Thursday, June 23, 2011

What do I actually teach and why/when should you come to see me?

I've been teaching privately a lot lately and the sessions fall somewhere between Pilates and mindfulness training and somatic re-education.

What the heck does that even mean??

It means that when you want to know more about your body's patterns and how come, for instance, you are in pain (think neck, back, knee, hips, feet, wrists, shoulders) and you want to remedy that, you come to me.

It means that if you are trying to make changes in your life but are stuck, you come to me.

It means that if you have been practicing Pilates or Yoga or dance for a little or a lot and you want to get more out of your movement practice and avoid injury, you come to me. My R&M teacher pals let me fix them when their bodies are cranky so I hope you will let me help you too.

Here is what some of my clients have to say ...

A former collegiate athlete who is recovering from injury says:

"Stacy offers uniquely designed and individualized Pilates lessons focusing on strength, flexibility, posture and mental awareness. Her knowledge of the mind and body connection is unparalleled resulting in paramount gains with mental and physical well-being....Stacy's tailored approach will invigorate your mind, strengthen your body and awaken your spirit."

A long-term Pilates practitioner says:

"I started practicing Pilates in a gym setting, but I never really understood the practice until I began Stacy’s classes. Her knowledge of anatomy and physiology give her students an insight into “how to have a healthy body” that’s like a personal workshop. Stacy’s approach is so thorough and personalized that I get much more benefit from one session with her than I did from many before.

A yoga student and a bicyclist says:

"I am thinking that Stacy Sims is the bestest greatest knee fixer upper Pilate instructor therapist yogini in the world. I went 19 miles on the bike today without pain. Been knee pain free three days after one session with her two weeks ago. Whahoo!"

A Pilates instructor, martial artist and tennis player says:

“Stacy Sims has developed a deep Pilates vocabulary from her many years running a busy and popular Pilates studio. Her experience as a dancer only widens her breadth of experience. My private sessions with Stacy feel as though I am able to connect with my body through all of her accumulated knowledge working with the best of the best in the field of mind and body. She is able to find where you are in most need of "opening" closed channels, developing strength, and working on flexibility in a comprehensive and intelligent approach which is the true lineage Joseph Pilates left for us. Stacy Sims teaches authentic Pilates which centers around spinal flexibility and strengthening the core to support a healthy spine for optimum health and longevity. When I leave my sessions with Stacy, I feel a total transformation from head to toe. A body "buzz" as I like to call it!”

So please, don't wait because you think you are not ready or are not strong enough. I promise to meet you exactly where you are and find out where we can help you move in your body and in your life. Check out my website for more info about privates or classes and/or email me directly at

Here is a little taste of how I go about it:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Patterns and cycles and perhaps TMI. Dudes, be warned.

Honest to god, it is INSANE that I haven't figured out the pattern in 35 years of months that there is a cycle to my optimism, ambition, creativity and joy.

Once a month, there is a 48 hour period in which I think, feel and believe that the gig is up and that I am no longer relevant or curious or clever or attractive or vital. During this window, it is so REAL, this pervasive feeling of blah. It is not despair. It is not fatalistic. But it is convincing. It feels like every cell in my body is a bored and slightly angry 14 year old girl saying, "Whatever."

And then, once a month for 35 years of months, I wake up and discover that I am not depressed, nor do I have the flu, nor do I have to be committed. I wake up to discover that I have my period.


Really. How can this be a surprise?

There are a few good things in this scenario.

1. Once a month I remember what I felt like every day when I was drinking to excess. And I am reminded again that it is a blessing to have 14 years of sobriety under my belt so that darker days are limited.

2. Once a month I am reminded what it feels like to be depressed or alcoholic or otherwise stuck in a system where no matter what happens around you, you can't see the beauty and the light. Empathy is everything. And I am happy for it.

3. I am also clear that there are likely other subversive neuro-muscular, chemical, hormonal patterns at work that I am slow to catch onto. And I am thrilled to work with amazing healers, body workers and astute friends who can mirror for me when I become ridiculously stuck in some thought pattern that makes no sense to the here and now.

4. As long as I have to weather this hormonal storm, I am happy for the people who make Pringles, Angel Food Cake, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and mediocre television shows.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

To be seen.

I decided to walk to an early dinner on this beautiful summer night.

I strolled down Main Street right as the sun was hitting the street in such a way as to make everyone and everything look pretty darn glorious.

I passed by a family sitting on a stoop. A man and a woman sat on the step next to a toddler in a stroller. I heard the child say, "Hi." So I spun around for a closer encounter. We waved and smiled at each other in the usual way: me over-animated, child bemused. Until the guy told me this:

"You are the first person she's ever said 'Hi' to."

