It was in March, 8 years ago, that I started some movement projects and formed a dance company. That was 8…years…ago! Wow!
It’s been a crazy ride. I’ve changed the name 2x, some years I haven’t even presented work, and I’m still figuring it out. There have been (and still are) so many times I felt like a failure…But my success doesn’t look like your success. And yours shouldn’t look like mine. Because that would be boring.
There is room for all types of art and artists, in all shapes and sizes and durations. Art reflects life, and I love variety. So, I’m gonna take a moment to celebrate!
I’ve met and brought artists together from around the world, self-produced events to showcase new work, been asked to present my own choreography in a solo show, and helped foster creative aging projects. But it takes a village and I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most inspiring dancers, artists, and arts admin (I really love you all so much). And now I’m solo traveling and sharing dance in some pretty dope locations. 8 years strong. So here’s to 8 more.
Please enjoy this little montage I created of some site-specific improvs over the last year or so:
Earlier this week I found myself on a mini adventure to Castel Gandolfo, a cute little lakeside town about one hour south of Rome. It’s a perfect day trip but not for the faint of heart (unless you have a car). I’m just sayin’ the hills were a WORKOUT. But it was worth it because the town was adorable, the people were sweet, and the food was GOOD (I mean, hi, we’re talking about Italy so not like it’ll be bad….but still).
The Place to Eat:
Al Chiaro di Luna (Via Spiaggia del Lago, 2). It’s on the Lake. Get the fish! Gnocchi was good too 🙂
But What Moved Me? …The path we took to the lake:
How to Get There:
We took the train from Roma Termini and it was only 40 minutes. The train stop is in the middle of the hill, so you can either choose to walk up to the main town or down to the lake. We did both (walked up first and walked down after….and then back up to the train).
And, here’s a secret view of the lake from the main town:
A quick trip last week took me to Florence, Italy! I was only there for one full day but I got to take this very short video in front of the Statue of David at the Galleria dell’Accademia. What a sight! That statue is truly a masterpiece by Michelangelo and definitely worth the hype. The piece is 17 feet tall. I am in awe of sculptures. What a dance between the marble and the artist. There is truly movement in everything.
I’ll likely be back to Florence in May and I’ll make sure to take more (and longer) videos. So, stay tuned for that! In the meantime, here are some more photos of the trip… From basking in the masterpieces (ha!) at the Galleria dell’Accademia to street views of Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, and food (of course!).
I love the feeling of FEELING a moment.
Luckily, it happens to me a lot as I travel! I see many beautiful spaces and even better, hidden locations that have stories waiting to be told. Manmade or nature made, every place has a flow and a story. Sometimes when you look it takes your breath away – and you want to stay in that moment forever.
The nook I found in the small town of Viterbo, Italy is like that. The sun was setting, and time stood still for a moment. When I looked down at it, I thought it was very romantic in its solitude. It’s a sweet little getaway in the center of town. And I was right – it is a romantic spot! Because what you can’t see in the video are the various teenage couples in hidden groves stealing kisses from one another.
I was kind of embarrassed to start moving in front of such an intimate audience, so I’m more restricted than I want to be in this video. I love it anyway because it’s all part of my movement journey and #RahDanceTravels. We’re all a work in progress, amiright?
The extra special bit about this vignette is the music. Last week I had a wonderful dinner with an older Italian couple, Silvano and Lucia. It took me about two minutes to basically fall in love with them. Both around 80 years old, Silvano played his harmonica for an hour while Lucia cooked up an incredible Italian Sunday dinner like it was the Last Supper. It was pure joy. What you hear in the video is a live-recording of Silvano playing.
And keep movin’,
Jen Roit: Choreographer
San Jose, CA
What Moves You?
“Emotions and stories.”
Proud of her West Coast origins, Jen Roit received a BFA at NYU Tisch, working with Karole Armitage, Bill Young, and Dwight Rhoden. She continued a diverse career with Jennifer Archibald, Nathan Trice, Daniel Holt, Mark Dendy, Randy James, Transcendance Group, and the Park Avenue Armory. She received mentorship from Camille Brown and Jennifer Edwards through the Breaking Glass Project and Stephen Petronio through NYU’s Alumni Choreographic Workshop. With her company, Armada Dance, she has produced work for BalaSole Dance Company, MaD Circle Dance, Moving Beauty Series, Amalgamate Artist Series, Equilibrium Danceworks, WAXworks, and has been presented at HATCH, Spoke the Hub, RAW Artists, Dixon place, The Actor’s Fund, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Triskelion, and Ticino in Danza (Switzerland). She currently serves on the Artist Committee for NACHMO, is editor of the Dance Magazine College Guide, manages projects at TERP Corp, and dances for Dances for Solidarity. She has choreographed for short films and music videos, including “You and I and You” presented at the Outlet Dance Project’s International Film Festival, Dance Film Day in Portland, OR, and for Triskelion’s Dance Film Festival. Founder of the Broke Dancer, a weekly newsletter for inexpensive dance and fitness classes around NYC.
