I love you

I love you

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots Links We Like

You’re my breathing castle

Gentle so gentle

We’ll live forever

Happy Mid-February, Framers! And happy love-celebration from myself and Richard Brautigan, whose poetry I’ve used to put you all in an endorphin-flooded brain state.* The images are mine, and they are potent reminders of the sweetness in my life (but, yes, I will have an overpriced truffle. Thank you so much). I invite you all to look for examples of couples of all kinds with strong connections – breathing, gentle, eternal, castle-building connections. It is a special kind of satisfying, and a reminder of the power of couples, duets, dyads. To slightly misquote an episode of Northern Exposure, one person can have a profound effect, but two people can change the world.

Find a second person. Do something together. Change the world.

Here are some suggestions for doing stuff in twos, threes, two twos, three twos and a one, you get it:

Tuesday February 12, 6:00 PM

Brazos Bookstore

Bullet Journal Workshop and Notebook Exchange

Tuesday February 12, 7:00-10:00 PM

Cafe Brasil – 2604 Dunlavy

Frida + Flowers: Galentines Craft and Movie Party

Wednesday February 13, 7:30-9:30 PM

Cafe Brasil – 2604 Dunlavy

BAD LOVE: A Dark Valentine’s Eve Reading and Open Mic

Hosted by Fuente Collective

Thursday February 14, 6:30-7:30 PM

Transitory Sound and Movement Collective presents

Abstraction in the Key of Yellow

Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston – 5216 Montrose

With choreography by Jen Mabus, TSMC member and Frame Dance Educator, this show features improvised music and choreography in the setting of feminist artist Cheryl Donegan’s printed and painted works currently on display the CAMH

Thursday February 14, 7:00-11:00 PM

Axelrad Beergarden – 1517 Alabama

Makeup to Breakup – Axelrad Valentine’s Party

First 50 single souls get Free Bubbly! (Hot Tip: my husband and I hooked up began our courtship at an Ain’t-Got-No-Valentine Valentine’s Day Party. You should go.)

Saturday February 16, 8:00 PM

Kaplan Theater, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC Houston – 5601 S Braeswood

Houston Choreographers X6 with Special Guest Uptown Dance Company

Featuring choreography by Frame Dance Educator Jen Mabus

Sunday February 17, 9:15-10:30 AM

Flatland Gallery – 1709 Westheimer

Yoga & Mimosas

First the yoga. Then the mimosas. You’ve earned it.

Friday February 22, 7:30 PM

Aurora Picture Show – 2422 Bartlett

Screening of Lynn Sach’s Film Tip of My Tongue

Filmmaker in attendance. Part of the Powerful Vulnerable Series.

Saturday, February 23, 7-10 PM

Cafe Brasil – 2604 Dunlavy

VIP Slam and Workshop

*This quote, while loverly, is from “Once Upon a Valley,” which is not a very romantic poem. For something with legit passion, try “Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain.”

Behind the Scenes: Let’s Stay Home and Fight

Behind the Scenes: Let’s Stay Home and Fight

Frame | Work News & Updates Performances/Screenings

Frame Dance Productions presents Let’s Stay Home and Fight, the latest from dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director Lydia Hance. Lydia both generously and provocatively describes her inspiration and intention for this performance, and I believe that these insights will enrich the experience for you, our beloved participants and audience.

Letter from Lydia:

Dear Framers,

Settle in, I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my creative process for this next show, Let’s Stay Home and Fight on January 26 and 27. I like to make work to confront myself: my fears, my doubts, my questions. I love how art is my vehicle for personal growth. That’s how I know it is a lifelong endeavor. Making art will never be something I retire from. It’s the way I make sense of things, and it’s the way I deal with my world. As a person averse to conflict (any of you out there like me?), I have been trying to figure out why my natural instinct is to avoid it. I mean, there are ACTUAL HUMANS out there who dive right in with zest and a pair of curled up fists. After a little research I discovered that there are people who believe conflict is the best way to reach an agreement, and is even a good way to connect. This was mind blowing to me. I’ll take my one way ticket back to Mars, because I must be an ET on this Earth.

At the recommendation of a friend (and artist in this show), I began to study the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I have found this system far more accurate and helpful than any of the other personality typing models out there. I’ve been digging into it for almost a year; I am no expert, but it has truly helped me understand my own strengths, vices, and challenges. It has been both freeing and challenging.

