Leading a spiritual life

Leading a spiritual life

Some time ago I was asked to choose a card that would come to represent my path in this world. I drew the High Priestess card. And ever since that time that card has come forward time and time again to stand as representative of me in a reading. I sometimes look at this card a bit akin to how people listen to their own voice in a recording, “Is that really me?” The sound so different that you would scarcely have believed it was your own voice. And what a strange duality. To look upon an image and not recognize yourself. As if you are both You and Stranger at one time. How is that even possible? Have we separated from the Self so far that we scarcely recognize our own likeness? Have I separated from mySelf so far that I no longer recognize my own image? Thank the Goddess for Her ever present patience and compassion. The loops her children make in an ever running spiral of confusion from the One. So I find myself here again: working back towards my center. I have stopped my yogic and spiritual practices, allowed myself to become stressed and caught up in the day to day. Life happens and sometimes things can be become hectic AND it is in those moments that connecting to Source is even more important, not something to sacrifice. As I once read, meditation is not a luxury. And as another wise source put it, “Our actions come from our habits.” Yes. I am returning to my Diving Dance blog to break the cycle of stress and separation to reconstitute my connection to source, to my body, to Myself in all it’s Divinity. Here I commit myself to a 90 day practice. Morning yoga, mid-day runs, nightly meditations, rich and lovingly prepared foods, time with family and self, self-nuturance for alleviation from stress, and the weaving of the Dance into the everyday.

Let this be the root: http://www.lilyoflight.com/meditation-of-the-week/so-darshan-kriya/

And so we begin.

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Day 21: Final Day of the Dance Challenge!!!

ImageWow… I can’t believe it. When I first started this blog I thought, “Wow… it feels like FOREVER until 21 days are over!!” Now it seems as if it flew by. And I look back over my blog and am amazed at how much I wrote… good lord I can be long-winded! A huge thanks to everyone who hung in there as I droned on and on! Ha!

So what did we cover… let’s do a quick recap:

  • An overview of how I saw myself as a dancer and why I started this dance challenge
  • Physical Therapy
  • Emotional Eating & Sugar Addiction
  • Love of Taking Classes & Constructive Criticism
  • The Importance of Sleep
  • Getting Sick!
  • Coming Back to Your Center
  • Money Making
  • Technique
  • Gratitude (otherwise known as the Yummy Juicy Tid-Bits post)
  • Drama & Priorities

Wow…. that’s a lot! I didn’t quite realize everything that I wanted/needed to talk about until I saw it completely outlined like that. And this blog really started as a way to chart my technique progression and completely took on another form. Sure the technique and physicality is there… and there’s a lot more. There’s quite a lot that goes into dance isn’t there! Clearly it’s not all about the physical…. And there’s even so much more that I wanted to write about that I didn’t even get to. Wow…

And there’s something else isn’t there? The importance of true honesty with yourself as you move forward on your path. Guilt-free, non-judgement, for your benefit and for the purposes of bringing you to a higher level, honesty. (Warning: patting myself on the back is about to commence!) And that’s something I’ve tried to do here, complete with my soul-baring descriptions of sugar addiction, falling off the horse, times of drama obsession, criticisms of myself as a dancer, and so on. It doesn’t do me (or anyone reading this for that matter) any good if I just try to make myself look perfect. Because SURPRISE(!), I’m not. (I know… you’re totally surprised, right? :-)) And wouldn’t that be boring if I or anyone else was. We’re here to do some work, aren’t we? So I might as well do it right…

So where do I go from here? I definitely don’t feel like I’m done with this path… I’m SIKED that I’m getting stronger, leaner and my right leg is finally adjusting…. but this new habit of dance definitely feels shaky at best. Even today with the rain I’m struggling with myself to do something… (because today I’m scheduled to go out for a run so I will figure something else out dang nab it!)

You up for another 21 days? ‘Cause I think I am! Let’s hammer in this new habit baby! WOOT!

School will kick back in in the fall so this blog will not continue forever… I might as well do it while I still can!!!!

And I think I learned something Kyle…

Posting every day is definitely too much for me. I think posting every other day is much more do-able. But I would like to keep myself to some sort of schedule so I don’t flake off. I will also keep a log of food and practice going, if for nothing else than for me to have a record of what I’m eating and what I’m doing to look back on.

