Links We Like

Links We Like

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Hey Framers! Happy Friday! Kick off the weekend right with a few fabulous links that we like!

 

If you’re ever in Bridgeport, Connecticut check out Bloodroot a feminist collective that functions as a restaurant. Anybody know of any restaurants like this in Houston? Maybe we could start an artists collective restaurant… yum!

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If you’ve read Links We Like before, you know that I’m a little infatuated with Justin Timberlake here is a mashup between J.T. and Daft Punk.

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Requisite dance YouTube videos that always provide for endless procrastination:

This first one isn’t a YouTube video, but it is a vimeo featuring Frame composers for our upcoming event Ecouter June 28-29 at 8pm, stay tuned to buy your tickets!

A great hip-hop routine featuring award-winning Les Twins helped me procrastinate some of my work this week.

The inspirational and hilarious Montrose roller blading man. Have you seen him?

And of course, each week I try to find a new dance company to be obsessed with and this week was no exception: BARE Dance Company of NY

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Of all the cities in America Houston is second fastest growing! Proud to be a Houstonian!

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And last, but not least, A Letter From Your Dance Teacher. This article appeared in Huffington Post last week and I wanted to bring it up again because, frankly I didn’t really like it that much. I find that it oversimplifies the issue of asking for feedback and humbling oneself in dance class by making it a generational issue rather than a very big issue that effects just about all people (artists or otherwise). Thoughts?

Thesis Thursday

Thesis Thursdays

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Hey Framers, it’s almost the weekend!

Why not start the end of the week with a good read?

Well… at least I think it’s pretty good, but I’m a little biased. Check out this second installment of my senior honors thesis written for Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. It explores the topics of Contact Improvisation, Feminism, feminist performance art, and female empowerment through movement. 

Here’s a re-cap of last week’s initial post:

I will argue that CI is a complex feminist practice. The relationship CI has to feminism is complex because it is not inherently feminist, but enables women to have a feminist experience.

If you have time read the full article!

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Part II of Points of Contact: Contact Improvisation and Feminism

I will substantiate my argument by focusing on facets of CI that its founders acknowledge as fundamental: gender non-conformity, rejection of sensual repression, rejection of hierarchical and commerce-driven demands on the production of art, and complication of the sexual consummation ideal. This will be accomplished through examination of interviews with founding members of CI, some conducted specifically for this project and some recorded by others, as well as an examination of the periodical Contact Quarterly, founded in 1975 as a forum for the discussion of CI as it was emerging. This evidence will be supplemented by secondary sources from authorities, including Ann Cooper Albright, Cynthia Novack and Cheryl Pallant. These authors highlight the egalitarian and anti-hierarchical nature of the dance form.[1] I link the history of CI to feminist performance art and the recent forms of CI to feminist theories of sexuality, gender equity and embodiment.[2] To accomplish this, I will draw upon accounts from practitioners who testify to the usefulness of CI in solidifying their sexual autonomy, helping them cope with gender-based violence and body image issues, and liberating their experience of gender from the feminine-masculine dichotomy.

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I had a blast going through old articles from the Contact Quarterly – dating all the way back to the 70’s! 

 

 

 

My first chapter provides a historical analysis of the proximity of CI to the feminist art movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. The feminist art movement emerged in the late 1960’s precisely at the time that CI was conceptualized. According to dramaturg and English scholar, Jeanie Forte, “Within this movement, women’s performance emerges as a specific strategy that allies postmodernism and feminism, adding the critique of gender/patriarchy to the already damaging critique of modernism inherent in the activity.”[3] The “personal as political” became a mantra for many feminists of the time who sought to politicize their personal experiences of gender in order to draw attention to sexism and criticize patriarchy.[4] Also according to Forte, “Women’s performance art operates to unmask this function of ‘Woman,’ responding to the weight of representation by creating an acute awareness of all that signifies Woman, or femininity.”[5] To accomplish this, feminist artists made use of autobiographical narratives, their physical bodies, and emerging gender politics, which simultaneously opened up the nature of performance art itself. Carolee Schneeman, Yoko Ono and the Guerrilla Girls are recognized as significant feminist performance artists from the past few decades.[6]

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I read Rainer’s autobiography, Feelings Are Facts, to give me more background and perspective on her work and relationship to CI. The book was recommended to me by Nancy Stark Smith in one of our conversations.