I take quite a bit of time by myself crafting creative concepts, movement ideas, and music selections. I schedule rehearsals where I have time to be by myself and internally sift through what is developing. I make dance by feeling. I often cannot put words to my ideas in the creation process. I make by instinct. It’s like I have millions of feelers all over my body and I have to sense every choice. That can take time.

People have told me that I’m thoughtful. I’ve always kind of liked that. As a 4 personality type (you’ll have to do a little of your own research to understand what that means), I have an ability to understand how others around me feel. 4s are highly empathetic. So in rehearsals, I sense others. I respond to them. What would happen if I embraced conflict? Easier said than done, I know. Could I create an environment where I give myself license to be a little bit more obstinate? Could I make work that might be a little bit less thoughtful, and maybe a little more gutsy? I’m trying it.

Here’s how I’m making this show:

I am assigning each of the six dancers (including me) a number on the Enneagram. We are researching these numbers deeply. Each artist makes each creative choice from the perspective of the personality type they are assigned to. I am giving each person a primary duet partner, and we are researching our partners’ numbers. The show will be based on three pairs of people negotiating with each other’s differences. We are making the show during extended rehearsal times, all crammed in one week, in the performance space. There’s an intentional pressure-cooker format to the creation and performance. In a word: intense. In another? Exhilarating.

Here’s your homework:

  • Research the Enneagram. There are a lot of great podcasts out there. Find out your number before this show, do a little emotional work. It would even be fun to see if you can guess the personality numbers of the dancers by watching the performance.
  • Come see the performance. This is going to be risky, vulnerable, and revealing.

Put ‘em up,

Lydia

Forward Focus: Fave Events for the Fairly Near Future

Forward Focus: Fave Events for the Fairly Near Future

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots News & Updates

I know it’s cliche, but I’m working on a couple of “don’t call them resolutions” self-improvement ideas in this new year. Are you? I deliberately set mine to advance me toward self-perfection or whatever at a microscopic, this-won’t-hurt-at-all rate of change. And, by gum, it has worked beautifully for a whole week and a half! Baby steps, my friends, baby steps. Or giant leaps. Whatever works for you. We’d love to hear your goals, plans, successes, and challenges in the comments section because, you know, we go farther when we go together.

If your New Year, New You goals happen to involve working more art into your life and/or showing up in support of your community, the Frame Dance team has recommendations that will keep your resolutions (or whatever you call them) rolling through mid-February. You’re welcome!

Grown Up Storytime happens on the third Tuesday of the month (bonus events for GUST fans, writer’s workshops are scheduled for January 20 and 27. See Facebook page for details).

Where: Rudyard’s, 2010 Waugh, 77006

When: Tuesday, January 15, 8:00 PM

For Italy lovers, the Contemporary Italian Film Series happens most months on the third Wednesday of the month. See Texas film premiers shown in Italian with English subtitles. (Bonus ICCC family event: Festa della Befana this Sunday at 3:30 PM).

Where: Italian Cultural and Community Center, 1101 Milford, 77006

When: Wednesday, January 16, 7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 20, 7:00 PM

Inprint’s Margarett Root Brown Reading Series features author Claudia Rankine. Moderated by Project Row House founder Rick Lowe, the reading will include an excerpt of the author’s play performed by members of the Houston’s historic Ensemble Theater.

Where: Stude Concert Hall, Rice University, 6100 Main, 77005

When: Monday, January 14, 7:30 PM

Inprint’s Reading Series continues in February featuring American Book Award winner Valleria Luiselli and “overnight literary star” Tommy Orange interviewed by UH-Downtown’s Daniel Pena. Tickets go on sale at noon on January 15.

Where: Stude Concert Hall, Rice University, 6100 Main, 77005

When: Tuesday, February 26, 7:30 PM

Frame Dance Productions (hey, that’s us!) presents new work Let’s Stay Home and Fight, an intimate piece that features compositions from our Composer Competition winners Karl Blench and Daniel Harrison (more about these geniuses here) performed by Axiom Quartet.