And finally…

A HUGE thanks to all of you who have been unbelievably supportive through this entire process. Your posts, FB comments, private emails, and phone calls have been an incredible inspiration and I can’t tell you how fun it’s been doing this WITH all of you rather than by my lonesome. Love you guys.

FOOD Day 21:

  • Breakfast: Pancakes & Strawberries
  • Lunch: Chicken Soup
  • Dinner:

PRACTICE Day 21:

(I’ll update all of this by the end of the day!)

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Day 20: Drama & Priorities

(Disclaimer: for this topic I feel the need to officially state that these are my opinions and my opinions alone. They do not in any way represent others, other dancers, troupe members, etc.)

Now you’re curious, right?

Some time ago I had this incredible Reiki teacher. Someone that I am just convinced is an ascended master that has come to Earth to teach us. I barely have words for him… just incredible. On one particularly luminescent moment, we were talking about why we just suddenly have feelings of sadness or negativity following a day or days of joy. He explained that aspects of our inner being that are sad or hurt sees that day of joy and wanting to feel like that, comes to the surface. That part of us, in other words, is asking for our help.

And I’m there. I’ve had a few days of just wonderfulness (as you might have gleaned from Day 16 & 17!) and today I’m feeling particularly erksome. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not so good at using my “angst” to create art. If you don’t know me well, then you might not know that I am incredibly sensitive. The minute I’m hurt and/or worried about something (and I’m a serious worry-wart), I crawl into my shell and you can forget about anything that requires any sort of self-motivation. My energy drains out of me…

So what’s coming to the surface?

Drama… I’m sick of it. Are you? I realize that I live in this bubble called belly dance, but there just feels like there is sooooo much “belly drama”. And I know I didn’t come up with that term. I’m sure that drama exists in other dance styles, and maybe it’s as pervasive there as it is here… but still.

I was just talking with a friend of mine the other evening and she was commenting that at her age (roughly 40), that (paraphrasing!) she has moved past the point of wanting to engage in drama in any-way-shape-or-form. She has moved beyond caring what so-and-so was saying or thought about her and from this centered place has come into a full acknowledgement of herself as divinity, the drama simply being no longer worth it. I’m so close to being there…. I wish I could say I’m there, but I’m not. I care. I do. I feel like I’m still on the fence, just about to leap over to the other side of not caring what others say or think about me… so close.

The simple fact is… ok, I’m gonna say it… there has been a lot of crap said about me in the last year and a half. About myself and others I’m close to. Now this is not to say that I haven’t made mistakes that I needed to apologize for, and I have tried to do so when I felt this was necessary. We’re all human and we make mistakes. That said, I stand in utter amazement at some of the accusations that have come my way over the last eighteen months… horrible hurtful things. Things that have broken my heart more times than I thought was possible… I can’t even tell you. I wish it didn’t hurt… but it did and does. On a somewhat tangential yet related topic, I was listening to a podcast today and the speaker said that for every moment of sadness our heart experiences, our immune system is compromised for six hours. I don’t know if that’s true… but if it is, wow! And for someone like me who is an unbelievable worry-wart/overly sensitive type you can just multiply that by a hundred.

While I sit with this, two important topics come up: why are people drawn to drama and priorities. I’ll start with the former…

I can’t pretend that I have the answer to this one. I wish I did. But I have a theory…. dance (and all the arts) make us extraordinarily vulnerable. We are placing our soul, our passion, for view. Simultaneously we claim our creativity as our own. Meaning that what we create represents “us”, who we are, and that any judgement or negativity can be seen as immediately reflecting on our being. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, has a fabulous talk on the TedTalk series that discusses this very point.  (You can find this on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA&feature=share&fb_source=message) Among many incredible points, Gilbert explores the impact that the modern notion of the arts as emanating from our being, from our ego, rather than being attributed to the Muses and other celestial beings as was done long ago, has had on artists. In the past if your piece was not celebrated it was the fault of the Muses. Now if your piece does not go over well, it is because you are a horrible artist. Wow… no pressure.

