Creative Reset: The Practice of Making with Audacity

Creative Reset: The Practice of Making with Audacity

Education Frame | Work News & Updates

What: Seven sewing classes in which you will make a dress and learn to adapt that basic dress pattern to work for different bodies and styles. 

When: Tuesday evenings, 7-8 PM, October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3, 10, and 17, 2020

Where: Right in front of your very own sewing machine in the comfort of wherever you have room to make a dress. Yes, you need to provide your own sewing machine. We will help you learn to use it. Classes are held online.

How: Register here. Classes are $10 each, and you must sign up for all seven classes in order to finish your dress.

Why: Once, I tried to make a dress. I put a square pocket on the chest, and I sewed all four sides of that pocket to the bodice. It was not great. If only I’d had Ashley Horn Nott to help me.

Ashley would have had a plan for my inexperience, my ignorance, my besotted love for the fabric and my overconfidence in “figuring out” a sewing machine. The first time Ashley took on a costume-making project for a dance company, her sewing experience was straight lines and stuffing. Pillows. She knew she could sew a pillow cover, and the rest she had the audacity to make up.

And it worked! Today, Ashley has made costumes for most of the modern dance companies in Houston, including her own productions. Absolutely hundreds (possibly thousands?) of dresses and other costumes gorgeously crafted. Why did Ashley’s gamble worked and mine didn’t? I’m guessing that Ashley had more tenacity to match her audacity than I did. She also made the compelling decision to promise other people that she would complete her project. No one cared when I folded up my half-dress with its unusable patch of a pocket and never unfolded it again. Ashley had a commitment to people she cared about, people who were counting on those costumes, and that accountability motivated her through the “now I have to seam-rip the whole damn thing” moments.

Let us be that accountability for you. Maybe you’ve been saying that you want to sew your own clothes. Maybe you found the most amazing fabric. Maybe you found that fabric years ago and you’re ready to give it form. Maybe you are a dancer and you want to be able to make costumes for yourself and others. This is a chance to create beside a self-made professional. Grab your audacity and make it into a dress. Your dress.

 

How is making a dress a creative reset? Um, can I answer that tomorrow? It’s kind of a whole thing…

 

 

 

The World is Our Dance Studio

The World is Our Dance Studio

Education Frame | Work News & Updates

Outdoor Fall Programming from Frame Dance

Quarantine and social distancing has taken away many habits and practices, but sometimes the things we replace them with are so very sweet. We’ve been forced out of the dance studio this fall, but when we walked through that door we found ourselves on the grass, under the sky, breathing deeply among the trees. Frame Dance has a lot of practice using the city as its stage, an now we are using it as our studio, taking our dance classes into the parks and green spaces of Houston.

 

Like other dance programs, we offer online dance and dance-related content. Unlike other dance programs, we have not gone hybrid or into taped-off personal areas in a studio in order to dance together.* Instead, we offer you the uncommon joy of dancing outdoors. 

 

Three outdoor classes happen on the weekends: Creative Movement and MultiGen on Saturday mornings, and Beginning Modern Dance on Sundays. The first two are are grassier versions of the classes we’ve offered season after season, but Beginning Modern for adults with Jacquelyne Boe is all new. To us. Jacquelyne had taught modern dance to adults for many years at various studios, and we are proud and pleased to offer this first ongoing adult class with a member of our prestigious company. I personally take classes with Jacquelyne whenever I have the chance because her classes are thorough and inventive and good for one’s physical and mental health. I mean, all dance classes are, or should be, but these have an extra layer of goodness. Our girl is insightful and efficient. Give yourself the gift of experiencing it. Register here.

 

Creative Movement is for families to dance together at a park, which is exactly what I thought parenting would be before I became a parent. Lydia leads this idyllic interval of sweetness. Each family will purchase a bag of dance accessories to use at class and at home during the week where the learning and joyful activity can continue. Register here.

 

MultiGen is the epitome of Dance for All. Every body can dance and every mind and spirit can grow from the practice of dance, and this happens with uncompromising quality of instruction and abundance of heart at MultiGen dance class. For everyone, all ages, all abilities, even babies worn by a dancing adult are welcome (those special pairs of people are also welcome in Creative Movement along with their dancing child). MultiGen is about radically inclusive community, which means that you, all of you, automatically belong there. Register here.

 

See you on the grass, under the sun, surrounded by living things, dancing outside like the happy, wild artists we are.

