Monday, August 29, 2011

Gathering Storms and Other Stuff I've Been Up to This Crazy Summer

Last blog entry June 2nd.

If I were a starship captain, I'd be fired for dereliction of duty.

How do frequent bloggers do it? I find it so difficult just to get done what I need to get done... and then to find time to write about it when what I crave is a brain-break of Big Bang Theory and a bottle of beer. Usually I opt for the brain-break.

But, in a nutshell, here is what I've been up to these past 12-or-so weeks:


The first weekend of June, I took Tamalyn Dallal's teacher's training workshop and emcee'd the showcase for it (indeed, the last event I listed on my calendar).

Then, having graduated from the PIT's fifth and final improv level, I signed up for two new PIT electives:  Jen Nails' "Do-It-Yourself" Solo Show Workshop, and Alex Zalben's Level 1 Intro to Sketch Writing. Both of these had very nice showcases in early August which I completely failed to mention on my calendar here, but to which people showed up anyway.

But that is August, and I am still in June.

As it happened, I missed the second of both of these courses because I spent a glorious week in Santa Fe at Dunya's Dancemeditation (aka Summer Movement Monastery) retreat at the blissfully restful Synergia Ranch.

And I saw a couple of awesome snakes:

Snake Crossing!

I took a bunch of pictures with my Android which should be visible to the public here through my Facebook photo album.

I actually started a blog entry when I was there, describing the place, the people, blah blah blah, but I never finished it and it is still sitting unpublished in Draft mode along with a half-dozen pieces I did about the production of PURE Reflections in Japan last year.
And I took an awesome six-week Shakespeare Intensive with the Royal Shakespeare Company's indomitable Lisa Harrow.  (That's her standing in front of me ... regal and beautiful as ever.)

Lisa Harrow Shakespeare Intensive

We did sonnets, soliloquies and scenes. A triple-S threat.

I returned to NYC in late June to learn we had lost a warm friend and dear human being, Adam Hocherman:


I danced at Kamasutra Lounge with the Rising Sirens, and took and passed the SharQui instructor training workshop.

I joined Altagracia's Caribbean Roses for a gorgeous Flamenco-bellydance number at Lafayette Grill, and debuted two stunning feather boa fans that I inherited from the ravishing Hannah Nour.

Now all I need is to get my group fitness certification... Not so easy! I shelled out nearly $600 for the materials, but have I had time to study... nooooo!! And why? 

Two little words:  PURE Reflections.

(This incidentally, is the excellent promo video Lale's husband Kenji put together from his footage from the Japan show. It was created to compete for a $25,000 in the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest, but there were just not enough bottle caps for us... Maybe next month... but I digress...)

We had been asked to mount a production in Taiwan in September -- but we had not worked on the show at all since the Japan production in late November.

Now, bear in mind, when we do PURE Reflections, we are not simply bringing a show to a new venue; we are recreating the entire thing with a whole new set of dancers. So I was absolutely not going to let us present material to a group of women who had sacrificed a week of their time for this project without having it fresh in our bodies and minds.

Also, when we normally produce the show, it is with a cast of 25 or more, to give as many dancers as possible the opportunity to be a part of the production, as well as the soul-searching workshops and rehearsal process. But this time we decided to scale it down to only seven people, to see if the show even could accommodate a smaller space and tighter budget

But even with the smaller cast, scheduling was a bitch.

Key dancers like Kaeshi, Pacita and B were frequently travelling. We had one rehearsal with the entire cast in mid-July and did not have the full cast again until two days before the show.

But I've directed so many plays in similar circumstances, so I knew it could be done.

Two amazing PURE members, Liz and Catherine, stepped up and understudied for whomever was not at rehearsal.

And that brings us to...


I taught some dance at Greehouse and finger cymbals for Bellyqueen (interesting that I am the only Bellyqueen teacher who is not and will never be a Bellyqueen member... but I have barely enough time to keep up with the Sirens choreography, so maybe being a professional troupe member is not in the cards for me... Ah well...)

I took an improv intensive with the Groundlings' Gary Austin.

But mostly I focused on PURE Reflections.

And we did it!!

The show came together in so many surprising and beautiful ways. Marius Shanzer took some lovely photographs, an Amy and Kenji took footage -- so you'll see some of that when it's ready.

And then there was the Hurricane. Epic destruction not withstanding, I have to say I was kind of glad to have had the weekend off.

And now...  I need to prepare for September!

Bringing the show to Taiwan is going to be a whole 'nuther ball of crazy wax. And I can't wait!