Hello, and welcome to Frame|Work, the revamped blog representing Frame Dance Productions. I am Kerri Lyons Neimeyer, and I sit on the board and dance in the Multi-Generational Ensemble. I am also involved in the new blog formatting. We intend this blog to be a connection and a frame (get it?!) of reference for content on modern dance, dance education, arts events in Houston, and other topics that uplift us here at Frame Dance.
Let me tell you why I am involved with this dance company, and give you an idea of the work we wish to share with our community.
In 2006 Kurt Vonnegut declined a request to speak at a New York high school by sending a letter of thanks that included the message he would have delivered in person. “To wit,” writes Vonnegut, “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or how badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”
Executive and Artistic Director of Frame Dance Productions Lydia Hance is of the Vonnegut school of arts practice. In her interview for the initial post of Frame|Work, Lydia says:
I want to help people get their heart back in their bodies, and use that to move, and to find out more about themselves, about who they were made to be, about understanding each other, with the understanding and the belief that they don’t need to change who they are to be better dancers. I mean, technically we want to grow and everything, but dance is this gift, and I want everyone to experience it. I think that in a lot of ways dance has become for a select few, and that makes me really sad because we find out so much about who we are and the world that we live in through moving and through dancing. This is how we are on earth; we are in a body. The capacity for the body to move, and do incredible things, small or big, changes how we think, changes how we see each other, and it changes how we feel about ourselves (emphasis added).
Lydia is more generous than Kurt Vonnegut. I am not. I practice arts because I discovered that these practices enrich and satisfy me; they make my soul grow. And, for the most part, I practice arts as an amateur, which is to say that I do it for love of the practice or field, not for mastery of the practice or field. Lydia, on the other hand, is a degree-holding, working dance artist who is respected, celebrated, and promoted by her peers. She created a professional company to realize her vision of artistic production, and then, seeing a need, she developed curricula for dance education with the same open yet specific spirit as her performance practice. Do you see in the quotes above how Lydia took the idea of practising art for self-discovery, for soul-growing, and expanded it to include community, the connection and interaction of souls, and the kind of understanding about oneself and one’s world that can only come from practices that are communal? Dance is a gift, and it can grow souls, and it can grow communities. This is what Frame Dance Productions offers its dancers, professional and amateur. This is what I get out of being a Framer. I hope you will join us; in classes, in audiences, and in our social media communications, which includes this re-imagined blog. Talk to us, here and anywhere. Be part of the community, part of the communication. Build this Frame|Work with us.
Looking ahead, Frame|Work will feature more interviews with Framers from the professional company, dance classes, youth and multi-generational ensembles, as well as behind-the-scenes folks and what I like to call Frame-adjacent creatives and professionals. There will be articles about the arts working in people, in education, and in the community. It will also offer a curated look at Houston-specific happenings, and some of our favorite places on the World Wide Web. Let us know what you like. Let us know what you need. We look forward to working with you.