"Wait, really?" I asked.

"Really," they confirmed.

I saw her and she saw me. And we each signaled our admiration for the other's awesomeness.

What more can you ask for on a sunny, summer night on the street where you live?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another sample of NEBRASKA ... Couples Therapy, anyone?


Couples Therapy is freaking hard.

See how Lorabee and Jim weather the couch in NEBRASKA.

Chapter 38

We sat in silence and looked at the magazines we had grabbed the minute we entered the small waiting room before our first and only Couples Therapy session. It had been Jim’s bright idea, not mine, to spill the beans about our small, sad life to an impartial third party.

I stared blindly at a Rachael Ray recipe for Steamed Shrimp. Jim thumbed through a Golf Magazine earnestly. It made me mad.

“Like you give a shit about putters or drivers or greens. Like you give a shit,” was what I was stage whispering to him when the kind doctor opened the door to let us in.

“Jim? Lorabee? Or do you prefer Lora?” he said, as though he had not caught me in a bitter, irrational tirade.

“I don’t care,” I shrugged.

Jim nearly ran to him, shaking his hand vigorously. I gave him just my fingers, pursed my lips insincerely, and sashayed into his office.

Dr. Greenblum closed the door behind us and gestured to the couch. We sat at opposite ends of it, clinging to the armrests. He sat down slowly, with effort.

“Hip replacement.” He informed us. “Not as easy a recovery as I was led to believe.”

“Sort of like this, then,” I offered, eager for a moment to get on his good side, eager to let him know I was bright enough to override the vitriol inside of me and make snappy comparisons. Rehab is to hip surgery as forgiveness is to betrayal.

“Yes, perhaps,” he obliged, settling back into his chair. “Since you made the appointment, Jim, why don’t we start with you? Why are you here?”

“I did something very, very stupid,” he said. “Something I regret every day. And I know she has every right to be mad at me. She has a right to be mad at me for a very long time, in fact. I totally fucked up.”

“Can you please be more specific?” Dr. Greenblum asked.

“He slept with my best friend, my maid of honor, the biggest cliché in the history of all clichés. She rubbed up against him and he fell for it,” I offered. “I am more embarrassed by it than angry,” I said.

“Is that true?” the doctor asked.

“That he fucked my best friend? Yes, it’s true.”

“No. That you are more embarrassed than angry. Is that true?”

“Yes!” I insisted. “I mean, come on. It’s obvious.”

"What is obvious?” Dr. Greenblum asked.

And that is how the next horrible 43 minutes played out. Jim came across like an earnest, relatively competent sap of a man who screwed up. I was unable to answer a single question in a straightforward, mature, non-sarcastic way. I could feel myself dancing for my life, evading anything that put the emotional burden on me.

“Seriously?” I asked, early in the session. “He cheats and I have to talk about my mother?”

“So let me ask you this, Lora. Why are you here? Why did you come today?”

“To find out why he did it. Why else would I come?” I said.

“Fair enough,” Dr. Greenblum said. “Jim, can you answer Lora’s question?”

“Well it doesn’t make it right, I know that, but I have to say, I was lonely,” Jim said.

“Lonely in what regard?” Dr. Greenblum asked, prodding Jim to outline all the ways in which I was a shitty, inattentive wife.

Jim looked at his thighs. “She’s just stronger than me. Much stronger. I need things. I worry about things.”

“Oh for God’s sakes, Jim, everyone is stronger than you,” I said. I heard it: my loathsome, shrewish, lonely voice. “I don’t think this is going to work,” I offered. “I don’t know if I can do this.”

We spent the next half hour addressing the issue of my reluctance to be there in the first place.

“Becoming a couple is easy. Staying a couple is tremendously difficult,” Dr. Greenblum explained. “We are not taught how to maintain intimacy,” he added. “And it is especially difficult when you have had your early intimate relationships taken from you,” he offered to me.

“Is it possible you can not know how unwell you are until you have children?” Jim asked.

We both stared at him.

“I mean me. Not her,” he clarified.

I refused to say another word. Because what I wanted to say to each of them was “How do you know?” Based on the number of certificates on his wall, I figured that the doctor probably did know a few things. And maybe my cheater husband did too.

But what good would it do me if he were right? If he were right, then I was doomed. And so was my family. So he and Jim talked about broken things while I stared out the window. I tuned them out as best I could so I could think about Rachael Ray’s Steamed Shrimp and how I would never, ever make it.


If you like this sample, check out the real deal here. Order it for your Kindle or any device that supports it (iPod, iPhone, Mac notebooks, etc.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Pirouettes and Joyful Trouble.

