Monday, February 14, 2011

Advocacy call: NEA Funding Cuts

From Flora Maria Garcia at the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition:
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee revealed details of what some of the cuts will be in their proposed budget package and they include cutting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget to $155 million this year. That's a substantial cut from its currently funded level of $167.5 million.

The battle begins next week when the House Continuing Resolution appropriations package comes to the floor. Each and every one of your Representatives will be voting on possible amendments attempting to make even deeper cuts to the NEA's budget, beyond the $155 million level. It is quite possible members of the Republican Study Committee will offer amendments to fully eliminate the NEA during floor consideration.  Americans for the Arts need you to send a message to your Members to vote against any amendments to further cut the NEA.

Because of these threats in the House, Americans for the Arts are simultaneously working on the Senate strategy; where there may be a better chance to approve a higher funding level for the NEA and counter the cuts in the House version of this bill. 

By taking two minutes today to send a customizable message the E-Advocacy Center,  letters will be sent automatically on your behalf to both your Senators and your House Representative.  This will ensure that your voice will be heard by Members of Congress (especially freshmen members), who are now assessing their constituents' viewpoints on these budget cuts.

Click here to take action now: Click

Also be on the lookout for our alert on President Obama's official FY 2012 budget submission to Congress on Monday, February 14. While that budget is for a different fiscal year than the CR that we'll be dealing with next week, it will signal to the House and Senate the President's funding intentions for the very same agencies that Congress is considering cutting.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Memories of dance

So this link was on the DanceUK facebook a while back of Zenaida Yanowsky (principal with Royal Ballet) doing choreography by her dad, Anatole, when she was 18. I saw her do this solo at the 1994 International Ballet Competition in the "contemporary" category (she won gold). It was part of a duet actually, with her brother Yury (who won silver and is now with Boston Ballet). The amazing thing is that I remember it, 16 years later, despite having watched and learned so much other choreography during the IBC for 2 weeks straight. And really I remember specifically one movement, the opening of her arms at the end of the repeated phrase that begins the solo. That movement stuck in my memory because it was so simple, slow and measured, but beautiful and totally striking. I was a teenager (and generally hormones had me more impressed with Yury, haha) and also impressed with the pyrotechnics of ballet at that level ("did you see how many pirouettes?!") and I was shocked by the power of this one moment of one piece. It showed me how important stillness and focus could be. It makes me think about how much movement I've seen in my lifetime (just from an audience point of view even) and I ponder just what makes some of it stick in my memory. Probably it was exactly because it was in the midst of all the ballet pyrotechnics that it was striking in contrast. If I had seen this at any other time it might not have had an impact. Always funny how different each viewer's experience of a dance can be. And as a performer, you never know what is going to affect each audience member as they're experiencing the piece, but sometimes I think you do have a feel for when something resonates with you as you perform it, that that movement/moment has a higher probability of impacting the audience. But I could be wrong about this. Maybe a throw away movement you never paid much attention to could spark someone else's imagination.
Anyone else have performance experiences that particularly impressed them as an audience member?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Today's meeting

Thanks so much to everyone who came out despite the Super Bowl for the DanceATL meeting this afternoon! Especially thanks to our speakers, Emily Cook Harrison, RD, Dr. Frank Sinkoe, and Amanda Blackmon, PT, DPT, OCS, and our performer Blake Dalton of Crossover Movement Arts, and CORE for hosting. I was excited to have such a great turn out and interesting discussion. I took old fashioned notes (on some left over dance table flyers, go figure :) and will try to transcribe them or have my lovely new intern transcribe them (if she can read my chicken scratch) soon.
The C4 folks came and talked some about their programming as it relates to health, which I have some hand outs about if anyone's interested. (I will get them from them electronically and can email if you let me know you want them.) And they offered to help create a podcast of the meetings in the future that we can upload--sound good? Then we wouldn't need my old fashioned notes!
And here is the link for the Centre for Dance Nutrition because there's information on the site that Emily updates about topics like "energy balance" and "supplements for dancers?" My take away on the whole topic of health is that of course, it's wholistic: what you eat/drink makes a huge difference on overall health (drink water!) and that cardio and core strength "cross-training" is a good thing for dancers. We will work on compiling a list of health professionals who focus on and have an interest in working with dancers, so please let us know if you know of a great person in any related field (doctors and physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors etc.) who would like to be on our list. We might put the info on the eventual website, especially if they have their own websites for us to link to like Emily, or we can keep it on hand so people can contact us about it. So we won't be recreating Harkness in Atlanta any time soon, but hopefully we can make the community aware of the resources that are available to dancers.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Injuries and dancing

