I use too many exclamation points!

My niece read over my copy for the new Joanna and the Agitators website.

She told me I use too many exclamation points.  

I got a little defensive with her because I just get really really really excited when I talk about dancing.

She also told me I use too many superlatives.

I am working on not getting defensive about that comment as well.

Putting all of that aside, I have been thinking about what gets me all aflutter about dancing these days 

(I originally had a superlative in that sentence.  I heard my niece’s voice, so I ripped that superlative out with my teeth)

and I think the thrill comes from finding some acceptance and contentment in my dancing.

I am not comparing myself to anyone else.

I am not worrying about what other people think.

I an not feeling the need to explain myself.

My ambition is low.

This low ambition opens up a new found freedom in my dancing life.

When you watch little kids dance, they just do it.  No thought about what they look like, or the emotional landscape they are trying to create with their movement.

They are just dancing.  

As free spirits. As bodies in motion. As living beings in the world.

I am crawling, and sometimes clawing, my way back to the nitty gritty of dancing because I lose the juice from time to time due to the codification of movement.

And it’s good…the codification is all good.

No, I take that back.

It isn’t all good. Some of it is good Some of it is really fucked up (shoot, those damn superlatives).

I imagine that you have probably experienced this yourself in some form or another:

Standing in your underwear in front of the dance teacher your first year of college. Turning around slowly with your arms held out like wings as she writes down       everything that is wrong with your body.

Getting your dance scholarship taken away because you gained 5 pounds over winter break.
Having a serious conversation with the dance faculty about getting a breast       reduction and a tummy tuck.
Being told in no uncertain terms: never sit; only hover.  This will prevent the rapid development of cellulite and fat thighs.
Being told to go into dance criticism rather then dance performance because your writing is pretty good (ahem…not a peep about my overuse of exclamation points or superlatives) and your dancing is okay, but that body…no one wants to look at that body on stage.

Having a meeting with all of the dancers in the cafeteria to go over the nutritional plan for the semester to keep everyone on track with their weight program.  As everyone is nibbling at their teaspoon full of cottage cheese wrapped in a wilted leaf of you lettuce, you, being who you are, get up and fill your tray with a dozen donuts.  You come back to the table and eat them one by one,

 smacking your lips and saying 

 yum yum yum.

Then you drop out.

And you stay away from dancing for a long time.

Until you find a magnificent teacher at an itty bitty college in the desert 

(thank you Delisa.  You changed everything.  You opened up doors I didn’t know existed, and started me on this loopy little jaunt of becoming an artist).

There is only one dance class offered at this college in the desert.

It is called Movement Improvisation.

You take it over and over and over again.

And no one says a word about what your body looks like because everyone is focused on making these wild and crazy shows that happen in the dark with only one lamp lighting up the stage.  The whole cast is wearing trash cans on their heads, standing in glass bowls filled with skittles.  Someone spins, and because she can’t see since there is a trash can on her head, she crashes into the wall and then falls.  She gets up and does it again and again and again.

Sundays are spent improvising with live musicians from 10am-10pm at night.  The focus is on the dancing and the play and the spirit and the ensemble and the grit of staying in and then stepping out. 

Both of these experiences shaped me profoundly.  I learned as much about who I don’t want to be as a movement educator and performer as I learned about who I do want to be as a movement educator and performer.  

If I ever get to be President (you never know, you never know) I am going to add an amendment to the world constitution stating that everyone has the right to dance.  I am going to add a time to dance at all meetings, hearings, bill signings, policy making sessions, debates, and discussions on Capitol Hill.

When I am President, dancing will be become part of our everyday life experience here on this planet earth.  

Small dances with a hand might happen for some, and big dances that swoop through the land will happen for others. 

From sea to shining sea, there will be dancing.

And now onto the dance mission for this week.

I have been getting feedback that people are reading the dance missions, but not doing them.

So let me make it easier.

I got this idea from a friend:

When you lie in bed at night, imagine yourself dancing.

(When I lie in bed I always imagine myself as a gymnast in the Olympics on the uneven bars.  I am in a blue leotard with a green star on the front, and I jump onto the bars and spin and flip and twirl and then I fall asleep).

Okay, staying on task:  so tonight, when you lie down to go to sleep, imagine yourself dancing.

Post about this experience on the facebook page. I would love to hear about what you are imagining:


And lastly, 

this is what Joanna and the Agitators is up to this fall:

Update about Dance Vacations: This Saturday is the 3rd Dance Vacation and it is full.

However, the last Dance Vacation is on Saturday, September 6th and a spot just opened up.

If you want to join me for the last Dance Vacation of the summer, email me asap so I can save that spot for you.

Family Dance Days: Email me if you are interested in joining me on Sunday, August 31st for the next Family Dance Day.

dirtland: I will be presenting my current project, dirtland, at The North Boulder Recreation Center as part of the 2014 Boulder International Fringe Festival.  I have had the privilege of working with some amazing dancers for this show: Johannah Franke, Toby Hankin, Chrissy Nelson, and Peg Posnick.

We will be performing 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.

Dance Classes this fall: JUST GIRLS:  Dance Class for girls ages 10-13

JUST GIRLS will meet on Thursdays from 4-6pm at the Boulder Circus Center from October 16-December 11th.  NO CLASS on November 27.   The fee for JUST GIRLS is $300. 

This fee includes a Chipotle/Noodles & Company/Lark Burger sort of dinner at each class session.   (NOTE: this class is almost full already.  If your daughter is interested in taking this class, email me soon).

Creative Movement for kids:  Dance Class for children ages 6-9 Creative Movement for kids will meet on Tuesdays from 4-5:15pm at the Boulder Circus Center from October 14-December 9th.  NO CLASS on November 25th.The fee for Creative Movement is $160. This fee includes a snack that will be provided for the students at each class session.

The Anatomy of Improvisation:  Dance Class for Adults The Anatomy of Improvisation will meet on Tuesday and Thursdays from 11-12:30pm at The Boulder Circus Center from October 14-December 11th, 2014.  NO CLASS on November 25 or November 27.  The fee for Anatomy of Improvisation is $320 if you sign up for both days and $184 if you sign up for one day.

*Sign-up by September 15th to receive your free body work session with Avery Oatman.   Once you have signed up, you will receive Avery’s contact info so you can schedule an appointment for craniosacral work or a full body massage.  

That’s it for now.

Hope you have a lovely Wednesday evening and I am looking forward to hearing about where your imagination takes you tonight.

With Warmth,

Joanna of  Joanna and the Agitators