the heart speaks

pathwriter’s note: A dancer/choreographer friend of mine shared this video on Facebook a few days ago. The following text, written by Justin Fox, introduced the video on the Zen Garage website:

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

neil gaiman commencement speech

“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”

~Neil Gaiman

pathwriter’s note: There are some wonderful bits of wisdom here, whether you consider yourself an “artist” or not. We are each the artist of our own life, and the life we create is up to us. Well worth the twenty minutes to watch/listen.

there’s a place…

Dan Fogelberg has been one of my favorite musicians/artists since I was in college. His music is, I don’t know…warm, and his lyrics can take my breath away sometimes. This is one of my favorites, the lyrics especially. Listening to it (and singing along) always makes me feel better. I hope it does the same for you.

things that make me smile – singin’ in the rain…

I beg your indulgence as I pay tribute to my favorite dancer ever, Gene Kelly. His combination of grace, athleticism, humor and downright joy gave me (still gives me) many hours of pleasure and inspiration. Years ago, when I was filling out a questionnaire at a seminar, one of the questions was “If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?” I was still dancing at the time, and Gene Kelly was the first name that popped into my head. Of course, in my fantasy, lunch would have been followed by dancing with the “Marlon Brando of Screen Dance”.

Gene Kelly would have been 100 years old today, and, thanks to the magic of film, his dancing will continue to inspire generations to come. I never tire of watching the title number from Singin’ in the Rain. When it’s over…well, the lyrics say it all: “What a glorious feeling—I’m happy again!”

So…who inspires you? Do you need a little dose of that energy today? If it’s a musician/singer, listen to his/her/their music. If it’s an author, make a cup of coffee and spend some time with his/her words. Take it in, soak it up, let it fill you. Then go out and inspire someone else with your own brand of awesomeness.  :)

things that make me smile – walking in memphis

I don’t know what year it was when my brother introduced me to Marc Cohn and “Walking in Memphis”, but the song grabbed me by the soul the very first time I heard it. I’ve listened to it countless times since and never tire of it. I’ve even used it for big, sweeping, leap combinations in modern dance classes.

Every time I hear the first few piano notes, my mouth stretches into an involuntary smile, my eyes crinkling and my heart lifting in recognition of an old, well-loved friend. Cohn’s voice and the lyrics and the rolling rhythm and the piano playing all come together in some sort of magical, alchemical mix that never fails to take me to my happy place.

The tune that soothes your spirit may be different from the one that eases mine, but whatever music is balm to your soul, be sure to give yourself the gift of taking the time to listen and enjoy and absorb the healing and renewal that it offers. For me, this one is always a sure thing; I hope you enjoy it, too.

a legacy of heart

Tonight I learned that a friend of mine passed away last week. We did theatre together a million years ago and probably hadn’t seen each other in a couple of decades, but I had reconnected with him, as I had with many of my old theatre friends, through Facebook. I enjoyed reading his posts, including one from a few weeks ago, the clip of Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women delivering “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” speech.

Bob had an amazing voice and a wicked sense of humor, but what comes to me as I think back is his kindness. Continue reading

for love of the muppets (happy friday!)

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning. It’s been nearly 22 years since gentle Jim Henson died, leaving a legacy of heart-filled creativity and joy. This is 15 minutes long, so take a break, make a cup of tea, and enjoy. (And be sure to bring a hankie…you’re not likely to get all the way through without shedding a tear or two.)

celebrating life

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is one of my favorite dance companies. Ever since I first saw them perform, back when I was a twenty-something dance major, I’ve been in awe of the power of Mr. Ailey’s choreography and the strength and grace of his dancers. His signature piece, Revelations, continues to be an audience favorite, for good reason. It is a celebration of life, the joys, the sorrows, and everything in between.

I went looking on YouTube for the final section of Revelations tonight because I was in need of a little bit of uplifting, and it never fails to do the trick. (I have the entire dance on VHS, but my only VCR is in the basement.) While I wasn’t able to find a good video of the full cast (18 dancers) version of the final section, I did stumble across this video of the final section as it was performed by a smaller cast (10 dancers) at Mr. Ailey’s funeral in 1989. Small cast or not, it gave me the lift I needed, and I hope it will do the same for you.

brave and kind

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve reblogged several posts by kindness girl. Kindness girl lives in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, but her message of kindness has gained national attention in the past year, first through an article in O Magazine, then through an invitation from the Huffington Post to share her message of kindness on their Good News page.

This video introduces you to kindness girl, but I hope you’ll spend some time on her blog and let yourself be inspired by her. I think she’s pretty amazing.

things that make me smile ~flash mobs

I know I’m a little biased, having danced for a living for a big chunk of my adult life, but I’ve always thought that the world would be a happier, more peaceful place if everybody danced. It doesn’t matter what kind of dance—swing dance, square dance, hip hop, ballet, tap, jazz—or how “good” you are, there’s a place you go when the music takes over your body. I’ve touched that place, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before or since….joy, pure and simple.

When the inner dancer and the outer dancer become one, dancing can be transcendent… Continue reading