I've been lucky (knock on wood) in my life as a dancer that I haven't done more than sprained my ankle a couple times.  Small things like floor burn and bruises are just signs that you've been really dancing (and way back when in the pointe shoe days, blisters etc. were inevitable of course. Nowadays, I like dancing barefoot. ;) Then there are some pretty crazy stories of dancers who've been injured, and recovered from injury: torn tendons, dislocated shoulders, broken feet/ankles, and chronic things like tendonitis, etc. Here's a page from Harkness Center about "common dance injuries." I once was in class with a man who had lost a leg and was back dancing. The determination and patience and sheer love of dancing that keeps people moving through the pain and frustration of recovering/dealing with injury is impressive, "human strength is amazing" kinda stuff. And it's always funny the sort of blaise attitude "oh yeah, I can't really hurt that foot, I've broken it already a couple times so I can't feel much on it anyway."

So this Sunday, Feb. 6, as I've said, we're talking about injuries, and preventing them, at the DanceATL meeting. That and nutrition and other related dancer health issues. It's an earlier meeting than usual (3:30-5:30 pm) so you can still make it in time to watch and hope no one injures themselves playing football (sheer luck that the timing worked out on this. I'm so not a football fan I didn't even remember it was the Super Bowl till my hubby reminded me!) So I hope to see you there!

And because this meeting has been very last minute, even as these things have gone the last year, I'm hoping to solidify the next meeting sooner. My thought is that since it's in April 3, just before the semester ends, we should focus on folks who are graduating from the dance programs around town (now that we have 5, woohoo!) Are they planning on staying in the Atlanta area? Will they be dancing? I'm hoping to find some folks to speak who have done just that, stayed around and danced. Any thoughts on good folks to invite? I have a few ideas, but would love any suggestions too. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some articles

Recent reviews in Dance Informa Magazine online: Project 7's "Wall to Wall" by Deborah Searle and Full Radius Dance's "Walking on My Grave" by Emily Yewell Volin.
A look at the line-up for this year's Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, in from Cynthia Perry, and previews of the upcoming gloATL performance "This is a World" also from ArtsCriticATL and Cynthia Perry, and from Andrew Alexander at Creative Loafing.

Invitation from KSU

The Kennesaw State University Program in Dance would like to invite the Atlanta dance community to share in our growth and success as we open the first phase of our new dance facility at Chastain Pointe. Please join us for an Open House on Friday, 2/11 from 4-6 p.m. To attend, please RSVP by 2/7 by calling 770-499-3214 or e-mail

From I-75, take Exit 271 (Chastain Road)
Head west on Chastain Road (Left off the exit ramp)
At the fourth traffic signal, turn right on Big Shanty Rd.
Take an immediate left into Chastain Pointe
The Dace Facility is located in suite 306

Feb. 6 Meeting

Details on the meeting this weekend (finally!)
DanceATL's Bi-Monthly Meeting

Sunday, February 6
3:30-5:30 p.m.
CORE Studios
Discussion Topic: "Dancer Health"

A fantastic panel of health experts who focus on a variety of issues facing dancers: Emily Cook Harrison, RD, discussing nutrition and body image, Dr. Frank Sinkoe, podiatrist and Amanda Blackmon, PT, DPT, OCS, discussing injury prevention and recovery. We haven't gotten the kind of funding that makes something like DanceUK's Healthier Dancer Programme possible, but we can at least discuss the resources that are available and if there are ways to promote dancer health as a community.

Hope you can make it and please tell your friends!