a weekend in paris

Well, it's not Paris, but it's close. A group of us met up at my house this past Saturday for the 3rd Dance Vacation and it was marvelous. I always get a little nervous before hosting one of these events:

Will the house be clean enough: (probably not). Will the car be clean enough since I am driving everyone back and forth from Boulder:(definitely not). Will the food be good enough: (I hope so). Will the dancing be wonderful enough: (You just never know).

And yet, it seems to work out most of the time.

I see people finding their way through this maze of dancing with a fierce and fervid questing that inspires me to quest more deeply, and more keenly myself. Questions of what it means to be seen came up a lot at this last dance vacation: Who is seeing me and what are they seeing? Does being seen change my dancing? Why is it so scary to be seen? or Why is it not so scary to be seen?

Will a part of me die if I am seen?


And these are questions that I can't answer, because I don't know.

All I know is that dancing with "no one" seeing me and dancing with "some one" seeing me are different. One is not better then the other. They are just different.

When I am dancing alone, either in my house or in the woods

(for some reason if I am in an actual dance studio dancing by myself, I usually end up taking a nap...go and know),

I am just feeling my body, feeling my connection to the larger world, and also feeling my connection to the tiny world beneath my feet. When I am being seen, I am feeling all of those things too,

(full disclosure: Sometimes I actually don't feel any of that. Sometimes I feel spaced out, unsure, preoccupied, scared, twisted up, perplexed, empty. It is just the nature of the practice I think.

That divine moment, when all things are aligned, when the dancing is coming from inside of you and also outside of you, when you are just following that blessed current of creative inquiry, when you are whirling without realizing you are whirling, but also so attuned to the whirling that you can actually feel every cell in your body connected to every single cell in all of the bodies...

that doesn't happen all the time.

At least for me.

It just happens some of the time. And because it happens some of the time, I am willing, very willing, to put up with the times it doesn't happen because then something entirely different emerges)

AND I am aware that there are eyes on me. In some inexplicable way that changes my decisions, my actions, my emotional arc in the dance. Sometimes it changes it slightly, and it is barely noticeable. Sometimes it changes it drastically and then I feel utterly alive. Or I feel like I have died a little bit. I just never know how it will play out.

So I keep breathing. I notice when I inhale. I notice when I exhale. I notice the gaps in between my breath. I notice the sensations in my body. I feel my feet on the ground. Then I stop noticing,


I am just dancing. Your dance mission for the week is to let yourself be seen in your dancing and to notice how that feels to you.

That might mean signing up for a dance class. That might mean going out to a club and dancing in the front of the house rather then the back of the house. That might mean having a dance party with your family. That might mean dancing by yourself and having someone take photos. That might mean dancing by yourself and having a friend watch you. Then maybe the friend dances, and you watch them. That might mean dancing in a public space.

And that might mean that there is no way in hell you are doing any of these things, so you do what you did last week (and if you didn't do it, here is your chance to do it again):

Tonight, when you lie down to go to bed, imagine yourself dancing. You alone will watch yourself dancing.

Post about your experience here:



So much fun stuff coming up in the next couple of months! (I think that deserves at least ONE exclamation point):

1. dirtland: oh yes oh yes, it is getting close...

Created by: Joanna Rotkin Performed by: Johannah Franke, Toby Hankin, Chrissy Nelson, Peg Posnick, and Joanna Rotkin

At The North Boulder Recreation Center as part of the 2014 Boulder International Fringe Festival on Saturday, September 20 at 6pm Sunday, September 21 at 4pm Friday, September 26 at 6pm Saturday, September 27 at 4pm

All performances are FREE and Family Friendly

dirtland is funded in part by a major grant from the Boulder Arts Commission.

2. Class, Class, Class:

Dance Classes for Adults: “Joanna is the Richard Freeman of the dance world.” – Marcie Goldman, Founder and owner of Mojo Mastery

Click here for more info http://on.fb.me/1ovuR62

Dance Class for Girls, Ages 10-13: “I am incredibly awed by seeing my daughter so freely participate in an activity that she previously never would have dared to do. We are grateful she had the opportunity to explore new parts of herself. She also made a good friend.” – A happy parent

Click here for more info http://on.fb.me/1kChOid

Dance Class for Children, Ages 6-9: "I thought I was going to learn ballet. But this is WAAAAY better then ballet....this is rock and roll." -- Giovanna, Age 6, after dancing to Hava Nagila.

Click here for more info http://on.fb.me/1pOu5zc

Dance Class for the Whole Family: "We are dancing so much more as a family after taking this workshop. When is the next one? We are in." -- a family of 5

Click here for more info http://on.fb.me/1ra6AUW

and so many projects that are just getting under way now: A new duet with Leeny Sack. A new duet with Emily K. Harrison for The Failure Festival, curated by Laura Ann Samuelson. Working with Carolina Tabares Mendoza on developing The Great Green and bringing it back to Mexico. Residency with Sharon Mansur. Continuing to figure out how to run an itty bitty dance business with Marcie Goldman. And walking the dogs, hanging with my favorite niece, and taking long summer naps.

With Warmth, Joanna of Joanna and the Agitators