 

 

 

Chapter One focuses on the collaboration between feminist performance artist Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton during the inception of CI. To analyze feminist thought as it emerged in the feminist performance art movement and alongside the development and practice of CI, I will use writings by art historian, Linda Nochlin, feminist philosopher, Judith Butler and historian Alice Echols. These scholars outline the power of structural conditions, performativity of gender, and importance of representation. All of which are engaged with, in some way, by feminist performance art and CI. I will also look at video recordings of the first CI performances in order to analyze gendered politics of movement and partnering. I will discuss interviews I conducted with Nancy Stark Smith on her stance on feminism and CI. Her remarks reveal the politicizing effects of CI and contribute to my larger claim about the dance form as a complex feminist practice.



[1] Pallant, Contact Improvisation. Novack, Sharing the Dance, Contact Improvisation and American Culture.  Taken By Surprise, ed. Ann Cooper Albright and David Gere (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2003).

[2] Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (1988), 519. Carole S. Vance, “Pleasure and Danger: Toward a Politics of Sexuality,” Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, ed. Carole Vance (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984): 1-27. Alice Echols, Daring to be Bad: Radical Feminism in America 1967 – 1975 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989).

[3] Jeanie Forte, “Women’s Performance Art: Feminism and Postmodernism,” Theatre Journal 40, no. 2 (May 1988): 218.

[4] Echols, Daring to be Bad: Radical Feminism in America 1967 – 1975.

[5] Forte, “Women’s Performance Art: Feminism and Postmodernism,”218.

[6] Geraldine Harris, Staging Femininities: Performance and Performativity (New York: Manchester University Press, 1999).

 

Company Update!

Performances/Screenings

Hello Beautiful People,

Time for a little update. We are in the process of creating a new fun (and dare I say, energetic?) show. It’s called Ecouter. We had so much fun last week when Lena came into rehearsal. She blogged about it last week and also took these amazing photos. She is a great photographer, I need to get her in on rehearsal more often! And for crying out loud, if you aren’t following us on Facebook, do it now. I’ll wait. NOW.

The show has new and recent work on it. We’ve received some crazy fine reviews on To the Brim (composer is Charles Halka) and on Quiver (composer if Mark Hirsch). Quiver was even included in the best 8 memories of the season by Culture Map. Stoked? Yes, we are. Read it here. And then we have our super exciting premiere to composer Rob McClure’s music. He’s the winner of the Frame Dance Composition Competition this year. His music is exciting, percussive, fresh, loud….

We’ve been deep in the seriousness of the artistic process. The composers and I made this little vid to allow you to get to know them before the big show. Watch this:

An Afternoon with the Composers of Ecouter

Also, please save the dates for our Cultured Cocktails party at Boheme and of course, for our next show, Ecouter: three composers, thee dances.

June 20 from 5-7pm, Cultured Cocktails at Boheme Bar. A portion of EVERYTHING you drink will go to our art.

June 28-29 8pm, Ecouter at Studio 101. Three composers, Three dances. Choreographed by yours truly.

To Art!

L

MFA Monday: Recap and Preview

MFA Mondays

Hey Framers! Happy Monday!

 

Frame Dance Productions has been running its series MFA Monday for the past seven months and it has been a whirlwind of wonderful insights into a Master of Fine Arts in Dance.

We’ve featured seasoned professionals like our own board member, Rosie Trump, as well as Mary Grimes, Diane Cahill Bedford, Matthew Cumbie, Amanda Jackson and Heather Nabors,

Still frame from Rosie Trump's first post-M.F.A work: "Performing Girlfriend"

alongside fresh perspectives from an MFA student, Angela Falcone,

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and more from a Frame Dancer, Laura Gutierrez, who is considering going to get her MFA

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complimented by Dr. Alexis Weisbord who has her PhD in Critical Dance Studies.

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It has been a GREAT run so far – check out some of these articles, they’re well worth the read! And look forward to next week when we begin a new three-part arc featuring Sue Roginski:

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Sue Roginski graduated from Wesleyan University in 1987 with a BA in Dance and from the University of California Riverside in 2007 with an MFA in Dance (experimental choreography). She is a teacher, choreographer, and performer who has produced her own work as well as performances to benefit Project Inform, Breast Cancer Action, and Women’s Cancer Resource Center. In the past few years, Sue has had the opportunity to share choreography at Anatomy Riot (LA), Highways Performance Space (Santa Monica), Unknown Theater (LA), AB Miller High School (Fontana), Society of Dance History Scholars (conferences ’08 and ’09), The Haven Café and Gallery (Banning), Back to the Grind Coffee House (Riverside), Heritage High School (Romoland), KUNST-STOFF arts (SF), and Riverside Ballet Arts (Riverside). She also has been privileged to dance and perform with Susan Rose and Dancers since 2005. Sue teaches at Mt. San Jacinto College and Riverside City College and divides her time between Riverside and San Francisco where she had a ten year career as dancer and collaborator with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. Sue performs with Dandelion Dancetheater (Bay Area based ensemble) and Christy Funsch (SF dance artist) whenever possible, and in 2010 created P.L.A.C.E. Performance (a dance collective) with friend and colleague Julie Satow Freeman. Her ongoing creative process infuses choreography with improvisation.