Stephen Colbert was recently asked by Stephen Sondheim to join the cast of Company. Here is what Colbert had to say about it his decision to do it:

"I tell a lot of young performers, 'Go get in trouble. Go commit yourself to something you're not sure you can do,'" he says. "And I followed my own advice. It was something I desperately wanted to do — not as a career — but an invitation I knew I couldn't refuse and yet had no sense of whether or not I could do it. And that is trouble — but it was all so joyful."

This year has been a lot of that for me ... I have gotten into joyful trouble trying to do things I am not sure I can do on the small (giant?) stage of adult dance.

After my modern dance intensive last week, I realized I had some definite challenges with my turns. It was not as though I knew how to do them and didn't do them well. With a pirouette, for example, I truly did not have a single cooperative bone or muscle or tendon in my body. I would start the turn and completely lose my shit.

So I set an intention to learn them. Yesterday, I was lucky to have Ka-Ron Brown Lehman all to myself for an hour plus. We worked on my not-so-great releve passe situation and then moved onto turns. For awhile, it was a big old mess. But by the end, I had figured out the essential flow of it, some muscle memory that I could return to.

Thanks Ka-Ron and all my other wonderful teachers (Heather, Susan, Julie, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, Heather, etc.) for helping me get into joyful trouble on such a regular basis.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This post is and is not about shampoo.

Yesterday was a struggle. I have been working this year to stay in a productive and hopeful place while I figure out where to focus my next efforts. I got socked in the gut in the morning by an unfriendly reminder of one version of my current reality. Part of my current reality is glorious ... dancing, writing, connecting, hoping, learning, moving, giving, teaching. And there is a part that is less easy. For the sake of clarity, we will call this part "Financial."

So yesterday "Financial" wanted to chat with me because I had been ignoring "Financial" for a couple of months. After an unsettling conversation, in which I raised my voice and said some bad things to "Financial," things I might eventually regret, I settled myself back down and decided that I needed to be a little more clear about my direction or else "Financial" would begin to stalk me to the point that "dancing, writing, connecting" etc. might get nervous and ask me to go away until I deal with the "Financial" situation.

(This is now going to move to a conversation about energy and end up in beauty products so you have been warned.)

I have been working to stay open, energetically, to what is to come. I have worked against constant busyness so that there would be a void to be filled by THE NEXT THING. And my request to the universe has been pretty vague ... as in "Give me something really frickin' awesome that will fulfill me creatively, financially, etc." It occurred to me that the universe might not know what to give me. That it wouldn't know what to fill in since I have been so vague. So I was thinking about being more specific.

I realized, at about the same time, I was out of shampoo and conditioner. I thought to myself (laughing!!!) that perhaps I just needed to ask for shampoo and conditioner. Then I thought to myself (laughing!!) that it would be difficult to manifest beauty products. I chuckled to my crazy self and went on my merry way.

Cut to this morning ... less than 24 hours later. I go to teach my Yoga Bar class and there is .... wait for it ..... FREE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER compliments of Heather who works at Kao Brands. Not just for me but for many. My friend Debbie pointed out that I manifested it not just for me but for a bunch of people.

Get on it people! Tell the universe exactly what you want. Do not mess around. My guess is that there is more than beauty products in it for us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Modern Dance Intensive - Day Four. We try a little tenderness.

I LOVED today's classes. I taught this morning for two hours in exchange (in the Karmic sense) for four hours of learning. If I gave half as much as I received, it would be a miracle. Because today we were in the masterful hands of the elegant, delightful and generous John Giffen.

John received a BFA from Juilliard and a Master of Arts in dance from The Ohio State University. He has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadians in Montreal and the Wuppertal Dance Theater directed by Pina Bausch. He has toured with Agnes de Mille’s Heritage Dance Theater and was dance captain for the Broadway revival of Brigadoon. Giffin has received numerous grants and awards for his work.

So in the first class, he taught us the "circle" choreography from Bausch's seminal Rite of Spring. (video of the real deal below.)

It was so amazing to learn some of these sequences but even more exciting to step back and watch the class move in such beautiful, grounded harmony.

In the next class, he shared some exercises from Pina Bausch's Dance Theater Performance compositional techniques. Our theme was TENDERNESS.

Our job was to individually determine five gestures of tenderness (two were eliminated for pedestrian reasons - the straight up hug and intimate face holding.) But everything else was fair game. We composed our gestures and remembered the sequence and then we partnered up and began to work with our tenderness gestures compositionally. One of us might share the gesture with our partner but the partner was to either be neutral to and/or reject our tender gesture.

