Saturday, 16 November 2013

Take your own measure

My measure wants to get bigger, it wants more movement, more challenge; it wants to get out of its comfort zone.
First, we start with a second class a week, putting myself out there in front of people I don't know, sharing my authentic movement with them.
On Tuesday I have a new class, let's get a new measure then.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Late walk in the bluebell woods

Today, I finally went to the bluebell woods. I didn't need to see them to know they were there. Their scent like sprinkled sugar on warm bread, the taste of crushed green and pollen, damp earth underfoot and the buzzing of tiny insects...
Smell, touch,hearing, taste... and a feast for the sight. I do love bluebells.
Walking down the bluebell path

Tree, and bluebells, and dappled light

Close up

Blue and green should always be seen

Bark + bare feet
Time to go home

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

There is beauty...

... in the slightly menacing heart of a flower, brimful of pollen and darkness.

... in the way stamens and pistil fuse together, exposed and laden with stickiness.

... in delicate colours, pink and grey blue made strong by the cluster. Edible, juicy, like a crown.
Developing tree pollen allergy days before going to Kew Gardens can't be called good timing. I still had an incredibly beautiful day, surrounded by flowering trees, and colours green, purple, yellow, blue, pink, white. Birdsong.
There was a flowering plum tree under which laying down for a rest was a gift.
Much beauty and much joy, and my body behaved remarkably well.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The good teachers

Almost 20 years ago I had a literature teacher that was in love with words. So obvious was her love for sentences, metaphors, alliterations, ellipses... that she managed to passed it on to us, to so many teenagers, so many school years.

This weekend many of those students got together and delivered a surprise poetic recital in her honour with music, theatre, and, of course, poetry.
I couldn't be there (physically) but I thought up a way of sending myself over to my small village in Spain, with my other fellow students of a few years ago. 
So I went out to the nearest field, donned my best Isadora Duncan dress and picked up one of my favourite poetry books (that I discovered thanks to Mercedes, my teacher), and got my picture taken, which was shown at the end of a collage/ presentation at the end of the recital.

The good teachers give you medicine, tools, magic wands. They are human and fallible, but their inspiration is divine.
When I need some cheering up, I put on my best pirate accent and I recite to myself some stanzas from the Canción del pirata.

“Sail on, my swift one! nothing fear;
    Nor calm, nor storm, nor foeman's force,
Shall make thee yield in thy career
    Or turn thee from thy course.
Despite the English cruisers fleet
    We have full twenty prizes made;
And see their flags beneath my feet
    A hundred nations laid.
My treasure is my gallant bark,
    My only God is liberty;
My law is might, the wind my mark,
    My country is the sea.

Excerpt from the Canción of the Pirate, by José de Espronceda

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Wise bodies, wise words

Today I wanted to reconnect to that first principle of Nia, the very basis of all movement: the Joy of Movement. Yeah, like that, with big capital letters, why not.
I only chose movements that helped me plug in to that transmitter between my own personal joy and the Joy. Sounds like an obscure koan?
It's actually quite simple; there are some times when I'm truly listening and sensing, when my own personal enjoyment becomes something deeper and I can just catch a glimpse of my own joy being part of a bigger Joy.
Softly, quietly, it doesn't happen as a huge explosion of colours or sounds, or a big aha! moment. It's like running my hands along the gnarly trunk of an olive tree and sensing the sap underneath. I can't see it, but there it is, running under all that knotted bark, imbuing the tree with life.
And such is the Joy I connect to sometimes, not necessarily visible but always there for me, waiting, inexhaustible.

And then, the gift of some very wise words from a friend. Connect with the Joy not only when dancing, "imagine doing something that you really love all the time", she said. Yes, I can imagine that, I'll dance to that.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Home is where the sweaty people are

My blood family live in another country but I have another family here, my sweat family.
When we dance in a circle, every time we create community, when we all share the joy of our own authentic movement... I sense belonging, and it's so beautiful.
And it goes beyond the dance, their kindness always surprises me, and it's such a pleasure to share conversations, hugs, impressions. 
My sweet, sweat family.

Monday, 18 February 2013


Community in a circle
Delicious dancers, and some big flares...
Such a lovely space! So lucky

When are we doing it again?

Friday, 8 February 2013

How far you've come!

I used to dread my ballet classes. When I joined the beginners class I truly was a beginner, not one of those people that return to ballet after a childhood experience, or wanting to brush up their skills, like most of my classmates.
Plié, feet in fifth, arabesque, ronde de jambe... meant absolutely nothing, but sounded so beautiful.
And then, the realisation of how hard the classes were going to be struck me. To begin with, my hamstrings were so tight I hardly went down with semi-pliés, let alone full pliés. Also my turn out was minimal, and my knees didn't want to go over my feet (they still don't), I had to really push them out. 

But this is not a recount of my postural woes; after 6 months of making myself go to class once a week, having a hard time at the barre and then having a hard time following a choreography of very basic patterns in the centre of the studio, I sense joy in class.
I still look for the joy of movement within the limits imposed by, for example, having to point the toes all the time, or keeping a straight leg when what the leg really wants to do is to shake and do a little jig. Of course Nia has helped me, and it has occurred to me that I enjoy the rigidity of ballet because I have all the freedom of Nia any time I want.

Stop going to class would have been easy; so many times I wondered why I was doing it if I was so bad at it, if I dreaded so much the moment of putting the barres away and dancing with everyone else. But I stuck with it, and yesterday after doing some (awkward) glissards and jetés and some (not very graceful) pirouettes, the teacher said "look how far you've come!". She said it to the whole class, and I repeated it to myself. And I even know what the terms in French mean!

Look for the joy in anything you do, and don't let fear get in the way of something beautiful. And if everything fails, just free dance it!

Friday, 18 January 2013


A time of silence is always a good time: silence doesn't mean lack of interest, or boredom. Growth is best done in silence, so when we are ready, we know exactly which words we choose to share, unspent like freshly fallen snow. 
Just like today's.