Stay tuned Framers, more to come!

INTRODUCING: Thesis Thursday!

Thesis Thursdays

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Hey Framers! Lena here, Frame’s Development Assistant. This year I wrote a Senior Honors Thesis for Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality on the topic of Contact Improvisation and Feminism. I’m so excited to share with my research findings and hear your thoughts on my work! This is the FIRST entry and the series will most likely run for most of the summer – so stay tuned!

ok…drumrolllllll…Here is the first excerpt from:

Points of Contact: Contact Improvisation and Feminism

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I remember the first Contact Improvisation dance jam I attended. I went as a photographer; paid to record the unrehearsed art that develops from bodies making movement together to the beat of an unpredictable score played by live musicians. According to one of the original Contact Improvisation practitioners, Nancy Stark Smith, a “jam” is more easily defined in the negative: “It’s not a class, it’s not a rehearsal, it’s not a performance…[it’s] where people at different levels of practice are able to interact with one another through a form.”[1] They bumped and jumped and ran and fell and lifted and held. They touched. It’s fascinating all the ways we can touch – it’s not just the hands that are privy to this sensual, human experience. The top of the head, the back of a knee, the ribcage – they connect too. I was excited by what I saw – I was scared. How does one become open to such vulnerability? Most of the dancers were strangers to one another; it was the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival[2] in which undergraduates, graduates and teachers coming from different parts of Texas gathered to practice this niche dance form that requires its practitioners to safely and sensually touch. A slender, blue-eyed man curling on top of a burly, bearded man; a stocky, elderly woman being held and set on the ground by an eighteen year old girl; a short, unyielding woman effortlessly shouldering a tall, nimble man.  The lack of gender conformity was inspiring – all of a sudden, the possibilities are endless.

Images taken by me at my first jam:

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Contact Improvisation (CI) dance began in 1972. Steve Paxton is generally recognized for starting CI, but Paxton and many other practitioners involved during the inception of CI allocate founding credit more diffusely to include dancers such as Nancy Stark Smith, Nita Little, Daniel Lepkoff, among others. Since the 1980’s, Nancy Stark Smith has come to be seen as the leader of the CI community. Over the past four decades, CI has been defined in myriad ways: as an art sport,[3] a physical conversation, a technique of nonviolent protest.[4] For this project, I will define CI as spontaneous movement that relies on information from forces of nature, namely gravity and momentum, in addition to sensual information provided by fellow practitioners, in order to create an improvised dance. Daniel Lepkoff stresses the continuity within CI: “…ultimately, [CI’s] initial stance of empowering individuals to rely on their own physical intelligence, to meet their moment with senses open and perceptions stretching, and to compose their own response remains intact.”[5] Despite tremendous growth of the community to every continent in the world, CI remains the same: thoroughly rooted in a physical premise and yet free to adjust to changing social and individual realities.

Nancy Stark Smith and Steve Paxton

 

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I am interested in the potential of CI dance to enact feminist ideals on an individual and societal level concerning hierarchy, sexuality and gender. Significant scholarship has been written on CI’s connections to postmodernism and its complication of hierarchy, sexuality and gender.[6] The original contribution of my work is to connect Contact Improvisation dance to feminist performance art and feminist theory. I will argue that CI is a complex feminist practice. The relationship CI has to feminism is complex because it is not inherently feminist, but enables women to have a feminist experience. I will show that it is a dance form that is particularly compatible with feminism by first showing its historical proximity to feminist performance art and subsequently analyzing how CI continues to provide a way of exploring sexual-sensual boundaries while breaking both the gendered dichotomy of movement and traditional hierarchical forms of organization.



[1] Nancy Stark Smith, “Contact Improvisation Today,” Writings on Dance, no. 21 (Summer 2001): 25.

[2] Texas Dance Improvisation Festival (TDIF) began in 2009 and featured three days of classes, jams, and performances. The TDIF mentioned occurred in 2010 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Jordan Fuchs, “The First Annual Texas Dance Improvisation Festival,” CQ Contact Improvisation Newsletter 35, no. 2 (available only online at http://community. contactquarterly.com/) (accessed December 16, 2012).