For me drama is our attempt to diffuse this energy. If we point the finger to someone else, then we can hide from our perceived inadequacies. We are not the horrible artist, they are! The irony though is that we are not inadequate. No one is. For me, it is one of the great sadnesses of this age that any creative venture has become a point of competition. One artist pitted against another for supremacy. As if one form of creation could really be compared to another. Each is unique and beautiful. There is room enough for everyone…

Unfortunately try as I might, there are those who wish to perpetuate drama. My rights begin where someone else’s ends… it is their choice and they need to live as is right for them. In the end, I cannot control what they think about me. (As much as I might want to sometimes! HA!) All I can do is to make choices and live as I feel is right for me. So what choice am I going to make? Continue to worry, loss sleep, and allow my creativity to wither because I’m hurt? That doesn’t sound like a good choice to me…

When I think back to the boiling points of a few particularly dramatic interludes that took place in the past… they were never worth it. During those moments, I was so devastated… didn’t sleep… worried… certainly didn’t dance(!!) and in the end, allowed myself to be hurt and drained to the point of destruction and illness. My schoolwork suffered, my dance disappeared, and I was so depleted I found it difficult to take care of my daughter. (Have I mentioned I’m very sensitive???) Not-worth-it. Maybe I’m coming closer to my friend who was explaining where she was at… I know who I am and who I am not. Drama is so often more about the person perpetuating it than about you. And those who matter will recognize you for the beauty that you are. Point being, my school, my dance, and most certainly my daughter, are worth more than drama. For me, dance is about our connection and actualization of the divine. Anything less than that and I will simply send my love and step away.

I think I just crossed that fence…

To end this post on a happy note(!), I’d like to share the beautiful and utterly inspiring video that my sister in dance, Shri Rajuli, found entitled, “Why I dance…”. This, I think, says it all….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NW8qUKxQiQU

Food: Day 20

  • Breakfast: Steak & Eggs! (I can’t believe it… TOTALLY indulgence. I never eat like this!)
  • Lunch: Left over steak from the steak & eggs. 🙂 Salad
  • Snack: Veggie Chips
  • Dinner: Potato Gratin & Broccoli, Wine

Practice: Day 20

  • Short run for warm up
  • Physical therapy strength training (45 min)
  • Personal practice (1.5 hrs)
  • Yoga (30 min)


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Day 16 & 17: Yummy Juicy Tid Bits…

Image

…all over the place. Seriously…. everywhere….

I’m just gonna be one huge gushing ball of excitement and gratitude spewing delectable chunks of dance-rific incredibleness at ya’ for the next few minutes. You ready?

Physical therapy ROCKS! Yup, my leg is sore as all get-out but what’s the saying? It has to hurt if it is to heal? Yep, I subscribe to that one. At least ache or minimally tell you that something’s happening. My knees aren’t cracking loud enough for an entire auditorium to hear (Which actually happened by the way… some of you probably remember that.) and my over-turn out is slowly correcting itself. Isn’t the human body AMAZING?!?! After years… and I mean like almost two decades… my leg with physical therapy is correcting itself. Amazing.

I feel like a million bucks. Ran today.. feel amazing. What? You mean the two go together? I wasn’t dying and practically dragging myself as I ran?!?! Instead I drank in the flowers and bird songs that surrounded me as I jogged. Gorgeous…

I freakin’ LOVE Bevin’s classes! Holy crap… I can SEE stomach rolls happening people! STOMACH ROLLS! What?!?!

We did chest slides and Bevin talked about introducing your lats and/or deltoids into the picture. Now, I remember going to a Zoe Jakes workshop and she talked about using your lats… but I had never even heard of using your deltoids to punctuate the movement. Now this old lady has danced for a LONG time… and never, not once, heard of this. Freakin’ awesome. I just about fell out of my skin and started wriggling on the floor in excitement. Blew-my-mind. It was like a whole new world of technique had been opened up. Bevin ROCKS!