 

*No shade. If we had our own studio, with rent to pay, we’d be taping those floors for sure.

Creative Reset: The Practice of Learning from Others

Creative Reset: The Practice of Learning from Others

Education Frame | Work News & Updates

A History of Modern Dance with Jamie Williams

What: A series of three one-hour lecture/conversations on modern dance history with dancer and professor of dance, Jamie Williams.

When: Monday evenings, 7-8 pm, October 5, November 2, and December 7, 2020.

Where: Your screen of choice.

How: Register here. Cost is $10/class.

Why: Modern dance pioneers were masters of the Creative Reset.

The earliest modern dance artists knew that existing forms of dance – primarily ballet – were insufficient to explore and express conditions in the early 20th century. It was an era of seismic recalibration in all areas of human culture. These artists were working at the time of Freud, Einstein, and early Picasso, and their ideas were no less self-consciously revolutionary:

 

Denishawn Dancers, 1900, photo by Bain News Agency, Library of Congress

 

“I bring you the dance. I bring you the idea that is going to revolutionize our entire epoch.”

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)

 

“We should realize in a vivid and revolutionary sense that we are not in our bodies but our bodies are in us.”

Ruth St Denis (1879-1968)

 

Merce Cunningham, “EyeSpace,” 2009, photo by Daniel Arsham

 

Contemporary and post-modern dancers also recognized the need to drop what is non-essential and do a creative reset, to accept and stretch into the new senses and modes that reveal themselves:

 

“I think of dance as a constant transformation of life itself”

On randomly chosen movements: “…I would always try it because the mind will say `you can’t do it,’ but more often than not you can, or you see another way, and that’s what’s amazing. In some cases it’s impossible, but something else happens, some other possibility appears, and your mind opens.”

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009)

 

“Making dances is an act of progress; it’s an act of growth…”

Alvin Ailey (1931-1989)

 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre performs Revelations, Miami, 2011, photo courtesy of the Knight Foundation

 

“I realized that carrying around old information, trying to get everything in, and still be in the moment just doesn’t work.”

Meredith Monk (1942)

 

Meredith Monk gives us some direction on finding the “set” part of “reset,” a way to recognize when we have hit that sweet spot of a new “sense” – to take Olafur Eliasson figuratively – that will work for us in our changed environment:

 

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.”

 

Meredith Monk, “On Behalf of Nature,” Brooklyn, 2014, photo by Steven Pisano, courtesy of Brooklyn Academy of Music

 

Dancers have studiously refined senses, and no one literally or figuratively pivots with grace and strength like a dancer, so I can’t wait to have my mind blown by the facts, the philosophies, the responses, the lives of modern dance masters. 

 

*I tried to bold every synonym of RESET in this post. Did I get them all?*

 

Featured image: Meredith Monk, “On Behalf of Nature,” Brooklyn, 2014, photo by Steven Pisano, courtesy of Brooklyn Academy of Music

Creative Reset: The Possibilities

Creative Reset: The Possibilities

Education Frame | Work News & Updates

In 2019, ahead of a massive exhibit of his work appearing at the Tate Modern museum in London, artist Olafur Eliasson spoke with Mark Turner, art correspondent for The Guardian, about his installations, specifically about a piece titled “Your Blind Passenger.” The work is a room filled with fog and lit by colored fluorescent lights such that all that is visible to the viewer is a shallow, blurry colorscape. Only a few people are allowed into “Your Blind Passenger” at a time because it is so disorienting, making the viewer even more likely to feel detached and alone in an indistinct but colorful unknown. Eliasson said of the experience, “Very quickly you realise, and I mean this quite literally, that you are not completely blind after all, you have a lot of other senses which start to kick in.”

With this realization comes a shift, a transfer of attention. Something is taken away or blocked – in this case most of the visual information –  and the response of the viewer is to adjust how they engage with their surroundings. According to Eliasson, “it shows that the relativity of our senses is much higher than we think, we have it in our capacity to recalibrate or at least stop being numb” (emphases mine).

 

Eliasson’s work is often about jarring, all-encompassing alterations, like “Your Blind Passenger,” and they are often about connections that are simultaneous with fracture. Some of his visually quietest pieces sound the loudest social alarms. I feel like Eliasson’s work is made for coping with COVID and our ongoing strangeness. I feel like the quote above is instructional for living in a world where the the crisis alert is stuck at 11.