Where: Studio 101, 1824 Spring St, 77007

When: Saturday, January 26, 7:00 PM

Sunday, January 27, 7:00 PM

Is it art? Is it culture? It’s definitely community, and it’s definitely good for your body and for your fluffy little soul: it is Kitten Yoga at Yogaleena! A portion of the proceeds goes to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Where: Yogaleena, 2126 S Shepherd, Suite 230 (upstairs), 77098

When: Sunday, February 3, 2:00 PM

‘Tis the Seasons: Endings and Goodbyes

‘Tis the Seasons: Endings and Goodbyes

Frame | Work News & Updates

A Frame Dance Farewell

We’ve all bid farewell to 2018, and, perhaps, to holiday guests and household symbols of the season. Maybe you were traveling and had to say goodbye to beaches or ski slopes, or to some version of family and home. Endings can be tough; it takes a special fortitude to make a graceful exit from the things that bring us comfort and joy, and no judgement if you need to give in and ugly cry. Here at Frame Dance, we have an extra hard goodbye to say, and that is to our Cori, the exquisite Ms Capetillo, who has relocated to Portland, Oregon, with her beautiful family. Are we separating with graceful eye-dabbing or snotty sobbing? No comment.

Perhaps you know Cori as the “front desk” face at Frame Dance classes, or perhaps you saw her perform in My Beloved…meet me at the prom last spring, mere weeks before giving birth to her son with the equally amazing Alberto Capetillo, who also danced in that performance. Perhaps, like me, you’ve had the fun of dancing with Cori in a Baby-Wearing or Multi-Gen class at Frame, or you’ve performed under her capable and easy-going stage management. Whatever your interaction, you probably appreciated Cori’s unflappable cool and adept problem solving, her smarts, her creativity, and her humor. Cori made us all feel safe in her hands, and lucky to be there.

About Cori, from Lydia:

When I started Frame Dance it was a one-woman leap of faith. As I made work, wonderful people started to emerge as the helpers. Mr. Rogers always told me to look out for them. We’ve had the great privilege and fortune to work with incredible collaborators, artists, teaching artists, donors, students, volunteers, and board members. But, administratively, it was all me for a long seven years. Then, because of all of the helpers along the way, Frame Dance got to a place where I could hire Cori Capetillo to work with me. With her organization, her ability to create structures and policies, to remove some of the administrative duties from my plate, and her belief in Frame Dance’s mission, we grew more last year than we ever have. She did this all with a new baby. I dreamt about the day when I could have a partner-in-good like that. And way too soon (as far as I’m concerned!) she’s off with her beautiful family to begin a new adventure in Portland.

Cori, I wish you the very best. Thank you for your work. Godspeed and best wishes.

xo Lydia

P.S. “You did a great job!”

About Houston, from Cori:

A few things the Capetillo family will miss about living in Houston:

1) We will miss chips and queso without a question.

2) We will miss the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s a vibration to this city that’s unlike any other.

3) We will miss dancing in the MultiGen class. The class served as a stress release for us and served as a way to bond with our new son. We found another family where we were safe to express ourselves freely without judgement. In that hour and fifteen minute class, our troubles were left at the door and only love and gratitude could be felt. Our people is what we will miss the most.

Cori

 An Irish blessing to go with you as you exit our particular stage:

May your days be many and your troubles be few.

May all God’s blessings descend upon you.

May peace be within you. May your heart be strong.

May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.

Break a leg, Cori.

‘Tis the Seasons: Tired of Leftovers

‘Tis the Seasons: Tired of Leftovers

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots

You finally finished off the mashed potatoes and you don’t want to see another sugar cookie for about 350 days. It’s time to take yourself (and your holiday guests, if you still have them) out to one of Frame Dance’s favorite places for food and drink in Houston. A dancer has to eat, after all!

  1. Mala – I ate here just last night and was relieved enjoy my meal with nary a Santa in sight! My mouth was a tasty, spicy little oven when I left. Can’t wait to return.
  2. Vibrant – Give the gluten and/or dairy-free members of your family a chance to order anything – ANYTHING – on the menu. They’ll cry. You’ll love it, too.
  3. The Path of Tea – Take the time to step out of time, and into a cup of organic, fair-trade tea. You will leave rejuvenated.

We also recommend that you follow Friend-of-Frame David Leftwich on social media for the best of Houston food culture:

Twitter: @DavidLeftwich68
Instagram: @davidleftwich68
‘Tis the Seasons: Framing these Multifaceted Holidays

‘Tis the Seasons: Framing these Multifaceted Holidays

Frame | Work Uncategorized

Celebrations can be such weighty convergences of the little and the big, the trivial and the fundamental: toys and family, scarves and service, red reindeer noses and remembering. The nights are long, my friends, but we certainly don’t feel rested! Our children swing from ecstatic to inconsolable as we teach them our traditions and trust that they will understand their significance, which is that the decreasing daylight and end of the calendar year are a time of reckoning, of gratitude, of coming together, and of hope for our future.