I also mentioned in class that I wanted to work on arms… and not strengthening techniques so much (although that’s always good) but formations, new ways of utilizing my arms during a choreography. All too often I default into this “Mardi Love” arms, if you know what I mean. And while beautiful, can be boring as piss after a while if that’s all you do. It’s as if, as Sasha said tonight, you choreograph everything for the trunk of your body down and the arms are forgotten about. For me, they are often an after thought… something I add in, sorta, once the main parts have been choreographed. As a result, energetically I notice my arms loose their form as I dance. The energy of my dance isn’t extending all the way through my fingers and so I get those floppy elbows, especially my right one, in so many pics. Narf. In response to this Bevin had us just use our arms to dance to a two minute piece. Simple right? WRONG! Holy crap… I could instantly feel how trapped my energy was. How I didn’t know what to do, had a hard time flowing, and that my movement didn’t feel developed. Wow… another MIND BLOWING MOMENT! Definitely gotta do that exercise more often!!

Temple last night was incredible. There’s simply nothing like it for me… at some point in the evening I always go to the upper landing and look out over the crowd. And there’s my family… so many people I love, all happy, smiling, present. Wow. It’s a real gift… it’s hard for me to get out and this event brings all of them together in one place, providing a forum for as many of them as we can handle, to perform. And it’s small… we (Vadalna) know. We’re working on more events to include more performers to be announced in the near future, but for now, it’s a start. And meanwhile I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy it. It’s like an injection of inspiration to fortify my being once a month.

And can I just gush as to how much I love ma’ Vadalna ladies?!?!?! Wow…. these ladies might be the nicest, most supportive women on the entire planet. Unfortunately there’s just far too much “belly drama” and negativity out there… and going to rehearsal is like walking into the garden of Eden. For an hour following class tonight I got to dance with these ridiculously talented ladies who are excited to dance with me. Amazing. Sometimes I want to pinch myself that I’m so lucky. AND, AND… as if that wasn’t enough, Rajuli’s choreography that we’re preparing for our Tribal Fest premier is unbelievably gorgeous. And gorgeous for a multitude of reasons, technically and spiritually. It’s incredible to see how form meets energy… to witness how our movements are the physical manifestation of the spiritual sound. And yes… I’m sure that sounded like I’m totally high on us right now, and I guess I am. I’m just so proud of these ladies. Really. We’ve worked so hard and overcome just so many obstacles to be where we are and to see the company flourishing as it is is just so gratifying. And to witness and be part of this incredible manifestation that Rajuli has been bringing to us is simply incredible. So yes, I’m totally high on us. Love you gals.

FOOD Day 16:

  • Breakfast: Challa, Butter, Jam, Coffee
  • Lunch: ug… I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday…
  • Dinner: Lebneh (Yogurt), Za’atar (Thyme & Sesame Seed Spice), u Zeit (Olive oil) and raw veggies. Coffee in preparation for the late night
  • Snack: Wine. 🙂

PRACTICE Day 16:

  • Personal Practice: 1 hr
  • Yoga: 30min
  • Physical Therapy: 1
  • ++ Performance at Temple

FOOD Day 17:

  • Breakfast: Whole Grain Waffles, Blueberry Syrup, Bacon, Coffee
  • Lunch: Tamale & Spanish Rice, Tea
  • Dinner: Moroccan Beef & Rice Wrap, Salad

PRACTICE Day 17:

  • Running: 30min
  • Yoga: had to skip it unfortunately…boooo
  • Class: 1.5hr
  • Rehearsal: 1hr
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Day 15: It’s Assessment Time!

ImageI’m back!

Sorry for the wee break in posts. These last few days have been a flurry of family and school obligations… which unfortunately took their toll on my practice big time. In a way it’s nice to know that I simply didn’t flake on my practice. I was just up to my eyeballs in things going on and unless I went back to the ye’ old horrible habit of living off of 4 hours of a sleep a night, that day’s practice wasn’t gonna happen. So huzzah on getting enough sleep! And boooo on no practice. Narf.

