Dancing Open Your Heart

I recently completed my third weekend of buddhist studies immersion and meditation instructor training with the Interdpendence Project.  This weekend was comprised of roughly twelve hours of instructing, receiving instruction or discussion on compassion and loving-kindness meditation.  A lot can touch your heart when a group of people come together and focus two and a half days on these practices.  As the weekend slowly fades in the distance of my “busy” New York life, I am left with a sense that what transpired was a dance of the heart.  It was a dance to help us all remember that even in the darkness of our worst self-aggression, glimmers of true happiness arise.  And even in the shadows of ourselves where envy, ill-will and judgement dwell, the opportunity to see the light that casts the shadow is ever greater…. 

Compassion practices take us home to the tenderness of our hearts, which is both incredibly powerful and quite jarring at times.  Practices like metta (loving-kindness) ask us to work with not only those people who inspire and support us, but also those with whom we may have conflict or challenge us in some way.  Metta doesn’t stop there.  It further looks at the ways in which we move away from the open heart, ways that we cling to or create conditions for the love we give to ourselves and others.  

So nothing about Metta is fluffy.  It is not all love and light, and that is what makes it such profound work.  One of the things I appreciate about this work, is that it very much forces us to keep it real, to look at our shadows with great gentleness and work with the things that bar us from the vast capacity of our own heart.   

Dancing is also not just fluff.  It is gritty, sexy, light, fluid, graceful, sometimes awkward, still or frenetic, intensely sad or humorous.  While remaining a serious discipline it also evokes all of the hues and saturations that color a life.  

As we sit down to open our hearts, we might contemplate our work as a dance.  We can approach it with a real sense of discipline, but we will not be surprised when it evokes tears or tightness in our throats or deep longing.  We can work with these emotions just as we work with the heart: with gentleness, openness and hopefully an occasional giggle or fit of laughter.  

For more on compassion practices, check out Sharon Salzberg, or join a course at IDP. 

"I am Don Campbell"  - film by Toni Basil

a brief peek into some of the major dancers that have come through Toni Basil’s world…  this clip specifically centers around Don “Campbelllock” Campbell, the creator of what is now known as locking…  

Featuring the likes of Ana Sanchez, Popin Pete and Don himself…  

Enjoy!

Pretty spot on.  This speaks to colonialism in regards to the exoticism of Indian ethnic dance in the UK.  We consume what we view as other.  We integrate what we view as ourselves.  Colonialism extends to the US every day in the form of hip hop consumerism, even within the ranks of the hip hop artists themselves. 

This woman is totally inspiring.

A short feature on Chandralekha, the late Indian feminist choreographer who challenged the definitions of Indian performing arts. She summarizes her mission quite well in the video:

This whole ethnic Asian image, I would like to subvert. The whole idea of dance in the Western world has been like exotica. It perpetuates a colonial relationship… without understanding, only consuming. I believe that somewhere, I am interested in subverting that notion.

(via basava)

this track takes me back to philly days. 

what’s funny is we both went to the same hs in columbus, knew many of the same people… when this album came out i was living in philly and found out he was too… sort of.

i listened to it constantly, thinking it a reminder of my home.  little did i know my home was where i was in the city of brothers and love. 

years later, it doesn’t remind me of my hometown, but of philly, the place where i believe it all really began.

thanks, RJ, for some help on the journey. and for making music that made me feel at home.

via thekrizzo:

RJD2 - Work

so one of my teachers hit me up today and called me out on something that probably needed to be called out.
as he pointed out in reference to a prior post of mine, breakin is not a pose, it is not gymnastics, it is not one move extracted from the dance…  and i say, in turn, that yoga is also not the pose on the cover of yoga journal.  it is not a singular sequence, a line of beauty, a peak of physical prowess.  we are not just here in our hot sneakers, our tight yoga pants, our black or white or brown bodies as one moment, one hue, one way of being…
while these pop-culture body shapes visually define the two practices, what is lost in much of this eye candy noise is that these studies and rituals require a commitment and a resolve to dive into something deeper.  they require that we allow ourselves to settle into the floor and breathe. 
my mission has always been to find links between (people, cultures, mindsets, movements, artistic endeavors) but sometimes what can happen when we make connections is that the details and the intrinsic beauty of the origin can get lost in the translation.
if you dig what i do, if you dig breakin, house, dance, and/or hip hop culture…  if you dig yoga and the many many lineages wrapped up in that word…   do yourself a favor and ask yourself WHY.  ask WHAT FOR.  ask QUESTIONS about the form, about the practice, about the social norms in relation to it.
and most of all…  allow enough space in yourself so that your view of this thing is not rigid..  is not erected in stone…  and gives enough room for it to be ALIVE within you.  not some archaic notion of what it is, but a living definition of how it resides IN YOU. 
i hope to keep writing on these ideas as time passes.  if you are interested in what you read, please sign up for my newsletter (upper right of the page) and i will try to include a blip each time i send out info.
for raph.  thank you for always pushing me.
(the source is only for the photo, the writing is mine)

so one of my teachers hit me up today and called me out on something that probably needed to be called out.

as he pointed out in reference to a prior post of mine, breakin is not a pose, it is not gymnastics, it is not one move extracted from the dance…  and i say, in turn, that yoga is also not the pose on the cover of yoga journal.  it is not a singular sequence, a line of beauty, a peak of physical prowess.  we are not just here in our hot sneakers, our tight yoga pants, our black or white or brown bodies as one moment, one hue, one way of being…

while these pop-culture body shapes visually define the two practices, what is lost in much of this eye candy noise is that these studies and rituals require a commitment and a resolve to dive into something deeper.  they require that we allow ourselves to settle into the floor and breathe. 

my mission has always been to find links between (people, cultures, mindsets, movements, artistic endeavors) but sometimes what can happen when we make connections is that the details and the intrinsic beauty of the origin can get lost in the translation.

if you dig what i do, if you dig breakin, house, dance, and/or hip hop culture…  if you dig yoga and the many many lineages wrapped up in that word…   do yourself a favor and ask yourself WHY.  ask WHAT FOR.  ask QUESTIONS about the form, about the practice, about the social norms in relation to it.

and most of all…  allow enough space in yourself so that your view of this thing is not rigid..  is not erected in stone…  and gives enough room for it to be ALIVE within you.  not some archaic notion of what it is, but a living definition of how it resides IN YOU. 

i hope to keep writing on these ideas as time passes.  if you are interested in what you read, please sign up for my newsletter (upper right of the page) and i will try to include a blip each time i send out info.

for raph.  thank you for always pushing me.

(the source is only for the photo, the writing is mine)

(via )

a life in a night

we step into our words and lay them on the floor
you move into my breath and i leave you wondering
what did i say?

here we wade through creating our memories
in every moment
we whisper our painted future dreams

this is worth a golden weight
that one is left behind.
holding each truth like a penny or a diamond
letting each one fall
float

fade.
or cling.

this is a moment i will not allow to pass beneath my dancing feet to the floor…

this is a piece of me. 
wrapped in a piece of you.