First – I think the quote is telling us – we need to be aware of these numb and underused senses. Then, bringing our attention to them, we can start to turn them on or turn them up. We can do work and practice actions to heighten the senses to the point that they become capable of nuance, of making and receiving meaning. Because our attention is finite – even when turned up to 11 – by attending to new areas, we are less reliant on the ones that used to dominate our awareness. We have recalibrated.

 

The issue of recalibration has been on Lydia Hance’s mind over the spring and summer. Accustomed to helping people bring attention to their (often underused, not quite nuanced) sense of movement, Lydia knows that practicing this set of sensations – practicing dance –  reduces stress and reduces the need to rely on other sensations for managing stress. Dance practice heightens the sense of the body in space, making movement more efficient and less stressful on the body. It also gives people another way to process and express emotion, again reducing the stress load we carry in our bodies and our thoughts. Lydia knew that during the stresses of quarantine and social unrest, people had lost some of their most powerful coping devices – face-to-face interaction with people we care for and freedom of movement both within and outside of one’s community. She knew that people needed a reset.

Lydia has a mighty set of creative friends, makers of one kind or another (or a whole bunch of kinds at once) who identified areas where a little attention to an underused skill goes a long way toward recalibration. Creative Reset is designed on these practices. Taken alone, the practices allow for recalibration. Taken multiply, you’ve got yourself a transformation!

Coming Soon, Creative Reset: The Practices

Cover image: Photo “Your rainbow panorama” By Harkolufs 

Inset images: From “Room for One Color” Tate Modern 1997, Photos by Anders Sune Berg from olafureliasson.net

Dance in Quarantine: Responses and Resources

Dance in Quarantine: Responses and Resources

Education Frame | Work Links We Like News & Updates

I don’t need to tell you that we as a society have gone through massive and abrupt changes in recent months. I would like to take this opportunity to notice and celebrate the ways that dancers and choreographers – always nimble, always flexible – have created, discovered, expanded, adapted, worked and reworked formats for creating and sharing dance in this time of uncertainty. In the role of artist, dancers and choreographers both lead and reflect our responses to events and our shifting perspectives. The art of dance has held an important place in quarantine culture since it began, becoming uniquely popular as we stay home to stay safe. 

 

By the end of March, publications like the LA Times and Vanity Fair were reporting on online dance classes and dance parties, while industry journals like Dance Enthusiast had designated space for social distance dance content. Dance companies responded with choreography and editing that allowed dancers to dance alone together. On March 29, the Martha Graham Dance Company posted “Sharing the Light,” excerpts from Graham’s dance Acts of Light performed by company members in domestic and outdoor spaces. In format, “Sharing the Light” is reminiscent of the gorgeous dance films of Mitchell Rose, specifically 2016’s “Exquisite Corps” and 2019’s “And So Say All of Us,” where dancer-choreographers are connected by movement, music, and editing while dancing worlds apart. It is an adaptable format. For example, it is used adorably and with feeling by YouTubers Dylan Arredando in a series of Quarantine Movement Chain Letters, and Prischepov TV to present the Quarantango.

 

Dance educators were quick to adapt to virtual dance. Within days of cities declaring lockdown, studios big and small moved their classes online, and we all found the most Zoom-able corner of our house and turned it into a dance studio. Suddenly, anyone with an internet connection could study dance with the schools of Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Gibney Dance, and the aforementioned Martha Graham. Smaller local and regional studios without the resources of these legends have not had to navigate digital dance instruction alone. The wonderful people at the National Dance Education Organization began sharing resources for on-line dance education on March 24 and, as of today, have produced and shared fifteen free webinars on the subject. Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, CA, hosts weekly practitioner exchanges that gather dance leadership from around the country to discuss concerns and solutions in virtual dance education. 

 

Our dance community has not missed a step (pun intended!) in it’s goal to provide quality dance training, and has even found exciting new possibilities in the online format. Student dancers are having a crash course in dance-for-camera as they consider framing, space, and editing as part of their “digital studio” skills. Pre-recorded classes give dancers a chance to look carefully, to slow down the movement, and to revisit it at will. Holding classes in the home allows the entire family to participate in dance education, and interacting with studios via social media provides a different, sometimes broader, sometimes deeper relationship between a dancer’s family and their instructors. The domestic/public spheres are being broken down and renegotiated, as are so many parts of the larger culture, offering new possibilities as old practices are eliminated or put on hold. We are learning together, and together we are remaking our world. That’s not hyperbole. That’s bodies, in motion, making choices.

