Kapa Haka beautifully encompasses prominent features of Maori community, including culture, heritage, traditional, and society. It is both an artistic celebration of identity and a powerful means of story telling. The richness of the Maori performing art transcends the strength and valor of the movement. Kapa Haka is an overflow of expression entirely rooted in a continuum of culture and history. Kapa Haka performers must be fluent and articulate in their language, musicality, and Maori worldview. In Kapa Haka, dancers learn to integrate their voices with movement. The various forms of song and chant are integral to the entire sequence of dance. Kapa Haka demonstrates passion, vibrancy, and robustness. Performers convey a sense of ownership and dedication to their cultural art form with every ounce of their physical being, their emotions, and their heart. Stories expressed through Kapa extend beyond the physical actions. The beauty of dance is that it enables performers to truly be present by kinesthetically engaging the connection between the mind and body, thus awakening the ability to see and feel with the heart. Kapa Haka is one of the most invigorating things I have learned about. As a performer, seeing Kapa Haka reminds me of the level of performance I ought to strive for. I fall more and more in love with Kapa Haka and what it is capable of every time I see it.
Saying goodbye is so uncomfortable. It’s like emotional indigestion or something. It’s this small, yet dense feeling. Almost like nothing should be the matter but there’s this odd weight in my chest a sudden lump in my throat. I really need to see my family again and I’ve been looking forward to spending time with them for several weeks now, but realizing it’s the the last class and/or weekly meeting ever of your time spent in a particular place can be so unexpectedly wistful. Things might only ever really be temporary in life, but I guess sometimes we never realize how comfortable and attached we get to things, places, people, and times. All I can do is remember to never take the people I have the opportunity to know and love for granted…
Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true [daughter]
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one
There is, indeed, such a thing as peace and strength that can only be found in Jesus. It’s certainly mysterious, and a challenge to logically comprehend, but I promise it’s real. It transcends mere emotion. In Jesus there is life, and that life is the light of all humankind. His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
It doesn’t even feel like I’m leaving. It hasn’t hit me. I’ve gotten used to my unorthodox rhythm of an extended winter break, my office job, and extra reading time. I cleaned out my closet recently, which will further enable me to pack light. But I don’t even have a good suitcase at the moment. I should seek out a durable one quite soon. Maybe some new socks, too. Besides feeling nervous about making friends and getting my student visa back on time (although a kind operator at the NZ Embassy reassured me over the phone), I don’t have any pictures in my mind or any way to fathom what I’m really getting myself into. I’m thrilled about the idea of starting on a new page and going to a place where no one knows anything about me. I’m equally thrilled to make international connections with modern dance peers and colleagues. I’m excited to experience a good dose of stimulation and inspiration. The closer my departure date gets, the more I’m intuitively convinced that spending a semester away is exactly what I need to be doing at this point in time. This good be a really good year. I hope to walk (or rather, fly) away with buckets of fond memories. Having had good experiences with endeared people in my life is possibly one of my favorite things about existence.
That would be me.
My favorite romantic comedy is 500 Days of Summer, where the protagonist runs home with a broken heart and never does end up with his “dream” girl. One of my favorite authors is Jane Austen, who writes about women who weren’t seen as ideal matches for societal and economic reasons. I like sad endings a little too much. They’re more satisfying because I see them as a much more accurate representation of reality.
Single Awareness Day frustrates the life out of me. It commercializes (read: cheapens), narrows, and belittles the definition of love. Plenty of people won’t agree with me, but whatevs. It’s hard to celebrate a day of romantic love when you’re struggling to fight away feelings of loneliness and inadequacy (fostered by not having a significant other like all the cool people out there). My bitter rant continues…
I’m so anti-Valentine’s Day because some of us in modern day America feel like the silly holiday’s underbelly. I feel less like the roses and more like the thorns. Ever notice how flower vendors cut the thorns off the stem so you don’t even have to be bothered by their existence?
I think of romantic love and I think of always being the girl who fell for her best friend but could never have him. I think of all the times I was told by a crush that I was like his sister. I think of always being conscious of the fact that I wasn’t like most (read: desirable) girls. I think of being awkward, unusual, and never the first choice. Never any choice, really. Always a supportive, trustworthy friend who was never seriously considered as anything more.
I also think of times where I fancied myself close to a gentleman of interest only to have it all taken away. Whoever said “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” is an idiot (I believe it was Mr. Tennyson). Both scenarios suck, but I would argue that the former is far more crippling than the latter. To experience such a loss is the worst pain that anyone could ever go through. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
I’m frustrated by this idea of perfect love superficially summed up between two people and a neat little box of chocolates. That doesn’t even scrape the surface. I see a whole world of love to celebrate, and at times it’s messy.
