Studio Diary: Class Prep, Dance & a Garden of Potential

Studio Diary: May 23, 2018

Art: I have a class coming up that is a part of a great bundle. I’m doing some experimentation as try to find the just right way of creating the experience that I’m hoping for the students. I want them to have a visceral, intuitive experience, take away techniques they can continue to use and also have an artifact to remind them of both.

I know that something’s working because I’m getting swept up the in the process myself as I experiment with different approaches. I managed to sneak in an hour before rehearsal yesterday and some time in the early morning today. I could easily have spent all day playing with paints and pastels!

Dance: We are one month away from the show! It’s hard to believe and incredibly motivating.  Yesterday we learned the first dance of the performance. It’s lively and fun and the music sticks with you. I was tired tonight and things were slow to sink in – that’s happening more too as we are holding more choreography in our memories.

For the dance we are arranged in lines and recently we had the opportunity to choose our spot, the place we feel most comfortable.  Yesterday the rehearsal director told us that, for a variety of reasons, there will be adjustments and we’ll be experiencing a bit of a shuffle. She also asked us to be generous and adapt to these changes.

Another lesson from performance : Your commitment must not waver but your expectations must be flexible.

This is one of those moments when you remember that you are in a relationship – with the other dancers, with the work itself, with the creative directors and eventually with the audience itself.  You are a part of something and one of the things that means is showing up for the greatest good.

As we move along in rehearsals, I think often about one of the lessons I learned in theatre. Not only is it not your job to correct, direct or ask another actor to give you what you need, but it is exceedingly bad form.  I think about it every time someone raises their hand with what sounds like a question but is actually, well, usually calling others out: “Is this part supposed to be loud? (pause) I mean, it seems like there are a lot of people that are making a lot of noise.” For me, this reaffirms my commitment to staying in my own sandbox.

Often our desire to fix things, to make things better, to correct other people is our own worry that things are going to go horribly wrong and we will be uncomfortable and embarrassed. How often do we do this in life too? How often do we try to control other people’s behaviour based on how it impacts us?

Give up trying to control the circumstance. You can not control others in order to make yourself more comfortable. Bring your attention back to yourself and do your best  work.

As a performer and a person, you are responsible for you. Yes, you can give help when asked but trust other people to be responsible for themselves. Trust the leaders too.

In the Garden:  I couldn’t love springtime in the garden more. This past week the birds have been singing joyously and I have loved listening to them. I’ve been dancing outside too. Since our performance will be outdoors, I thought it would be good to get used to the elements. Of course, I also bring my camera because the garden changes so subtly and often that I don’t want to miss a moment.

This year the daffodils have been a highlight for me. I haven’t had much success with them in earlier years, which made me sad because I planted them in honour of my Mom. When I was a girl in Montreal, we had a wonderful backyard. Half of it was covered with tall thin trees and beneath each one Mom planted yellow daffodils. They delighted me every spring. I felt like I was walking through a forest, finding beauty along the way.

Clematis Bud

Right now the garden is filled with potential – which was my Mom’s favourite word. Everything seems to just be about to happen.

Cranesbill Geranium

Including the sturdy Cranesbill Geranium which came from Justin’s mom’s garden. This beauty will grow just about anywhere! I’ve managed to tuck it into corners where dirt gathers and it has taken hold!

Peony Bud

The peonies are coming, and the ants are helping them along. I still haven’t managed to get a white peony in the garden! Perhaps after the renovation, when I’m rebuilding what inevitably be broken down, I’ll be sure to do that!

The tree peony looks like it will have several blooms this year. They bloom only briefly but they are spectacular. This was the first plant that I was really excited to put in the garden. I just happened to see it as I passed by a Loblaws one day and I brought it home. The first year it gave one singular but spectacular bloom. All these years later it is stronger, the blooms are bigger and more abundant. This tree peony must finally feel more at home.

I love watching the hosta unfurl. It’s shapes are so dramatic. Looking back over these photos it’s amazing to see the different light there is in the garden at the same time of day.

De Caen Poppy

But even as most of the garden is coming to life, some plants are also fading . The De Caen poppy is a wonderful early bloomer. When everything else was still battling the elements, she was coming to life. Even the end of her flowers are spectacular!

Now that everything’s growing well, it’s time to do some tending! With things so busy my much-loved garden often goes untended.  I am so grateful that despite the overgrowth, the beauty remains. Thank you, little Vinca, for the reminder.


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