Normally, I don’t look back on the year’s momentous occasions or make New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I’ve thought of New Year’s strictly as another day on a calendar and nothing more. Strangely, over the past few weeks, my brain keeps rolling over the past year like a silent black and white film, as I remember fun-filled flashbacks like watching RAWdance swoop through the dining area at Orson (never ever try to eat gnocchi while watching a duet! Your fork will miss your mouth every time). Or giggling with my ladies who lunch at the local South Indian joint. Large things pop up, too, as my grandmother’s memorial replays frequently in my mind.

As I reflect upon the past year, I asked some in the dance/movement community to do the same. Here are their thoughts.

Jeni Leary
Dancer; Instructor, Afro Brazilian Contemporary, ODC School

Jeni.JPGHigh point or favorite moment of the past year: Last year i feel I did what I thought would be impossible: I managed to continue dancing as single mother by teaching a Sunday modern dance class at ODC. Considering I would be on my own raising my son, I just assumed I would have to give up what was most important in my life to afford the logistics of single motherhood. Dance is not only soul restoring for me personally, but by sharing a space with a group of strangers who are sharing a form of dynamic nonverbal expression, I am consistently reminded of how important the arts are for our collective livelihood.

Looking ahead: Now that I have kept dance I’d like to continue to evolve my dance. As a teacher, I will continue to research the symbology of the technique I am teaching, fostering dance not only as a technical skill but as a rich, holistic means of expression. I have learned to incorporate my son with all of his creative energy into my classes; he is a reminder of the freedom and playfulness I must bring to the classroom. I also hope to start performing again, having experienced a number of life changes in the last year–I would love to bring a new energy to the stage. We are forever evolving in dance.

Katharine Hawthorne
Dancer and Choreographer

KH.jpgHigh point or favorite moment of the past year: The high points of this year included presenting my first full evening of choreography and touring my work to Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, and Brown University in Providence, RI. These were milestone events for me as a young artist, and I relished the opportunity to share my creative work with a broad audience. Perhaps more meaningfully, I grew a lot as a dancer in 2011 and continued to discover new possibilities in my physical body and performance presence.
Looking ahead: I am looking forward to continuing and deepening relationships with my artistic collaborators–both the choreographers that I dance for (Hope Mohr, Holly Johnston), as well as the dancers I work with on my own projects.
Photo by Weidong Yang

Victoria Lambayan
Owner and Instructor, Mighty Pilates

mightypilates2.jpgHigh point or favorite moment of the past year: A favorite moment for me was having a client discover a movement that alleviated her SI joint pain! We had been working for weeks on trying to stabilize it, and we had an Aha! moment. I love those moments and they don’t always come as quickly or painlessly as we wished they did.
Looking ahead: I am looking forward to more of those Aha! moments AND my upcoming trip to Costa Rica in 2012 with my husband and baby boy.

Hope Mohr
Choreographer and Artistic Director, Hope Mohr Dance

hmd.jpgHigh point or favorite moment of the past year: Setting my solo “Plainsong” on Aleta Hayes
Looking ahead: Looking forward to discovering how my new dance, “Reluctant Light,” will end.
Photo by Margo Moritz

Leah Curran
Dancer with various modern dance companies; Administrative Manager, Oakland Ballet Company

leahcurran.jpgHigh point or favorite moment of the past year: A favorite moment for Oakland Ballet dancers and staff occurred during Oakland Ballet Company’s Nutcracker outreach to Oakland schools. One young student was so moved by the mini Nutcracker performance that she was crying tears of joy. She told Artistic Director Graham Lustig that she doesn’t usually get to see things that are so beautiful. Oakland Ballet arranged for this young student and her mother to attend [our] “The Nutcracker” at the Paramount Theatre and come backstage to meet the dancers. Watching her take a photograph with the Sugar Plum Fairy and Marie brought tears of joy to my eyes!

Looking ahead: Oakland Ballet Company is looking forward to our spring production, “Diaghilev Imagery.” This program of new works will feature the re-imagining of several ballets that were originally commissioned at the beginning of the 20th century for the Ballet Russes by Sergei Diaghilev. In this program [our] Artistic Director pays homage to the rich heritage of the Oakland Ballet, which was founded on many of these great ballets presented in their original form. Bay Area choreographers Amy Seiwert and Val Caniparoli join….Lustig in creating new choreography [set] to the original scores, each of them freshly re-interpreted for the 21st century audiences and dancers. [FYI, this program premieres in May 2012.]

Stella Adelman
Dancer; Program Manager, Dance Mission

stella.jpgHigh point or favorite moment of the past year: My favorite part of the year was working on Dance Brigade’s 35-Year Retrospective at YBCA. The outpouring of support from the community and press was amazing.
Looking ahead: What am I looking forward to in the year ahead? Finally learning how to drive!!
Photo by Anne Martin

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the author

Becca Klarin writes about dance. Her first stage role was at the age of four, where she dressed in a brightly colored bumble bee tutu and black patent leather taps shoes. She remembers bright lights and spinning in circles with her eleven other bees, but nothing more. Becca also has an affinity for things beginning with the letter "P", including Pizzetta 211, Fort Point, pilates, parsvakonasana, and plies.

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