In other exercises, we gestured simultaneously, first slowly then quickly and we also stood across the room from each other, playing with movement and gesture. We did group work and individual work. Finally, we worked with our partner to create a short piece using our tender gesture work as a base.

It was beautiful to watch and the main thing that struck me is that when the pace quickens, tender gestures start to feel decidedly less tender. When someone doesn't have the time to register and receive a tender touch, or is so eager to get their own emotion across, it all starts to get jumbled up and confusing and even hostile.

So in addition to learning some lovely choreography today, I got to somatically understand that if I move too fast with my kindness and love, it won't be received as I intend it. And if I don't take time to understand the gestures of tenderness coming my way, if I don't take time to receive and process them, it will be unsatisfying for everyone involved.

Thank you, John. This was a delightful day. Much to think about.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dance Intensive Day Three - A familiar hour.


So I only had one hour to spend today at the MamLuft&Company Dance Intensive but lucky me cuz it was an hour with Ka-Ron Brown Lehman.

I was STOKED because Ka-Ron is like, well, awesome, and also because my seven or so weeks of class with her have paid off. I felt completely able to execute the warm-ups and some of the bar-like floor work, sans bar. And of course the young dancers were also amazing but I was able to keep up. (They have also had about a million more hours of dance this week than me.)

But today reminded me that repetition pays off. As does immersion. Things get easier, then harder all over again. Then easier, then harder. And that is why the journey stays interesting.

Ka-Ron also reminded us to show our LOVE for dance in every movement, even in a warm up. She wanted the young dancers to show this love as they rehearse and as they audition. But for me, it was a great reminder that if I am not feeling love in my body for the form, I might as well get the heck out of the room because I am not doing it for any other reason than love.

Are you doing something you love without feeling and showing your love? I thought of about five things/people/places to which I need to bring this vibrancy and intention.

Thanks, Ka-Ron. xo

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dance Intensive Day Two

Okay. So now I have a more clear understanding of how come they cry on Dancing with the Stars. It is not only because their abs are killing them. It is because they are broken open from moving and bending and falling and yielding and pushing and pulling all the way down to the marrow. No. All the way down to some primordial cells.

Holy smokes. This is no joke.

And here is what is weird. Even though I have a bruised knee and all the polish on my toes has pretty much been scraped off and my foot has a floor burn on it, even though I am pretty sure I will weep before the night is over when one tiny thing even slightly moves me, this is the best experience ever.

I was telling my friend Heather that it is one of those experiences where you get reminded of everything you know and everything you have forgotten. You have so many epiphanies you can't keep track of them and you just hope your body hangs on to a few.

This morning the brilliant Fanchon Shur reminded of us our primordial, cellular bodies and made a roomful of strangers instantly intimate. It is daunting and essential work, her Body Mind Centering practice. I have known about Fanchon's work forever but have never experienced it until today. She is a luminous human and a real treasure for this community. Get on it and spend some time in her world.

Kristin O'Neal conducted the afternoon masterclass with incredible enthusiasm and energy, plus sound effects. She is a pure delight of a teacher and moved us into partner and group weight sharing, crab walking, exercises that somehow, under her tutelage, were elegant and interesting. Once again, I got to stand back for some of it and watch these incredibly talented and committed young people work it.

I am so lucky to live in this body in this life in this city in this year with these people and with you.

Thank you everyone.

(But if you see me this week don't do anything too nice or too sad or too anything because I am sure to completely disassemble in the most wonderfully humbled way.)

Cincinnati's next generation of musicians and dancers make us proud.

Check it out! Cincinnati's Walk the Moon's ANNA SUN song has been voted by Esquire Magazine as the song of the summer!

And it is choreographed by the fabulous Pones crew, who I got to work with a bit earlier in the year.

This will make you happy for many reasons. It is a sunshiny tribute to youth and freedom and summer. Get your war paint and your drums and your inner child and go out and remember. Or if those things are hard to come by, just be sure to dance.

Monday, June 6, 2011

MamLuft & Co. Dance Intensive - Day One.

Today was the first day of a five-day modern dance intensive hosted by the fabulous Jeanne Mamluft and the MamLuft&Company Dance. If you think I am busy, you should meet Jeanne. She is an amazing dancer, choreographer, administrator, designer, photographer (oh and an architect and some other stuff.) So while she is also running a show at CincyFringe, she put on this awesome dance intensive with master classes with impressive teachers.

So I showed up at 9 am for the first of three classes I would take today. There are maybe 30 of us which is a nice number to say twice since I am easily 30 years old than most everyone else. But no matter, I threw in.

