Monday, August 1, 2022

Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival 2022

During the first week of July Fly-by-Night joined a host of other somatic dance educators for the 2022 conference held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. After our long COVID hiatus, it was grounding to re-gather as educators and artists to share our strong belief in the power of somatic dancing.

The conference included four days of workshops and performances in which Julie presented her workshop on Cultivating Joy and joined Maia Ramnath and Chriselle Tidrick in performing a trio from Where Shall I Send My Joys? Here is a picture post-performance.

Below are warm up pictures of the dancers in the  beautiful performing arts facilities of the Demming Dance Theater Building.

Maia in the studio.

Chriselle running through the dance in the upper lobby area.

The conference would not happen each year without the amazing organization of Cynthia Williams - shown here doing box office (one of over a dozen duties she does during the conference).  

 This year Cynthia also contributed a stellar performance in a solo. Isn't it amazing how many things can one female dancer can accomplish?

 Three of the favorite performers and presenters are pictures below: Willam (Bill) Evans, who heads the conference each  year, Claire Porter, and Don Halquist.

 

A special thanks to the amazing tech crew that also made all the performances run smoothly: 

Techical Director Mark Wenderlich  (who helped Julie rig for the show)

Production Coordinator Bill Burd (who holds the record for being the quickest stage manager to know his cues that I have ever met).

Sound and Light board operators Bryna Gage and Emma Yeager.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

All Too Routine In This Country

I am going to veer slightly off the topic of art in this blog post to discuss human rights because art isn't going to matter anymore to the 10 people who were shot dead last Saturday in Buffalo New York. 

 

As an individual who attempts to "lead" a non-profit, it is important to pause and label what is happening in the state (and country) where I live and where I try to make sense of the world through the process of creating art.

 

 

Unfortunately the incident in Buffalo New York on Saturday was neither shocking nor unusual; it was typical of what goes on in this country. It is not uncommon in the U.S. that 10 people are killed by a white supremacist because he looked at their skin color and didn't think they had a right to be alive.

I'm not going to address the fact that 18-year olds can't buy alcohol but in this state but easily purchase  assault rifles (though that certainly doesn't help the situation).

I just think it is time to call attention to the fact that white supremacists are NOT living on the fringes of society in this country, and white supremacist ideas aren't only found in the dark corners of the internet. 

Every night millions of living rooms in this country tune into "news" programs that discuss Replacement Theory which fuels white supremacist actions, including actions like buying assault rifles and killing people of color.

Politicians regularly discuss replacement theory and other similar ideas to millions of people, including 18-year olds who can buy assault rifles and walk into stores to kill people of color.


Words are where hate starts but they can also be where hate stops.

So, I'm taking a moment from business (and blog posts) as usual to label things as they are. The legacy of hate in this country is very deep. And, if we can't name what is going on, we can't change it. 

 So let's call out what is being said every day in this country, let's identify it for what it is (white supremacist thinking) and what is does (spreads hate).

Maybe, just maybe, if we agree on the reality of this situation we can then come together to change it in our homes, our schools, through our art, and by our actions.





Thursday, March 24, 2022

Reflections from Joy Workshops

 It is quite true that joy is contagious!

The participants of our joy workshops have proved that all  over again. 

Through meditation, movement and reflections on paper, all participants found a pathway to their own  joy and ways to share it.








To schedule your own Joy Workshop, 

contact us at flybynightdance@gmail.com

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Meet The Artists for Where Shall I Send My Joy?

 So Much Talent in One Place!

In every show, I discover the depth of amazing artists. Our latest show is no exception. The dance literally would not have been made without these two dancers: Maia Ramnath and Cecilia Fontanesi.

Maia Ramnath has a myriad of aerial and floor dance skills and a capacity to work quickly and for long periods of time without a word of complaint; what a godsend! 

Her dancing never ceases to amaze me (and then, it gets even better!)

I especially love her eagerness to embrace finding joys in everyday life.  

Photo: Andrew T. Foster

Cecilia Fontanesi has both an aerial and a somatic background and she is able to blend these skills so that she moves like liquid. 

Her solo in the new work showcases both of these aspects of her dancing.

She is a thinking dancer and a problem solver and I am always  grateful for her suggestions.

 

 

photo: Wanda Moretti

 

When we began the project, I was injured and could only partially show movements. Each dancer found a way to interpret what was being asked of them and the work emerged. So much dedication and such open minds!

 

Now that we have so much dance material, the work is expanding through the addition of Paul Uhry Newman's music.

Paul is a percussionist in the Haitian tradition but also so much more - a published poet, a composer who creates instruments from a myriad of objects, and a man with a wicked sense of humor.

As we fill up the space visually, he matches it audibly. Each art form is a language but they can be spoken at the same time.

 

 

 

None of the material would be stitched together without the theater direction and script work of James Bosley. It was incredible how quickly he was able to see the possibilities of  what we had and helped shape it into one, complete piece.  James' work as a playwright and Founding Artistic Director for Northern Manhattan's UP Theater Company makes him a great fit for the project. He is a dream collaborator: his expertise is immense, his ego is not.


And, working with videographer Cristobal Vivar again is always a pleasure; he arrives with an open mind and is willing to walk into the depths of the forest to capture the footage we need, even when we find ourselves standing in poison ivy!

Cristobal also creates amazing photos for us and for his business, VivaPhoto.com







Hope to see you at the show!

Julie Ludwick

Artistic Director


 

 


CUNY Dance Initiative and
the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
Present
Fly-by-Night Dance Theater in the World Premiere

 

Where Shall I Send My Joys?

