Finding My Rhythm

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I always found that, if I could find the rhythm in a dance sequence, I could figure out the combination. That was the key to my unlocking the door to learn dance combinations in class, in rehearsals and in auditions.Rhythm to me is the basis, then I can refine, clarify, clean up the steps, the feeling, the soul-if you will-of what the dance is about. But for me, that was prime. It was primal.

I don’t know where this came from. If it was the fact that I came from a long line of musicians, (two drummers for brothers for starters) or that my earliest, life changing dance training was in tap dance lessons. Or maybe it was growing up in Detroit and listening to the sounds of the Funk Brothers—the session musicians responsible for the majority of Motown’s #1 hits—who had a killer, “wall of sound” rhythm section. Whatever the reason, that was my point of reference for learning the steps I needed to know. My modus operandi if you will: Rhythm.

I can say that, for me this translates into my writing. Writing is almost like a dance—a dance with words. There is definitely movement in words. A story needs to keep moving to take the reader along. Certainly it is true of poetry—of which I’ve dabbled in some. But, I know the rhythm has to feel right to interest the reader, to keep the reader’s eye and ears engaged just like a well choreographed dance work keeps the audience engaged.

(Gif by Jean Compton)

How To Handle Bad News In 20 Steps (Thoughts On)…

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1) Take in the info.

2) Let is be absorbed into your body.

3) Feel where in your body it hits you.

4) Breathe.

5) Hear the whole story.

6) Take into account how the other person is feeling.

   (a) He or she had to be the bearer of bad news.

   (b) Commend them for coming forward.

7) Let them express their feelings.

8) Remain calm.

9) Keep breathing.

10) Wait until they’re done talking.

11) Let them fill in the details.

12) Detachedly, ask questions to fill in any gaps in info.

13) Wait for answers.

14) Calm the other person down. Reassure them.

15) Let them know that, “We will work it out”.

16) Let them know there’s a reason for everything and for everything a workable solution.

17) Get expert advice, if needed.

18) Work out a mutually agreed upon solution.

19) Follow through.

20) Realize that, in the overall scheme of things that it’s part of Life.

Fearless Launching-My Interview With Anne Samoilov


Anne-Pointing-CircleIT’S A WHOLE NEW ROUND OF FEARLESS LAUNCHING, PEOPLE!
Today, I want to share a few words from Anne Samoilov.

 

Anne Samoilov is the creator of Fearless Launching-http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM-a program for entrepreneurs where she teaches practical steps to “create and launch your big ideas”.  Anne has a lot of experience in this field from her former career in Animation, to being a production manager for others like Marie Forleo and Laura Roeder–two of the heaviest-hitting, successful women entrepreneurs out there right now, to launching her own, successful enterprise, Fearless Launching http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM
Since the beginning of her program, she has helped countless people launch their ideas into viable businesses. This new round will include loads of new great stuff–NEW UPDATES, NEW POLISHING NEW BONUSES. In addition to the core material, there will be live classes. Also included is a membership site on Facebook where you can learn from other students as well as alumni of Fearless Launching  http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM bringing with them a vast array of expertise.
 

Hey Anne!


1) Can you give us a little background on your “roots” and how you came to start Fearless Launching?
I really got started working in visual effects and animation. I worked in production from my very first job as a receptionist all the way to the last role I played as a Producer.  So – I’ve seen project management, delivery, shipping, and launching at every level in a completely different industry. Plus – I worked mostly at start up divisions and companies…so it prepared me nicely for the online world. 

2) Who is your program for? Who is it not for?
Fearless Launching http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM is really a beginners course in many ways, but I won’t say someone who’s already launched won’t get something out of it. The truth is though that it breaks apart the process, covers key elements about communication, getting partners, and putting together the overall timeline for your launch.
 
I’d say it’s not for someone who’s part of a large marketing department or agency doing a launch. This is really for the solopreneur or small business just starting out or trying to finally get their “thing” out into the world.

3) Do you see a trend is what is selling online…i.e., products, services, membership sites? Or, is it a matter of personal preference/style?
It’s funny – my focus changes so often… all of a sudden it seems like everyone’s got an ebook or a summit or a this or a that, but I think it’s my perception only!  Why? I see so many different forms of programs and mixes of these types that work so well.  I really think that what’s selling is people who have built relationship – like, no matter what Danielle Laporte puts out, I am buying it.  When Kris Carr puts out another raw foods book, I will buy it.  Same thing with a ton of other people I respect and admire online and offline.  So – if there’s something that sells – it’s you! 

4) What is different about your program from other programs?
I take a different approach to launching that requires you to really find the style/structure of launching that’s right for your business, your voice,  and most importantly your customers.
 
