February has officially begun, and, in honor of the fast-approaching Valentine’s Day holiday, we’re offering you a chance to win a fun prize package perfect for sharing with a sweetheart or anybody you love! The package includes a bottle of red wine, a box of homemade gourmet chocolate truffles, a bouquet of flowers and two tickets to our upcoming Saturday, February 18th performance of Truth Be Told at Greenbelt Arts Center. The tickets also include admission to our gala reception following the show complete with food, wine, dancing and a chance to bid on donated art and vintage items in a silent auction. For a chance to win this great prize package, all you have to do is join our e-mailing list! Just click HERE to go to our home page and use the mailing list form to enter to win. You’ll only be asked for your name and email address. We’ll never share your contact information with a third party, but we will let you know by email if you’re the lucky winner of our Valentine’s Day prize package. Enter to win by 11:59pm on Thursday, February 16th and you’ll be notified if you won the prize package on Friday, February 17th. Good luck! And, thanks for being our valentine!
Every December I make a month-by-month year-in-review update to tuck into the Christmas cards we send to all our friends and family this time of year. Today as I dropped a nice, big stack of holiday cards into the post office box, I thought it would be fun to start a new holiday tradition celebrating another year of working with alight. I hope you enjoy our first annual alight year-in-review photo gallery. Lots of people like to do retrospectives things like this during that first week of January, but I think the holiday season is all about taking time to reflect on where you’ve been and we’re you’re headed. So, this is where we’ve been this year. We hope you enjoy taking a glance back with us as we are already busy preparing for our first performance of the new year on January 21, 8pm and January 22, 4pm at Dance Place. See you soon?
SAVE THE DATE!
Event at the Dance RINK (1750 Union Avenue #D Baltimore, MD).
Doors open at 7:30pm and entertainment begins at 8:00pm.
Tickets are $25 (includes food & one drink ticket). Starting September 15, tickets will be available for purchase online at www.alightdancetheater.org
This summer we’ve been on-location a few times shooting footage for our current project, Truth Be Told. Through the guise of a live-action “reality” show, Truth Be Told is the story of 5 women with 5 secrets who are competing for one prize and the chance to keep their secret safe. We’ve been having a lot of fun with this wacky concept, and our latest adventure was filming on-location at the Jefferson Memorial last weekend.
First of all, it was hot! I mean, really hot, like there was a serious heat advisory from 10am to 10pm last Saturday. All of us met at the Jefferson Memorial at 8am. I was carrying some bulky camera equipment (courtesy of Greenbelt Access TV) as well as dragging an even heavier cooler loaded up with ice, water and lemonade for the scorcher ahead. The dancers arrived one-by-one looking fabulous, and dancer / video artist Dianamaria Adams (pictured above) came looking cool, comfy and ready to get to work. Our reality show inspired challenge was to give a faux sincere D.C. press conference style apology for the camera on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. (And, no, we didn’t get arrested; the police on-duty were really friendly and just asked us to be respectful of other visitors.)
Dancing on marble in the heels in crazy heat is no easy task, but Michelle, Monica, Valerie, Caitlin, Sarah and Wayles braved the conditions with style! Dianamaria Adams and I will be pouring through the footage and editing our three hours of shooting into one action-packed 5-7 minute dance sequence which will unfold live and on-screen during Truth Be Told. You’ll be able to see the rough cut of the sequence at our first annual gala preview concert on Saturday, October 15th at the Dance Rink in Baltimore.
This Saturday we’ll be filming on location in Greenbelt, Maryland near the Greenbelt Community Center where we rehearse every week. If you’re out and about in Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center this Saturday morning, you might just see us out in the sun again, looking camera ready and shooting the opening sequence of Truth Be Told.