Performances with Aerial-Dance & Live Music

 

Friday, April 1, 2022 @ 7:30 pm

 

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
524 West 59th Street between 10th & 11th Ave, NYC NY 10019

 

Tickets available HERE

 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Share A Joy

 Unusual sunset

A few nights ago I looked out my south-facing kitchen window and discovered the sky was aflame with an unusual sunset. I called out to my son who said, "I know, I just took a picture from my window."  A few minutes later I looked again; at this point the sky was even more unusual than before. Again I called to my son and he, along with my husband and myself, began taking pictures which we then share with friends and family via text.

This was a moment of joy. Looking up at the sky is an age-old way to bring people together. It can awaken in us an inner sense of wonder.

What wonders have you seen recently that brought you together with others or gave you a sense of connection to the universe?

We invite your comments...



Monday, October 18, 2021

A Process of Cultivating Joy

A Path Towards Joy

In February of 2020, just before the world had an inkling of what COVID 19 might be, my eldest sister, Patsy, sent an email to all her siblings to tell us she had ALS (or Lou Gerhig's disease as it is sometimes referred to here in the U.S.). 

This disease is 100% fatal, with no known cause nor cure. In her email my sister explained that she might have years or merely months.

As someone who had practiced Buddhism for decades, Patsy informed us she was prepared for her last journey.


<----- Patsy in her garden



Patsy ended her email with this request:

And really, there’s nothing like a time limit to wake you up to an appreciation of all that is wonderful in this world. I’d love to hear from you, but please, let’s not spend a lot of time talking about my health. Send me a poem that moves you, or a link to some music you love, or a snapshot of something that brings you joy — whatever makes life worth living. Keep looking for joy wherever you find it, and share it with me when you can.

So, that is what we did. We took our broken hearts and went on with our daily lives with a mission to catalogue our joys and send them to her. This is a sampling of what I sent to her:

  • A series of photographs from a walk in the woods
  • Poems I came across
  • A video of my cat wrestling with a small handbag
  • A few of my favorite music selections



 In August of 2020 I visited Patsy   one last time, on Gabriola Island on the Western coast of Canada, at the house she built with help from friends. 



<------ Patsy's home













During my trip to her home I was reminded of all the joys that Patsy brought to our family, including the habit of arriving at family gatherings with a jar of bubbles.



Patsy blowing bubbles off my parents' porch in 2004. 
Notice how my 22 month old son watches as the bubbles disappear up into the sky...   ------->









Patsy had a bottle of bubbles on hand for my visit.



<----- Here she is, blowing bubbles off her back porch.



Such joy!




In May of 2021 Patsy died peacefully in her home.


You can read Patsy's obituary HERE




For the next two months I didn't know what to do with the joys I found in life.

In June I emailed two dancers asking whether they might want be part of a residency I was applying for. 

My application summary was this:

The project is an exploration of joy as described in Buddhist texts as “the pillars of joy”. Each artist will begin a journey towards defining the difference between happiness and joy with the definition of happiness as an emotion we experience, while joy is an attitude we can develop. The artistic journey is not for the artists to become Buddhists but for each artist to be the best version of themselves and to share this in the studio and ultimately, onstage.
 The response from the dancers was a resounding YES! We want to do this project.

We spent a few weeks in the studio just getting used to dancing in the air again. 

In August we received funds from a New York City Artists Corps grant. We spent 8 weeks finding ways to translate our joys into movement and shared them in an informal studio showing.

Then we received a CUNY Dance Intitiative grant and ...

Now we have created an entire evening from this work that will premiere on Friday, April 1st.

Join Us As We Share Our Joys!

CUNY Dance Initiative and
the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
Present
Fly-by-Night Dance Theater in the World Premiere of

Where Shall I Send My Joys?

Tickets available HERE

Performances with Aerial-Dance & Live Music

Friday, April 1, 2022 @ 7:30 pm

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
524 West 59th Street between 10th & 11th Ave, NYC NY 10019




Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Journey Back

Returing After a looong hiatus... 

My first time back in the studio was in March of this year. 


It had been a whole year since I had been there; 


the longest period of not dancing since I began lessons at age six. 


I turned the key and came inside...




Up the long, crooked stairway....

Then another climb - up the familiar ladder. 
And Voila! 
A trapeze, ready to go




The sun was shining in the south-side windows. Things felt familiar but my body was incredibly rusty. It was a very soft approach back in.  

The aerial work made me so dizzy - I decided I would need to bring dramamine the next time I came in.

When summer came I was ready for company and found two dancers also itching to get back into flying mode. Maia and Ceci and I spend a few weeks getting the kinks out. Then we started sharing with one another things in life that brought us joy.

Maia shared her memory of a summer evening with Hydrangeas and Fireflies and she made a floor phrase about them. Then we translated her floor phrase into an aerial one. Here is the floor version:

Ceci created a phrase about child-like energy. Here is her floor phrase that translates that joy...

Our plan to get ourselves back into shape has become the framework for an entire dance. We have been cataloguing our joys and sharing them, then translating them into movement both on the floor and in the air.

Please join us as we share these seeds of this dance:

Saturday, October 30 

5:30 pm

281 N. 7th Street (Williamsburg)

Brooklyn NY

Space is limited to 20 people -

RSVP required: flybynightdance@gmail.com

We hope you will also join us in sharing joys from your everyday life too and, if you would like, translating your joys into movement (this can be a simple hand dance, so all can join in).


COVID NOTICE:

  • In accordance with NYC health rules, we will require proof of vaccinations for our staff, participants, and performers.  

  • In addition to proof of vaccination, masks will be required at this event.

  • Children under the age of 12 will not be permitted to join, since there are no currently available vaccines for their age group. Once children under the age of 12 become eligible to receive a vaccine and have reached full vaccination status, they are welcome to attend our events. 

See more at our website: Flybynightdance.org 

Julie Ludwick is one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive $5,000 through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.