 

We are grateful to have all of you Framers come together for soirees, performances, classes, and online sharing. You give us hope that our mission to bring modern dance to more and more and more of Houston can be and is in fact being achieved.

 

Below is a letter from our Artistic Director, Lydia Hance, and a coming soon are a few suggestions for this season of shopping lists, cookie trays, and high-stakes family time, so look for those. It is truly our pleasure and privilege to spend a part of this season with you.

 

Dear Framers,

We made it to winter break. I usually love this time of year because I love to celebrate Christmas, and I yearn for that feeling that I’ve earned a break.  But I’m struggling with feeling like I’ve earned it. Let me back up, because I always like to list my blessings before I start to complain, as if it’s going to give me perspective on my grumbles.  

We have had an absolutely incredible year at Frame Dance. We hosted the first, very successful, Frame x Frame Film Fest with artists traveling internationally to attend and premiere work. We had two additional performances just this fall with Horse Head Theater and our Midtown Winter METROdances. This summer we had a literal blast at our space-themed Wiggle Worm Dance Camp for kiddos. We pulled off the zany 80s prom-themed immersive performance that subtly broke down the artificiality of the 80s aesthetic and tapped deeply into heartache. There has never been a show more fun to create than that one (my dancing to INXS and Tears for Fears has previously been limited to solos in my kitchen).  Our education programs have been so rich and fruitful. Amazing and passionate people are finding us, including those certain kindred spirits who appreciate our values and offerings in a way that makes me feel supported. (You know who you are Rebel Families and Creative Souls who prioritize nourishing yourselves artistically in community). And in between all of that we* created a Strategic Plan for the next few years.  

Still, I feel like I’m drowning, trying to balance on an underwater teeter totter of  ideas and actual to-do tasks. I’m behind on thanking people for Giving Tuesday. I still haven’t finished that grant report. I can’t find the new shoes I bought for my son anywhere. Artists contracts need to go out. People are waiting on ME for things, which is something I avoid like the plague. And speaking of plague, I’ve been very sick twice since Thanksgiving. I feel like I can’t quite focus and finish the things I’ve begun– like I might burst into tears at the next thing that is just a little bit difficult. I feel like I am letting people down. I feel disappointed in myself for everything I can’t remember I need to do. And I’m sulky because I haven’t had even a moment to myself for the past three months until now, when I sit down and complain to you, friend. Have I thanked you for listening? Nope. Forgot that too.

But I have come to the conclusion that right now, a lot of stuff is rough. And that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for the great stuff.

-We had a major leak in our home’s bathroom that seeped under the floor boards and so we ripped it all out, and now going into the fourth month of people coming in and out of my house all. day. long. There’s debris, dust, decision-making, and arguing, and so much more that goes along with this.

-I was rear ended badly in October on my way to our performance with Horse Head Theater, and the driver was uninsured which delayed it getting repaired for two and a half months.  

-One of the major Frame Dance funding sources cut funding, and we received 50% of what we had planned for. Read: I need to find those funds somewhere if we are going to accomplish all of the beautiful things I have planned for 2019.

-My friend, sole co-worker, teammate, and confidante Cori Capetillo is moving. I’m grieving the loss of my friend in Houston, and also dealing with how Frame Dance will change without her. More on this later.

-Parenting a toddler while sick is…very hard.

There are about ten more items like this (let’s get together and I’ll tell you the juiciest one of all). I keep telling myself to choose joy. Sounds good, right?

I am giving myself the grace not to gloss over the difficulty of the present, but asking myself, What can I learn from this?

So far I have this:

-I will not successfully juggle all the balls all of the time. Homework: How do I see myself when I’m not living up to my own standards?

-Sometimes I just have to ride the wave.  

-No one promised me that life would be easy, so probably best not to expect it.  

-I need to learn to ask for help. Even when people say no. Ask again.  

I do believe that joy will come in the morning. But it feels like a long, loud night. I am with you in whatever is difficult right now.

Warmly, and still thankful for every blessing,

Lydia

Forces of Movement

Forces of Movement

Frame | Work News & Updates

Core Dance Opens Human Landscapes Tonight at Harrisburg Art Museum

Travel. Attach. Separate. Expand. Contract. Lean. Turn. Fall. The movements of the body are also the movements of peoples, communities, cultures, and both domains are investigated by Core Dance in choreographer Germana Civera’s conceptual dance piece Human Landscapes, performed October 25, 26, and 27 at Harrisburg Art Museum in Houston’s Second Ward.

