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 Post subject: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 11:04 pm 
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Location: Australia
trina has just asked that this post of hers be moved into THE STUDIO here....(from New Years Resolutions thread in FUN STUFF FORUM):<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Season's Greetings to all our Criticaldance friends far and near!!!Peace and Joy!!<P>An idea -regarding New Years resolutions and addressed to our teachers/educators out there. <P>Why not vow to teach a class to an under-served group? In our field we often forget that dance is often not accessible to many populations-for example inner city youth, at risk youth, seniors in nursing homes or community centers? <P>Dance is often viewed as a "middle class" pursuit, sadly...dance should be for everyone. I urge all our teachers out there to donate their time and plan to teach a dance class in the New Year to a group which doesn't have opportunities to experience dance. <P>I taught a summer arts program for "at risk" youth in l997 and 98 and it was one of the most rewarding experiences!!Right now I'm teaching a creative dance class at my local community center in Seattle. <P>We have to remember we are not only teachers and artists, but are also called to be community leaders as well. We never know when our example and mentorship can change a life; as my teacher Hanya Holm told us many years ago-"The artist must lead society". I firmly believe this!!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 11:06 pm 
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to which, <B>basheva</B> responded:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Trina - that's a wonderful resolution - really. <P>For ten years I ran a ballet program in a community in which there was no dance at all - and money for dance not even a consideration - food came first.<P> We only charged $1.00 per class and used an elemetary school for the studio space. The school got a grant to fund the custodian, etc. It was a wonderful experience for everyone concerned. To this day I hear from several of my students and the program ended in 1985. <P>From the money that was collected, $1.00 per lesson, we funded the materials necessary for an entire after-school program in crafts, etc. It was interesting how one enterprise fed another - and so many people benefited. <P>This was not my idea - I only ran the ballet portion (I had 7 classes per week there)- the idea was the brain child of another lady who wrote for the original grant. By law there had to be a school custodian on the grounds whenever the school was open, and that's what the grant paid for. Oh, yes, it also paid for the ballet barres.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 11:11 pm 
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and now - time for me to comment!<P>i have to confess, trina, that when you suggest 'donate your time' - i have been donating my time, to my ballet school for 5 years now - yes, that's right, in all that time i have never been paid for my time (let alone any profit)!<P>this scenario is not at all unusual here - although more business-minded individuals manage to make things become a little more commercial, a little quicker, usually.....<P>i am not at all a business person - more a service person...<P>however, i am not meaning to deflect your topic, which is an excellent and worthy one.<P>just to sigh deeply, when i see suggestions about donating one's time, when almost everything i do is donated time, which does make it very hard to live! 'food' has to come first for me, too! (no joke) Image<P>

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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2000 6:04 am 
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I read you loud and clear, Grace. I'm aware of your unselfish involvement in your art. I believe this is true of many artists.<P>Unfortunately, it has become somewhat of an expectation at times from us. I don't necessarily believe we, as artists, are singled out. Corporations and businesses are asked to donate their time and money, too. I think that it is easier, for example, for a business to donate a gift basket of their product than it is for an artist to donate their time or product.<P> If a dance artist were truly paid what they were worth in time, based on the amount of time put into their own training and experience, it would be quite a bit. An artist is often asked to donate a piece of their work, which is quite costly based on the artist's time and materials. The "asker" would rarely consider asking, say, a roofing company to donate an equivalent amount of time and effort. The roofing company would laugh. They would be donating an entire month's work at least. Can you imagine? Yet, charities often expect it of artists.<P>I am in agreement with Trina, but sometimes the true value (altruism aside) in practical terms is totally overlooked, no matter how grateful the recipient may be. The fact is, I do believe in tything, culturally. But I get overwhelmed sometimes when people forget that I like to make a living doing what I do the same as others. I donate, in full, one piece of my sculpture a year. That would amount to one month's salary in many cases. The reciever of this is more often than not, not aware of this fact. I choose among the 30 or more requests a year that I get for the one most meaningful to me to donate to.<P>Well, I guess what I'm saying in this lengthy post is I agree with Trina whole-heartedly, but artists of all types are often not recognized for the value of the work they do based on other standards.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2000 7:03 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
What I think is missing from the public consciousness is the amount of time the artist donates behind the scenes.<P>When I was asked to perform for a nursing home or a senior center, which I used to do once a month, the dancing itself didn't take very long. Three or four dances of a few minutes each. Then, stay and meet the residents and talk to them.<P>But each of those dances represented a great deal of time, as I know all of you as dancers are aware, of hunting for music, choreographing the dance, hours of rehearsal, sewing the costumes, and paying for the shoes.<P>Every time I danced for these places it represented at least one pair of pointe shoes (both performance and rehearsal) which was a direct out of pocket expense and not reusable as the costume was.<P>But the general public is very unaware of that. Just as Maggie's time to create a beautiful sculpture takes untold hours of time and talent. <P>Even when we are paid for our art - it probably doesn't even equal minimum wage if preparation time is taken into account.<P>------------------<BR>Approach life as a dancer approaches the barre, with grace and purpose.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2000 12:59 pm 
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I agree with everyone regarding the "I already feel like I donate my time". Indeed, it often feels like we are so totally taken for granted by society at large, if not ignored by the mainstream culture. However, let me finish with a "story from my childhood" to pinpoint my theme:<P>When I was in the Girl Scouts as a child, (called Girl Guides in UK, I believe)we learned and rehearsed a folk dance to perform at a local nursing home. I must have been 7 or 8. Now that I think of it, I think this was my first performing experience. Anyway, we went to the nursing home. We had a TINY space to perform in, and I remember being incredibly nervous--adrenalin pumping, forgetting the steps, the whole nine yards. Anyway, after doing our very simple folk/square dance in this miniscule space, bumping into the furniture, etc., we took our bows and gave out little gifts we had made for the residents. I remember many of them weeping with gratitude, hugging us and their little gifts--they were astounded at our performance!! YOu would think Rudolph Nureyev himself had graced them with his presence. I remember , as a child, being confused and a little scared by their tears. I didn't expect or understand their loneliness and gratitude. Plus, I felt that we had "messed up" the dance!!! <P>Without getting too "preachy", we never know when we might have an opportunity to enhance or change a life; the smallest gesture or effort can sometimes have seismic effects.....?!?!?!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited December 29, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2000 5:23 pm 
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what great posts from everyone....and what a relief! i was scared i'd be jumped on for sounding scrooge-ey!<P>maggie - you make a very good point, underscored by basheva's story, that the (monetray) value of the gift/donated time is way underestimated - plus, in the case of a performance, basheva - people probably think you 'have fun' doing it....which you may or may not do! (after all, to many people performance is largely a stress-out!)<P>the roofing company story really puts that in perspective, maggie.<P>trina, i am wondering what effect that performance at the nursing home had on you, as you aged - you tell us about your immediate slightly confused reactions (and it's a great story!), but what do you think it gave you later? how did you think of it later? what do you think it 'taught' you? - without meaning to ask you to over-analyse it - really just looking for the lasting impression it made?<P>i ask, partly because i had been thinking of trying to arrange something similar here, this year - because this town i live in, used to be a retirement community - so although it is changing fast, there is a very high percentage of older people here, and quite a few homes, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2000 5:32 pm 
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While there is always some stress to performing - I found that performing in these nursing homes and senior centers was some of the most satisfying performing I ever did. <P>I remember standing there in my tutu and having some very old ladies come up and just ask if they could touch my costume.......


