September 12, 2022
I titled it, ultimately, the beast. I was working full time in a law office as a receptionist, that, truth be told, let me do what I please when the phones werenʻt ringing, or I wasnʻt visiting with clients, or tending to the small tasks asked of me, and given the nature of my mind, I would have gone mad if I were not allowed to do something with my mind to keep it busy while waiting for the phone to ring, or a client to come in. There would be hour stretches of silence, with few co-workers passing by, and producing events, became my little thing, to keep myself busy in reception, which, frankly, delighted the clients. They enjoyed hearing of the dance exploits, and I just as much enjoyed the organizational aspects. But truth be told, this happening, it exhausted me to the bones and it took years to recovery, truly.
It all started with the desire to give back, and reciprocate. After years of struggling to get my dance company to take, and the nature of the support, or I should say, non-support in terms of information from other dance makers, and individuals I looked up to as mentors, things did take, and I figured it out. I learned, that 99.5% of dance makers had at it by participating in Festivals, and/or, producing their own events.
A very dear sweet soul, Sinan Temizalp, who has just passed, found my work on YouTube, and was very taken not only by the work, but my philosophy, and invited my dance company (then SonneBlauma Danscz Theater) to come to perform in Istanbul. While there, a good friend living there, Joanna Nobbe, arranged for a week workshop at a space called Cati. He wanted to bring his work to the United States, and in order to do it, our community formed a festival.
I took notes about what worked with other festivals, and worked in what I felt was missing, and worked with my partner Stephen, and a friend from college, Kim Davis, and together we put together a rough design of how it would be. I kept an open heart, and an open ear, and was flexible, trying to accomodate the needs and requests of the incredibly diverse offerings. There was an adjudication panel, and several artists, whom I really thought had something unique to offer, werenʻt selected. I designed an experimental portion in an alternative space for these artists.
There has never been another festival quite like this in our community.
One individual was so inspired, she wanted to replicate it in Vienna, so the next year, an organization, with Regina Picker, produced the SB-ADaPT Special in Vienna, which led to myself, my partner, and one other choreographer presenting work at Kablewerks, and a one person show was also organized for my visual art. After our performances in Vienna, we performed in Paris before heading home. This year we also had a smaller festival, where we invited festival participants from the first year to come back, and to share work at a smaller venue, which also marked bringing an end to my dance company SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre and giving birth to ArtBark International.
This was motivated by conflict in my relationship, and I thought, doing away with a heirarchical model, would ease the stress of working with my partner.
The model was collaborative and co-creative and we did away with titles such as Artistic Director, but still, there was endless conflict.
Ultimately, the experiment failed, in terms of my personal vision of being true to our values, but as ArtBark International there were 7 years of amazing projects and brilliant collaborations with artists living in different cities.
I think it was simply time for me to let go, and I donʻt think I would have ever let go of dance making if it had not been with some soul wounding crisis, and what a crisis it was.
Whew... on to other things, and so grateful!