I experience love from genuine friendships by the gallons. My family has been showering me with selfless, sacrificial love for two decades and counting. I experienced love in a new way when my nephew and niece were born. If I ever have a child of my own, I sort of look forward to the day where I can feel fulfilled knowing that changing a diaper or picking him or her up from soccer practice is an act of love.
There is a whole world of love apart from exclusive romance between a gentleman and a lady. Romance doesn’t equal love. No one person, except Jesus, can possibly represent an entire vessel of perfect love.
I have a lifetime ahead of me to learn about this love and scores of people to love as I go. Every day is and will be for loving, failing at it, and getting better at it. I don’t want one overrated holiday to blind me from the ocean of love I have immediate access to.
You know that feeling you have when you’re reading an amazing book or watching your favorite movie and you just wish it were real? And look, by wish, I don’t mean that you just want it to be real. I mean that you want it so bad, you can almost taste it. You spend actual time thinking about what it would be like to live there. You want to open a door in your house and step into that world - you want to be those people. For some folks, it’s the romance and drama of a Victorian love story. For others, it’s the magic of Hogwarts or the gallantry and gravity of Middle Earth. Some of us would proudly admit that we have had far too many conversations in our lives where we ranked different super powers and actually day dreamed about having them.
If you’re one of those people who falls a little too far into the fiction you love, you’ve probably had someone in your life tell you that you are wasting your time or dreaming away your real life, but don’t listen to them. You know the truth. You know that there’s something in the Arthurian legends and all those Saturday morning cartoons that calls to a very deep place in your heart. There’s something that wakes up inside you every time you get carried away by a great story where some hero saves the day or some lonely heart finally gives in to Love. Somewhere deep inside your soul, you know that you were made to be a part of a Story like that. You recognize (and you’ve always known it’s true) that you are special and you have a destiny and a part to play.
For all of the dreamers out there, give your heart to Jesus and join in the True Myth. There is a Prince who is wooing the heart of the one He loves. There is a Hero who sacrificed everything to complete the ultimate rescue mission. There is a Journey worth giving your life to. There is a Fight worth dying for. There is a Quest with your name on it, and there is a King who lives forever and wants you to fight alongside Him. There’s a reason your soul wakes up when you turn the pages of your favorite tale… You know you belong there.
My favorite piece of tonight’s program was “Home” by Rennie Harris. Seeing the dancemaking of great choreographers is a useful way to inform my own artistic development (thoughtfully responding to a piece is actually quite an exercise). What I typically feel inspired and englightened by is how often I can clearly discern a choreographer’s life story based on the work they present.
The 12 minutes or so of dancing spoke of foundational elements of the choreographer’s identity. What struck me the most about this piece was the seamless, dynamic integration of a few key influences. “Home” was such an appropriate title-the story and structure clearly depicted a cultural background rooted in community and religion by way of a sultry, savory fusion of house and contemporary dance vocabulary.
Not to mention the reverberant and endless energy of each dancer. The footwork was clean but it had the right dose of grit. Their rhythm was spot on and the quality was grounded and earthy, yet authentically urban.
Dance is perhaps one of the most infectious and irresistible sensations to experience. When a person really dances, hardly anything else produces the same fleeting yet propulsive waves of embodied rapture.
Mr. Harris is a choreographer from North Philly who founded his company in 1992. His work excites me. I feel all the more delighted to know that he hails from the same community that I’ve been fortunate to be acquainted with over the past couple of years. I just love that Rennie Harris is from North Philly and that he reps North Philly.
When I was sitting in the audience, I kept thinking to myself, “This is an artist who has used his life’s story to create such rich, evocative work. What if his life’s story had been different? How would this beautiful story come to fruition otherwise?”
What if my own life’s story had been different? How else will the work I create and the subject matter I explore come to pass unless I draw from the perspective God has given and specifically shaped in me?
I can’t help but feel as though I had to live the life I lived in order to create what I will soon create.
That’s how/why I felt affirmed. I’m so excited to keep doing what I was made to do: Create. Dance.
I love the ballet. Dance is one of those art forms that really does make an audience member of any age feel like anything is possible. Maybe it’s the crisp musicality of the performers, every effortless pas de chat, and the delectably whimsical array of costume and character. Not to mention seasoned acting skills and full virtuosity of movement. It’s this euphoric whir of color and music that brings the delight of the imagination and all its creative possibilities to life. Christopher Wheeldon did an incredible job at spinning a vibrant tapestry of neoclassical ballet vocabulary to portray a beloved classic. Not to mention an impeccable collaboration with set designers, multimedia artist, the orchestra, and the rest of the production team. I fell down the rabbit hole along with the rest of the cast.
what is it about
in any sort
of creative act
an incredible ability
to feel human
and to feel
in harmony with