And this actually brings up a rather good point: how to make my practice sustainable once school and other heavy time requirements come back on line. What, am I just gonna stop practicing and engaging in healthy habits all over again once September rolls around? Well, I’m sure there will be moments of that BUT the idea of this dance challenge is to create practice and health as habitual… dang nab it. I think it’s something I’m going to have to meditate on more but it’s certainly an important something to keep in mind as this dance challenge rolls along…

Ok, assessment time! We’re past the half-point ladies and gents. So how’s I doing? 🙂 Let’s see:

  • Practice – While I’m still not up to the full time-goal to rehearse, I’ve been trying to be consistent. Even while I’ve been sick I’ve continued to run to keep up some sort of physical momentum. I’ve definitely fallen off the horse this past weekend so it’s time to get back on that buck. Meanwhile, I’m siked that I’m feeling excited to practice again, I feel I have very clearly defined goals, and am inspired that things FINALLY feel as though they are moving forward. Hoor-freakin’-ray!!
  • Food – Much, MUCH better! It’s nothing like a cold to make any and all sugar intake feel HORRIBLE. Wow… talk about driving that point home. Lesson learned! That’s obviously what my body feels like when I’m well, the reaction might not be as pronounced or obvious, but it’s certainly there. And if that’s the effect that sugar has on my body, count me out. Sure, I’m down for the occasional piece of chocolate with ma ladies or that piece of cake, home made and fresh out of the over. But no more nervous/anxiety sweets for me. No sir. Meanwhile, making time for healthy eating has become a rather aggressive priority. It’s like something kicked in and is viciously protecting this new-found source of health and vitality. Look out! This lady bites! 🙂
  • General Health: I kicked that cold’s BUTT! Or am in the process of kicking it… I get excited sometimes. I can’t believe it. Honestly. There are good days and not so good days, but the bottom line is that every day I can feel the cold receding just a little bit more, my voice coming back a little bit more, and my energy coming back a little bit more. WOOOO-HOOOO! Holy poop on a stick. First-time-ever. EVER! No antibiotics of hospital for me thanks. This lady might have just figured out the magical equation. 
  • Physical Therapy & Maintenance: Yes, yes, and yes! And ow.. ow.. and ow! Realigning my leg and knee is serious stuff. Good Goddess. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve had a bad habit imbed itself for over a decade! HA! So happy that this has become an active part of the regiment. Let’s keep it going! Bring on the ow!
  • Spiritual Work: For me this is an integral part as I’ve alluded about in other posts. Woven into this dance challenge has been a very serious focus on coming back to my core, my spirituality, and my heart after months, and months, if not years, of completely ignoring this (or mostly ignoring this) as I ran from one crazy deadline to the next. This is another component that I would like to learn how to weave into the every day simply and effortlessly. This sounds like a job for the Goddessification Project!!! ::throws cape over one shoulder::

So it sounds like I need to get back on the path of regular practice, perhaps keeping it at about an hour plus as my health continues to improve. Keep on running and keep on yoga-afying. Spiritual stuff is up and running sirs and the healthy eatin’ is on track. Soooo, two gold stars for me? So excited!

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Day 12: Technique Squidward!

Now, if you know where the title of this post is from, you get a cookie. 🙂

It’s funny… with almost all of the other posts, what I wanted to say practically jumped out my fingers. This time, I’m staring at a white WordPress screen. Why? Because where in the world do you start? Every dance form has it’s own repertoire of foundational technique. And then there’s the varying styles within that dance, each with their own range of movement techniques and needs. And then there’s the individual dancers and choreographers leading their style within the dance form, each with their own unique characteristics that students try to emulate. Squirrel help us…

So rather than in any way, shape, or form, try to discuss tribal-fusion technique within this blog as a unified entity it seems much wiser(!) to just talk about what I’m personally working on. Again… giving away all my secrets… yup. 😉

For those of you who have ever taken a Vadalna class, we have a very distinct set of requirements. Level I introduces foundational movements found within the belly dance genre in general (things like chest circles, hip slides, etc.) while starting to plant the seeds to American Tribal Style (ATS) vocabulary. Level II builds on this foundation, introducing more belly dance vocabulary, more tribal-fusion oriented movements and combos and further’s a student’s vocabulary within ATS & Improv Tribal Style (ITS). The Intermediate Level focuses on tribal-fusion, carving and sculpting your body for a tribal-fusion vocabulary and preparing you for performance. 