 

In Human Landscapes, Civera confronts the effects of migration both on the body and culture of the exiled and on the people and areas they contact and influence, inspired by the artist’s familial history of exile from Francoist Spain. Civera is part of the generation that had roots in a more democratic republic of Spain but came of age during the decades of Fascism when those who disagreed with Franco’s ultra-conservative nationalism either left Spain – carrying their influence to Europe, Africa, and the Americas – or went into an “internal exile” of quiet resistance in their increasingly repressive and artistically sterile homeland. It is easy to see why Civera, who resides in France, has developed sophisticated ideas about why and how one moves, and what results from those movements. It is easy also to see why these ideas are of critical importance for us as viewers today.

 

Civera is an artist whose work happens actively both on and off stage, and for whom collaboration, mutual influence, is paramount. She has worked with dancers, writers, visual artists, and musicians in her repertoire, and in Human Landscapes she brings fellow French musician and composer Didier Aschour into the process with rich, panoramic music composed especially for this piece.

 

We Houstonians are lucky to share Core Dance with Altanta, GA, under the capable and eminently creative leadership of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Sue Schroeder, Company Manager D. Patton White, and Executive Director Elizabeth Labbe-Webb. Happy 39th Season, friends!

 

We Framers are especially excited to see our own Rocket Repass, dancer in the Frame Dance Youth Ensemble, perform in Human Landscapes. Congratulations, Rocket, and break a leg!

 

Be Advised: this performance contains prolonged periods of full adult nudity.

 

Photo by Simon Gentry

Houston Hotspots

Houston Hotspots

Houston Hot Spots

Sometimes I say I’m Houston’s number one fan. I love that it’s a place where people can not only dream big, but that others will come alongside and help. I love that it is down to earth, without an air of pretension. Houstonians work hard and they work hard together. We care more about our reality and our future than our reputation. In Houston Hotspots, we will shed light on places, people, organizations, companies that we think are really special. Because Frame Dance is so collaborative, we’ve had the opportunity to work with so many incredible people we think you should know about.

Ready for our first list?

  1. Composer Charles Halka. Our second year winner of the Composer Competition, and we have since collaborated (I believe) three more times. He is as patient and kind as he is brilliant. Technically, he doesn’t live in Houston anymore, but I’ll over look that.
  2. Axiom Quartet. We prioritize new music, and that means we do a lot with live music. I am a sucker for a string quartet (hint for submitting composers), but it’s honestly hard to find an ensemble that is excellent, cohesive, and game for my crazy ideas. (Hey, Axiom, want to dress up like this performance is your 80s prom? Hey, Axiom, want to work on a chance piece where you will only see one measure of music at a time during the performance? Hey, Axiom, want to play this ridiculously hard piece?) They are cheerful collaborators and incredibly accomplished musicians.
  3. Horse Head Theatre. I have worked as a choreographer and movement coach with this theatre company three times. I am thankful for how much they have pushed my creative process. Horse Head makes theater in Houston that stirs my insides and leaves me questioning my limits on live performance. We are working with them on Advance Man, come see it October 8.

I could go on and on and on, so good thing this is a recurring column.

-LH

Lydia Hance Interview – Part 2

Lydia Hance Interview – Part 2

Interviews

Interviewer: Kerri Lyons Neimeyer

Interviewee: Lydia Hance

K: How did you become interested in dance film? What was your entry into that? Because I think most dancers, especially early on, think about being on stage and that is what they think of producing for. Although, you’re right that screens are ubiquitous now, so it does make a lot of sense that you would use that in the service of dance if you can.

L: I think I was drawn to dance film because I am so interested in and drawn to dance in other environments. I mean, I can’t always take an audience to where I want to make a dance. It allows me to offer things about dance that you can’t really get on the stage. For example, getting really close to a dancer. I mean, you can get close in small venues, but I’m talking really close. What if you want to see a wrinkle on somebody’s face? Also, the beauty of editing allows for the brain and the eye to see dance in a different way. You can tell a different story because you can make things happen really quickly; you can change location; you can change how you are seeing a dancer. A lot can be told through the choreography of editing. Oh, and another thing, you can ask a dancer to do things infinity times when you’re going back on a video. The human body gets tired. When I’m with the dancers and we’re working on something, I have to ask them to “do it again. Do it again. Do it again.” I don’t have any trouble asking a dancer on the screen to do it again while I watch it, and go through it, and get really focused and detail oriented. When you’re dealing with something that is recorded, there’s just more capacity to focus on detail.