[3] “The first time Simone Forti saw Contact [Improvisation] she said ‘Mmm, it’s kind of like an art sport’. And we used that term for a long time.” Nancy Stark Smith, “Contact Improvisation Today,” Writings on Dance, no. 21, (2001): 22.

[4] Danielle Goldman, “Bodies on the Line: Contact Improvisation and Techniques of Nonviolent Protest,” Dance Research Journal 39, no. 1 (2007): 60-74.

[5] Daniel Lepkoff, “Contact Improvisation, A Question,” Contact Quarterly 36, no. 1 (2011): 40.

[6] For more discussion see: Cheryl Pallant, Contact Improvisation (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006). or Cynthia Novack, Sharing the Dance, Contact Improvisation and American Culture (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1990).

Excited to share more with you next week! Please comment and let me know if you have any comments/edit suggestions/questions.

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(Me presenting my thesis last month)

 

Eat Well Wednesday

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Hope you are having a fantastic week!  Today we are going to dive into calories and take a look at what 100 calories of real food is compared to 100 calories of processed food.  Now please don’t get the wrong idea, eating well is not about calorie counting, it is about eating REAL FOOD and adopting a healthy, balanced diet for life.  But I wanted to share this information with you because I think it is important to see the difference between “Real Food” and “Processed Food” and how much more bang for your buck that you receive when your diet consists of “Real Food.”

The problem that a lot of people struggle with is the lack of satiety with their diet. They feel as though they are always hungry, needing to snack, eat, fill themselves up. So they grab another candy bar, soda, bag of chips etc. All processed foods have very little nutritional value, therefore your body does not feel fulfilled.

It needs more.

It is craving REAL FOOD!

Check out this blog post on Processed food, where I break down in detail and define the difference between real food and processed food.

REAL FOOD is food grown from the earth, food that does’t come in a package, and the ingredients are not mass produced in a lab or chemical plant.

REAL FOOD nourishes your body, gives you energy, vitality, and a glow in your life.  Your body also reaps the benefits of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

PROCESSED FOOD or food that is mass produced in a factory, packaged, only provides temporary satisfaction and taste.  Your body doesn’t know what to do with the HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), food dyes, chemicals, preservatives and additives.  Our bodies were not designed to process unnatural material.

So what happens when we do?  Our body rejects it, we get sick, lethargic, or our bodies store it as fat because it is an unusable energy source.  Processed food doesn’t fill us up so when think we need more.  We have a bag of potato chips and then 30 minutes later we are hungry again.   You grab a candy bar next and then a soda and the cycle continues.

The truth is……

We are overfed and undernourished.

We are simply not eating the right foods to nourish our bodies. The REAL FOOD that our bodies were designed to process and therefore use as energy and create vitality!!

I am a very visual person and have created a collage for you.  (click image to view close-up)

100 Calories of Real Food VS. 100 Calories of Processed Food

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When you fuel your body with REAL FOOD you reap the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients that keep us healthy and fueled for life.  PROCESSED FOODS derived from chemicals made in a lab deplete us of energy, satiety, nutrients and leave us hungry for more.

When building your meals make sure to have a Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat.  This make a perfect, well balanced meal that will fuel your body in a way that will allow you to function optimally.  Just take a look at the volume of food you can eat when you consume REAL FOOD vs. PROCESSED FOOD.  Not only do you get to eat more, you get the many nutritional benefits that will create a healthy, strong, well-balanced body.

So, the next time you reach for a PROCESSED FOOD( Something out of a box and comprised of ingredients you can’t pronounce) remember that food is fuel and to be the best that you can be, make sure that your food is fuel that will drive you through life.

Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.

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HeadshotJill Wentworth is leading us Wednesday by Wednesday into making better food choices and being more healthful. Tune in every Wednesday to get some great recipes and advice from someone who really knows health. In an effort to fuel her passion to serve as well has enhance the lives of others through their nutritional choices, she started Eat Well SA(San Antonio). Her vision is to educate you on how to incorporate a healthy array of foods into your life. Eat Well is not a diet, nor does it embrace any one specific dietary agenda. She also offers customized programs that are educational and teach you the tools you need to maintain healthy, well balanced eating for your busy lives.

Take a peek into a Frame Rehearsal!

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Hey Framers! Lena, Development Assistant, here! I got a chance to watch Frame rehearse this afternoon for what will surely be an epic show – Ecouter, coming June 28-29 at 8pm at Spring Street Studios!

