Friday, July 4, 2014

Exciting Summer: tomorrow a wedding and a few hours later -- Dance on Land!

Tomorrow I will be filming a dear friend's wedding ceremony. I was incredibly nervous about it up until yesterday, when I managed to get a glimpse of the space where the filming will take place. It is such a beautiful space! The moment I stepped on the grass I felt incredibly familiar and connected with it. All the anxious nerves became happy nerves full of excitement. There is so much potential, so much available nooks and crannies, so much nature and old architecture to play with -- I fell in love. So tomorrow, my entire day and video skills will be dedicated it to this amazing experience that my friend is having. I am honored.

Speaking of amazing experiences of union, there is also another cool thing I am doing this upcoming week. My dear friend and dance partner in crime, Robyn Taylor, posted a video of herself doing a workshop last summer. I watched it out of curiosity and became increasingly intrigued. The video showcases people dancing with nature - literally dancing with rocks, fields and talking about things that I haven't thought about since I was a child.

The discussion in the video also began to fuel inquiries about technology. Everyday I sit in front of a computer either to do administrative work, edit or write. Hours upon hours of sitting and using brain fuel in a sedentary way. It's been very bad for my body, especially since I've been trained in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis. Now I can pinpoint problem areas and physically tell what is wrong with me. Sometimes I bounce, shake my core, or take deep breathes to connect with my organs and center. At my office work I had to bring in juggling balls to help me with my Cross-Lateral Body Pattern movement; to also to help stimulate both sides of my brain--the creative and analytic.

By the time the end of the video rolls around I'm thinking to myself -- I need this. I need to step away from my computer and just be a child again. Because when I was a child, I did not question my relationship with nature--we were buddies. I played hide and seek with bushes and trees, painted pictures with water and mud, collected shells from the ocean and glued family photos on them to give away as gifts. I mean, what happened?

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love my technology. But lately it's starting to feel like an unnatural and incessant lamp beside my face that won't shut off. And frankly, I could use a little dark ages to get me back into my bones.

Robyn, I will see you soon and we will be dancing on land!

Click here to learn more about inkBoat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals Condensed Movement Workshop...what a mouthful!

On Monday I had the pleasure of doing LMA/BF work with the talented group of actors belonging to The Overcast Theater. The team is preparing for their upcoming show, The Glass Menagerie -- a classic Tennessee Williams play, directed by Jenny Adler.

I was invited to do a Movement Workshop by the talented Samanta Cubias, who is serving the show as an Assistant Director. It was a great way to practice the Laban Movement Analysis language and facilitate a group setting Bartenieff Fundamentals touch session. I had a very limited time, and basically condensed a week's worth of activities into an hour and fifteen minutes, but the group was energetic and receptive and we did it!

Movement, voice, using Effort Factors to play with character development. Experiencing the Inner expression through outer movement - it was a blast. We even created a mini Movement Choir through a simple flocking exercise. Best of all, all the deep breathing in the room left for some happy cells and glowing faces.

There is much more work to be done! Much more reading, research and writing -- especially when collecting these experiences. What works, what needs work, and more...all part of the trade.

Thank you Overcast Theater for allowing me to practice on your bodies. I cannot wait for your performance!


overcasttheatre.com

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts performs "#0 (a space opera)"

Image from their website smithwymore.org.

Tonight I have the pleasure of doing videography for Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts at CounterPULSE for their performance of "#0 (a space opera)." This is their last performance at this venue, though I suspect the show will continue to grow and develop based on yesterdays Q&A. Last night, I got to experience the show as an OBSERVER, and it was a hilarious and terrifying ordeal. To understand what I mean, you have to see it.

The performance is tonight, June 22, 7pm at CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St, SF. Visit their website and click on "Upcoming Shows" to learn more about this performance and join in on the technological dance fun!

Click here to see the SWDA site
Click here to see the CounterPULSE site
Click here for ticketing information on the Dancers' Group site

Short Description:
"#0 (a space opera)," is a highly physical, semi-improvised, evening-length performance about a small band of humans who live on a future world with no name. Created by Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Breathe

I am the daughter of many voices.
It has been made so,
I can pass from one place to the next
with different eyes and mouths and minds.
It has been made so.

The wind that surges cross my brow
has been there before.
It paints inside of me a hollow home that
once upon a time, meant life and death and it
has been there before.

You carry you painful you
I carry secrets of shades and hide your features
through a song that never really ends.
Because no one wants to see you.
Because no one wants to know you
I carry secrets of shades and hide your features.

Friend.
Foe.
Forgettable.
Forever.
Frantic.
Feverish.
Fun.
Frenzy.
Flop.
Frown.
for

us.

Breathe.

- By Rosa Lisbeth Navarrete

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Returning to nature and the novel

Nature.
I am currently in a little town called Ukiah; which funny enough -- when spelled backwards -- gives us the word HAIKU! I take that as a good omen as I am here for various reasons. Reason number one: to get out of the city for the Memorial Day Weekend. Reason number two: to focus and return to writing, specifically my novel. Reason number three: for health and quiet nature time.

