2011novemberintensive3

Martha Graham choreographed a dance about Emily Dickinson and called it “Letter to the World.” Martha always came up with the best titles. So I stole one of them.

So what have I been doing since we last talked? Since maybe that has been years for some of you (or never!) or just a few days, I’ll start with the beginning. At least with the end of 2010.

I’ve been working really hard on expanding our outreach programs. I’ve been grant writing (with my grant writer extraordinaire, Andrew Dolan), working with interns, training teaching artists, writing a teacher’s guide, teaching classes, and strategizing about how to build the creative movement program we have at Allison Elementary and Mainspring School. So far- success! For years (and I mean 10 years!), I have been the exclusive teacher of these programs. With baby #2, that scenario needed to change. Nothing like a new human life form to get your butt in gear! So, in an effort to be able to offer more classes, I have brought some folks on board to help. And they are doing well! Leigh Gaymon-Jones is teaching the Friday creative movement classes at Mainspring and I have two interns from Texas State, Samantha Derossi and Tracy Boothby who are now teaching at Allison Elementary. I am so pleased that these classes are thriving and flourishing.

Body Shift was a big part of the end of 2010. Forklift with VSA Texas led an entire weekend intensive in mixed-ability dance. We had a great outpouring of interest and support. Our classes were full to capacity. I, with help from weekend coordinator, Julie Nathanielsz, hired 45 local teachers to help craft the weekend’s offerings. Celia Hughes and her staff from VSA Texas provided essential admin support- and we got help from Ballet Austin, Galaxy Dance Studio, I Live Here I Give Here/KUT Radio, and The Austin Chronicle. Now, we are moving on with Saturday monthly classes, which are really a dream come true for me. Hey- an ongoing way to practice. What a great thing! I see this work really expanding in Austin, and I think the benefits to the contemporary dance community will be HUGE.

Speaking of HUGE. I am HUGE. If you have seen me since August, you would agree. Baby #2 is due March 4th. I am on a mad dash to FINISH IT ALL before the baby comes. We will see if that happens. But, I am really not that much HUGER than I was a few months ago (yes, that is the 2nd child thing). So feeling HUGE, but been feeling HUGE. So nothing too new there.

What else? Secret meetings! Lots of them! Secret for now. But next week we are making the big announcement. I can’t say much else right now, but I will say a heck of a lot of meetings. Planning, strategizing, scheming, brainstorming, meeting, talking, thinking, and meeting again. Good stuff- but exhausting. They say it is all about planning- and man oh man have I been planning.

The Forklift board has been hard at work on our upcoming annual retreat- strategizing about how they are going to meet- not exceed!- our fundraising goals for this year. There is LOTS of good work happening on the board, along with two new board members. Fresh blood- yeah! The board is reviewing our strategic plan- yes we have a strategic plan- and brainstorming about how to expand our reach into the community. What a gift to have these 7 folks totally committed to Forklift and me and my dreams for the world!

I have also been doing a little art making. Having meetings with potential upcoming collaborators, which I call job reconnaissance. All of that is going very well. I’ve already got artistic projects lined up for 2012 and 2013. Of course, they are top secret. But when I can tell you I will. These projects are inspiring- and keep me wanting to keep up the good fight. That makes me very very happy.

Eating. I knew there was something I had forgotten! I have been eating- a lot. Now back to the every 2-3 hours eating schedule I was on at the beginning of the pregnancy. It’s a full-time job just having enough food around to feed me.

Off to eat. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. I would love to hear from you.

Best,
Allison

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