Some people end up realizing that are not even close to launching, but they leave knowing they have work to do in other areas first.  People leave knowing that a launch doesn’t have to generate revenue to be given the name “launch” – you can do a lead generation focused only launch – your primary goal could be to get more subscribers!
 
Also – I don’t pretend to know all the tech pieces myself. My focus is on partnerships, support, relationships, resources, and the clear plan that fits with  your overall vision for your business.
 
Whew! That was a mouthful. 

5) What is included in this newest round? How does it work?
This might be my last TRULY LIVE round of the program.  The program is a 6 week program with 1 module delivered every week – along with relevant checklists, homework, templates to help you plan out your launch.  I’ve also got a bunch of bonuses included meant to inspire you, keep you moving forward and help you troubleshoot any mishaps during your launch.  
 
This time around I’m including 6 live classes that have never been included! These are 6 stand alone master classes that people in past rounds of the program have told me they needed.  I’m not sure if they’ll be around in future versions of Fearless Launching http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM , but for this one we’re doing them totally live…and my lips are sealed on the topics! (You’ll have to wait too, Jean!)
 

6) Anything else you’d like to add, Anne?
The main thing I’d like to add is that Fearless Launching actually has a side effect that I think I attracted, but didn’t create really – and that is an amazing community of people who keep each other in motion. They are active all year round in the alum group and it makes me so happy to see every single time someone relaunches or launches something new! This community is worth the price of admission alone (I think!)..especially with some of the talents that come in and out of the program!
I couldn’t agree more with that last point!

I cannot recommend Anne highly enough. Her creds speak for themselves, she is endorsed by some of THE MOST SUCCESSFUL women entrepreneurs out there and, heck, she’s just one really nice person.

 

The cost for this 6 week course is $697. There is also a payment plan available.

http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM. 

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM

ENROLLMENT ENDS THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014.
(For reasons of transparency, I am a proud affiliate of Fearless Launching.)

http://bit.ly/1dlDwxM

Why Being Happy Is More Important Than Being Successful

1779806_10203062517305448_202109473_nSo, I was talking to my good friend the other day. And, I’m talking about this writing course I’m going to take, and about business in general and how I’d like to be a paid writer, and all the different businesses I’ve tried and how I want to have a location-free business that I can take anywhere I want to live, blah, blah, blah.

Oh, and also how I’d like to have that all set up before I move to my ideal living spot so that I can live and work from anywhere, take the pressure off my husband for being the only breadwinner, on and on…

And, she says to me…”Well, why don’t you worry less about being successful, and think more about being happy!” Which is so simple, but so brilliant! And, I know in my heart, that she’s right…but I just get so caught up that I forget the truth in her statement.

So, it got me to thinking…which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do you have to be happy doing what you’re doing, from moment to moment, to be successful? Does happiness derive from being successful–whatever that means for you?

It reminds me of the Jack Canfield quote:

“If it ain’t fun don’t do it.”

Jack Canfield, Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams

There’s that old story going around that I catch myself even now saying from time-to-time, maybe not literally but in so many words…When I just get to__________ (fill in the blank) THEN, oh boy, then I’ll be happy, yessir! I sure will. Just let me have so many dollars in the bank, so many Facebook likes, so many Twitter fans, weigh 110 pounds, then, it will all happen for me. I. Will. Be. Happy.

Well, you know, and I know, deep down it doesn’t work like that. But, we keep trying, right?

This whole time that I’ve been strategizing about how I’m going to set up my business, my at-home business, my live-anywhere-and-still-be-able-to-work-if-I-want-business (also known as a location-free lifestyle business) is like pushing, pushing, pushing. And it can get like that sometimes, where I lose sight of being happy NOW.

So, how can you be happy now?

1. Be Grateful. Start with this one. The more you’re thankful in those moments where life is flowing, you’re truly happy and you’re doing the things you want to do with the people you love, and the more you take note of it with a “thank-you” to the Universe, God, or in a journal entry, the more you’ll attract more of the same.

2. Take action every day. Movement is happening all around us. Nothing is static, including the Universe-it’s in constant motion. Taking action is where the magic happens. Got 15 minutes?

That’s all it takes to start a business, to exercise to feel better and live longer, to chop up some tasty veggies…Just. Do. It. Use it or lose it. Cliche…but true.

3. Speak your truth. Being false is just so exhausting, isn’t it? People can tell when you’re not real. And, it doesn’t make you feel any better either. It’s like carrying around a big gunny sack on your back…it’s uncomfortable and it weighs a ton. Granted, getting out of your comfort zone is not always fun, but that’s where the growth happens, not to mention the freedom. Throw off the pretense and lighten your load.

