Exceptional dancers are also exceptional people…

Quote

“When a dancer comes onstage, he is not just a blank slate that the choreographer has written on.  Behind him he has all the decisions he has made in life… Each time, he has chosen, and in what he is onstage, you see the result of those choices.  You are looking at the person he is, and the person who, at this point, he cannot help but be…  Exceptional dancers, in my experience, are also exceptional people, people with an attitude toward life, a kind of quest, and an internal quality.  They know who they are, and they show this to you, willingly.”

– Mikhail Baryshnikov

On a good night out dancing…

Quote

“When I’m having a good night out dancing, I feel confident, playful, and a little bit sexy.  And along with my own feelings, if I get the connection I want with my partner in the dance, she’ll (heck, sometimes “he’ll”- haha!) feel those same emotions as well.  Sharing those feelings, even if only for three-and-a-half minutes at a time, can be a touch magical…and/or really hot.  I also like to follow in salsa and bachata when I get the opportunity. It’s a total mind bender to hold the other end of the communication line. It’s fun in its own right, and it makes me a better lead, too.”

-Geoff Gariando

Photo by Jeff Mendoza of  Commence Vision Studios

Dance- there are so many strengths to it…

Quote

“Dance- there are so many strengths to it, beyond the superficial, that people don’t know about.  I think that dance is such an internal thing.  I think it feeds the soul in such a way that it stems from this passion but also from our experiences.  And the things that we’ve gone through, the things that we have on our minds, are pushed out and energized into the world through a movement.  Sometimes I watch people perform, and you can tell they’ve really BEEN somewhere.  And I don’t know where that somewhere is, and I don’t always NEED to know where that somewhere is.  But you connect to those people because you can see how much their dancing is driven by something really deep and rich and powerful.”

– Marc Kimelman

It’s not WHAT you do…

Quote

“I always say that it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s how you express it.  It’s going to deliver differently depending on how you express it.

And that’s exactly what dancing is for me-  it’s how you deliver it.  It could be the most basic thing, the most basic step, but enjoy it (smiles). .. When people watch me enjoying the dancing, that allows them to enjoy it too…

So that’s my other piece of advice: Be sure to enjoy your every dance.”- Griselle Ponce

Marc Kimelman- innovative choreographer and passionate performer- kicks cancer.

Marc was the assistant choreographer of “Jesus Christ Super Star”….  He loves dance.  Not only are his choreographies and his vision incredible, but he’s also a beautiful person.  He fought cancer last year and [I believe] he was able to do it because he loves life.  That kind of drive… absolutely inspires me.” – Mary Antonini

This was the first introduction I had to the performer and choreographer Marc Kimelman.  We hadn’t met in person, but I found it hard NOT to want to get a hold of him after hearing about his talent and accomplishments as an artist, as well as his courage, passion and strength for living. The more I read up on Marc and learned about him, the more curious and excited I was to hear details about his story, from the artist himself.  I really appreciated the way Marc responded with such openness, trust and enthusiasm when asked if he would have time to share his thoughts.  But what stood out to me the most was that Marc was absolutely correct in describing himself as being ‘as real as possible’, because that’s what I felt throughout the entire interview- that on the other end of that skype call was a genuine, positive spirit, an individual who shares his experiences with a creativity and depth that is truly inspiring.     

Besides your obvious talent as a performer and choreographer, I think it’s really inspiring for other young guys to see a guy like you dancing from a very young age.  Was it ever an issue for you growing up that you were a boy and liked to dance?

You know, it probably was an issue in terms of maybe people treated me differently, but I really didn’t have any time to think about that because it wasn’t really a choice.  It was just ‘I’m going to dance’, and that’s kind of just the way it’s going to be (laughs).  I put on shows for my family ever since I was four or five years old.  And my dad actually put me into dance because he knew someone at a studio.  I tried it and fell in love with it.  It definitely got a bit more trying once I got to junior high.  But once people actually SAW what I did, people’s views changed.  And it became ‘cooler’ (laughs) to dance.

Do you feel that the stigma around boys dancing still exists? 

Yes, I think that there still exists a negative stigma towards boys dancing.  But there is something about the way the world has changed with the recent popularity of So You Think You Can Dance, and lots of dance-based movies, and shows like All the Right Moves.  I think these really open people’s minds towards males dancing and they also prove that it can be a masculine thing as well.   Besides, people who have the passion for dance, or anything else, shouldn’t let anything stop them from getting to class.  I’m really happy to have started at a young age.  And it’s exciting to see how strong and confident the up- and- coming male dancers are.

I think dancing is an amazing art and talent on its own, but I think that choreography also takes a whole other mindset.  Are there places you go to, or people or experiences that you look to. for new ideas?

Well, I look to a few different places.  Physically, I still love taking class.  And I think that’s really important for me because it forces me to move in different ways.  When I was sick, I couldn’t dance at all, for at least five months.  So I took up Tai Chi because that was something that I could do.  It was really low impact, it had me moving, and it became quite meditative for me, and I still do it a couple of times a week, just on my own.  And so just seeking out new disciplines, new classes, and new teachers keeps the ideas fresh.  And there’s usually something in there that inspires an idea or a thought, or just a different way of moving that I wouldn’t have thought of if I had just been by myself working in a studio.

In terms of creating full pieces, I usually start and end with the text.  I’ll look at lyrics for whatever song I’m choreographing.  That’s always something that really brings it home for me.  And I will write out a piece word for word about what I want it to say.  That way, if I ever get lost, or experience a kind of ‘choreographer’s block’, I’ll always go back to the text and remind myself what it is that I’m truly trying to say

 

Continue reading

Feeling wings…

Quote

“I’m feeling wings though I’ve never flown”- Joss Stone

(from her song Right to Be Wrong)

There could be so many things that Joss Stone is referring to here, but I’d like to say that it’s a perfect description of what a good dance, no, a great dance, makes me feel.  I just had a few recently, after a very long time of being without that feeling. And even though it’s been a few days, the memory of them still makes me feel like I’m flying.