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 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.

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:

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).


  • 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: 

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.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Communication and Listening 

Now that the world is slowly emerging from the pandemic, this blog seems the best possible way to communicate and offer ideas. This post is to state my reflections on my teaching philosophy.

Photo above by Martha Granger Photography.     Pictured: Julie Ludwick and Ashley Brown

NOTE: During the past few years the way Fly-by-Night Dance has incorporated the internet has gone through many changes. Reasons for this are many, not the least of which is that, as an artist-run organization, resources are limited. The most limited resource is time. Over the past 10 years the amount of "spare" time has decreased for most of us. This is because the work/life/family balance became more and more difficult to keep. 

I've been fortunate to have full-time work through the COVID-19 pandemic but that came at a cost of very little time outside of work. To keep balanced, the choice has often been to eliminate bloggingAfter the 2016 election social media became more politicized and toxic. The policies of social media companies did little to mitigate that. About a year ago I decided to simply stop using these platforms and they have been dormant. This decision will be re-evaluated as the company becomes active again following our hiatus during the pandemic.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Company as Community

What's With The Producing?

Recently my son asked me why I continue to produce shows. I know why he asked; from his perspective it is just a whole lot of work. He sees me working late at night and planning classes for the company on the weekends. He looks in my closet which is half full of costumes and rigging and wonders, "WHY?"

What he doesn't see is what happens in the studio during classes or rehearsals and the bonding that dancers create when working together. This is especially true when working somatically.

The Skinner Releasing Technique that is integrated into our aerial work provides opportunities for letting go and feeling one is part of a community with an unstated goal of becoming one's best self.

Yes, we have goals to be better dancers technically but, along the way, we might also feel we are changing within. When we let go of tension, we become more open minded. When we partner on a trapeze together, we find ways of both sensing and working together. In these activities our antennae go beyond ourselves and we become aware of others in the world.

The process of doing a show is all about building community.

When I am preparing a company for a concert, what is most important is that our goals blend so working together is both more efficient and enjoyable. By the time we are ready to perform, we not only know the dances, we also know one another and our responsibilities are shared.

Dancers say things like,

Yes, I'll tie up the trapeze after I'm done performing.
Sure, I'll help with that costume.
or simply
Does anyone need anything?

And our audiences can sense this and recognize that these endeavors are more meaningful that simply getting ourselves onstage.

And, yes, we trust our audiences will find meaning in the dances and our performances. But we also hope audiences believe in our entire process as a way to quietly influence the world into coming together.

Intertwine yourself with Fly-by-Night:

Help us continue to build community

Support our online campaign HERE

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Back in the Studio

The Summer of 2019 has been a wonderful time to reflect on Fly-by-Night's Repertory as we decide what to present for our 20th Anniversary Season. We have revisited a number of repertory dances in preparation for performances next February 1 and 2, 2020. One of these dances is:

Birds of A Feather
This trio was originally done in 2001 with Janet Aisawa, Despina Stamos, and Suzanne Jaehne and it includes an incredibly inventive sound score by Paul Uhry Newman.

One of the amazing aspects of the work are the costumes by Elissa Iberti and hats made by milner T. Michael. Here are the delighted dancers on the day we brought out the hats to try on:

 Alum dancer Alissa Kaplan Soto

Alum dancer, and original cast member, Despina Stamos

New FBN dancer Erica Lessner

Hiatus Mea Culpa

This blog entry is an opportunity for me to plead guilty to abstaining from social media for a long hiatus including neglecting this blog as well as platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

I'm not here to make apologies. Let me simply state that when one has a full time job, is a wife, and the mother of a teenager, running a non-profit (including said non-profit's social media) is going to end up at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of priorities.

Additionally, my artistic incentive arises from time spent being mindful of both my kinesthetic being and internal artistic process. Being "out there" on social media erodes this internal work.

Internal "do-nothing" time is crucial to deep reflection. It means feeling ripples that go inward as well as one that go outward.

In my defense, during this hiatus I have attended somatic conferences which included multiple classes and presentations on best practices as a somatic teacher as well as a presentation about the journey Fly-by-Night has taken over the course of offering our scholarship program for people of color over 10 years. These conference activities help guide me as an artist and a teacher only if I also take time to reflect on what I learned.

Some things I've been reflecting on:

1619 Project This important reporting by The New York Times is a series on how slavery was woven into the fabric of the United States. 

Cruel Optimism, a book by Lauren Berlant that discusses how the American Dream keep us from thriving.

How to successfully apply differentiation tools for maximum student growth and individual success. This has included a number of online essays but also the book Differentiation in the Elementary Grades.

Podcasts get me around NYC. Rather than the news, I listen to podcasts. Recently I went through the entire Season 3 of Serial
This investigative reporting hosted by Sarah Koenig, gives an in-depth look at what is often referred to as the "criminal justice system". If you make it through the whole series you will understand why some folks call it the "criminal system" (no justice).

FYI: it is very much related to the NY Times project mentioned above.