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Ecouter, which means “to listen” in French, will feature two works that have premiered to rave reviews (see slide number four) earlier in our season and a completely new piece set on dancers Shanon Adams, Jacquelyn Boe, Laura Gutierrez, and Ashley Horn. Frame Director, Lydia Hance, led the four stunning artists in a fierce and fun rehearsal this afternoon in preparation for an epic evening of dance!

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Rehearsal began with a “check in.” Everyone passed around a theoretical ball and took turns stating how our body, energy, space, and time felt.

tight, good, stiff, tired

frustrated, moderately moderate, high-strung-happy, high!, excited

calm, cool, beautiful, clean, open

good, free, valuable, expansive

These were a few of the words used by the dancers to convey their current states of being.

Then they got to creating.

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Dance is physical. And this dance is no exception with lots of exciting and beautifully athletic moments to look forward to! But, all of the physical exertion was duly aided by a few… interesting verbal directives from our fearless leader, Lydia Hance:

“take a risk”

“find a moment of discovery”

“even if it’s just an arm…experiment with your whole body getting there”

“Accent the fingertips! like…the road rage bird, grrrrrr”

“if you’re lifting someone, give them a moment

“smart flocking”

and, of course, the most surprising yet frequent directive:

“GUACAMOLE ARMS”

Intrigued? You should be! This piece is fantastic – I feel so privileged that I got to be a part of rehearsal today and I absolutely can’t wait to see what the final product will be!

To finish out the rehearsal the dancers convened once again for a brief “check out.” Again they were asked about body, energy, space and time.

great, hot, sweaty, sore, warm, tentative, stiff in lower back

little lower, more calm, tired, light, high and fulfilled

ok (back to work), valuable, well-spent, precious, about to speed up, over

light, wonderful as always, empty

As I walked to my car, I thought more about my own energy and how it had changed over the course of the hour and a half of witnessing dance and art and the creative process. Gratitude. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s not everyday that I get to see something organic and authentic manifest in front of my eyes, in front of my camera lens. One thing is for sure: I can’t wait to see more.

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Stay tuned for more information on the show including ways to volunteer (and get in for free) or how to become a VIP attendee and enjoy a pre-show reception with the artists. It’s sure to be a spectacular event that you won’t want to miss, so mark your calendars now!

Links We Like

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A great article on being an artist and a mother. Complete with spectacular analysis of second wave feminist, Simone de Beauvoir!

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If you haven’t already check out our Eat Well Wednesday post for this week!

Check out my version of the recipe:

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If you don’t have the “toasted oats,” you can substitute cereal! BUT, use less peanut butter/honey so it doesn’t overpower the oats

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There’s only a couple of weeks left to check out the Picasso Black and White exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts! I went this afternoon and it was FANTASTIC! 

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TOMORROW at 4pm there is a lecture entitled: Variations on a Theme: Pablo Picasso and Revisiting Old & Modern Masters that is a great way to learn a little more about Picasso and his work before you see the real thing in person! I found the lecture informative and made me appreciate the art all the more.

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FREE dance shows this weekend: 

Tonight at 8pm: Friends with Benefits party by Freneticore! Free drinks, food, and performance – awesome night ahead!

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Tomorrow at 2pm and 8pm Erin Reck presents Up for Air, a site specific piece of choreography in Herman park! Your’s truly will be making an appearance as well as Frame dancers: Kristin Frankiewicz, Jacquelyn Boe, and Brit Wallis!

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HAVE A HAPPY WEEKEND FRAMERS!

Links We Like

Links We Like

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We hope you have a great weekend,

here are some fun links to kick it off right! 

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Great article from Dance Advantage on the positive aspects of dancing barefoot. Do you prefer dancing barefoot? In socks? Shoes?

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So many prettyyyy dresses… check out the best and worst dressed from the Golden Globes! Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below! Obviously J.Lo is my fav!

I’m addicted to YouTube dances and this week I fell in love with a new dance company. Check out the beautiful dancing from the Mather Dance Company!

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I’m graduating this week from Rice! In honor of this I thought I’d share this fun article on the 16 most famous kids in college. The beautiful Emma Watson is my favorite on the list – which is your’s?

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I worked up quite the sweat last night at the second of four Master Classes with Erin Reck at Rice University!  There are two more next week on Tuesday and Thursday that you don’t want to miss; it’s a great contemporary technique class with a wonderful warmup and unique phrase taught in the middle.

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Look forward to a new MFA Monday installment

from Laura Gutierrez next week!