Since running Joanna and The Agitators became my full time job, I have become a work horse. I have been working my whole teen and adult life, but I have never worked quite this hard.
The truth is, I could slow myself down to a trot if I wanted.
But I don’t want to, because the galloping is really fun.
As I write this to you, I am realizing that I talk about work and jobs a lot in this newsletter.
I don’t know why exactly, except that all of these weird and crazy dead-end jobs and all those times in my life when I didn’t have enough money for food or a subway token when I was living in Brooklyn, NYC, or when I couldn’t pay the heating bill and wrapped myself in blankets filling out job applications when I was living in Northampton, MA, or that time I ran out of money in Arizona. I was ok because the house I was renting had a grapefruit tree out back, and I lived off of grapefruits for a week until my next pay check came in.
They have shaped me, as I’m sure they have shaped you.
I started working when I was 15 (babysitting since I was 12) and have been working ever since .
It’s only been recently, in these past two years, that this work has been entirely my own.
Before that, I was:
A Baby Sitter
A Salad Bar Girl at Sea Galley: My first experience with sexual harassment when the Salad Bar Boy takes a hold of my breasts and twists them like doorknobs.
A Data Enterer, a data enterer, and a data enterer
A Cookie Server at Mrs. Field’s Cookies on the Pearl Street Mall
An Environmental and Outdoor Educator at Cal-Wood (so much fun..that was a magical place)
A Worker at May D & F: Cashier Lancóme Lady Underwear Folder Hosiery Coordinator Christmas Present Wrapper
A Box Folder
A Box Counter
A Buser at Turley’s
A Book Duster and Alphabetizer at Norlin Library
A Barista (for 2 hours)
A Sou Chef (for 1 hour)
A Web Developer (for 20 minutes)
A Ballet Teacher (for one class, and then I get the boot)
A Personal Assistant (HA! That one lasted for a whole 2 weeks)
An Ikea Furniture Putter Together
A Massager for officey kind of people
An Administrator for the brilliant Alice Teirstein and the Young Dance Makers at Feildston High School
A Dance Teacher for Mentally Ill Senior Citizens at the most neglected and awful institutions in the farthest reaches of all the NYC Burroughs: Imagine One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest. -Far Rockaway (Sexual Harassment Up the Wazoo. Also, is Far Rockaway a Burrough or is it something else?) -The Bronx (Not Sexual Harassment, just sad and sweet: When I walk into his room to guide him through some movement, bedridden and very frail man says to me: “Are you here to make love to me?”) -Queens -Brooklyn -Staten Island
A Recycling Manager (more sexual harassment ensues. I duck as much as possible, and get by as best as I can, like so many of us did, and so many still do)
A Stage Manager at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange
An Environmental and Outdoor Educator at Sargent Camp
A Staff member at The Omega Institute of Holistic Studies: - Greeter and Luggage Carrier (had a little incident with Gabriel Roth’s luggage so I got transferred to Golf Cart Driver) -Golf Cart Driver for guests that didn’t want to walk to the Dining Hall (Lost control of the golf cart and it ended up in the stream by the Buddha Bridge, so I got transferred to gardening…when the gardening didn’t work out, they asked me to be the dance teacher….that one stuck)
A Dance Teacher and Leadership Facilitator at NYC Public Schools
An Adjunct Dance Faculty at Naropa and CU
A Worker and all around pain in the tucas at Long’s Iris Gardens on and off from 1987-2012: -Mowed the wrong lawn. -Cut the branches off of the Maple Tree instead of the Oak Tree. -Fixed the fence in the north field instead of the south field. -Painted the barn yellow instead of white. -Cleaned out the wrong outbuilding. -Backed the small tractor into the Lavender Bush. -When getting the iris plants ready for shipping, I labeled a plant Goodnight, Moon instead of Goodnight, Irene by accident because I was daydreaming that day. That was the only mistake I made where my boss Catherine got angry. Otherwise, she brushed everything off and said “Will I see you next summer then?”
Drum Roll, PALEASE!
As of two years ago my job is:
Running my own business teaching dance classes and making dance shows.
It’s a humble existence, for sure.
But it’s mine.
And I love it.
I’m not living hand to mouth anymore, it’s more like hand to………mouth.
(Did you get that? There is now just a little more space between my hand and my mouth. So it’s still hand to mouth, it just takes my hand longer to get to my mouth….Never mind)
And yes, it’s really hard work, and it’s totally worth it.
So, talking about being a workhorse, here we go:
1. The next Dog Dance happens in a little over a week: Friday, February 12th at 7pm. Floorspace. 1510 Zamia #101. $5
2. Goodnight, Courtney Love opens in a little over 2 weeks: Friday, Feb 19th at 7pm Saturday, Feb 20th at 7pm Saturday, Feb 27th at 7pm
In the Leisure Swimming Pool at The North Boulder Recreation Center.
FREE and Family Friendly.
3. Classes are full, and I am galloping along, at top speed.
Because I am in the pool a lot, rehearsing for Goodnight, Courtney Love, your Dance Mission for the Week is to imagine you are also dancing in a swimming pool. What sort of movement emerges when you are in the water: fully submerged, floating on the surface, sliding in along the edges with half of your body underneath the water and half of your body out of the water.
Here is a chunky piece of music to get you going.
Share, post, make a comment…you know what to do.
With Warmth and Jivey Vibes, Joanna of Joanna and The Agitators sweetly agitating/persistently upending www.joannaandtheagitators.com
ps. Simone Key sent me this drawing she made on her phone, after class. I love it.