My partner and I spent a couple of hours bouncing back and forth between the mineral baths and the jacuzzi today. We saw a sign that said, "Mark Twain and Jack London once bathed here." Another good omen.

The nice lady at the front desk of this little-piece-of-heaven-escape-village-place told us all about the benefits of the bath. She also told us about live music in the town later on in the evening.
The Blackberry Bushes

It has been less than a day, but already I feel like I've been smacked around with an invisible "relax" stick. The baths were amazing! Amos and I looked into the mirror moments after being in them and our flesh was pink, colorful and fresh. We almost looked like we did the day we first met, but slightly more pudgy around the waist area. It was nice to see ourselves feeling and looking so rejuvenated.

Our tummies grumbled something awful after the baths, and we both headed into the small town in search of the live music and possibly a couple of drinks. Luckily, we stumbled upon a  bluegrass trio from Seattle called The Blackberry Bushes. They were so awesome that I purchased a CD; I am actually listening to it now as I write this entry. They reminded me of being in Salt Lake City, Utah last summer for the Integrated Movement Studies certification program. It brought a smile to my face thinking about Josh, Suzy, Andrea and the rest of the gang of Laban/Bartenieff movers and shakers.

On this trip, I am going to focus on cleaning up chapter three in my novel. For I have promised a dear friend (the only person on this planet who has read Chapter 1 and 2) that I would give her Chapter three to read soon. Time to challenge this writer back into her favorite thing to do. Write, write, write!

Wish me luck friends. I want to submit something by the end of Monday. Also, cheers and jazz hands to all of you who are out enjoying Memorial Day Weekend with loved ones.

Thank you to all of our veterans; the women and men who serve this great country. I am grateful to you all. May you enjoy this weekend the most.

One love,
R

Monday, May 19, 2014

My teacher: Mr. Runyan, a legend for the Cleveland Cavaliers

"A champion...really you're doing something worthwhile for the community...
(a champion is) not just being a star in the television or a movie. It's somebody 
who really contributes. And you are all really champions."

I am going to overgeneralize when I say the following (my apologies), but the older I get the more I notice something evolving in my frame of thinking. I am starting to realize that it's usually when something tragic happens, that people tend to step back and look at their life choices.

Since August of last year, I have been loosing people in my life; they've joined (as my friend Paloma says) the spirit world. This past weekend, my high school teacher, Mr. Runyan of  Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, California - has passed away. Our Drafting teacher dedicated his adult life to making sure his students were professional leaders of the future. Because of him I joined SkillsUSA (which was then called Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, VICA), I was part of the BOEING Job Shadowing Program, and I learned how to prepare for a job interview, how to present myself in front of an audience, and I learned how to compete; that is how to win and lose. Under his leadership I even won a couple of gold medals.

I found out about Mr. Runyan's passing as I waited for the metro train in L.A. with my family. It was Mother's Day. We were discussing what we were going to have for dinner that evening. I read the email message and my body sank in disbelief. Suddenly my mind went back in time to pull files out, files of memories with Mr. Runyan. In my minds eye I saw myself reading through moments with my teacher that were monumental in the shaping of my artistic and professional skills. Then came the questions; questions I knew could not be answered. Regrets seeped through me: I should have visited more, I should have been better about staying in touch. I should have done more. Then I stopped myself. I took a deep breath and continued to celebrate Mothers Day with the family.

We walked around Universal City Walk, but my mind was still in this in between world - the past and the present mingled together as we strolled through the old and new shops on the strip. Back in the days, I would walk around the movie theater and restaurants and think about things that seem trivial to me now. What dress will I wear to prom? Will I make the dance team? and How much would I have to save up to go to grad night at Disney with my friends? Everything was static. Never once in my young teenage self did I consider the fact that I'd be getting older, that I'd have different priorities, and that I'd be leaving the San Fernando Valley to pursue media, arts, and non-profit work. Teenage-hood, if you will, made life like a roulette game that always landed on the same number and color. It never ever occurred to me that the people in my life would not always be there, that my body and mind would change, and that I'd be standing at Universal years later thinking about the vast difference between Rosa then, and Rosa now. That I'd be celebrating my mother for giving me the gift of life, and quietly mourning the passing of my teacher, Mr. Runyan.

I watched children play by the same water fountains I used to play in, I smiled and envied their innocence. I wished these children would get to have a teacher who cared as much as Mr. Runyan did. He impacted so many of his students.

My thoughts continue to race.

I knew that person, I spoke with him, I learned from him, I watched him smile, I was in his class when the second airplane hit the 9-11 towers and he stood in front of us and expressed compassion, patience, as we watched in horror. He turned off the television and consoled his wife over the phone. He was always honest with us. He told me about the BOEING Job Shadowing program and I got to shadow an employee and learn about engineering through welding mechanisms. He took all his students to the NHRA races and we volunteered clean up after the race. He insisted that volunteering was not a chore, but an act that should be practiced in all communities. He taught us the value of being on time, being precise, using our words carefully, making eye contact, shaking hands firmly, how to suit up for an interview, and most importantly -- he demonstrated through his words and actions just how valuable each and every one of his students are.

