Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going.
This January there were notable artists that passed on from this life. Their expressions gave us mile marker memories. “Oh yeah! I remember hearing that song on the school bus for the first time and being really excited.” When artists express themselves so vibrantly, there is an impression left on the souls of others. What impression are you making?
Twenty years ago I remember grabbing My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess out of the shelving bin at the Borders Bookstore. Just holding the book, realized Dr. Suess had passed and that this new book was relevant to being published after he died, I knew I needed to bring the book into motion. Dance class after dance class
started hearing the story. Soon songs matched in and a production was recorded. I was privileged to work with missions groups and have the story read in Russian and Spanish so the dance expression would be taken and performed for kids in Crimea and Dominican Republic. I wonder what expression this left on the kids.
My Many Colored Days was never choreographed. It was primarily an improvisation. Students learned the emotion within the story through an animal and a color. Then music that matched the mood/emotion released the students to use shape, space, and timing which they desired.
It’s been a number of years now that many generations have taken part in this improvisational exercise. I’m beginning to wonder if a more mature rendition needs choreographed. As you live there are seasons that come through. I’ve had the water years, the sleek grey tech years, the romantic era, and of late the brown bear caved years. What would it look like to the dancers if we expanded the 30-90 second segments and instead…selected a page for an entire piece. I think it might be time to plan a Many Colored Reunion event. Dancers could bring their own pieces and enjoy the evening of maturity.
There will be a day when our expressions hang in the air beyond our lives. The impression of Allison Prucha’s Orange Day, Anita Artzner’s Black Day, Lexi Reiman and Chloe Harley performing Blue Day. Those are some favorite for certain; but there are so so many more. Emma Martinez’ Brown. Genevieve Bodenshatz’ Red. I think 2016 will be a year of choreographing some of these expressions on dancers. These expressions make impact. I’m so glad Dr. Suess created them. I am so glad our art is left behind.
“Hitting the holiday party is likely worth the effort: A new study suggests that time spend with loved ones may help your body fight inflammation.” Prevention.com December 2013
This is the month of push for the Moving to Math classes. We’ve worked all year to unlock the minds of our students and help them see the box, measure it, crawl around it, jump in & out of it and transform it into a tool for their personal artistry. We’ll be reviewing and preparing for the testing season that’s coming soon.
There are so many amazing lessons that have been developed among the students, classroom teachers, and myself over the last 4 years of writing the Moving to Math program. I have huge respect and gratitude for several people. It’s time to stop and thank them.
Jane Reifsnyder at Portage Collaborative Montessori School is a source of constant inspiration. She is a dancer at heart and comes up with amazing ideas. She also does a great deal of grant-writing to help my crazy ideas manifest. We are currently working on PUNCTUATING CULTURE THROUGH SONG AND DANCE. Thank you!
Valarie McPhillen from The Arts Academy at Summit is another person whose personal commitment to students has aided my development. It has been comedic to watch her mathematical wizardry come my way. Yes, it’s 4th, 5th, and 6th grade math…but mathematics is an eternal and endless concept. Our planning meetings have been packed full of details and bright ideas. Thank you!
Jennie Albrecht also from The Arts Academy at Summit is a go getter with her students. She taught me that it’s, in fact, very good that I’m tenacious about building a good problem for the students to solve. They can figure out the volume of a big human formation. Thank you!
The last person on the list is the person who planted the seed of what is possible. Ms. Cummings was a music teacher who tried to open the minds of a rural classroom of 4th graders. She offered CREATIVE MOVEMENT once. ONCE. It was her first year of teaching and it really….didn’t…go so well. All the boys were hyper and running around the room like crazy farm boys. Go figure. I was captivated. I stood in the middle of the room…not moving…and watched everyone move around me. Then, I went home and did all the moves I memorized Ms. Cummings performing. Then, I came back to school the next day and began the process of translating every single lesson into a movement. How oddly abstract for a 4th grader!!! It was my thing though.
I did recently look up Ms. Cummings. I thanked her for her creativity. I shared that she wouldn’t remember me. I was a wall-flower – but I appreciated her passion.
This is a guiding value of mine as an instructor. I truly give every class all my energy. I believe that we make more energy when we spend what we have. YOU NEVER KNOW what your students will take home. SO GIVE THEM ALL YOU’VE GOT!
It was 2003. I had a house, storefront dance studio, a wonderful husband and a new baby. The hope of prosperity was dwelling upon me. Yet, I kept desiring a ‘something’ that would complete the picture.
“Amor sceleratus habendi” means “the accursed love of getting”. In those days I had an uncanny ability to purchase the ‘thing’ I needed to finish the picture. The perfect frame for that sketch came home with me one day. The right throw blanket for that couch the next. True indeed some of these items were starter home kinds of things and they are still part of our family now.
However, one particular day, I was unlocking the door to our house and my arms were full of shopping bags. I glanced over to the patio and thought “Once I get the patio furniture I’ll have everything I need.” It was an instant out of body experience. I heard myself and realized I had financial power to ruin myself. (Funny, financial power in youth is a fleeting sort of thing. That story will have to be told another day.) Upon this thought…the accursed love of getting…I vowed it would be a long day away that I would buy any patio furniture.
It has turned out just fine, you know. Along came some hand-me-down furniture and 4-10 summer parties a year. I’m so glad for the momentary conviction of the heart. The hand-me-downs were so sweet to my soul. It placed the priority back on the people instead of the picture they made. Luvli!
This weekend the Comdoc Flashmob performed their dance at the annual company holiday party. The cast met once a week for 7 weeks and once a day for 1 week. Andrea Capuano and Donna Neff organized song selections. Capuano and her husband actually wrote and recorded lyrics to match the inside jokes of the office’s jovial spirit. I’m so proud of the way they executed the choreography!
It is always a delight to be able to help someone who feels they are in a dark place in life. Many trainers and physicians can recommend exercise as medicine for any number of ailments, however, when I use methods from the deep heritage of dance training – I find clients can make quick progress. Someone who is in a lot of pain cannot come to a Zumba or Pilates class and find success. They need the steps to get them ready for Zumba and Pilates. Here is a beautiful story from a Uniontown client. It makes my heart soar to see her enjoying life and taking on new challenges.
“I started with Kimberly at a time when I was in so much pain I was not able to function well. I didn’t know it at the time but my core was so weak that things were prolapsing inside causing major bladder pain. This condition had persisted on and off for years. I even went through ultrasounds to see what was wrong. After Kimberly laid out a program for me, I faithfully applied her exercises on an hourly basis in the beginning. By the next day I was mostly out of pain! Within one week, she noticed how much stronger I was. I continue faithfully everyday for my health and well-being. I am so thankful for Kimberly and her knowledge to help me enjoy life again!”
~A.A. from Uniontown, Ohio
If you find yourself overwhelmed with pain or the steps it’s going to take to make progress – please give me a call. I would love to meet with you and hear your story. There is hope and you will make it through the storm you’re in. Do not give up!
~Kimberly Payne, CMA, CPT