A confession, an admission, and a proclamation

It’s Spring Break at UIC, and I’m taking stock of a few things. Having a few precious hours to reflect on my life, this is what I’ve come up with:

Confession: I’ve broken every rule of blogging lately, and I’ve let this little hub of amusements wither away. As far as the Internet is concerned, this site is totally dead. Today I’d like to confess that it’s only going to get worse.

Admission: I’ve been accepted to the PhD program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (what?!?). So that means my really busy schedule just got a whole lot busier.

Proclamation: I’m resolving today to learn how to say no – to recognize my limits (because I DO actually have them).

Something’s got to give, and unfortunately, for now, that’s One Crafty Lady. Effective immediately, we’re on a hiatus. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with my life… I’ll still be micro-blogging on Tumblr, and you should catch me there. Maybe someday this blog and I will be together again, but let’s be honest: I don’t have time to make a recipe more complicated than instant rice, never mind blog about it.

So I’m asking you to not forget about me, but to make a shift to Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram (or heck, even Snap Chat). I want and need to stay connected to real people (or at least the virtual ones that I think are reading my blog).

OH, and if you want to follow the PhD adventure beginning this Fall, you can catch me at Art Intercepts too.

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Ballerina on Wheels!

1033952_27113143588649So remember last week when I said I’d make a big announcement?

And then, remember how I said I was working on meeting deadlines?

Oops.

Anyway, here’s what the big hubbub is all about:

This July, I’m riding my bicycle 200 miles in 2 days in the Ride for AIDS Chicago! I’ll be slipping back into those beloved padded shorts and houghing it up to Lake Geneva and back in 2 days, and serving a great cause in the mean time.

I admit that bike commuting and I haven’t been the best of friends lately.  And this I intend to change.  That plus a couple hard core spin classes a week.

Here’s the thing… I can take care of the peddling part, but I need your help, too.  As part of my committment I’ve pledged to raise $1000 for TPAN, the organization sponsoring The Ride.  This is where you come in.  Perhaps you or someone you know has been affected by HIV/AIDS, or perhaps you recognize the great need for increased advocacy efforts.  Or maybe you are encouraged by a group of individuals killing themselves on bicycles for a great cause.  Whatever your rationale, your contribution of any dollar amount will not go unnoticed.

If 180 people donate $5, I will surpass my goal.

Plus, I’ll throw in a postcard from Lake Geneva.

So if I’ve convinced you to give the cost of your daily latte to a great cause, just visit this here little link:

http://rideforaids.kintera.org/faf/donorreg/donorpledge.asp?ievent=1033952&supId=375704118

I look forward to keeping the lovely readers updated throughout the journey of training and riding in this experience of a lifetime!

What is work? and, the philosophy statement.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of “work” a lot lately.  Is work what you get paid to do, what you’re passionate about, or are you one of those lucky people who gets to have both?  I recently read this article on The Daily Beast that gives some thoughts on Labor Day and it’s origins.  Apparently it’s not just about white pants and hot dogs as summer draws to its end.

For me, Labor Day is pretty symbolic.  By that, I mean, it’s my ONLY holiday off.  Working for a public university I get a lot of time off for the holidays and a lot of time off in the summer, and in between are two brutal sixteen week stretches.

Yeah. Brutal.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about Labor Day a month after Labor Day, because I’m in the middle of that stretch right now.  Save two days for Thanksgiving, Labor Day and MLK Day are it for us.

But even more than this glorious opportunity to sleep past 5:30am on a week day, “Labor Day” has serious implications that we work too hard.  So for us Americans, here’s a day (A day) to drink beer and barbeque.

Thanks for that.

I’m not opposed to work, I guess I’m just opposed to being forced to do something I don’t want to do just to make a buck.  It’s not the work that I’m against, it’s the perpetual need to generate dollars at the expense of my time, my energy, and even, at times, my dignity.

What’s the difference between work, my work, and a job?

If you’re really lucky those three arrows all point to the same place.  I’ve thought about this from the perspective all three of the things that I am: an educator, a dancemaker, and a writer, only one of which really generates any significant income for me.  Finding the why of what I do, especially in the things I don’t get paid for, means figuring out what my Work (capital W) really is.  The rest is just a time suck that helps me pay my rent.

Or not.

I’m fortunate of late in that I’ve been able to peace-meal together jobs (meaning, the things I get paid for) that are actually part of the bigger scope of “my Work”.  All of this is wrapped up in a tidy little statement that I’ve been working on for my teaching portfolio (ignore the dust, it’s under major construction).

This philosphy statement was the hardest four paragraphs that have ever emerged from this keyboard, but nonetheless it’s essential in figuring out how all the puzzle pieces of my life, jobs, skill-set, and passions fit together.  I think everyone should do it, even if you aren’t a teacher or and artist or particularly need a philosophy.

And, without further ado, here’s mine:

As an educator with professional experience in both the arts and sciences, I am convinced of the need for more integration of evidence-based practices in the arts, and more time-tested, somatic, experiential learning in academia.  To that end, I seek out opportunities to collaborate with peers and mentors to develop curricula that is effective and efficient.

I am passionate about the health of the dancer, and the majority of my work lends itself to understanding and articulating the body as it relates to dance.  Too often, the great work that is done in the scientific realm on dancers does not trickle down to its practitioners.

