How to be messy–AND orderly (and have fun doing it)

I’m not the most organized person in the world. If I want something, I have to go look for it. And sometimes I can’t find it. Until it wants to be found ; ) And I’m a triple Virgo! We’re supposed to be orderly, organized, tidy. Um. No.

There is one place I am orderly as well as messy: in art.

As an artist, I embrace structure. Which is funny, since you know I also embrace improvisation. It makes more sense than it might seem to. The messiness of improvisation thrives within the framework of structure. It took me a whil to learn this, and now I see and apply it in all the arts I practice.

As a writer, I freewrite to find out what I want to say. Then I organize my writing into an arc. Sometimes I know what I want to talk about, and sometimes I discover it. These newsletters are often written this way.

For my drawings, such as you see in the newsletter, I let my hand roam, drawing what it likes. Then I find the relationships between the elements, the narratives that arise between them. I highlight these as I develop the drawing, making meaning through selection and enhancement of the order I find beneath the disorder of my improvisational approach. It’s amazing what turns up!

As a dancer, my practice sessions are largely built around letting my body respond as it wishes to the music, interspersed with embodying elements I want to bring into my dance, from specific movements to overall ethos. When I make a dance, though, I collect musical impressions, develop them into a “narrative” of sorts (which sometimes more resembles a fever dream), and plan the floor patterns, imagery I want to express, and other elements. Then I dance that impressionistic sequence.

What I get is dances that have meaning and intensity baked into them, that are easy to remember, and that give me freedom in the moment, to go or stay, or take time to visit. Because I know what I want to express in each moment–so I am free to choose how I express it. I am free to be present in the moment.

I do this with my classes too. I leave lots of room for personal discovery. I don’t teach folks what to dance; I teach them how to find their own dance.

So it is with Make a Dance in Five Days (MD5)

Each day there is a prompt, something to explore, and then to add to the developing dance. My messy side wants the freedom to explore. My structured side uses a spreadsheet. I know. It’s funny to me, too.

Messiness, exploration, and freedom are vital to making art!

Creativity is not a tame lion. It’s our wildness. It’s improvident. It wants to be expressed even if it is silly, frivolous. Who are we to draw all over that cave wall? Thank the muse they did!

How many venues to we, as adults, have to be expressive, silly, self-engaged, doing things for the joy of it? Life gets so complicated. Survival trumps everything. So it’s important to step back from the daily grind and do something for joy. For love. For fun.

Maybe we don’t care to perform–we can still make dances! Making dances gives us a window into our music and ourselves, a way to discover who we are and what we bring to the table. So what if we dance in our bedrooms and kitchens? Culturally, most folks dance at home with family and friends. But they still love to dance, and to dance well. So can we.

Structured improvisation allows us to play and look good doing it ; ). Art nourishes and heals us from the woes of the world. In art, we can have it all–structure provides a framework for our joy and passion. Joy and passion provide a framework for our best lives, our true selves.

Want to try it?

Make a Dance in Five Days starts next week.

Join a well-designed class with like-minded folks

Make a dance in five days

A daily prompt with video expansion and examples. A private Teachable group for QnA, cheerleading, and camaraderie.

BONUS! I will be on Zoom for an hour each day from 3-4 PM EST. All participants are welcome to drop in, ask questions, work on their dance for an hour, or to work along with the recording for an hour.

Social dancers welcome! (why should performers have all the fun?) Make a dance for your own pleasure!

Make a Dance in Five Days runs Thursday Oct 28 to Tuesday, Nov 2 (we’ll skip Halloween, Oct 31).
Optional Video recital, Wednesday, Nov 3.

Sliding scale pricing because the world is wack.

What makes this class special?
It’s a time-tested, systematic approach to dance composition that you can use over and over again.


Check it out here:

In other news

I’m honored to be part of the

MENAHT Dancers Collective Panel Discussion!

Come converse with dancers of the culture!

Saturday, Oct 23 at 12pm Pacific time / 3pm Eastern.

Live on the MENAHT Dancer Collective Facebook page

AND You’re invited to a party!

The BellyDance Bundle sale is now on through October 27 (YES, there is a payment plan!).

To celebrate, we are having a FREE Live Party ALL DAY LONG!

From 9:45 am to 9:45 pm est, there are classes, dancing, and general mayhem. There’s a full schedule listed on the page. I’ll be on from 12:10 – 12:30 doing some unusual movement stuff–invite your friends, come say hi, and hang out!

The BellyDance Bundle Live Party ALL DAY LONG!

Come dance!

With all my love,

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *