Friday, August 28, 2009

Goddamn, i say goddamn!

So if you haven't checked it out already, you really need to be watching the TED talks. They're interesting, exciting, and always informational, and they kind of make you have hope for humanity and the future again - perhaps the opposite of watching George Bush on the tv for so long, if you will.

And now, masters as always of the digital age, they've cataloged all the talks into an excel spreadsheet and put it on google documents for us all to use. How simple and genius is that? What's that you say? Using a program that people already use to do something that's actually incredibly helpful? As one set of humans to a large group of humans? Is that even allowed?

The answer seems to be yes.

Here's my favorite from the past few months, but definitely take a look at the spreadsheet itself and browse around a little. Tell us what you're favorite ones are by posting the links in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A gentle morning wake up call

So usually i like videos where things are exploding or expressing some sort of angst, but this was a lovely way to wake up this morning. I really like towards the end when the smoke starts looking more organ-like. Watch! And have a beautiful day!

let yourself feel. from Esteban Diácono on Vimeo.

Monday, August 24, 2009


tear up pieces of paper. tear off your sheets. pull your hair. imagine getting hit by subway cars. imagine getting hit by subway cars. imagine getting hit by subway cars.

right. now.
imagine getting hit
by a subway car.

would the impact be enough to wake you up?
imagine. you will wake from drowning.

Are you new here? Welcome!

One of the weirdest things about writing a blog is not knowing who is reading it.

Especially in this situation where it started as a personal project, then was found and listed by a few other dance and dance-tech blogs, and is now undergoing a shift into a more conscious publicity, it's always a question for me who my readers are. I know some of you (from the comments, or because you've mentioned you read when i see you face to face) but that's only about ten or twenty of you, and we're up to the hundreds now, which is really really cool.

Point being, i'm starting to publicize the more important posts via twitter, fbook, vimeo, etc, so if you're new, and have just found your way here, WELCOME! Google analytics tells me that (due to last week's publicity efforts) i'm up 40% in readers and 20% in time on the site! Thanks for taking a second to check it out, and i hope you explore and comment and interact to your heart's content.

I'm always reachable at, or through the comenting on posts.

the AOMC's ///NEW!/// Mission Statement

I'm super excited to share this with all of you - it's been through one round of focus groups (ie: a few close friends and family) and now i'm ready to bring it to step two: the Urgent Artist community - the AOMC's supporters and insiders. So here it is: our new mission statement for 2009/2010. As one of my round-one's pointed out, it's a bit more manifesto than mission statement, but I'm very okay with that.

I would love whatever feedback you have - both in terms of how it feels to you as a mission statement/manifesto (ie: does it give you a clear feeling for the company? does it excite you? does it sound like other things you've read? if so, what? etc) and how it feels to you as a human/thinker/fellow artist (ie: do you agree? is it an affront to what you believe art to be? how do you see it fitting in with the current paradigm? etc). We'll have a few weeks before i'll start posting the "final" (ha.) version of it on the website and press kit, so comments are VERY helpful!

Onwards. Unveil!

Founded in 2006, The A.O. Movement Collective is a home for hard falls, heavy slow dances, and constant evolution - a community of dancers, collaborators, thinkers, and makers who live by their art. The AOMC encompasses my choreographic work and, when joined with blog/community hub Urgent Artist and arts freelancing collective A.O. PRO(+ductions), it is the movement third of a three-entity family that represents a new business model for American dancemaking.

As a dance and new media artist, my main goal is to create evocative reinventions of the human experience – works that investigate the intricacy, wreckage, compassion, and mess inherent in the ways we live our lives. Dances that push you to the edge of your seat, tempt you to tackle someone as you leave the theater, or make you think “well I haven’t thought about him in a long time.” My work is based on an ongoing investigation/love affair with the aesthetics of mess - visual, human, emotional, and all else. The dances that I make are epic, human, and wonderfully too much.

Rather than resigning to the clarity that I believe is now being asked of us as choreographers (so that the dance may be seen, enjoyed, and understood entirely in one viewing), I am investigating work that can retain all of its complexity, vastness, and innate lovely disarray and still offer a rich human accessibility to each viewer. I am interested in making dances that don’t know how to be seen yet, and then creating the programs and modes of thought necessary to support such work.

In short, I am an Anti-Ephemeral PoMo Humanist. As a maker of both live performance and dancefilm, I disregard the notion that dance must be ephemeral. Dance is some approximate concoction of the body doing love or violence to the space around it, muscles and limbs creating meaning or abstraction, and dream-state wanderlust – how dare we assume it to be limited to (or worse, try to confine it to) the live theater experience! It must out-exist us, it must be preserved in a truthful way, or we doom ourselves to eternal obscurity, and thus eternal financial struggle, and thus eternal focus away from all the work that must be done if we are to truly evolve the form. This is a new era of dancemaking – everything, from the creative process to the industry, must be reconsidered.

Therefore, in addition to its creative work, the AOMC is an experiment in the business of dance making. As an arts businessman, I am dedicated to a constant cultivation of the AOMC’s structure as a company model that holistically supports the creative work and lives of all those involved – dancers, creators, audience, and community. The AOMC will not be satisfied pursuing a creative ‘habit’—we are serious and practical about the time commitment necessary for substantial discovery, innovation, and change. Likewise, we understand that striving for change within the arts without considering the broader socio-economic structures in which the community exists is futile. We therefore disregard the notion that art and business must be separate, and are working towards modes of creation that internally support longevity via self-sufficiency.

The A.O. Movement Collective and its members are a family, a think-tank, dancemakers, community leaders, ever-evolving mind-bodies, technology developers, and catalysts: movers and shakers in every sense. We strive to answer questions and question answers by grappling with them kinetically and ideologically, in and on the blogosphere, mind, studio, and stage.

It is an exciting future towards which we extend our toes. Won’t you join us?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Start off your morning with the Big Bang

So i think this is pretty cool.
For those of you that i haven't told already, i'm leaning towards the next piece being about time travel (albeit, the way that sex and relationships and the human body navigates time travel) but about time travel nonetheless. And where does that start? A basic understanding of the universe.

I've purchased "the Elegant Universe" for some light summer reading over my break, but thought that i might as well share this with you too, and start bringing you on board to the project, even though it's...ahem...light years away. Get it? I'm so clever.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do you fear physical numbness? When you see a movie or read a book, are you able to experience it objectively, or do you immediately align yourself with the characters? Are you more hesitant to admit love or weakness to a potential partner? When you curl up in your covers, are you sleeping alone? Consider these questions as you wake from drowning.

From Lillie via email:

"Sarah, i might be drowning: my ears feel clogged and my head feels like a brick.
It's hard to keep my eyes fully opened and my lips are dry no matter how much water i drink."

I was very confused for a minute - i thought she was telling me she was too sick to go see a show tonight that we have tickets too. Then i realized.

But while we're at it, you should probably go see this show too. It's Cory Antiel's show for the fringe fest, and he's kind of a big deal. Seriously though, Cory is amazing to work with and a great performer, and very much a heart-center of the AOMC. I'd bet good money this show (his first NYC solo show!!!) is going to be awesome. More info here.

Are you following us?

Obviously yes, because you are reading this.
Here we go anyway:

"toss off the night covers" w/ Jon

Unveil! the new A.O. Model

My friends, we've reached the NOWtime.
As i mentioned in my last post, it's the time of unveiling. We've got SO MUCH about to happen, coming from both the AOMC and A.O. PRO(+ductions), as well as right here at UA. And i mean SO MUCH as in "major revolution of structure mind body and spirit", not just "a list with more than three things on it", although; the list does have more than five things on it. But before we can get to the list, let's get to the structures behind the list. It'l make more sense that way. Bear with me, we'll get to the end and then you can yell out some questions.

the AOMC was founded in 2006 as a summer intensive for pre-professional dancers and choreographers to extend their art-making and gain experience in the business side of the profession. As we grew the company and program, over the summers of my years at Sarah Lawrence, i was able to figure out more and more about what the company was really for, what type of work i wanted to be making, etc. My senior year at SLC I realized that the media and theory components of what i was doing might be better housed in separate (yet related) entities, so i "founded" (read: said "this is now a thing!") two more companies: Urgent Artist (the blog aspect of the theory work) and A.O.PRO(+ductions) which was to be a home for the media and newmedia work of the AOMC. But, maybe you already know all this. That was the THENtime.

In the year that we've been here working and making work, many things have answered and revealed themselves (many of those things being new questions to be answered) and many have redefined or changed themselves, making problematic what i once thought to be obvious. As I tried to learn as much as i could as an artist and an arts administrator, I also attempted to strike a balance for the AOMC, PRO, and UA - define and proliferate as much as possible, to start existing, and making, and being known, but also understand that i'm learning so much, that things will need to change and be re-solidified within a year or so. It's tricky - know that you don't know enough, and the only way to know is to do, so do to re-do.

And now we're at a year. At the NOWtime.
And with that brief history, I now give you the new way we exist, the new yes, the new A.O. Entity:

Here's how it works. There's the A.O. Movement Collective, which is home to my/our creative, artistic, and widely defined as "movement based" work. Most everything about the AOMC is staying the same in terms of function and structure - we still make dances, for screen and stage, we still post video on UA, we still are interested in generally the same things that we're interested in now, aesthetically and viscerally and structurally. Of course we're re-defining and honing language and branding and focus, but it's still us. I'll post our new and improved mission statement after this is done so you can see specifics (and sure, we'd always love feedback), but our old tagline "intricacy, wreckage, compassion, and mess" gives way to "Anti-Ephemeral PoMo Humanism - ie: hot mess". So really, the AOMC stays the AOMC.

A.O. PRO gets the big re-haul.
A.O. PRO(+ductions) is now the second company in the A.O. Entity - a freelancing collective that provides low cost and barter option freelancing services in arts administration (design, media work, management, consulting, etc) for emerging and generally "starving" artists (ie: all of them). So far I'm the one working most of the jobs, in collaboration on the web work with the genius and always lovely Emily Sharp, although the response has been so strong already (both in terms of the work coming in, and the people interested in providing services) that we'll be expanding very rapidly in the very near future. Here's how it works:

I know how to do a multitude of arts admin jobs, because i've been doing it for four years now for the AOMC, and because it's what i love to do. A large number of my friends and dancers also have these skills, because it's what they love to do. Everyone needs these skills, everyone can't really afford these skills for the most part, or is afraid about investing in them while still being an "emerging artist" because of the high cost, when really that's exactly what you need need need to do to get somewhere (see above comment about learning by doing and then doing to re-do). So the point of A.O. PRO is that we bring these skills to you (the emerging artist) not only to bring you a product, but to also educate you into a business-savvy artist as you make your way in life.

Let's say you need some basics - we'll use my friend A who i'm doing work for now as an example - she had a show but couldn't really afford to have someone film it, even though that's a vastly necessary and basic need for a working artist. So she called me and asked if I would be willing to do it on the cheap, and maybe throw some bartering in as well. She does neuro-muscular body work, so we ended up agreeing on $100 and two sessions of personal training (valued at $100 each) rather than the would-be $300 cost. But here's where it gets great, here's where this idea of a new company model comes in - I then take that $100, and that goes to pay me as the videographer. But then i take the two hours of body work, and that goes to the AOMC. Any of my dancers (or myself) can then take that hour of body work and use it on their own terms to supplement their pay. This transaction (and, when we expand to the bigger view and take into account that PRO works with about ten clients at a time) allows a number of things:

  1. A gets the services she needs
  2. A and I (as A.O. PRO) are now networked as business partners - hopefully she will send business my way, and I will give her exposure and connections
  3. My dancers, who lordbabyjesus knows will never be paid enough for their hard work, know have access to goods and services that are actually valuable to them (such as bodywork, classes, home-cooked meals, etc)to supplement (but not replace) their pay
  4. I have services available to the AOMC from clients who can't provide services (such as researching grant opps, volunteering for us, etc)
  5. A and my dancer who has taken the hour of body work are now networked, and may continue to work with each other after the "free" hour has been used
  6. the AOMC and PRO functioning together ensure that the AOMC becomes more self-sustainable, and is therefore more able to focus on making and presenting work
  7. all artists involved have taken a step against the supposition that it's all right for anyone to work for free, or to not be compensated for their work.

Thus, PRO becomes both a business in it's own right, and a more fleshed-out part of the A.O. family. Right now I'm branding it as being for "artists who want to focus on their art". I've just finished the design phase of the website, and now it's in Emily's hands - we'll let you know when we're going to do the big release - I'm so excited for it! But there's still something missing, yes? How does this little guy fit in?

Urgent Artist is the third part of the entity, and the one that (in my mind) really makes this a viable business model, and not just a dance company with a day-job associated with it. Though UA has been a blog, both for the AOMC and for other artists to write on, for the past year and a half or so, it hasn't really fulfilled it's vision as a community hub. My plans for UA involve a little re-definition and re-design on our part, though perhaps more subtle than the PRO shift. UA is going to become the community-hub of both the AOMC and PRO. While it will still function as the AOMC's official blog, i'd really like to expand it to include other writers, more topics, and more community action. When it started, it was more of a place just for me to unload my meta, but i think that there's value in to redefining that impulse a little - making it a place where people (dance community and non-dancers alike) can come for insight into the dancemaking process and dance community, as well as resources, dialogue, and interaction. Urgent Artist will be a home for:

the meta/in process end of the AOMC:

  1. the AOMC's video work and footage from rehearsals
  2. meta from the AOMC about the piece(s) we're working on
  3. updates from the AOMC about shows and events (both ours and that of others)

resources for the arts community:

  1. the AOMC's grant and performance applications with comments on what we think worked well and what didn't, our sample budgets, contracts, and language, etc
  2. articles about the business of dancemaking that we find interesting and helpful
  3. "inspiration" - posts of about images, video, articles, etc. that we find interesting