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2000 9:27 pm 
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I had some little kids at a public school I performed at ask me if I was a Spice Girl. I was somewhat horrified, lol, until I realized that was meant as a compliment.<P>Btw, I wish I could say <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"my teacher Hanya Holm"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2000 2:03 am 
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it's nice that YOU liked the performing, basheva - but my point was that performing is often a stress in many ways to many people, and, that that stress element is not likely to be recognised by people on the receiving end in such situations, who usually assume you are doing it for your OWN pleasure, for fun, to promote your studio, and/or to show off! even with kids who LIKE 'showing off', there is still a sress component to them, to their parents, and to their teacher. that's all i was referring to - not denying the pleasure aspect for some, but reflecting on one of the 'giving' aspects, which may be underestimated, or even mistaken for 'taking'....

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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2000 6:04 am 
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I have something to say about performing in senior centers and retirement homes. Quite a bit of it goes on in this community. <P>Sometimes it's forgotten that many of these older people led a very full cultural lives before retiring to these special care centers. Many of them have seen, (among other things) dance performances that we would give our eyeteeth to have seen. Some of them have been the performers! There is a woman here in our small community who is one of those who danced in one of "those" performances.


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2000 6:12 am 
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i guess, maggie, that this aspect you mention is sort of like something i had been thinking - although you may not have been meaning it this way at all - which is that it's quite patronising to assume that, just because they are old and 'locked up' there, they should or would be interested in just any old 'entertainment' put on by kids - this is a thought which has worried me, since i first considered approaching these local homes, several years ago....i guess there's no way to find out, except by doing it....

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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2000 7:03 am 
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You are very right, Maggie. I found that many of the elderly ladies came up to me afterwards and wanted to talk about their experiences of going to ballet class when they were young. It brought back great memories for them, they would start to cry - but happy tears.<P>I found that my staying around, in costume, after dancing was just about as important to them as the actual performance.<P>When it was possible I would bring some of my younger students (my older ones were usually working during the workweek) and the elderly people loved to get to see the kids. And it was very beneficial for the children to get to talk to the older people, too. Families tend to be splintered these days and many times children are no where near their grandparents and their contact with really elderly people is limited.<P>I did, however, find that there are several pitfalls to dancing in these places - in the actual physical space in which the performance takes place. I quickly learned to check it all out before hand, and even then expect unlooked for surprises. The people were great -but the physical space was not dancer friendly.


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2000 10:37 am 
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Grace, --actually I had forgotten that story, and only thought of it in the context of our discussion. I think it made me appreciate the multi-faceted effects of performing--it's not necessarily just "entertainment". It can have many social/emotional repercussions, depending on the audience.<BR>To all- regarding the "donating your time" aspect...there's all sorts of funding sources you can explore. I wrote and received a $12,000. grant from United Way to fund that summer arts program I mentioned earlier. As a result, I was paid quite well for my time, and we had all the supplies and equipment we needed because we had written it into the budget! Explore funding/grant sources in your community; if you look hard enough (or enlist the help of someone who knows about these sources)you can find all kinds of organizations who are willing to help!!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited December 30, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Be a Community Leader, a la Hanya Holm!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2000 4:02 pm 
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thanks trina - what a good suggestion! <P>and basheva, boy do i ever agree with you about the many difficulties inherent in performing in unpredictable spaces - in such venues as we are talking about, here (australia, i mean), i'd bet my bottom dollar that EVERY floor space one might get offered would be highly polished (after all, those hospital cleaners (sanitation engineers...) like to keep them that way, for other good reasons.

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