I believe it is my mission to use my experiences in dance and kinesiology to form an alliance between the two fields, with the ultimate goal of creating understanding and awareness around dance education and dancer health.  I believe that principles of educational psychology and learning are ubiquitous and should be implemented in dance classrooms as well as academic classrooms.  I believe that dance is a natural human tendancy, a healing art, and a means of discourse akin to any language.

Ultimately, my talent lies in my words, and in my ability to communicate, moreso than my ability to tendu.  Therefore, I resolve to be the messenger between these two worlds and further bridge the gap between experience and evidence.

How do we feel about this? Do you have suggestions that could make it better?

My favorite-est posts of all time

This post is short and sweet. I’d like to take a moment and share with you a mini-memoir of a few of my posts. Inspired by one of Dance Advantage’s upcoming circle time, I started reflecting on what I think is my best “stuff”.

Thoughts on stillness at artintercepts.orgMaybe these aren’t the best written, the most impactful, or even the most particularly useful to the greater body of knowledge, but these are the five that stick out to me.

1. On the blog at Art Intecepts I recently wrote a post about stillness, or lack thereof, and compared to the greater context of my life. It was a healthy reminder to me to slow the heck down, but not too much. Read about that here.

2. Shortly after returning from San Francisco this summer and speaking at the Dance/USA conference, I wrote on Dance Advantage about some conference take-aways, and the crtical need for a more effective conversation to take place in order to effect change in the dance community. Read about that here.

3. If you didn’t know I was gay, I guess you do now. Here’s my story, as told by me, on The L Stop.

4. I love to travel, if only to have a reason to write. One of my favorite travel posts came not from the coast of Italy, but from the middle of Wyoming. Read about the middle of Wyoming here.

5. Although first published on 4dancers.org, I love this post because, if for no other reason, it was my first appearance on The Huffington Post. If I had known all it was going to take was a jab at a famous dance critic and talking about naked dancing, I would have done so a lot sooner. You can read that one here.

Ok, so those are mine… what are your favorite posts?

Oh, stop it… you flatter me!

What I meant was, give me YOUR best stuff. For all the other bloggers out there, what is a favorite post you’ve written?

When is it okay to call yourself a writer?

First of all, LOOK!  One Crafty Lady went and got herself a facelift… er… a new free theme (!).  What do you think of my new digs?

I thought I’d celebrate the recent crossing of 100 posts on the blog (this one here is 110) by dressing her up in fancy new clothes and offering my reflections on the journey to becoming the writer I am today.

Pondering a post. Just another day in the office…

I first started writing online in 2009 while I was finishing up my masters degree in Kinesiology.  I was creating static content for Art Intercepts, but began dabbling in blogging to express more opinion-based topics that I wanted to discuss with other dancers.  I kept a little private blog between myself and my friend Erin as we traversed life, and One Crafty Lady was born upon her moving to Africa to work for the Peace Corps.

Even though I’ve been writing ever since, I didn’t really start calling myself “a writer” until this summer.  I guess I didn’t feel like I could because writing has generally been a hobby, an extra-curricular, something I do for fun.  People that play volleyball in their spare time can’t exactly call themselves “volleyball players” on their Linked-In profiles, right?

Over the past three years I’ve gone through four blogs (not including the two I have now), a couple hundred posts, and about 600 tags.  I’ve also created 3 columns on other sites (with a fourth pending), 2 magazine articles, and a gaggle of guest posts.  It feels really weird getting pitches from other writers and publications; it feels even weirder when you find out you’ve been added to someone’s press list.

You mean, people care enough about what I have to say to send me their press releases?  How cool is that?!?  I’ve either created a reputation of “crazy and incapable of saying no”, or I am now doing professionally what I like to do personally.

Isn’t that kind of everyone’s dream?  

Writing has become an important aspect of my voice in the dance community, my professional life at UIC (each of my 300 students is required to keep a fitness “blog” on our internal class site), and my personal life.  What started out as a hobby is now a huge part of who I am and what I do, regardless of whether or not I get paid.  Because writing permeates all those other aspects of my life, I guess I kind of AM getting paid – essentially.

I’m embarking on two rather big projects: one with friends and collaborators in the blogging community and one on my own.  Starting these (yet to be announced) projects, in conjunction with presenting at Dance/USA with a panel of dance bloggers this summer sealed the deal.

I’m a writer.

When is it okay to give yourself the title of writer?  When you have the confidence to own it.

…and I do.

A quick moment for gloating

When I first wake up in the morning, I usually take a big stretch, scratch my belly, and check my feeds.  I browse Facebook and Twitter and update my Words With Friends.  Occasionally I glance at the news.  Then I eventually roll out of bed and get my day going.

So this morning was extra special when I pulled up the Huffington Post’s Arts and Culture page and saw this:

That’s me, the headliner, dishing about naked dancing.  ON THE HUFFINGTON POST.

Maybe you didn’t know that this isn’t my only blog… I also write about dance on my own site, as well as here and here. And did you happen to catch the guest spot I wrote here?!?  And it just so happened that my recent post on 4dancers.org was pitched to HuffPo and they liked it.

Anyway…

Had I known all it would take was talking about modern dance in the buff to get in at Huffington Post, I would have done it a lot sooner.

In any case, I’m simply tickled to be part of the the team of esteemed bloggers at HuffPo, and couldn’t resist taking a minute to brag.