  1. Reviews and discussions of shows, films, events we've seen (all open for commenting and further discussion, of course)
  2. Broader meta-arts questions open for the community to discuss


  1. live discussion groups and meet-ups (such as our CHURCH arts-discussion group, that’s been on summer hiatus but is returning soon!)
  2. coordination of show attendances, so we can all go see things together
  3. (and this one is farther down the line, but hopefully eventually possible) seminars and workshops on everything from making a good press kit to alignment to arts activism.

as you can see, it’s quite an expansion, an part of that expansion depends on both growing the readership and the pool of contributors. So we’ll see how that goes – we have to start somewhere. One of the first steps of the expansion will actually be transferring over from blogger to wordpress (sorry blogger, you’ve been great, but Emily deems it to be so…) and getting some solid new design up in here. Another will be adding to our team of writers, and getting in the habit of posting posting posting. That being said, you’re the readers, so let us know what YOU want. It’s on my to-do list to create an online-survey to send your way about what you’d like to see more or less of, or suggestions about where to expand to next. In the meantime though, if you have suggestions or ideas, send them my way!

So that’s that, kiddies! The NOWtime!

The AOMC makes dances and explores, PRO offers freelancing and supports the AOMC, and the UA serves as a communicator through which the AOMC and PRO can interact and give back to the greater community as a whole. There are certainly flaws in the plan, and those will reveal themselves as we go, but it feels like the right thing to be doing right now: enough complaining about “sustainable dancemaking within our lifetimes” and time to start doing.

So that’s our new company model, our experiment, our family. Questions, ideas, protests, and dialogue always always welcome.

Monday, August 17, 2009

From a good friend:

"Maybe you should pour some cold water on your neck and take a good long look in the mirror and say "I AM SPECIAL AND PEOPLE LOVE ME." Maybe you will wake from drowning."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh we are unveiling, Oh we are blooming!

My first year in New York has officially happened.
I say "happened" rather than "drawn to a close" or "come to an end" because it certainly hasn't - the momentum of the events of this year are pushing us all - me, the AOMC, my dancers, Urgent Artist, and A.O. PRO all included - vastly and swiftly into the new year and next season - think of an avalanche, mixed with the legs of a running baby horse, but with the impact of a car crash. Yeah, that's us.

Anyway. This time a year ago I was moving into my first apartment and interviewing for the Van Lier fellowship - crossing my fingers, biding my time, and having no real perception of what this year would hold other than a long list of what ifs, fantasies, disaster scenarios, and potential enerdgy. That was the then time. Now, a new apartment, new job, and year of rehearsing and performing later, we're here: the now time.

While we're certianly still building and rehearsing, i wanted to take a break from inundating you with ways to drown to reflect on what we've done in this past year, as well as tell you a little bit about some big changes and shifts for the AOMC and Urgent Artist, and lay out a little map of what you can expect in the coming year. I also want to pose some questions - what ifs and potentials about what this blog might become, and hope that you, gentel reader, will respond in the comments. This blog, after all, is about YOU, and I'd like to do what i can as the main writer to make you more comforable and excited here, and just as generally obsessed with us as is humanly possible.

I'll be breaking it into a few posts (don't worry, epic-curians, they'll all be long even broken up). Here's what's upcoming in the next few weeks:

1.) What this year looked like for the AOMC, and what it means for next year
2.) The AOMC unveils its new expiramental three-part company structure
3.) All we've got planned for you for 2009/2010
4.) Urgent Artist's role in all of this


From Lillie via the beach:

  1. puff air into your mouth and let the bubble pull you to the surface
  2. Meditate - go deeper until

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Listen. There's no way to wake from drowning. You either are or you aren't. Or you go to bed drowning, certain you'll be drowning for the rest of your life, and then you wake up to the sounds of the radio that you left on blaring auto-tune and country at three in the morning, the clothes from yesterday scattered on the floor. And as you go to pick them up, thinking 'what exactly about this moment, this very moment, woke me up?' -bamn, you're dry as a desert. And it takes you a while to realize what's happened, and you even have to think back to know, to really know, how long it's been going on like this. Because you see, it feels like it's always been there, same as the drowning. Either that, or you start fine, and you feel the wave coming over you, this thick long shadow, waiting to toss you like a rag doll. And that shadow, baby - listen baby - that shadow, the weight of the wait as it hangs over you, that ain't nothing to the heaviness you feel when the gravity crashes down."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Way number three: store water in your eardrums and feel the tidal inclinations of your audio-lunar intuition. You will wake from drowning.

The Number Way to Wake from Drowning

Breath in quickly in order to avoid attention. Close both eyes and concentrate until you sincerely have no questions. This may cause fatigue and light swaying. Dig in deeply through the back side of your stomach and jump. You will wake from drowning.