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What Does it mean to be a true performance artist? – Ariellah asks Mira

TribalCon 2009I adore Ariellah as a performer and as a human, so when she asked me the other day to write a brief paragraph on a subject I can, and (if you have ever found yourself in my classes you know) do tackle often in my workshops, I jumped at the chance. I have a considerable amount to say on the subject, in fact, I have a whole 25 hour intensive addressing this very question. An intensive that attracts powerful women, and thus turns out some of the most incredible, courageous dancers I have had the pleasure of touching on their paths.
Here was my abbreviated, a bit scattered by jet-lag and mama brain, submission to her:

A: What does it mean to be a true performance artist? How can we capture the attention of our audience and touch their hearts, as they watch us dance. If this was your goal in your dance path, how would you tackle this,(how would you do this) and what might this feel and look like?

“True Performance Artist, is a foreboding title. Anyone can claim they are a “true artist” but i think what’s more pertinent is to ask, what makes you an effective performance artist? I think a truly effective artist is a vulnerable artist. One who speaks their truth from a tender, raw space; a human place. Your truth is yours, it is your body in all its wonder telling us a story. The story does not have to be obvious, it has to be true. It does not have to be languid in order to be tender, it just has to be authentic. Humans are not stupid, we know how to read each and every split second of an eye flicker, the minute shrug of the shoulder, you are not fooling anybody, we can see your thoughts when you are on stage. So the question becomes, How would you like the world to know you? Now that you have their rapt attention, What do you have to SAY?
The best we can do as story tellers is to learn our language through which we speak, dance. The more you know, the stronger your vocabulary and articulation is, the more rich your stories can be. But don’t underestimate the power of a simple Haiku, a story does not have to be complicated to be effective. That’s why I think vulnerability and honesty prevail. If you are true to your story and work hard in your practice your peers will notice you and name you “artist”. Beware of those who tout the title while skirting the process, mostly those are artists operating from insecurity and fear. I have found most “true artists” don’t need a title to justify their passion, and this shows in their work.”

Thank you Ariellah for including me and thank you for being and authentic artist, i am honored to be a friend, a peer, and fan.

Dancing through Motherhood

“I used to think that to become free you had to practice like a samurai warrior, but now I understand that you have to practice like a devoted mother of a newborn child. It takes the same energy but has a completely different quality. It’s compassion and presence rather than having to defeat the enemy in battle.”
- Jack Kornfield

Motherhood changes us. A rearrangement of priorities and a intimate sharing of one’s life begins. I have not lost myself, my dreams, my ambitions, I have gained a companion who will one day have his own. I see myself reflected in the eyes and actions of another like never before.

I show up and I love, that’s my role as mother. That is how we must dance, in practice, in performance. For those who have studied with me you know I talk about trust, about devotion, about focus. These terms have become deepened for me. How do we channel this into our dance? How do we not use our dance to show the world who we want to be, but instead have the world reflect back to us our true sense of devotion, our ability to focus and then trust our audiences with who we are in this moment.

We choose ourselves, we dance.

Mexico Retreat

Hello out there.
As I sit down to write this blog I can feel my toes chilled by the morning air; I can see the wind beating on a persevering patch of calla lilies, their white trumpets dancing about in the blustery air, their music.

I ask myself, “who am I to ask you to come take a retreat with me?”

Here’s the answer:

I am Mira Betz and for 20+ years I have, like those perseverant calla lilies, been tossed and beaten by the winds of this dance, yet I am passionate; I cannot stop. I have something to share with you: I see the potential of a life driven by an artistic sentiment; I see a dance that we share, not for mutual attention-seeking satisfaction but in search of a deeper understanding of who we are as women, as mothers, as lovers, as sisters, daughters, and friends. In this retreat I will ask you to look inside, and beyond, yourself for inspiration; to shout out to the world “This is Me!” I will ask you to remove yourself from your daily life, from all the roles you are asked to play, to come to a place where quiet reflection is possible, a place where the beauty of nature roars louder than your inner critic.

This is a place to dance, a place to relax and laugh, to sew with friends (stitch and bitch, oh yeah!), a place to swim, to sleep; this is a place to focus on you. I know the pressures we live under with family, jobs, people who rely on us to be there. We ask ourselves, “how can I possibly get away? How can I afford this?” My answer: effectuality; when you feed yourself you have 10 times the amount to give. So, if we truly want to be effective in our lives, how can we not?

In this retreat I will share with a very small group my deepest practices of how to bring this into your daily life because dance is not something that is relegated to once a week class, not something you have to “find time to practice”. Dance is a way of life, an awareness that we bring to everything we do.

I invite you to find your passion, the “art of daily living,” come share inspiration, beauty, artistry, dance.

Modern living: why we all need a retreat.