Blooming on the Red Line: Frame Dance + Spring = Metro Dances

Blooming on the Red Line: Frame Dance + Spring = Metro Dances

Frame | Work News & Updates

It’s March. It’s rainy. The azaleas are blooming and my car was covered in a light dusting of yellow tree pollen this morning. I’m gonna go ahead and declare that it is SPRING IN HOUSTON!!! Time to work our gardens, get our final use of scarves and sweaters, and stock our medicine cabinets with Flonase.

Frame Dance has grown a captivating and sundry garden this spring, with flowers magically set to bloom in unison from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM on March 30th along the Houston Metro Red Line from Bell Station in the north to Hermann Park/Rice U in the south. Be there and be in a verdant landscape of performing arts, all for the price of a Metro ticket.*

Let me introduce you to our flowers:

Hermann Park/Rice U Station

Red daisies, crocuses, and celandine highlight the unconscious beauty and promise of our Junior Framers, while viscaria, wisteria, and protea bloom for the MultiGen Ensemble, symbolizing their (our!) courageous acceptance of the invitation to dance, and their arms-open welcoming of all dancers. Moonflowers will grow at the feet of Kirk Suddreath, and probably poppies, too, because his music is so g– d—- dreamy.

Museum District Station

Purple carnation, begonia, and the easily-fragmented white daisy bloom at this station, where actress-musician Alli Villines moves from story to story seeking a disintegrating past. Frame Dancers Lindsay Cortner and Jamie Williams act as unreliable muses, leading the storyteller from ground to ground like flighty seeds on the wind.

Ensemble/HCC Station

The talented Callina Anderson and Joe Palmore tell a tale as silent and ephemeral as the flowers. Linaria bipartita wishes for love to be noticed. Jonquils beg that affection be returned. Rainflower whispers, “I love you back. I will never forget you.” What happens next? Red roses? Morning glories? Forget-me-nots?

McGowen Station

Harrison Guy, Outspoken Bean, and the dancers at Urban Souls are planting the seeds at the McGowen Station, and I can’t wait to see what blossoms. Maybe some orchids for beauty, sunflowers for all-knowing ideals, protective nettle, or peaceful white poppies. Watch this space/garden plot!

Bell Street Station

Ashley Horn presents dance inspired by children’s landscape drawings and the endless, unselfconscious days of childhood. Blossoming here will be asters for daintiness and trust; camellia japonicas for unpretentious perfection; baby’s breath and white lilac for innocence and purity-of-heart, and for the memories children aren’t even aware they are making; and delphinium for lightness-of-heart, for joy, for the passionate, ardent attachments made by children and by the child in us all, and for the guiding sense of play and fun that it is so wise to follow.

If you know gardening, you know that you never really know what to expect, but we’ve planted our garden in faith, joy, and radical congeniality, and we hope that many of you Houstonians and lovers of growing, living things will walk in and ride through this garden. Like any good garden, there are multiple ways in and out, and you can come and go as you please. Wander. Notice. Be intrigued by something in the distance and follow it. You have 90 minutes of what I hope will be a lovely evening to discover, rediscover, or continue to discover the dynamic, cultured Midtown District of Houston by way of our speediest and arguably most interesting public transport.

See you on the platforms.

*$1.25 gets you unlimited transfers for three hours.

I got lots of help writing this article from the Wikipedia page on plant symbolism, and I recommend you check it out and learn a new and vibrant language: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_symbolism

Do You Fear Failure?

MFA Mondays

MFA rightI remember one of the last conversations I had with my mom. I was rushing from one job to another, having only thirty minutes to get from point A to point B in Houston traffic, and also needing to somehow prepare myself to teach the group of expectant adult beginners that would be waiting for me at my destination. The phone rang, and my mom, in a weepy and distressed state was on the other end. I rushed her off the phone, explaining that I had a limited amount of time to ground myself for the task ahead. I told her that I would call her back after class, and when I did, she didn’t answer. We never addressed what she had originally called about. She died less than a month later, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had simply taken the time to listen to her, but I was too busy living the dream.