It was a privilege to have been taught by Mr. Runyan. I remind myself now, that there is no need to feel regret, you see, he's always been here. Because that is what a good teacher does, they stick with you. And you are a better person because of it. Thank you Mr. Runyan for everything you've done. May your spirit continue to thrive through your students and may your voice resonate in us when we advice younger version of us, who sometimes need to be reminded how important our voices are. You were right, we are valuable. Thank you for letting us know.

You will always be a part of my past, and I will keep your teachings with me as I move towards my future. God bless.





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"La Gringa" or acting like a TIA

Photo of Julían Marenco, Rosa Navarrete, Sharlee Taylor, Veronica Maynez (already in character)

LA GRINGA

 Play by Carmen Rivera
Selected scenes directed by Mara Minchillo

It seems that all I do nowadays is work, which is why once in a while I also make time for art, writing and dance. In the case of La Gringa, it is THEATRE! Mara Minchillo approached me randomly one night as I was sighing through some emails about a role she needed to fill for a Director Showcase production of La Gringa, a play by Carmen Rivera. The story is about a Puerto Rican-American girl who leaves New York to visit her family in Puerto Rico for the first time, so that she can return to her roots. And then, as you may be able to guess -- chaos ensues. As if this poor girl needs more identity issues, her own family begins to mistrust her visit to the island. I play, auntie Norma, who suffers from what millions of people all over the globe do -- immigrant traumas -- but this role is super interesting because it's the trickling of trauma from her older sister who immigrated to the states at a young age, leaving small Norma behind to take care of her parents and her sick brother. Now Norma and her niece Maria (the representation of her older sister, Olga) have to make peace with the distorted family history, and the fragmented miscommunication that happens when families live far away from each other. 

Pick up the play at your local library, or purchase it! It's worth the read, it's actually really funny, and above all it has a lot of heart. 

Mara Minchillo, our young and talented director, is limited to 13-15 minutes of the entire play, yet despite that she has found three precious moments to bring to life. I am extremely proud of this production, and super excited that we'll be showing it this Thursday and Friday, May 8-9 during the Program B of the Director's Showcase at the Durham Studio Theater in the Dwinelle Building. We will be performing alongside other wonderful excerpts including a musical about rats and a mad woman. Come check it out!

Why? 

Well first of all because it's FREE, and second of all because you will be making a lot of young directors super happy to have an audience. They've worked really hard to make their visions come to life. Additionally, this has been a blast. Thanks for the chance to play with you fellow thespians! Join the fun. For details see below. 

The cast of La Gringa: Chagil Guiab,  Julían Marenco, Rosa Navarrete, Veronica Maynez, and Sharlee Taylor.Photo by Mara Minchillo
Program B
Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Department at UC Berkeley
Location: Durham Studio Theater
Date & Time: May 8, 7pm & May 9, 2pm

Other selected scenes from the following plays will be shown: Redux Medea - Matthew Bratko, La Gringa - Mara Morgantti Michillo, Topdog/Underdog - Lorenz Angelo Gonzales, Bumblescratch - Adam Niemann, The Woolgatherer - Sophia Brady, The Crucible - Beth Hitchcock

Click here for FB event!

Julían Marenco, Rosa Navarrete, Sharlee Taylor, 
Veronia Maynez and director, Mara Minchillo

Choreographer for "The Stage"



I will be choreographer for the musical The Stage, written by Julia Taylor and co-directed by Julia Taylor and Sarah Mosby; produced by The Overcast Theatre this fall. I am excited about this new production, the new cast members, and I am excited to apply some of my CLMA training into this process. Check out the synopsis below.

The Stage

A director seeks redemption in the professional theater world so  he comes up with a brilliant idea-- putting on an original musical unlike anyone has ever seen before!

The cast of characters includes an annoying but lovable ingenue, a bad boy heartthrob, a train wreck alcoholic transvestite, and a cockney janitor among others. While this musical is over the top in more ways than one, it also explores salient questions like what makes a show original? Does originality even exist? Who can really decided what makes good theatre and art? Are we willing to do just about anything for a shot at fame? 

With a tip of the hat to the classic broadway musicals, THE STAGE parodies other shows, giving them a playful smack in the face. The original score features all kinds of musical genres including rock, broadway, love ballads with soaring harmonies, and even polka!

Yet the question still remains, doe stye director succeced in his quest for originality? Is this show like every other you've ever seen or is it something entirely UNLIKE anything you've seen before? Either way, you're bound to have a good time! It doesn't matter whether you love musical or hate them, this show has something for everybody. 

WARMING: This show contains adult content--namely raunch, sexual themes, violence, and plenty of foul language. Now that you're really intrigued ... COME AUDITION!


* * * 
AUDITIONS: click here for the The Overcast Theatre's upcoming auditions
SHORT FILM: click here to see the short film that started it all!