Please share online dance resources – instructional and/or just fun to watch – in the comments. Show us part of your world!

Experienced or Exploring, We Support You!

Experienced or Exploring, We Support You!

Education Frame | Work News & Updates

Week-long summer camps are the perfect chance for kids to do two things: spend focused time on something they already like, or try on something new, something shiny that catches their curiosity but that they might not know much about. One week of focused exploration gives your child a greater understanding of and hands-on experience in a subject. That knowledge might make them hungry for more, or it might satisfy their desire for that particular dish; in either case they come away knowing a little more about their world and about their own appetites, which is great information to have!

 

Day camps in Houston are also an opportunity to learn more about local organizations that are eager to engage your family throughout the year. Museums, theaters, studios, and other institutions offer behind-the-scenes experiences with professionals in their field. These relationships and experiences are enriching and inspiring for kids, and make meaningful connections that enhance school-year studies and can be continued throughout the year.

 

Frame Dance appreciates the chance that summer camps provide to deepen our relationship with current and former dancers, and to meet new dancers (bring your friends!) as we share our inclusive, smart, and supportive approach to dance. We have just one camp available for each age group, so sign up quick

 

July 6-10 Ashley Horn and Lydia Hance teach our Wiggle Worms: A Bug’s Life camp. Creative movement, music, and mural-making for age 3 to 5 years. 

 

July 13-17 Ashley, Lydia, and educator Kerri Neimeyer (that’s me!) present Leaping Lizards camp for ages 6 to 8 years. Our theme is Sheroes and Heroes, and includes modern dance, ballet, music creation, costume design and visual arts practices.

 

July 20-24 Ashley, Lydia, Kerri, and Alli Villines present Formers and Framers for 9 to 13 year-olds, featuring training in dance, choreography, costume design and poetry/songwriting. We are making makers!

 

Whether your child is looking to dabble in dance or go deeper, we welcome and support them in their dance experiences and explorations.

 

Do you have any favorite summer camp memories? Recommendations? Surprising or niche summer camps in the area? Share them here with #FramerNation. 

Making Dance Makers

Making Dance Makers

Education Frame | Work

Good Dance Makes Good People: Frame Dance Production’s Youth Ensemble

Mini Framers (ages 3.5-5), Little Framers (ages 5-7), and Junior Framers (ages 8-13) comprise the Frame Dance Youth Ensemble, a training and performing group for developing dance makers. 

Dance makers are artists who learn to communicate through dance. They learn to use dance as a way to understand themselves and the world around them. They learn to use that understanding to develop an idea, and they learn to use movement, space, lighting, costume, and music to present that idea to an audience. They learn to communicate through dance, and to do so with integrity and intention.

Dance makers learn skills in the studio that profoundly improve other areas of their lives. Youth Ensemble dancers develop body knowledge, both in the sense of knowing what their body can do and in their understanding of themselves and their world through the immediacy of physical action and reaction. Dancers develop an innate sense of physics through movement. Dance making builds students’ planning and decision-making skills in deep, considered ways as they create and learn choreography, and on the fly as they learn to dance improvisationally. For all ages (but with implications that change over time), physical communication helps dancers understand body boundaries. The communication skills of negotiation, connection, and articulation of ideas are routinely practiced in ensemble dance and move smoothly from the studio setting to any arena where your child works as part of a team. For all of these reasons and more, good dance makes good people, and both are found in abundance in the Frame Dance Youth Ensemble.  

Registration is (still) open! Mini Framers starts Wednesday, September 4 at 3:30 PM. Little Framers starts Thursday, September 5 at 4:15. Junior Framers have options that begin tomorrow, Tuesday, September 3 at 4:15. All classes meet at our studios on Shepherd at Westheimer. Please use the links above to register and for more class details.

See you amazing students in the studio!

 

a-May-zing!

a-May-zing!

Education Frame | Work News & Updates Uncategorized

How’s your pre-summer, Frame Family? I hope this month of Mother’s Day/Graduations/Summer Vacation Planning went and is going well, and I hope that your plans and celebrations include lots of dancing. 

Our summer plans at Frame Dance sure do! I mean, of course they do (it’s, like, our whole thing), but, still, we’re very excited about what we have to offer, so check it out: we’ve got kid dancing, adult dancing, and family dancing on the calendar, plus a party with a performance from our professional dance ensemble.

