Out of body experience- was that me?

My black tap shoes are finally seeing the light of day again!

My black tap shoes are finally seeing the light of day again!

This month, I'm having a lot of those "was that really me?" moments. Was that me a year ago at my wedding? Was that really me who choreographed three new dances this year and presented them at various spaces? Was that me who opened two different shows in one month? Was that me who who stayed awake for all that? Like, seriously?

As you can see by the date on this post, I took the month of August to recover.. and then September too. I turned 32 this month and apparently felt that taking a break from looking at my computer screen for any more time than I needed to was a present I needed to give to myself.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I spent the end of July with Juanna de Arco and the Majas learning a new work that she created. Although it came off of closing my show with Flying Foot Forum and I felt very much like I needed a long vacation, it was definitely worth the time. Wait, did I say I took the month of August to recover… ? Oh… lies.

Immediately after that, I participated in the tenth year of Rhythmically Speaking at the Southern Theater. Rhythmically Speaking has been presented and organized by my friend Erinn Liebhard since I was in college, and having participated in the first one, seeing it ten years later was very fun and also very contemplative. None of my college classmates besides Erinn were in the show, and it made me think about where they have gone, and what we are all up to.

I sometimes miss the community that college naturally creates, the nearly constant close vicinity you have to your friends, the connections you have with your professors, and the overwhelming opportunities for engagement and growth you are consistently presented. This September, I began teaching again for the first time in a while. In order to brush up on my teaching skills, I decided to dig out my college Dance Pedagogy portfolio (yes, I saved it, and yes, it was worth saving this past decade!) SO MANY GEMS. I found wonderful words of wisdom from my teachers, evaluations of classes I both witnessed and taught myself, great articles, and papers written by my classmates on a myriad of subjects. I just recently ran into my Dance Pedagogy teacher, Diane Aldis, for the first time since college. She remembered me, and it was such a joy to reconnect. She even gave me a jar of handcrafted Peach Bourbon glaze (which I just used on some grilled chicken tonight- thanks Diane! You are still the best!).

These little moments of connection remind me that my college education was definitely worth it, that I was lucky to have so many awesome teachers, and the lessons are there for me to access anytime I feel doubt in my abilities. Thinking about myself in college is just yet another out of body experience at times, but reading my own notes does help ground me and remind me that I know what I am doing! I have friends who know what they are doing if I do not! I am not alone!

Oh… did I mention my husband and I premiered my new choreography as a part of the Zenon Zone Summer Program in August after Rhythmically Speaking closed? Right… August was NOT a vacation. But, it was an awesome experience teaching the four women in my piece and working on composing music with my husband. I’d love to do this work again, and found it fed my spirit and my creative juices in a way that other projects have not done recently. I do enjoy the challenge of making new work- teaching new technique and movement to the dancers, costuming, composing music and poetry, working with my husband, and playing the cajon, all things I was able to incorporate in my piece. It was very me.

Although, not too soon. September, well, September is birthday month! Happy birthday to me. So, I’ve done pretty much NOTHING— oh wait, that’s a lie. I took on teaching two tap classes at Ballare Teatro, as I mentioned earlier. It terrifies me and makes me happy at the same time. I can often feel like an utter failure with one breath, and then a total success in the next. My husband is very used to this roller coaster of emotions that teaching can bring, being in his fourth year of teaching middle school music with MPS but I’m still getting used to the ride.

I’ve decided that this month, which also is almost to a close, is a month decided to self. I know that I can always give and there will be more to give, BUT, as my birthday card from my friends said, and I quote…. “hope you got a chance to relax and spoil yourself appropriately…” I tried to take this to heart this month. I got myself an addition to my tattoo (see my Instagram!), got a haircut, bought new glasses, and even treated myself to a set of new (to me) wine glasses. I took a trip to ND to see my family for a day, and have been trying to let myself sit down sometimes. It’s hard, but I try.

So, here’s to 32 years of life, remembering that yes, I did that, and I’m going to do more.

Molly Stoltz