We kicked it off with Ballet for Modern Dancers with Susan Honer, who is also a Pilates instructor so there was a good deal of her class that made perfect sense to me. When the running, turning and leaping business started, I opted to turn into a blogger/photographer rather than into a heap of the floor.

That was my strategy the rest of the day: when you are completely and utterly lost, take photos. Our next class was Jeanne's Modern class. There was tons of floor work and twisting around plus capoeira inspired, sort-of-cartwheel-but-not moves. Combinations? Um, more photos for me.

I finished my day with Demetrius Klein who taught a Merce Cunningham inspired class which I liked the most, mainly because I could do more of it than in some of the other classes. But as he pointed out, people study this technique for years without mastering it so my experience today was just a teeny tiny taste of Cunningham. I actually tried one across-the-floor combination before opting to take on my role as photographer.

If I can actually get out of bed tomorrow, I will be back at it for at least one Masterclass tomorrow and then more the rest of the week.

But so far, here is what has struck me:

1. TALENT. Holy smokes. There are some wildly talented young people in that room and some lovely teachers in the Greater Cincinnati area. Lucky all of us to be in their company.

2. WORK. As much of the world seems to be devolving into fast-track notions of fame and glory, these dancers are working hard on their craft and their technique. I don't think I knew what hard was until I started to work my body. It is a glorious thing to start to develop body competence and confidence, but it is no joke. (Note - no making me laugh this week because I will cry because my abs hurt that bad. Now I know why everyone cries on DWTS - they are in pain.)

3. GENEROSITY. I love to watch good teachers teach. I love to watch them be diligent and discerning and kind. Susan and Jeanne and Demetrius were exacting and inspiring. That is as it should be.

Thanks all! See you tomorrow. Video and photos to come. Internet is making me nuts right this second and I'm wiped out.

(p.s. thanks to Jacob for being my dance buddy today. You are awesome.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"I heard them saying my name." More beautiful work from the Great Globe Foundation.

My friends Julianna and Michael are in Dadaab working with refugees and were recently joined by poets from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, who worked with some of the refugees. You can read all of their work on their blog. I assure you that you will be inspired.

This poem really moved me because it speaks so beautifully about why it is important to collaborate and to share ideas and to SEE and HEAR people who may not have had the luxury of being seen and heard. It says it all. Ojullu Opiw Ochan asks "How do I start?" Please let him know that he has already begun and we are listening.

Guest of Iowa

by Ojullu Opiew Ochan

How do I start?

The sunbird set on the branch

Of a tree sucking the nectar from flowers.

When queen bee left the waxcomb

to collect the nectar and

carried it on her back legs.

It is the sweet day in my life.

The marking day of my future.

The image of my beautiful mother.

I saw the sweat coming out through

The holes of my hairs cascaded down

On my lap.

This day has reminded me about that day

I killed the Gazelle

The honourable guests of Iowa.

Not guests only, but poets

Not poets only, but professionals,

Not professionals only, but my furtherance,

Not furtherance only, But refulgent of

My future.

I saw them smile at me with

Their glistening heart

I heard them saying my name

I hear it from their mouth

I saw their happiness on their face

Saying “yes you are”, “you did it”

“it is your turn”.

I haven’t seen a professor in my life

Before. I keep asking myself many

Questions about a professor.

What kind of person he or she is?

But today all my questions have

Been answered. I saw them

I know them now! We exchange

With them

Guests of Iowa

This will be the great day in my life

The backbones of poets

The author of the world poetry

Yes they are

The breathtaking words they said

That kept me fidgeting

I was pent-up to speak

How do I start?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Body Speaks ... It's Fringe Time Again!!

It's that time of the year again. It's CincyFringe ... 11 days of awesomeness in the form of 35 sixty minute (give or take a few minutes) shows that fall in the category of "Fringe" - which means anything from edgy content to unusual theatrical techniques to high-end fare from the Fringe circuit.

You buy a pass and then hit the streets of OTR and try to see as many shows as you can, revising your schedule every day because someone tells you that something not on your list is now on your "must see" list.

The True Body Project has done a show the last three years. We opted out of the process this year to give our ideas a break. But we had the good fortune of helping Pones, Inc. out with a True Body workshop to kick-start their "Body Speaks" compositional process. So make sure to check out their MOVEMENT show. Also try to see the other "Body Speaks" shows in the same venue -- all the artists were inspired by the same group of evocative and enigmatic photographs (one is above.)

I am stoked to see Kevin Thornton's I Love You (You're F*&^$ed) and Denali and a few more. I also get to report on the FringeNext teen shows on behalf of City Beat.

So get your pass asap and get downtown starting tonight. I'll see you outside the Know Theatre where we can swap notes on shows and compare schedules.