After fifteen plus years of dancing, so much of this feels second nature to me… and that’s exactly what I’m trying to undo. I have a lot of goals, but one of the most important is that I want to re-learn the foundational movements, make them bigger, juicier. When I do a chest circle, I want you to be able to see it from 300 yards away. I have systematically been going through The Arsenal (required movements students check off in order to enter into the Intermediate Class) and movement by movement, rebuilding them. I don’t want to take a single movement for granted. Rather, I want to really FEEL them. I know that might sound cheesy but I think this is integral to being a strong dancer. Seamlessly connecting your mind, body, and spirit within the movement is what separates a dancer from someone who is merely going through the formations…. and I want to be that dancer. So there’s two components to this: 1) pragmatically increasing the visibility and overall “juiciness” of a movement and 2) rediscovering and reintegrating the movement all over again in order to gain awareness.

Meanwhile I, of course, have my own tribal-fusion goals. That ever-so-sacred wish list of fabulous tribal movements we want to work toward. And I’m working towards them, dang nab it. No more perpetual lists for me! No sir. This lady’s going rogue. So what are they? Well, I’ll give you a couple. I love.. no adore…. dancers who can initiate a strobing effect within their movement really well. I’ve RARELY seen it and I love it. I have certain movements that I’m building a strobe effect over and I CAN’T WAIT! Holy crap.

ImageTribal-fusion goal #deux is I love, love, love hip-hop meets modern dance. Tribal-fusion dansahs love the hard hits and locks of hip-hop but I have also rarely seen dancers integrating that style within their tribal-fusion well. Ok… complete and utter guilty pleasure confession… ready? I love Step Up To The Streets 2. Holy crap. Freakin’ love it. Briana Evigan rips it!!!! I don’t have a ton of time to take classes so I’ve almost obsessively watched this movie to break down the movement. Freakin’ love it…

Goal #3: to fully come into my theatricality. This is harder said than done. For me, ego, second guessing, over thinking, and all other distractions can blur the essence of a truly beautiful theatrical piece. It’s something I think we can all sense, right? When we experience a performance that is coming from someone’s soul and/or transcends us to higher reality, this is something you sense within your core. I often have a hard time describing why I wasn’t moved by this or that otherwise gorgeous piece and that’s often the reason why. The heart recognizes the heart. It’s that simple. But what isn’t so simple is allowing your heart and soul to lead the way, free of the trappings of our insecurities or personal demons. Ah…. development…

Well, I could list more current and “wish-list” goals but I think that’s enough for now to chew on. SO MUCH GOODNESS! I’d love to hear what you are working on!

FOOD

  • Breakfast: Onion & Cilantro Omelette, Toast, Coffee
  • Lunch: Peanut & Coconut Thai Veggie Leftovers
  • Dinner: Mom’s in town so we went out to dinner to Sofia’s Grotto in Roslindale. Split a pizza and tasted their FABULOUS risotto. Get the risotto… seriously. You will thank me.

PRACTICE

  • Physical Therapy 1 hr (which wow… completely trying to rebuild my right leg to eliminate the knee injuries I’ve been sustaining. HARD work… wow…) 
  • Running 30min (and less stops this time! WOOT!)
  • Yoga 30min
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Day 10 & 11: Makin’ Da Moola

ImageSo being sick and not being able to spend a ton of time on rehearsing gives a gal some time to think… and I’ve been thinking about marketing and technique. I’ll leave technique to tomorrow’s post so marketing it is!!

You guys are totally learning all my secrets by the way… and, you’re welcome. 🙂

This here tribal-fusion thing is EXPENSIVE… if you hadn’t noticed. ::sigh:: So expensive!!! And as people have gotten wind that the glorious silver Rajasthani jewelry has become popular, the prices have sored. I distinctly remember, back in the day (insert Grandma voice here), when these items were relatively cheap and I WISH I had the foresight back then to stock up! All well… So what’s a gal to do? Get a crackin’, that’s what!

