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Month: November 2015

CHARGE: Austin, Texas pt. 2

Austin, Texas

November 6th 2015  9:00pm-9:10pm

Kylie Phillips

I was not on a CHARGE mission this night, didn’t even bring my iPad for taping.  I went with April Rose to a house warming party for one of her friends, Melanie.  I am on the back porch chillin’, and in walks Kylie Phillips and her Dad Swift.  I could tell she was a performer right away.  She was so animated with her Dad!

Lauren Checchio was also at the party and we were fortunate enough that she brought her dumbek with her.  Lauren is a bad ass drummer from austin.  She was playing and young Kylie (12 years old) couldn’t stand still.  I asked her, “Do you want to learn something?”  She said yes right away.  Lauren handed me the drum and jumped up to show her some steps.  It was so much fun to watch, but every time I watched the dancers I fucked up the rhythm!  I had to concentrate.  Then Lauren switched me spots and Kylie started talking about crumping.  I begged her to show me something.  We practiced the first 4cts crumping and I added a 5-6-7-8 hip step thing.

Raven grabbed her phone camera, Lauren drummed, Kylie and I danced and April Rose called out the highlights.  I know it’s poor lighting and I debated wether I should post the footage.  The beauty in this one though is the spontaneity and organicness.  I had just met this young lady and we were dancing together.  In true collaboration.

So, after the magic I talked to Kylie and her Dad about the project.  Turns out Kylie is already a celebrity in her own right.  She is Kyliegirl414 on youtube!  She is a singer, songwriter, dancer and choreographer.  She travels for performance and already has a music video out!  Watch it here…..KylieGirl414

This explains why Kylie was so willing.  I thought to myself, she’s a professional!  Her interview is one of my favorites.  She just turned it on when I said go.  I went home immediately and googled her.  She’s amazing.

I do wish there was more light, but what I love about this event is the age difference.

At the end of the evening the host, not Melanie but her husband, stopped to tell me something.  He explained that Kylie’s father Swift and him had toured together for many years.  he told me how special it was to watch our interaction for him.  Full circle friends.  Full circle!

CHARGE: Austin, Texas pt. 1

Austin, Texas

November 15th 2015  3:00pm-5:00pm

April Rose Burnam

April Rose was on my ‘exception to a stranger list’ since the project first conceptualized.  She is one of my dearest friends, for a very long time, and I don’t know if we have ever created together.  I have choreographed, she has choreographed, but we have never made something together.

We started in her living room standing, moved to the floor sitting, then to the dining room table.  It was unclear at the beginning which movements we were technically banking but we continued to just explore.  It was casual work, mixed with random love and snuggles with her animals.  Raisin, the small mixed breed dog, and Butterball a fluffy calico cat.

Once we got to the table things really began to solidify and the “choreography” began to take shape. The piece seemed to say ‘relationship’ right away.  The movements were slow and calming, but it seemed like there was an undertone of misunderstanding.  Now that I have watched the video again as I write this, I actually think it is about actually understanding!  About two people in different places with deep connection that spans time and distance.

We tried a lot of other stuff with the table, but once the music was chosen, it defined where the piece ended.  We used almost everything we banked sitting on the floor but nothing from the standing session.  I was really satisfied when we were able to incorporate some of the ideas from the sitting session because I was unsure how everything was coming together.

I’m very interested to hear what everyone’s different feelings will be about this piece.  What does it reveal?

I really love what we made, but more than that I loved these things:  Watching April in a healthy happy partnership, living in her new house, seeing the new Rose Movement Studio, dancing in her classes on a Wednesday evening, watching her with her animals, hiking the green belt and the making of her interview (so great!)

I have been in Austin for 7 days, the longest we have stayed anywhere since we left Sacramento.

I love you ApRoRo!

CHARGE: Carlsbad, New Mexico

Carlsbad, New Mexico

November 2nd 2015  10:40am-11:00am

Phyllis Beaver, Anna, Don and Joe

On our way to Carlsbad Cavern we found Brantley State Park.  It looked like a beautiful spot to camp.  On the long road out there was a pull out on the side of the road by a small creek.  I could see another trailer parked with a campfire.  We decided to save the $14 and boondock (free off road camping) for the night.

I took a small hike around the area.  It was a lovely spot but full of trash.  I wandered by the creek and noticed that the other campers were trying to take a group photo.  Raven encouraged me to go help.  We chatted for a small amount of time.  They are 6 friends all over 70 years of age.  They had met at dance class at the senior center about 5 years ago.  They are all locals.  They meet here once a year to hang out, catch up, fish and play games.  We excused ourselves to the trailer for the night although they did invite us to stay and play games.

In the morning I took my time with coffee then headed back over to the creek.  Anna came out to meet me immediately.  I walked over to their trailers with them and started on my speech about my sabbatical project, hoping they might be interested…their first answer was no.  Phyllis had a sensitive back, Don had a shoulder issue and Joe sat quietly.  I could tell that Anna was considering.  I got my persuasive voice on and started my pep talk.  I won!  We settled on a game plan.  Don would play his guitar and Joe would teach me to 2-Step.

Don began playing “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. Joe was saying “not right” and grabbed a small CD player.  He was not a teacher and Anna stepped in to tell me “It’s 2 steps then 1”.  As Joe and I danced he explained to me that his 2 Step was unusual and unique.  He once taught it to an actual dance teacher.  Anna videoed and Phyllis, despite her back , and Don, despite his shoulder aches, couldn’t help but to stand up and join us.

I really wanted to get Don’s Folsom Prison Blues, and I also really wanted to dance with Anna because originally she was totally game, so we worked out a quick little sequence of “step touches” and went for it.  Phyllis joined us.  Anna also asked me to show them what I do, so Don played something on his guitar and I think I performed one of the worst solos of my life.  But they smiled and laughed and I am sure it was genuine.

After the interviews Phyllis invited us to come to her house, “where there’s plenty of room”, and stay with her.  She offered to open the garage where we would have a huge dance party with all their friends.  We exchanged information and now plan to visit again.

The highlight for me was this:  As everyone else was chatting, Phyllis walked by me quietly then stood right beside me.  She said, “You touch everyone you meet don’t you?”  It began a thought process that lasted the whole days travel.

Maybe this project isn’t just for me?…