4. Smile. Speaking of feeling good, check out the article I wrote for Feelgooder.

http://www.feelgooder.com/why-smiling-makes-you-feel-better/

There are plenty of reasons to smile. I cite the following four among others:

  • A more efficient use of muscles
  • Helping babies
  • Looking more attractive
  • Looking younger….

Need I say more? Just read the article and you’ll see.

5. Exercise. Doesn’t have to be long. Ideally it should be in the sunshine (stock up on Vit. D while you’re at it). Take a walk, do some stretches, do some intervals, jog around the block, ride your bike around town. You get the picture.

And while you’re clearing your head (whilst perhaps standing on same?) you’re building up your endorphins, creating that natural, feel good high and getting much needed oxygen to the the ole noggin to help you think better and be happier better too.

6. Eat well. Eat your fruits and veggies! Another no-brainer! But, we sometimes forget

Eat whole grains, limit dairy, alcohol, meat (especially red) if you eat meat. Nuts are good. Deep water fish. Olive oil. H20! Lots of that!!! Don’t drink too much caffeine. The 80/20 Rule rules! In other words, try to be good about 80% of the time. (OK, enough for the lecture.)

Listen to your body…often if tells you what you need. Take a vitamin a day, if you like. (Jury’s out on that last one–but I take them in the winter.) Like my papa said, “Everything in moderation!” If you can do that, you just may live to be 92–like he did.

7. Get enough sleep. This also is a no-brainer, right? Not always. Too many late nighters can really mess with your focus, and your ability to be happy or no. And, don’t forget you can never get those lost hours of sleep back. The myth of “making them up” when you go on vacation, or whatever, is just that–a myth. You’ll live longer too. Try for 7-8. That’s best.

8. Do new things. It’s always good to try new things. It fires new neurons, makes you stretch, can even make you feel “brand new”. It can also possibly TURN YOU ON to a new passion. Life is funny that way–*Inspiration* often can come in the most unexpected places. So, don’t poo-poo that chance to go ice skating, see the ballet, take a writing course, do a yoga retreat. Who knows where it might lead.

9. Celebrate your wins. Like a gratitude journal, keeping a “Celebration Journal” where you list your wins–no matter how small–is nice thing to go back and look at when you feel like you’re not accomplishing your goals, living up to your potential or hitting your mark.

Like putting on music that you love can instantly lift your spirits and change your outlook, reminding yourself of what you have done can keep you on track to do even more of those things that are important to you.

10. Help someone–even if it’s just one person…If you can help change just one’s person’s outlook on life, its ramifications spiral outward exponentially. Think of Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees of Separation:

“SixDegrees.org is about using the idea that we are all connected to accomplish something good,” said Bacon.

(It’s a small world out there. You never know how many people you’re affecting with your good deeds.)

I hope these have been helpful suggestions for you.

Please let me know. I always welcome your thoughts.

10 LESSONS FROM DANCE TEACHERS I HAVE KNOWN

 


Sylvia Hamer

1. Sylvia Hamer

I was six years old when I took my first dance class at Sylvia’s School Of Ballet in Ann Arbor, Michigan. What I remember most was she rapped us on the leg with a stick when we made a mistake, and the second thing I remember is the embarrassingly low-cut bodice on the tutu my grandma made for my first-and last-ballet recital before my mom let me quit. Ms. Hamer was the first to put me on a stage—for which I am eternally grateful.

Lesson #1: There’s something to be said about “Firsts”.

2. Mr. Payne

After my first dance tutorial with the infamous Sylvia, I switched to tap.

Mr. Payne was a very popular tap dance teacher in our community. My mom put me and my 3 brothers in class with him. He was a good teacher(and he made it okay for boys to tap) but one of his assistants is the one I ended up learning from the most. She had a home studio in her basement next to my elementary school. I could walk there right after school to dance with my some of my best friends at the time.

Tap came fairly easy to me. After about 4 years, I was starting to get really good when I quit! Hey, I had bigger fish (boys)to fry.

Lesson #2: Don’t take your natural talents for granted.


Learning to Line Dance

3. The girls in the junior high school Annex room

After inhaling our paper bag lunches, us dance-loving seventh graders rushed to our brand new junior high school’s “Annex” where a jukebox was installed that played all the latest pop hits with a heavy emphasis on Motown songs…The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha And The Vandellas, etc.

There, the black girls taught us white girls how to do all the latest line dances, how to emphasize the downbeat— and, basically how to groove. Even though they pulled the plug on anything that wasn’t a Motown song, we quickly forgave them for we realized they were right—those were the best songs on the box.

Lesson #3: Sometimes some of your best teachers come from the most unexpected places.


Elizabeth Weil Bergmann

4. Elizabeth Weil Bergmann. Chair, Department of Dance, University of Michigan

During my sophomore year of college, E. Bergmann http://www.elizabethbergmanndance.com/ admitted me to the fledgling Dance Department at the University of Michigan —without an audition. There I completed my four year stint as a dance major, studying ballet, (sans stick)modern, jazz, African, ballroom, anatomy, kinesiology, dance notation, etc..