For more: http://www.jenroit.com
Photo Credits: Stephen Delas Heras; Massimiliano Rossetto; Oje Ihonvbere; Eric Bandiero/BalaSole Dance Co.; Jen Jones Photography
What Moves You?
“My name is Olga. I am an artist immigrating from Poland. I fell in love with New York City when I was 19 years old. I then quit law school in Poland and turned my life around to come to the USA and study dance professionally. Only to find myself becoming an advocate of Mother Nature, through art, bringing awareness to the urgency of our planet’s call for healing of ourselves and the earth. Over the course of four years, I have been self-producing directing, choreographing and editing videos to bring awareness about the urgency of our planets call for healing, healing ourselves and the Earth. I have also been sharing my lifelong research in movement and it’s healing properties with people through classes and performances. I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible artists who contributed their time, talents and effort to bring these visions into life, and the only profit we ever cared for was awareness and healing. My mission is to ignite and help animate our human evolution in as many people as I can, And in order to keep doing that – I now need your help.”
‘As a dancer, ODNA’s strong lower body movement allows her to pursue a variety of complex gestures in a highly graceful way that supports the non-human personas she inhibits.
Her original personal vocabulary of very sudden and rapid “possessed” like movement in conjunction with soft, round and highly empathetic human expression really puts her in a position to take on the role of an ‘agent of nature’ – expressing both the beautiful and the violent of the amoral natural reality of our lives.’
Review of ODNA’s live performance -Scio Me nihil Scire by Idan Morim.
Check out Olga’s go fund me campaign to find out more about her Artist Visa process.
Photo Credits from top to bottom:
- From Spells for Awareness Project directed choreographed by me , shot by Bodgan Teslar Kwiatkowski
- (R)evolution film, directed choreographed edited by Odna, DP Blaine Dunkley @blaineframez
- Visual directed by Odna, DP @blaineframez
- (R)evolution film
Michael Bishop: Artistic Director/Dancer/Choreographer
What Moves You?
“I am moved by the very nature of humanity. Art is a reflection of its time and as an artist, I want to create work that speaks to the truth of my era while also challenging the perspectives of those involved in an effort to move towards a better tomorrow.”
Michael Bishop, a native of Mississippi, started dancing at age 21 at Belhaven University. While in school Michael toured internationally with T.A.L.K Dance Company, was the assistant choreographer for the 2010 International Ballet Competition closing ceremonies and won the Bezalel Award for outstanding artistic achievement for his senior class. Upon graduating from Belhaven with a BFA in dance and choreography and moved to New York and started training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Independent Study Program. Michael then toured with the International European Tour of West Side Story 2012-2014, performed with numerous companies nationally, set several premier works for the Forza Malizia Dance Company, taught and choreographed for the Sangre De Cristo summer intensive, began preparations for the development of his own dance company and is currently working with Bill T. Jones through Opera Philadelphia. Michael is an AGMA Union member and SAG-AFTRA Eligible as well as a model for Jianhui London.
For more: http://mjuanbishop1.wixsite.com/juanbishop1
Photo Credits: Darlena Chiem, IG: darlenaChiem
Nadia Naomi: Dancer
Third Culture Kid
What Moves You?
“Opportunities for healing and understanding.”
Nadia Naomi is a dancer, choreographer, model, photographer, poet & scholar. Born to New Jersey to an Afro-Guyanese mother & a Afro-Tanzanian and Indian father, Nadia Naomi grew up in Tanzania, Malawi, Trinidad, Switzerland & France. Both her art & scholarship draw on her life experiences as a Third Culture Kid as her research focus is on transnational racial identity and embodied knowledge. Nadia Naomi earned her B.A. in Africana Studies & Dance from Barnard College of Columbia University in the City of New York. Her artwork focuses on women’s empowerment, destigmatizing (dis)ability & mental illness, as well as, highlighting the cultural diversity within the African diaspora.
For more on instragram: nadianaomi.inc
Modeled by Nadia Naomi Mbonde (me)
Sari from Asha Ahuja Mbonde (my grandmother)
Shot by Bobo Matjila
Make up by Annya Serkovic
Sari tied by Neja Nataraj
Note: In the image where Nadia is holding a picture frame, the picture is of her grandmother as a little girl in Zanzibar, Tanzania doing a fairy dance.
Rebecca Jones: Dancer
What Moves You?
“I dance to express myself in ways I could never put into words. ”
About Rebecca Jones:
“My name is Rebecca Jones, I am from England and have been dancing since the age of 3. I am currently in my third year of dancing with Atlantic City Ballet. I began dancing with Wendy Allsopp in Winchester and was also a senior associate at the Royal Ballet School. Throughout my training, I danced with London Children’s Ballet on the West End, National Youth Ballet, Hampshire Youth Dance Company and the role of Clara in English Youth Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’. In addition, I also performed with youth musical theatre companies including playing the role of Little Cosette in Centrestage productions youth theatre’s ‘Les Miserables’. I began my full-time training at age 16 at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, where I studied for 3 years on the dance course specializing in Classical Ballet. I trained in ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance as well as taking singing lessons. After graduating from Tring I completed a year as a trainee with Atlantic City Ballet where I was promoted to apprentice and continue to dance now.”