I know it seems like a cliche, like some Martha Stewart marketing ploy, but there was a time when “spring cleaning” actually meant something. In the past, homes were heated by burning coal, wood or oil which made for some pretty dingy interiors by the end of a long, cold winter. By the time spring came along the whole house was ready for a good, thorough scrubbing. Of course, today our homes and our lives are so different that throwing open our windows at the first sight of spring actually creates the cleaning problem. At my house, that glorious fresh breeze blows in a thin dust of pollen and then sends my allergies into fury.
Thanks to my crazy allergies, I’ve lost my voice which has seriously disrupted my previously scheduled programming. Instead of teaching, I spent today at home knocking out piles of laundry and catching up on emails…and now finally blogging again for the first time in almost two months. This time last year I was writing five days a week and working two less jobs. I’ve been scattered in so many directions lately that being home today feels like the beginning of a mental spring cleaning for me.
While I’d rather be running about, being my usual “productive” aka chatty self, I am willing to admit, albeit reluctantly, that it is a relief to be forced to rest. Truth be told, I am not very good at resting. Part of my problem is that I really love what I do. Like anyone, I have off days when I’m tired and crabby and less grateful than I should be, but most days I can see so clearly just how fortunate I am to do the work I do.
Just this past weekend, alight worked with film student, Lauren Burke, to shoot a promotional video for our current project, Truth Be Told. It was supposed to rain all day, but it didn’t, and we had a great time. In contrast to their diva alter-egos above, the dancers of alight are a goofy, hard-working bunch, and our rehearsals are often the highlight of my week. It is hard to want to rest when there’s so much good work to be done, and most of the time I enjoy it so much.
And yet, sitting here writing, listening to birds chirping in the distance and taking the time to savor the weekend’s accomplishments, I have to admit that it feels good to stop doing. Like a dusty, cluttered house, my life has been in need of some spring cleaning for weeks. I love what I do, but, honestly, I’ve been a bit run-down and uninspired lately which is not so great for the creative process. Walking into rehearsal tomorrow night, I may still not be able to speak over a whisper, but I am excited to return to the studio with a little more space in my brain for the work I love so much.
Earlier this week, a smart, beautiful young dancer asked me a very familiar question, “How can I do this?” She is working on a solo video project under my direction, and she is struggling with this business of vulnerability, a struggle I know very well. Standing at the top of a busy stairwell, she was clearly fighting back a well of tears as she explained that she hated all the movement material she had made. More to the point, she kept comparing her work and her body to those of her peers and always found herself at fault, not good enough, never sufficient.
It was like listening to echos of myself from ten years ago…and, if I’m painfully honest, even just days ago.
As we move to a quieter place to talk, I tried to comfort and reassure her the best I could. I found myself saying things that were true but sounded hollow as they passed through my lips: “You are the woman you are and have the body you have partly because of choices you have made. You have to make your art right now based on the woman you have already chosen to be. Who you are right now is enough to do this.”
I really believe all of that to be true. This young lady has great ideas and a lovely movement quality; she has everything she needs. And yet, my belief matters little when stacked up against whatever she chooses to tell herself. The “answers” I was giving her felt lackluster. I’ve heard them before and rejected them myself. Sometimes no matter how much I want to believe that I’m sufficient, I just don’t feel that way. Sometimes I don’t feel brave, just broken.
Making art, growing up, being a woman. It is all such vulnerable business. Sitting across from this young woman, her tears flowing now, I decided just to be blunt with her. With over ten years more experience than her, I’m still struggling with the some of the same questions. I just couldn’t offer her definitive answers. All I could honestly say was, “Me too. I’ve faced this too and it hasn’t defeated me.”
As she walked away to face the rest of her day, I wasn’t sure if I had really helped her or not. Part of me felt…well, insufficient…but another part of me felt this odd sense of joy. Seeing the difference between what she has to offer and how she felt in that moment gave me a greater appreciation for how blessed we all are–if only we can see it. And, perhaps this is the most important business of art and life: reminding each other that even our brokenness can be blessing if connects us, instead of isolating us.