The best part about that four years, though, was a collaboration between myself and 7 other dance students. The Wolverine Dancers was in an in-house, darlings-of-the-department dance company that came together, rather serendipitously it seemed.

All eight of us members danced and choreographed our way to nearby schools, colleges, and performed extensively around the University’s campus. The cherry on top of it all was that I finished junior and senior years mostly freelancing. Lord knows how I ever would have gotten through “traditional” college without that gift.

Lesson #4: Do what you love and the money/recognition (and sometimes college credits) will follow.


Gay Delanghe

5. Gay Delanghe (RIP)

Gay Delanghe graced us with her presence when she came to The University of Michigan after dancing professionally in New York with Lucas Hoving, Yvonne Rainier, and many other, elite and avant-garde modern dancers of the time.

Originally from Detroit with an extension that rivaled the best, feet pointing without mercy,  and her drop dead gorgeous-ness, all we wanted to do was be like her.

After teaching and choreographing for many years, she eventually went on to Chair the University of Michigan Dance Department and was influential in the development of modern dance in Michigan.

Lesson #5: Grace, brains, and professionalism is not a bad thing to aspire to.

6. Alvin McDuffie (RIP)

Alvin McDuffie. What a beautiful man, a terrific dancer and an incredible jazz dance teacher as well. He brought out the funk in an insecure, newbie-me. He went on to dance prolifically with many companies at home and abroad and, unfortunately we lost him too soon during the early years of AIDS. He always treated me like Gold and gave me the stars to match.

Lesson#6: Hang with people who “get” you.

7. Alana Barter

Alana Barter is a gorgeous woman and also a gorgeous dancer. As a T.A. , she taught modern and jazz classes (often in collaboration with Alvin) in the department. She also told me something I’ll never forget.

At the very moment I was feeling particularly hopeless with my seeming lack of progress in La Danse, she walked up and told me “You have a lot of talent.” When we met again recently, I told her that her words convinced me to stay.

She taught me to believe in myself. She has gone on to teach and inspire many, other dance students on the college level.

Lesson #7: Never give up!


Bella Lewitzky

8. Bella Lewitzky(RIP)

Not long after I joined the dance department, I visited Eastern Michigan University (right up the road) for my first dance workshop with renowned, West Coast modern dancer, Bella Lewitzky http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bella_Lewitzky. While I was getting my groove on at school dances and teenage parties, I was not studying professionally from age 13-18 (which is a long time). I was so pumped to make up for what I’d missed and yearned to learn everything I could about Modern Dance.

In that workshop, She gave me a great compliment…”You take direction well.” I soaked up her words, and her corrections, like a sponge.

Lesson#8: Never stop learning.

 

9. Phyllis Lamhut♦

My next dance workshop was at U. of M. with Phyllis Lamhut. Ms. Lamhut was a principal dancer with the Nikolais Dance Theater and in 1970 formed The Phyllis Lamhut Dance Company. http://dance.tisch.nyu.edu/object/LamhutP.html. A wee thing to look at, with her heavily mascaraed gaze she could be one, tough cookie.

She saw something in me though. For the workshop’s final performance she singled me out and dressed (only) me in all-white. That bit of “star quality” she bequeathed on me help bolster my confidence.

Lesson #9: Be yourself.

 


Merce Cunningham in Antic Meet
10. Merce Cunningham (RIP)

I spent a good part of my NYC dancing days at The Merce Cunningham studio on the Hudson River in the West Village. Mostly I took classes with his principal dancers, but the master himself popped in unexpectedly from time-to-time to school us in Cunningham Technique. It was much like he and collaborator/composer John Cage’s “Chance Choreography” wherein they made their art and music separately, then put them together and let miraculous moments “show up”.

I’m very sad to say that his company and wonderful, light-filled studio are no more. Luckily, his work lives on through his trust, http://www.mercecunningham.org/trust/. Others can reconstruct his amazing dances and keep the fires burning.

He taught me the importance of being present. That life is art—continually unfolding.

Lesson #10: You never know what miracles are happening right before your eyes and If you’re not paying attention, you may miss them.


I have been blessed by so many, great teachers from the dance world. I have left so many out!  I am so grateful to every one of them. To be continued…

It was usually the case that when professional companies came to town, I got more positive feedback about my dancing than during most of my days studying from the educational institution I graduated from. While I wouldn’t trade my time at the University for anything, my experiences studying with the pros made me believe that that’s where I was headed too.

So… listen to Lena. And BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUNiJSY98rs


Lena Horne singing “Believe In YourSelf”

I