See you at the Soiree and in the studio, Summer Framers!

(I threw in a few suggestions for camps, etc, with some of Frame Dance’s best institutional buddies here in Houston. We believe that everyone is a dancer, and that all dancers are simultaneously a bunch of other things, so get those experiences!)

FRAME DANCE SUMMER

Movement for Families

Starting June 1 and running each of the five Saturdays in June, little dancers (ages walking-5 years) and their parents join Ashley Horn for Creative Movement for Families, 9:30-10:15 AM at River Oaks School of Dancing.  

And Can I Just Say…Ashley Horn is exactly who you want to teach your kid/s. She taught mine, and I remember the joy I felt hearing the little dancers at the end of each class: “I did a great job! You did a great job!” Dancing with your young child is a treasure. Get it while you can.

Multi-Gen

Summer-long Multi-Gen drop-in classes start Saturday, June 1 and run through August 17, 11 AM-12:15 PM at River Oaks School of Dancing. No class on July 4.

And Can I Just Say…Multi-Gen has my heart. This is the living ideal of dance for all. Myself and my child and a bunch of my favorite people will be there, and I hope you will, too.

Soiree

One night only! The Frame Dance SOIREE 2019 happens on June 20, 6-9 PM at Ronin Art House. This is our annual FUNdraiser, where we have the opportunity to celebrate our incredible dance company with our dancers, board members, family, and friends. Attendees will experience a performance by the professional company, share sips and nibbles with cocktail table hosts, and hopefully go home with a wonderful prize from the silent auction. Buy a ticket, or a table, here.

And Can I Just Say…The Frame Dance Soiree is a blast. First, Lydia is there! I love talking to Lydia. Second, the dancers are there! Frame has the best dancers. Third, it’s a relaxed hang with a little bit of fancy, which is exactly what I’m in the mood for in the weeks after the school year ends. Come and find me there. Tell me how you like the blog, what it does and doesn’t do well for you. I need and want to hear all about it and this is the perfect opportunity to chat!

Summer Camps

In July we get busy with SUMMER CAMPS, with Wiggle Worms camps for 3 ½-5 year olds running July 8-12 (full), and again July 22-26 (spots available). Leaping Lizards camp for ages 6-8 runs July 15-19 (spots available), and all camps meet from 8:45 to 11 AM at River Oaks School of Dancing. Registration and more information available here.

And Can I Just Say…I love introducing my child to new possibilities through a week of investigation at summer camp. I love that Frame Dance’s summer camps are growth experiences for a child socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. I love that one camp has already filled, and I hope that the others will quickly follow suit so we can bring these sweet skills to the maximum number of kiddos.

SUMMER (CAMP) RECOMMENDATIONS

Music and Mindfulness Camp at Prelude Music

Ages 5-9

This camp offers introductory lessons in violin and ukulele in addition to other musical experiences and mindfulness activities. Each camp session begins and ends with breathing exercises and includes a craft.

Craft Camp at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Ages 5-12

Campers explore materials, process, and critical thinking through individual and group projects, conversations with resident artists, and thoughtful engagement with works on exhibit at HCCC. At the end of each week campers exhibit and discuss their own creations for family and friends.

ExploreAsia at Asia Society Texas

Ages 6-14

A variety of camps for your curious artist, foodie, and performer. And for your gaming kid, there is the Video Game Maker camp in association with Writers in the Schools (who offer several other camps around Houston).

(Also on offer at AST is the Family Day Eid celebration on Sunday, June 9. Check it out.)

Filmmaking Camp at Aurora Picture Show

Ages 12-15

Only two camps – June 24-28 and July 22-26 – still have spots available! Campers collaborate to produce a short film that will screen at the MFAH on August 10.

William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

All ages

May 23-September 15

is the museum’s interactive exhibit for the summer, inviting Houstonians to go fully into the art and explore with our whole bodies, to “connect to the organizing principles of choreography.” As a dancer, this is compelling, but as a mom and a MFAH docent who spends lots of time looking in the museum, these annual “please touch,” indoor playground-for-body-and-mind summer installations are seasonal soul food. Remember last year’s adventurous Big Bambu? The playful and engaging Shadow Monsters? The weird but captivating Houston Penetrable? The dreamy world of Pipilotti Rist? People, we are so lucky to have access to these worlds. Summer in Houston might seem like a sentence, but between our museums (world-class and air conditioned!) and many splash pads, I think we just might make it.