Apr 23 2012

I love surprises. Especially ones that change my perspective.

Sometimes I’m turned upside down from what I thought before. This happened to me at the beginning of March this year.

We attended the Masters Thesis concert of a friend, but there were two productions, back to back.

Valerie Durham’s Masters of Fine Art Thesis
March 8-9, 2012

Two Master thesis presentations in one evening. The second was an unexpected surprise. I was delighted to see a whole company of Isadora Duncan styled dancers, right in front of me, on the small, personal stage at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. When I went into the theater, I had expected to see our family friend’s performance and figured I’d be tapping my fingers and politely clapping through the other one. In a amazing about face, I was swept away by Valerie Durham’s production, for many reasons and my attention was riveted to every note and movement.

Valerie Durham’s company, The Duncan Dancers,
performs dances in the style of Isadora Duncan.

Valerie Durham is a fourth generation Duncan Dancer. Her company, Duncan Dancers, has a web site that teaches about the techniques, choreography and style of their mentor, Isadora Duncan:

“Since discovering Duncan Dance in 1992, Valerie has focused on building, preserving and learning more about Isadora’s gorgeous, timeless and inspired technique of dance and repertory of dances. Valerie firmly believes that Duncan Dance is a vital aspect to the dance of today and that all dancers can benefit from its unique focus on musicality, artistry, personal expression and openness. She is working to innovate the Duncan technique for the 21st Century with contemporary music selection, expanded and developed movements and challenging choreography.”

Companies of Anna And Irma Duncan

Isadora Duncan considered the body the temple of the
soul. She encouraged the harmonious integration of the
mind, body, spirit and emotions through dance.

Isadora Duncan believed her audiences should concentrate on dance movements, rather than complex stage settings and costumes. Duncan stage settings were minimal and costumes were free flowing to emphasize the body and movement. The movement, likewise, appeared free flowing. Although there is a disciplined technique underneath, the dance was meant to appear free and spontaneous. A large collection of web links, along with a biography, may be found here.

Duncan style dancers explain that in ballet, there is a great awareness of technique. With Duncan technique, if done correctly, there will appear to be no technqiue.

As the Center for the Preservation of Modern Dance reveals: “Duncan dance is free-flowing and appears spontaneous; has a sense of energy and grace that radiates from the solar plexus; reflects the rhythms of nature; is danced to the great classical music; and is state of mind as much as a style of movement.”

Isadora Duncan 1877 – 1927

The divine feminine was exemplified by Isadora Duncan’s style of dance. The manifestation of a powerful feminine spirit was heightened by feminine garments and an emphasis on the passion of nature and nurturing. The sacred reverence for the female body in all of her archetypes was represented and blessed. The Isadora Duncan International Institute, Inc. in New York, NY, has tours to Europe to study our female archetypal heritage in all of its manifestations and forms. For a brochure of last year’s trip in 2011, click here. For a listing of learning events, click here.

There are many women’s groups studying and participating in this revival of feminine power. By recognizing the maternal world that existed before the power structure of male strength was imposed upon it, beauty and peace are revered. Expression of the female spirit through dance has led to this emphasis on the divine female.

It is important in a world that is more technologically
structured to affirm and actively respect
women and their naturally feminine shapes.

Next in this series: Introducing Zoe Artemis

NaBloPoMo April 2012



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Oct 29 2010

Crowd at New York’s American Union Bank during
a bank run early in the Great Depression.

The stock market crashed on Tuesday, October 29, 1929. I suppose everyone knows someone in their family who was ruined by The Great Depression. When I speak with people about those years, most everyone suffered and had to cut back on their living standards. In addition, however, were those who were living in wealthy circles and overnight, lost great fortunes, relegating them to what they considered poverty.

“Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most
of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even.”

Richard M. Salsman

There was a high level of prosperity during the 1920s.
Most people felt the country would never go back

Rethinking the Great Depression is a very informative book by Gene Smiley. It is good for formally educated economics students and also, for beginners without such a background. All readers will have a better understanding of the Depression period which technically only lasted from 1929-1933, but whose repercussions are remembered as lasting throughout the 1930s.

If you would like to learn more about the great Depression and the effects it
had on all facets of American life, hover your mouse over the link below:

Rethinking the Great Depression (American Ways Series)



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Oct 28 2010

For many Americans, futures are dark and without direction.

I am amazed at how unaware people are of the financial situation of many Americans. It seems that unless people’s personal finances have been lessened, many have no idea that many Americans are suffering as never before in this country. When I mentioned my idea of a blog to connect the dots on family finances, bankruptcy and the currents times to the Great Depression last summer, she felt that “aren’t enough people with an interest in a blog like that.” She continued by asking “How are homeless people going to access a computer?”

Whoa! That was a real, “Let them eat cake” comment for me.  There are plenty of people with computers suffering in this downturn. In fact, it is shocking how many people, who have worked all of their lives and done all of the right things are suffering and sometimes homeless. Here in this video of a 60 Minutes documentary are those who have access to a computer and are realizing the long term effects of the financial situation now dominating their lives.

In California, we see those who have exhausted their
99 weeks of unemployment benefits and are still unemployed,
are calling themselves “99ers.”



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Aug 26 2010

I find Harold S. Kushner’s books very helpful.

When I was little and thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, my main goal was to have life interesting. I didn’t want routine. I didn’t want to be bored and I have gotten my wish. It has been a very interesting life so far. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I have always felt that everyone’s “good things” and “bad things” even out over a lifetime, and because I have had some stupendously wonderful things happend, that gift has been balanced by having some horribly debilitating things happen. It is easy to get through the good times, but when things in your life get so complicated that you can’t figure your way through it, try flipping through the pages of a book such as this one. When Good Things Happen to Bad People and the rest of Harold S. Kushner’s books are worth considering. They have always helped me hold on until I felt more balanced.

If you would like to preview When Bad Things Happen to Good People, hover your mouse over this link:

When Bad Things Happen to Good People



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