How to Fill Your Dance with Freedom
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How to Fill Your Dance with Freedom

One of the things I love is structure–which is hilarious, since I am the Queen of Chaos (this mostly shows up in my everyday surroundings. Yes, I am a triple Virgo. Go figure). But I am pretty organized on the inside–and as an artist, composition, aka structure, brings freedom. This is why I am always…

How to Make an Entrance
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How to Make an Entrance

A while back I mentioned the complex Arabic orchestral music that used to really throw me for a loop. One of our more complex genres is our modern Entrance music. Back in the 5-part routine days, entrance music was fairly simple, upbeat, made to energize the guests and grab their attention. Any variation came from…

How to Learn Musicality (and why it is possible)
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How to Learn Musicality (and why it is possible)

It’s been 49 days since my mother’s passing. I was fortunate that I could visit her in the last few months, to have a funeral, that I had weekly prayers to say for her, and that several drawings came to me during these weeks that seemed to speak to her traversal through the bardo to…

Musicality: Expressing Nuance
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Musicality: Expressing Nuance

In 2010 I saw this improv jazz ensemble at Barbés, a tiny little club in Brooklyn. The musicians were an eclectic assortment rather than an established band. They played music with no structure, before each piece asking the audience for one word to get them going (like many comedy improv ensembles). There was no song. There…

How to Stay Grounded with Improvisation (and why we need to)
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How to Stay Grounded with Improvisation (and why we need to)

The world is not a pretty picture right now. Bullying and oppression are on the rise. Playing by the rules, following orders, this is not going to save us. So what will help us survive? Improvisation. It’s time to think on our feet, to be ready to change course at a moment’s notice. We need…

How to “Orient” in Oriental Dance (and why it boosts confidence)
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How to “Orient” in Oriental Dance (and why it boosts confidence)

When mammals enter a novel environment, they look around. They explore the space with their eyes. This is called Exploratory Orienting. It is all about curiosity, a relaxed, engaged process. Mammals do it many times in a day. There is also another kind of orienting. Defensive Orienting, which happens in response to a perceived threat,…