I have a three tiered plan: (Yea, I can be a little crazy like this)

  • Etsy shop
  • Services
  • Gigging my darlings

Etsy shop: Along with this blog I have plans (MUHUWAHAHAHAAAA!!!) to create another blog called The Goddessification Project (coming soon! www.goddessification.com). This blog is for all of us busy ladies that feel like we might be loosing some of our luster, to read about and discover relatively easy ways to integrate beauty and joy into our lives, bringing us back to our Goddess selves. Yea… that sounds pretty hippy-tastic I know, but really, it will be cool, I promise. Meanwhile, linked to this blog will be an Etsy shop called… yup, you guess it, The Goddessification Project! (how did you know?). As I’ve been experimenting with various bits of the Goddessification Project, there have been common items that keep popping up as relatively inexpensive bits that us dancers (and women wanting to Goddessify) can weave into our lives. What you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see!!! I’ve been researching, research, researching and creating all sorts of goodies that I hope I can bring myself to sell. HA! So this summer will be devoted to stock-piling and creating and I will launch the shop in September. WOOT!

Services: Graphic design & privates. Both I need to keep to a minimum for varying reasons. Graphic design, while fun, can be incredibly time consuming. I currently have a fabulous gig doing design work for a university and I think I’ll probably keep it to that. My last gig with the university will pay for all the supplies for the Etsy shop and get that puppy going! And since I won’t be going to Israel any time soon (for those of you who are in the know about that) I’m teaching privates from time to time. But again, keeping that to a minimum so I can focus on my own dance.

Gigging my darlings: When I lived in NYC, gigging was a huge part of my income, whether it was in the restaurant circuit or at private gigs. I’ve noticed that the pay scale in Boston for restaurant gigs is ridiculously low (yep, I said it) so out of sheer protesting frustration, I’ve refused to go that route. Private gigs also seem hard to come by and the infrastructure to procure private gigs just doesn’t seem to be here, at least not how it was in NYC. Vadalna’s Marketing Team is meeting this afternoon to see how we can amp our (currently non-existent) marketing plan and create our own private gig infrastructure, dang nab it. Boston just seems to be bursting at the seams with creativity and, we hope, people with the cash to support it… sometimes you just need to tap in. So for now, until proven otherwise, I’m going to remain sickeningly positive about the possibility of tapping into a cash-rich market.

I used to work with this one performer in NYC, Flambeaux (feast your eyes: www.flambeauxfire.com) and let me just tell you, the man could squeeze money from a stone. It was absolutely incredible. Never in my life have I ever met another person like him. The gigs we performed at were absolutely incredible and how did he get them? Well, that’s a rather long story but a big part of it was that he knew he could. Along with his sheer charisma (which was nothing less than a super-power), was the balance he held between marketing and creating acts for a high-paying audience, and his art. Because the two aren’t necessarily one and the same, right? And yes, I know I’m traipsing dangerously close to the “selling-out” argument but for me there is nothing wrong with creating acts that are first and foremost marketable to create your financial foundation from which you can launch the artistic initiatives.

There is a fabulous book I’ve been reading (and no it’s not The Dancer’s Way! HA!) entitled, Standing Room Only: Strategies for Marketing the Performing Arts by Philip Kotler and Joanne Scheff that talks, at length, about this difference. Amongst all the tid-bits of wisdom is the very clear conviction that many, if not most, performing arts companies must create marketable pieces. And why? Because not all artistic and personally enriching pieces are necessarily marketable. Some of them might address rather difficult subjects or in some way are not necessarily that enjoyable to a larger audience. The book does not ask you to sacrifice your art, just to create some marketable piece so that your art can flourish without the pressure of having to be the money-making source.

So there it is. My BRILLIANT three-tiered plan. HA! Yea, not particularly original, I know. But do-able and enjoyable, and there’s the point. For me and my lifestyle, I need things to be relatively easy to weave into my day-to-day and that, hopefully, in their own way, enrich and strengthen what I already have going on. Hopefully this will do that… and make money. 🙂

FOOD (Day 10)

  • Breakfast: Yam Muffins, coffee
  • Snack: Almonds
  • Lunch: Sushi (YUM!), green tea
  • Dinner: Peanut & Coconut Curry with Veggies (SUPER YUM!!)

PRACTICE (Day 10)

  • Running 30min
  • Yoga 30min
  • Physical Therapy (which largely amounts to strength training) 1hr

FOOD (Day 11)

  • Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes, coffee

(I’ll update the rest by the end of the day. Weeeeeeee!)

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