Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter dance.

I don't have a proper Easter tradition now that Nick has grown and I am out of the basket and egg trade. But I do love reflection. I love any opportunity to think about spiritual growth and transformation, even the ashes to ashes, dust to dust business.

Mainly, I love second chances. I am happy to have had more than one (thank you kind friends and family who weathered the storms).

Today I will read and meditate and dance. I entered the weekend with a storm in my spirit. My insides matched the gloomy, mercurial weather entirely. Dark and ominous. Capricious. Will it be like this forever? Is this one going to stick in me, this crappy, fearful mood?

I took some steps yesterday toward redemption: teaching, reaching out, saying a prayer.

Today, I dance. When I get sedentary in body and spirit, my body imagines that it must be ill. Under the weather, so to speak.

But the minute I get out on that ballet studio floor and I begin to move and sweat and leap and laugh, when I begin to see my joyful friends, pushing through their own storms, I am again transformed.

I hope you have a beautiful, joyous, contemplative, transformative day.

Eat some candy. Find an egg. Read a poem. Say a prayer.

In closing, a little Mary Oliver for you. She says it better than anyone.

What the Body Says.

I was born here, and
I belong here, and
I will never leave.
The blue heron's
gray smoke will flow over me
for years
and the wind will decide
all directions
until I am safely and entirely
something else.
I am thinking this
this winter morning...
of transformation
Of course
I wonder about
the mystery
that is surely up there
in starry space
and how some part of me
will go there at last.
But I am talking now
of the way the body speaks,
and the wind, that keeps saying,
firmly, lovingly:
a little while and then this body
will be stone; then
it will be water; then
it will be air.

Friday, April 22, 2011

True Body Project and the Body Speaks!

We had the good fortune of holding a kick-off workshop for Pones, Inc as they began to conceive their fourth entry into CincyFringe.

We took some of the True Body requisite parts (connecting with the body, writing from the body's POV, collaborating on taking personal stories and making them collectively understood via performance) and added in a few new exercises. Thanks to the Yoga Bar for letting us enjoy a playful, joyful, truthful night of letting our Bodies Speak!

If you are interested in learning more about how True Body Project works collaboratively in the community (artistic, wellness, human potential), give me a shout at

Saturday, April 16, 2011


My friend Trisha shared this with me and I can think of no better thing to write or share on a blustery Saturday then this. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The joy of learning, the blessing of Yorn Chea.

I met this beautiful boy and his friends when I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia. They are learning English at Yorn Chea's free school. Yorn and I are Facebook friends now and I try to stay connected to the work he is doing to help his village sustain itself and this next generation of Cambodia overcome grief, illiteracy and poverty.

It is the Khmer New Year now and in celebration, Yorn sent me a blessing. I share his words, verbatim, with you.

In this new year May you right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right concentration, right livelihood, right effort and right mindfulness.

May you free from all of evil deeds, cultivate only good deed for your mind and then purify your own mind.

Value of people are :feel pity & compassion, find joy in another’s happiness, be sincere.

New year may you success what you are doing or you are going to do or aim to do , all enemies who aim to make trouble with you, may they dying away.

Good luck, good health, long life, strong energy , happiness, and peace of mind, may all these happen to your family, your parents, your wife and all of the who are around you .

New year, new success, new happiness and new prosperousness for you .

Happy New Year .

Your Best Reguard

Yorn Chea

Please "friend" Yorn Chea on Facebook too. Find out how little it takes for you to help make a big difference for the future of Cambodia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meet "Tracey from my dance class."

My regular dance class is called Rhythm & Motion. It was started in San Francisco and brought here to Cincy by the inimitable Heather Britt. There are 10+ classes each week, each hosted by the Cincinnati Ballet, some downtown and some in Blue Ash. There are 10 choreographed songs in each class and dancers and non-dancers alike throw down and do our very best to get it right.

But mainly what happens in those joy-filled rooms is we get to know each other. You see someone across the room and like the way they move. You notice when someone is really starting to move with ease and grace. You smile and play together, sweaty and exhausted. For a long time, you might just know someone as "Tracey from my dance class." Or "Hey, there's Melissa and Bridget ... they are in my dance class." After a time, after you have spent enough time sitting on the studio floor, waiting for class to begin, you start to get to know people a little better.

Enter Tracey Goodman Skale. She comes to class looking a hair more lovely than the rest of us: tall, blonde, smiling, elegant. She is curious and kind. She remembers events important to you and brings you gifts to celebrate them or tells you "good luck!"

You mainly think she is nice. And then you find out she spends her days as the Medical Director of Greater Cincinnati Behavior Health and that she is nationally regarded for her work with schizophrenia. So you think this is cool. She is a lovely dancer, a lovely person, and really really smart and connected too.

Then you get invited to see her dance as a celebrity contestant at the local Dancing for the Stars fundraiser, where each year they pick Cincy celebs and pair them with pros for a ballroom spin on the Music Hall Ballroom floor.

You wait for Tracey's turn and then you watch it happen: the moment of reckoning. You watch her glide through her fox trot like a pro. You watch her grace and elegance and joy and intellect and strength all team up to make her the most beautiful dancer in the room. She wins, of course, because she is AWESOME!!

It was a great moment, born out of a dance class where we come together to train ourselves for joy and for the ability to connect to ourselves and others. Congrats to Tracey for a memorable evening and for reminding us that we can embody beauty and make it move.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Passe, releve, rond de jambe.

Contract, release, extend, plie, pirouette.

This is the beautiful language I heard this morning as I learned to make my body execute these concepts quickly, elegantly, instantly.

I have been taking Ka-Ron Brown Lehman's modern class at the Cincinnati Ballet for a total of maybe 7 or 8 classes now. We work on Monday mornings together for an hour and 15 minutes of concentrated movement.

And here is the deal. Every week something gets easier and every week some new challenge emerges. Today I learned how to use the energetic forces in my body to create more length and ease of movement. In short, I pulled some stuff off!

Today I also learned my body has no existing map, no neuromuscular ease of motion, when asked to pirouette more than once. I lose my way.

It is dizzying to feel lost, to wonder if you can keep moving without falling down. I know that in more ways than one. I have been lost many times.

But here is the cool thing ... I know that if we do the turns next week, I will feel less lost. And the more that I do them, the more mastery I will be able to have over my body and my mind when the world starts to spin around me.

Imagine, spinning on your center axis, over and over again, always being able to find the horizon. That has to be a good thing for the body to know how to do.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Do you know the curves of your body?

As women, we tend to know the curves of our flesh. We like certain curves and dislike others. But do you know the curve of your spine? These are the curves that really matter to our day-to-day health.

Check out this podcast. If it intrigues you, come join me on Saturdays at 11 at The Yoga Bar and let's work out the curves. Believe it or not, if you focus on your spinal alignment, those other curves you worry about will take a different shape. And here is the bonus news: a healthy spine means healthy organs, energy systems, and mind too.