And textures. I am so drawn to textures. And colors. And use of light. There is an importance to the theater, I mean, live performance is magical in a way that screened dance can never be. But screen dance does offer a lot in terms of storytelling, and tricks of the camera, and location. I would say number one, it fulfills my desire to make dance in a space that I couldn’t bring people to.

K: I am going to ask you to talk about the Frame Dance vision and what it essentially is; the ideas and beliefs that hold all of these things together, from the Little Framers to the film fest, from the times of hard work to the times of applause. What is it that runs through all of it that makes Frame what it is?

L: I’m trying to hold on to those things right now because I always get really nervous before the beginning of a season. I hear lies in my head, you know? Like, “Why are you doing this?” And I keep coming back to this idea that everybody is and can be an adventurous mover, and that when we dance, we become better humans. What keeps me going is seeing people’s lives change, or shift. Seeing their hearts open. I grew up in a very technical, career-bound dance environment, which equipped me to do what I’m doing. But there were a lot of times when my heart was pulled out of my body, it felt like. I was constantly asking myself, “Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Are they going to like me?” I want to help people get their heart back in their bodies and move. And then to use that movement to find out more about themselves, about who they were made to be. All with the belief that they don’t need to change who they are to be a dancer. I mean, technically we want to grow, 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. 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 these incredible things, small or big, changes how we think, changes how we see each other, and it changes how we feel about ourselves. When I walk out of MultiGen on Saturdays, I see people who have found out who they are again. Dance has the power to do that. I have to remember that that’s the work. When I get discouraged, or things don’t seem to be going in a way that I think that they should be going, or things seem a lot harder than they should be, I have to remember to trust the work itself. One really great example of this happened after I had Micah. When I was pregnant, I just didn’t feel good. I moved, but I didn’t like moving. I didn’t like being pregnant. And then I broke my tailbone during delivery. So, after delivery, I just felt awful. All you’re doing is sitting down and nursing with a newborn, and I couldn’t even sit down without being in unbelievable pain. Then I went to this workshop with Anna Halprin when Micah was about 40 days old. So, I flew out to California to go to this workshop, and I remember we were doing all of these very simple human movement things, and I was there but also sleep deprived. I danced and I moved as much as I could. And then there was a part of the workshop when we started activating our voices in order to inform our movement, and we started humming. It was the smallest movement, but we started doing it at the very base of our pelvis, and with just that tiny movement from humming down where my tailbone is, I felt it starting to heal. It was like, “Oh, yeah. I can trust dance. I can trust the work.” And it’s not just me. It’s me, and this community gathering around this really powerful thing called dance. When I remember that, when I remember that it’s healing – for myself, too – I remember that there’s a reason why.

K: It makes me think, too, about how it is in everybody. It’s so natural. With Micah you probably learned all over again just how born with it we are; how we are born with movement, and rhythm, and expression through non-purposeful movement, which is dance. Like, not reaching for the ball, but moving to move.

L: Yeah, so the next summer I started doing this thing called Daily Dances because I was trying to figure out how to dance in my everyday life. I talk about how dance should be in everybody’s life, so I was like, “OK, Lydia, do that. Do that yourself! Don’t just encourage other people to.” I started out for a month, every day doing something in my life where I was just dancing, or I was dancing to accomplish another task, moving my body, I guess like you’re saying, in a non-purposeful way, or in the least direct way. Now it’s pretty awesome because Micah is like, “Mommy, dance! Mommy, my dance! Mommy, let’s dance.” He asks for it, and I don’t know why I’m surprised. I love that it’s part of him, that it’s part of his experience growing up. When he’s really excited he starts dancing around, or I’ll turn around and he’s doing something creative with his body. But I also wonder when he’s thirty and starts telling stories about how he would walk outside and his mother is rolling around in the grass, and what kind of implications that’s going to have. Hopefully good.

K: Any last things?

L: I want everyone to know that they are welcome. We want them to be a part of our community, whether it’s in a movement class or dance class, little child, pregnant mom, youth, mom with a sixteen year-old. BOYS. Men. Everybody’s welcome. There’s no pre-req for what we do. We believe that dance is for everybody and that there are a lot of ways to do that. Dance is life-giving and brings joy. Moving the body does incredible things for the heart and the mind. I just want everybody to dance.

Relaunch of Frame|Work [Blog]

Relaunch of Frame|Work [Blog]

News & Updates

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.