I love it when…


I love it when you talk with people who bring up ideas that blow your concept into something that could never have been imagined…

After talking with an artist collaborator today, my concept of what I will do at the CAM may have just changed.  And I love it.  I’m excited.  Now I just have to make sure it’s allowed in the CAM.  I’ll let you know when I find out!  Graphite will be involved.

announcing the 16th annual weekend of texas contemporary dance

Big Announcement #1

The 16th annual Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance will be presented by Dance Source Houston at Miller Outdoor Theatre, on September 24-25, 2010, FREE, at 8PM. The dance festival showcases a wide range of contemporary choreographic styles set to an eclectic mix of live and recorded music.  For more information about the performance please visit the Dance Source Houston or Miller Outdoor Theatre websites.

The curatorial committee for Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance includes: Christina Giannelli, Dance Source Houston Founder and Producing Director; Joanna Friesen, dance educator; Nancy Wozny, cultural arts blogger and dance critic; and Roxanne M.Claire, choreographer and dance educator.

The performance program features a mix of Texas-based choreographers and dance companies.  The dance festival will feature the talents of independent choreographers Paola Georgudis; Catalina Molnari; and Erin Reck.  Featured companies include a mix of established and newly minted companies including: Frame Dance Productions; infinite Moving Ever Evolving (iMEE); NobleMotion Dance; Revolve Dance Company; Suchu Dance; and Vault.

The annual weekend includes a special FREE family matinee, Dance Around the World, featuring Houston Ballet II, on Saturday, September 25 at 11 AM.

Save the date for Clear Skies, the annual fundraiser and party for Dance Source Houston.  Dance Source Houston supporters can join the fun on Thursday, August 26 at 6PM at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston located at 5216 Montrose at the corner of Bissonnet.  DSH supporters will enjoy a tour of the exhibition, Dance with Camera.  Refreshments and libations will be served after the tour in the Cullen Education Room at the Museum.  To become a supporter of Dance Source Houston please visit the website at houstondance.org.

The Dance with Camera exhibit they are talking about is the same event at which we are performing the piece I have been blogging through and creating at the Rockbridge Artist Exchange (to be performed on Sept. 16).

A lot has been brewing!


I’m sure you could have guessed that I’m back in Houston now.  It was quite the trip back.  My flight was delayed getting out of the Roanoke airport by SEVEN hours due to a potential hurricane warning in Atlanta.  There is nothing to do in the Roanoke airport.  A little perspective?  There are 6 gates.  I must say, it is one of the most beautiful views of any airport I’ve been to–the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, but there is only one store –called “Spirits and More”– inside of security and they close at about 8 pm.  Good thing I packed my snacks.

We boarded and deboarded the plane THREE times before we took off.  Meanwhile I’m talking with the agents about the connection I have in Atlanta (along with the 40 other passengers).  Finally we take off.  I was instructed to run to the gate with any flight leaving for IAH.  Well, they had all left by the time we got there.  Luckily, my brother lives in Atlanta and he picked me up from the airport so I could get a few hours of sleep in a place other than the airport.  I woke up very early, took the MARTA to the airport and finally got on my flight.  24 hours later than expected.

But I’m back and have a lot of exciting information to tell you.  Until then…stay cool, it’s officially summer.



Lately I’ve been reluctant to write my thoughts.  I think it’s because I’m coming to the end of this stage of the process.  I do feel a sense of closure, or completion.  I’ve played with concept, music, creating movement, manipulating movement, filming, costumes…  I’ve come as far as I can in this part of the process without having other bodies to work with.  Have I “made” the piece? No.  Not a chance.  I don’t want to hinder the process by creating the piece without people.  My favorite part of creating work is to see what happens when dancers have the material.  “Mistakes” in rehearsal are so valuable because they break down the limitations of my imagination.  And I love, love, love that.

The last master class I taught was thrilling because I was able to work the newest of the three phrases I’ve been developing.  I gave the material, and asked the dancers to take it and play with:

1. Stopping and starting the energy– coming to complete stops and resuming the movement or slowing down slightly and resuming the movement, or anything in between

2. Interjecting movement into those “stops” or “slowdowns” in #1.  This could just be interjecting a variation of the movement (changing level, facing, tempo etc.), inserting other movement from the phrase, or inserting something completely new.

What I found was that they didn’t see the phrase as linear.  There wasn’t a “start” and a “finish.”  Once they played with the phrase, it bled into itself and increased in manipulation.  Lovely, purely lovely.  It was then that I realized I was finished creating new movement.  I have enough for this piece–and probably 2 more.  I didn’t feel the pressure to create more just because I have more time.  I think it would actually be detrimental.  So the next day instead of making new material, I sank into it.  I danced it, fully.  Victory.  Creating dynamics and smoothing transitions.  Committing to a base phrase–knowing it will (and must!) be changed further in variations, but that it is full as it is.

This painting by Ryan Russell is in the studio space.  I’ve meditated upon it quite a bit.  And I think it is particularly pertinent in this post.

R. Russell

Progress first, then: Resist. Halt!


Windows open and twinkle lights on, working in the studio last night was lovely.  I enjoyed the company of another dancer whom I taught my longest phrase and one phrase-let.  I learn by teaching so each time I show the material I learn more about it and actually have more prospective on it.  We danced the phrase and as I was showing it, I found that the areas we stumbled over when breaking it down were also the areas that needed attention choreographically.  She gave me her instincts as to where her body moved and where the momentum took her, where I found the phrase–as it was–resisted the natural pathway.  Valuable time.

Yesterday and the day before I worked on creating a gesture phrase.  My goal was to create movement that resisted my body’s natural sense of rhythm and momentum.  But with this, of course, comes struggle.  I tweeted (@FrameDance) that I was resisting the movement, and someone replied to ask what it was that I was resisting.  I was thankful for that question, because until then I hadn’t though much about what exactly it was that I was resisting.  After some thought, I came to the conclusion that I was resisting my body’s “discomfort.”  It is inorganic and purposefully so.  But the combination of not knowing fully what has been established, not knowing what would come after it, and it generally feeling foreign was what I was resisting.  Now I know what the problem is, I can tackle it a little more objectively today.

Today.  I haven’t made it to the studio yet.  I woke up and wanted some space.  I will go in later today and work these things out before I teach the Master Class tonight.

Secret Message System


At the corner I’ve been noticing an old pair of shoes that were left just under the stop sign.  After a week of walking by them, I started to get used to them…they blended into the background.  Then, one morning, I noticed a Big Gulp-esque drink sitting IN one of the shoes.  I say “esque” because the closest 7-11 is about 100 miles away.  Then, this afternoon I saw this:

Is this some kind of non-verbal secret message system?  Curious.



Can I please have unlimited time with dancers who humor me so I can just play with material all day long?  I think I’ve been teaching the 6 and under crowd a little too often.  They do completely inspire me in ways adults couldn’t, but I’m really enjoying creating material and watching dancers untangle it.

What if I make it really aerobic, and it can be their cardio for the day…equal exchange?