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:
“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)
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)
“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.”
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
Frame Dance Company is made up of brilliant and passionate dancers, and our collaborating artists are pretty amazing, too. The following Framers and Friends have generously offered to serve as hosts at our annual FUNdraising Soirée. Meet them in their Framer statements and bios below and be impressed. Meet them in person at the Soirée and be inspired.
Jacquelyne Boe – Dance
Houston Press 100 Creatives; Dance Source Houston’s Artist in Residence Program; 2019-2020 Lawndale Studio Artist Program.
“A Framer is any human who associates with Frame Dance and wants to be a part of it. I’m a Framer because I believe in Frame Dance’s mission to empower Houstonians to communicate, inspire, and connect to the world and others through movement, community and artistic collaboration, and technology.”
See more of Jacquelyne dancing with Frame Dance and Hopestone Dance, and performing her own choreography. Jacquelyne teaches dance with Frame Dance, the Hope Project, and Houston Ballet. Find her here online: http://jjboe.com/
Braden Hunt – Theater
Actor: Ensemble Theater, Main Street Theater, AD Players, Stages, Masquerade Theatre. Teaching Artist: AD Players
“I met Lydia Hance while doing a production with the late Horse Head Theatre Company in a production called The Sonic Life of a Giant Sea Tortoise by Toshiki Okada. The director, Philip Hays, wanted movement to inform the dialogue throughout and Lydia was hired as our movement coach. I was really inspired by the exercises Lydia guided us through and I continue to use them in my own training and in my teaching. I told Lydia that I wanted to work with her and continue to learn from her again.
“The next season Lydia was planning a piece that involved more narrative than she was accustomed to and invited me along to be in the show and help form the narrative. This show was called My Beloved andfollowed the lives of some high school students from the day of their senior prom to middle age. It was a brilliant blend of interactive theatre, narrative, and abstract exploration of the human struggle for connection. It’s been truly one of my favorite works to be a part of thus far in my career.
“Since then I’ve been lucky enough to dance with Frame Dance Company in Water Day Dances, Metro Dances, and Let’s Stay Home and Fight. I love to join the Multigen Dancers when I can and share in the community of valued authentic expression that Lydia has created.”
Dancer: Jonah Bokaer Choreography; William R. Kenan, Jr., Performing Arts Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education; Dance Magazine “25 to Watch.”
“This year I had the pleasure of working the the Junior Framers and though it was an intimate gathering on Mondays the impact they had on me was a refreshing one.
“Choreographically, I focused on spacial design and how their bodies would move through where they would be performing in addition to what they would be performing. It’s a combination of the two that makes dance so powerful and I wanted to share that with them.
“One thing that struck me was how there was a visible shift in their attitudes before and after class, every check in I’d ask how they were and since they were coming from school they were often sharing something from their day and their spirit and energies were low but by the end of class they were rejuvenated and it would always such a surprise to me to witness that outside of myself.
“I was reminded with this class how dance supports an individuals way of being in the world and also teaches students and teachers alike to be empathetic and communicative with others.”
Laura dances her own choreography on stages and art spaces nationwide. She taught Frame Dance Production’s Junior Framers Ensemble 2018-2019. Find Laura online at http://www.lauraegutierrez.com/
Ashley Horn – Dance
Ashley is a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, costume designer, and artist from the Houston area. She is Frame Dance’s costume designer, set collaborator, and a founding dancer. She is also a teacher in the early childhood dance classes at Frame Dance. Find Ashley online at http://ashleyhorndance.com/
Jamie Williams – Dance
Jamie is a founding member of Aimed Dance, formerly Rednerrus Feil Dance Company. She has performed with Psophonia Dance Company, and with local independent artists Laura Gutierrez, Brittany Thetford-Deveau, and Rebekah Chappell. Jamie currently serves as a dance professor and the dance program coordinator for San Jacinto College.
Emily Roy Sayre – Dance
Emily’s career has included being featured in 225 Magazine, The Advocate newspaper, and VoyageHouston’s Most Inspiring Stories. The choreographers and companies Emily has had the honor to work with include Uptown Dance Company, The Pilot Dance Project, Frame Dance Productions, Houston Grand Opera, Sean Curran, Julio Monge, Eric Sean Fogel, Christine Crest, Mina Estrada, and Jennifer Mabus. Emily also dapples in dance for camera work. You can find Emily online at https://emilyroysayre.com/
Callina Anderson – Theater
Callina is an actor with extensive theater experience in Houston, having performed with Ensemble Theater, Main Street Theater, Horse Head Theater, The MATCH, Mildred’s Umbrella, Boiling Point Players, Cone Man Running Productions, Alley Theater’s Houston Young Playwright Exchange, and as a regular actor with Interactive Theater. Callina collaborated with Frame Dance most recently in METRODances.
Alli Villines – Music, Theater
Alli is a Houston-based performer and voice teacher whom you may have seen in Horsehead Theatre Company’s 2018 production of We’re Gonna Die, or on The Christina and Alli Show, her weekly YouTube music show co-hosted with Christina Wells. Alli is a professional singer, ukulele player, voice teacher, and actor who has credits with the Alley Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, and Catastrophic Theatre Company. Alli performed with Frame Dance in METRODances. You can find Alli online at https://ukulalli.wordpress.com/
Patrick Moore – Music
Patrick Moore is Principal cellist with the Cypress Symphony and the Houston Latin American Philharmonic and is assistant principal cellist with the Opera in the Heights. An avid chamber music player, he is the cellist of the Axiom Quartet, and performs contemporary chamber music with the Aperio New Music Ensemble and the Foundation For Modern Music. Patrick maintains a private studio as adjunct faculty at the University of St.Thomas, and teaches with the University of St.Thomas’ Music Preparatory School where The Axiom Quartet is the string quartet in residence. In addition, Patrick teaches at Axiom Quartet’s annual String Quartet Camp and is on faculty at the American Festival for the Arts during the summer. Patrick and Axiom Quartet are long-time collaborators with Frame Dance Productions, including METRODances performances and premiering works by winners of the Frame Dance Composer Competition. Find Patrick online at http://www.moorecello.com/home
David Rivera – Film
David is Houston Ballet Audio/Video Content Manager. David’s films were screened in the Cozy and Silken portions of Frame x Frame, Frame Dance Production’s inaugural dance on film festival.
Photo Credits: Jacquelyne Boe by Lynn Lane; Laura Gutierrez by Lynn Lane; Emily Roy Sayre by Toriel Borst; Callina Anderson by Pin Lim/Forrest Photography; Alli Villines by Tasha Gorel
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.
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?
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 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.
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.