No More Mediocre: 5 steps to Heretics & Movements

 

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Greetings WordPress after a long absence! Apologies again but with good reason. My last post referenced a new job/experiment in Arts Management. Let’s just say, what a wonderful experience but blogging wasn’t the only thing I lost while on the job. Sleep, healthy eating, exercise, relationships, inspiration and a few other things went by the wayside. And for what? Not for anyone’s pay and not for anyone’s glory, that’s for sure. This is how our world runs, too much for too little, and it is NO WAY TO LIVE. Are you with me? Read to the bottom…

Non-profit management is no joke. Not glamorous, thankful nor fulfilling. It feels like a lost battle. As much as I LOVE the arts, I can’t do it. I just can’t. Not like that. Without inspiring leaders, relevant product, healthy upward mobility for artists, where is it going? So god bless the developers and managers out there. We desperately need you. I will keep supporting the arts in new ways. But it is TOO hard to make the changes necessary within the old systems. Time for new ones. Anyone else? 

Maybe I’m a Leader after all, as opposed to just a Manager. “Leadership is about creating change you believe in,” Seth Gordon says in his book Tribes, “Heretics are the new leaders, the ones who challenge the status quo, the ones who create movements.” I believe in movement, I believe in health, I believe in helping people be the best they can be. Every time we do that, we’re improving the world. That’s what I felt I was doing when I was on stage as a dancer. And I feel I can do that through moving others.

So, after producing three full length productions alongside my husband for the dance company, we decided enough is enough. Studying in college, pilates, barre and still performing alongside the management job, something had to give. It wasn’t going to be my health, marriage or passion. Certainly not my independence. So what then? The job and the stage had to go. Risky… yes. Smart…I hope so.

Turning attention full time to fitness instructor training, I was able to pass full certification as a Stott Pilates and Total Barre instructor (amongst other things) in the top 96%. I geeked out and gained other specialties (like Women’s Health) plus my husband became a Barre Specialist (he’s in even better shape than while dancing). Et Voila: We’re in love. With changing lives.

I mean if you have the choice for a healthier and happier life, take the leap. And if you don’t agree with the way things are done, do them differently. In a leap of faith, we have started our own business: Fit-Arts. And how are we doing it differently? We’re starting in our apartment. We’re supportive and flexible. We inspire. In a beautiful dedicated space on the Upper West Side, we’re giving individualized exercise based on an artistic aesthetic. Bringing the arts viscerally into people’s lives by giving them the joy of movement and breath.

So here’s to creating movements. “Life’s too short to be mediocre. Defending mediocrity is exhausting. Destroy the status quo and thrive,” Seth Gordon from Tribes again. (I highly recommend this book for anyone who rejects mediocre on principle and knows there is more to life.)

Do you get enough sleep? Do you feel good about yourself, moving your body? Do you have the quality time with family and friends that makes life worth living? Are you inspired by the presence of anything more than ordinary in your life? My guess is no. Because most of my clients say no. Well there is more. Let’s change that. 

SO WHO IS WITH ME?? I want you to do 5 simple things. Right now. 

  1. Hit snooze and take Friday off.
  2. No refined sugar for 30 days (we’re on Day 1, so come for the ride on Instagram)
  3. Work out more than you thought you could (feel free to comment here for tips).
  4. See a live performance or artsy movie you would never normally seek out (comment for recommendations).
  5. Follow and share us on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and our WEBSITE.  We’re not sure exactly where this movement is going, so we want to HEAR YOUR progress, fitness, wellness, life changing ideas. Tag @fitartslife and #wermore in comments.

In any of these ways we will say no to mediocre and live the Fit-Arts Life…Test the limits of your capacity and you will be surprised at just what you can do. Why not now? What are you waiting for? And you won’t believe how productive you become. Seriously.

 

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The Fantastic Fight

What is the toughest part of being a dancer? I was struck by this answer from Evgenia Obraztsova of the Bolshoi Ballet:

“Denying yourself things and trying to achieve your goals no matter what. Ballet is not just hard work, it’s unusually hard work, and a lot of talented ballerinas fail because they can’t face the hardship that comes their way. Sometimes everything goes against you, and you still have to keep fighting.”

Isn’t that true of life? And what do you have to keep fighting for? That’s one of the many gifts of the arts…
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here is Evgenia in a pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet. There are hundreds of versions of this ballet, and somehow I never get tired of watching them. Prokofiev’s music says it all.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Mother Teresa

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Energy: Lightly Visualized

Happy New Year!! Check out this sensational video by the Japanese group “Enra”:

“Being imprisoned within us, this sweetness and harmony struggle to get out and can only issue forth as beautiful patterns of movement…”
Domenico da Piacenza, one of the most influential Renaissance dancing masters, wrote this exquisite phrase in his treatise “On the Art of Dancing and Conducting Dances” in 1490. I am not generally a fan of multi-media dance projects, as they are often overly complicated, ill-timed, and leave the viewer asking, where was the dance? However, this one is a stunning visualization of Domenico’s words. It is the first time I have seen a visual representation of what a dancer feels when they are dancing: the center and flood of energy that a dancer manipulates through movement, subsequently sharing with other performers and the audience….what a beautiful thing to behold.
Enjoy!

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Stars And Stripes: Valsing For Our Veterans

Freedom at It’s Best….
Damian Woetzel and Margaret Tracy in George Balanchine’s “Starts and Stripes”
Composer: John Philip Sousa
Premiere: 1958

One of my favorite ballets, in honor of our Veteran’s. And although many of my generation have never had cause to consider the nature of their freedom, we can honor the sacrifice of those who came before by at no time taking liberty for granted and by finding freedom in the deeper expression of ourselves…

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Aristotle

“How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Nelson Mandela

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Thoughts From The Barre: Grace

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Grey skies, a faint smell of coffee and sound of rain: project “back into the pointe shoes” is under way this morning…

“In life as in dance: grace glides on blistered feet.”
Alice Abrams

Intention must be there, but grace is effortless. It is waiting, why not let some in…

Vast September Horizon

Vast September Horizon

HORIZON
a : the apparent junction of earth and sky
b : the great circle on the celestial sphere formed by the intersection of the celestial sphere with a plane tangent to the earth’s surface at an observer’s position
c : range of perception or experience
d : something that might be attained

“We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore. ”
William Faulkner

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“New Beginnings”: Profound Images > Words

ART AT IT’S BEST:
“New York City Ballet presents NEW BEGINNINGS on September 12, 2013. Filmed at sunrise on the 57th floor of 4WTC in lower Manhattan, this short film captures an extraordinary and moving performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a tribute to the future of the city that New York City Ballet calls home.”

MUSIC
Spiegel Im Spiegel by Arvo Part
with kind permission of Universal Edition AG Vienna
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.

CHOREOGRAPHY
After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon

DANCERS
Maria Kowroski
Ask la Cour

VIDEO
Directed by Davi Russo
Edited by Tim Zeigler
Produced by Radical Media
Executive Produced by Gregg Carlesimo
Executive Produced by Maya Brewster
Produced by Logan Luchsinger

Developed in collaboration with DDB New York
© 2013 New York City Ballet, Inc.

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