            I remember that nearing the end of my grad school journey, one of my mentors told me that I should treat the next few years like a PhD in Dance and life.

It was good advice. I made mistakes, I learned from them, and I constantly altered my choices to adjust to whatever new normal I faced. But there were some lessons that I just did not see coming. There was no way for me to prepare for the death of my mom. There was no way for me to prepare for not having her here in case I get lost again. Now, the advice and encouragement that I felt was just biased, motherly beliefs, invaluable to me.

I now hold a full time position as the program coordinator of the dance program at San Jacinto College.

photo by Lynn Lane
photo by Lynn Lane

What started out as a single class is now forty plus hours a week with an office and health insurance. I am still actively performing with independent artists in the area, and I am regularly creating and submitting work. I am at a new level of success, in my book, and I honestly cannot tell you how I got here or how I’m doing it, but I can tell you what has changed.

 

  • There is a new normal – this new normal exists as a result of loss; a loss so great that it changes the very core of my identity. I am being redefined by this new normal, and it is inevitable.
  • I do not fear failure – while it is true that I have a whole new abundance of fears, a fear of failure is not one of them. And, while I believe that fear is generally stifling and destructive, I now fear things like not accomplishing all that I want to in life. This fear acts as a protagonist calling me to take risks that I otherwise might not.
  • I am more patient with myself – life is full of all kinds of hardships for which we cannot possible prepare ourselves. These hardships are capable of changing our reality. They linger and they sting making it difficult to face each day in the way that we did before. It will take time to adjust to this new normal, and patience is required.
  • I am more compassionate and understanding – I have come to recognize this quality, especially with my students. Do I want my students to make their education and career in dance a priority in their lives? Yes, of course. Do I want them to make it their top priority above all other things? No, of course not. As I told one of my students who approached me with the news that her mother had just been diagnosed with cancer, “It’s just dance… it will be here for you when you get back.”
  • Surrender is essential – giving into the moment is vital; whether it means surrendering to humor and allowing laughter to overtake the moment, or surrendering to a new idea in dance class that will eventually mold itself into a great learning experience. Sometimes giving in is more effective than activating.
  • I’ve decided that humanity is professional – on several occasions I have been overcome with emotion in the middle of a rehearsal or class. We use phrases like “I lost it” or “I fell apart” to describe allowing our emotions to be seen and felt. This gives these moments a negative connotation; like the release of emotion is something to be ashamed of and to only be practiced in private. Well, no more of this. I am a human above all other things that I am, and I am not ashamed or afraid of allowing my emotions to be felt by others.
  • I accept that I am exactly where I need to be – I heard it in class every Wednesday and Friday for three years. I didn’t always believe it, but now I accept it.

I am grateful for the time I had in grad school. It taught me quite a bit while I was there, but I think I learned even more from the absence of grad school. Grief is a process, and the process of grieving the loss of grad school has prepared me for much more in life. I am also grateful for the time I had with my mom while she was here on earth, and I think, I am currently learning who I am without her here. There is still a lot to learn, and I am constantly evolving. Hopefully, one day, I will look back on this chapter of my life and discover more than I thought was there.


Do you have a grad school story you’d like to share? Have questions or advice that you gleaned from grad school? Was it all that you dreamed of?  Or maybe not?  Contact us, we’d love to hear from you.

Jamie Zahradnik is from Wharton, Texas.  She attained her BFA in Dance from SHSU graduating Summa Cum Laude in May 2008, and her MFA in Dance in 2011.  She is also a certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst.  Jamie has performed with Rednerrus Feil Dance Company, and Psophonia Dance Company, and has most recently performed for local independent artists Laura Gutierrez, Brittany Theford-Deveau, and Rebekah Chappell. Jamie currently serves as a dance professor and the dance program coordinator for San Jacinto College. She loves sharing herself with others through performing, teaching, and creating.