizona so he could ride his 4 wheeler to the store with a gun on his hip and a rifle mounted in the cab.  I was immediately inspired to ask him to make something with me during our visit.  Leonard says there are only 2 types of music, Country and Western.  I knew this.  I also knew he is not so open to what he would consider “hippy shit”.  I needed to think strategically about how to get him to say yes.  I should come with a plan, or even a little choreography.  I picked up an old pair of cowboy boots from a resale shop, selected an old Randy Travis song and worked out 2 counts of 8.  Something simple just in case we couldn’t figure something out together.  I thought I would propose it on the 2nd day.  Warm him up a bit.

Day 2:  I chickened out 🙁

I’m not sure why I felt so scared of it.  I am completely comfortable with people saying no to me.  I usually have to use some sort of persuasion to creatively get experimental movement.  I told myself he was going to say no, I was going to push too far and things were going to get awkward.  We will never know if that would have happened because I never even asked him.

In the morning I was kicking myself with my old new boots.  Lame.  I totally let that moment pass by.  I feel like I should write about both the triumphs and failures of this project.  So here’s a video clip that I consider a failure for this project.

I asked Raven to come outside with me and tape the little combo I had done for her Dad so I could reference this.  I don’t like the combo when I watch it.  It was made for more, not just for me, but for an experience that I didn’t grab.  I am not sure if I don’t like it because of what it represents to me, or because I just don’t like it.

I do love this 1951 Chevy behind me named Jake.  I love the colors!  I love the morning light in the desert and my new old boots.

I will remember this feeling next time I second guess myself.  Remember…CHARGE!


CHARGE: Jerome, Arizona

Jerome, Arizona

October 23, 2015  6:15pm-6:20pm


Tiny little ghost town turned biker-artist community.  On the advice of Sherri Wheatley we rolled through.  I have never been here even though I lived 2 years in Arizona.  We got in late so we found a fireman to direct us to a free land space to camp.  It was incredible.  Small dirt road turns into a beautiful pull out on a gorgeous bluff!  In the morning we walked to town.  Literally the second shop we entered, I met SunFlower, who was working in the shop. She spoke to me first, “Well, aren’t you a work of art.” Still new to how I would be asking people to participate, I started by just asking her what time she got off work. I took a walk down the street but could not stop thinking she was the one for this stop, so I went back and asked if she’d like to dance with me when she got off work, she was so excited to do it.  68 years young, mother of 6 and grandmother of 12, I could not wait to see what would happen. I was really surprised that I met my new dance partner so quickly!

I met her at 6pm outside and she drove me to the park.  We talked of her 6 daughters and shared grandma stories.  She said she has known me before and we were supposed to meet again.  I picked the song for her.  She cried when she heard it.  Then she just started dancing.  I followed her.  We danced it 3 times and she lead me every time.  It was again almost dark.  Sorry for the video quality.  SunFlower was worth the wait.  She wanted me to know that the universe is giving her a farm with goats and room for all of her family.  We are going to meet again, I am sure about that.  I think she is a medicine woman with a lot of wisdom.  While we were dancing together she was whispering, “These are the crystals they gave me.”

All light had been replaced by only a sliver of moonlight as we finished up. We exchanged a couple of hugs and SunFlower said, “OK…we’re just going to walk away now…” I could tell that she was fully connected to the experience, and as we parted she returned to her car and I heard a loud, “Whoooooo!” I smiled to myself. We had met for that joy, I am certain.

The process was different for me – she just took off flying and I had to find how to keep up with her.  We literally worked for 3 minutes during the 3 times we played the song.  Ready, Set, DANCE!  I have thought about her so much after this event and we have been texting each other regularly.  I can’t wait to go visit her on her Universe Farm!

CHARGE: East Jesus, Slab City

Slab City, California at East Jesus

October 19th 2015  4:30pm-6:30pm

Mopar and Raphaelle

This was my first opportunity to start CHARGE!  I was excited and anxious on how these other humans were going to find me, or I find them.  I promised myself to continue to stay open to how things would magically happen.  Trust.

The very first evening we pulled in to East Jesus at Slab City, we were introduced to the “family”.  Enter Mopar, aka The Wizard.  He hugged Raven first and whispered into her ear “I am stronger for you.”  When he went to hug me it was tight and full of emotion.  I looked at Raven right away and winked.  I waited until the campfire that night to propose the idea of making some movement art together.  He agreed.  I asked him about what music he loved and he told me about his most favorite song, Desiderata.  We planned to work the next evening on something but his schedule “filled up” and we postponed to the next evening.

The next day I took a run to the canal for a short swim.  As I was walking back, a maroon van rolled by me very slowly.  The girl who was driving and I made eye contact as she passed.  I knew right away we were meant to know each other.  She made a U-turn and rolled down her window.  “I just got to Slab City and I have no where to stay.  Do you know how this whole thing works?”  I brought her back to East Jesus and introduced her to Frank.  Her and her boyfriend decided to stay.  We went to the Hot Springs that evening, and Mopar and I were talking about the dance project.  Raphaelle asked to join.  YES!

Right before sunset the next day, Raphaelle and I started the project.   We created two very small movement sequences.  I wanted to collaborate more but we had to save time.  We had to video before dark and we were chasing the sun already.  Raphaelle was a joy to work with.  Up for everything. Mopar came in with very little movement and began narrating right away.  I said “yes” even though it wasn’t my first thought.  I taught Mopar one of the small sequences of movement and I was delightfully surprised at how beautiful it was on him.

This video is the first take.  We did 3 of them total but the magic in the first one is undeniable.  Mopar picked the music.  When I watch it I feel joyful.  The process was so fun for me.  This is my first “Free Event”.

Raphaelle a hippy chick, Mopar a wizard, me a lizard and we all have the right to exist.







CHARGE: A Free Event _____ Introduction

Welcome to a project inspired by my one year sabbatical!

CHARGE: A Free Event

A journey of saying YES. Creating with people in the moment, little to no choreography, outside the studio, with new friends and old, strangers, family, those with limited movement in their lives to limited movement in their limbs, dancers, and everything in between. I am searching for people on my sabbatical who will work with me for anywhere from minutes to days on a brief movement production. I am not doing any editing during the process or the final production that you will be watching here. I am simply saying YES and capturing moments with people who are also willing to say YES.

Footage is not high quality and production is very organic 🙂

ENJOY! And practice saying YES!