a new year anew

4 Jan

With a new year comes reflection and the thought that things need to be different. Well, for me the different things occurred prior to the ball drop and I find myself now able to enjoy the ride. Not too long ago things were changing and shifting and leaving me feeling confused, disappointed, and frankly, undone. 2014 marked the finale of six+ years with the Steps Repertory Ensemble. This family was one I saw more than my own, accomplished big dreams with, and helped build something rather modest to something quite reputable. While the closing of that book signified the opening of a new life chapter, it was difficult and bittersweet. Only until several months had passed did I allow myself time to redistribute my artistic goals and realized things had changed. I found myself almost paralyzed by the cumulative years of rejection from various artistic pursuits. They somehow blurred the tremendous accomplishments and successes I had achieved individually, with the company, and even with Lindsey and all our incredible feats. I would look at my bio and resumes to reassure myself and dig up my lost pride. My husband and friends would scoff and laugh it off, saying “come on! you’re great. look at all you’ve done.” But it didn’t matter. I didn’t want to quit but I didn’t want to push ahead. Ultimately, I gave myself some time to be still. I didn’t race to auditions and took a break from my dutiful class taking and tried to forgive myself for feeling lazy. I gave myself the opportunity to listen to my heart, mind, gut, feet, and sore hips to realize this break, although guilt-ridden and strange, was healthy and needed.

So much determination and ambition attacking my dreams had caught up with me and begged for respite. But this felt like quitting, which was something I never allowed myself to even consider. I mourned the loss of my performing career while simulaneously loving the stressless existence formerly burdered by body image displeasure, nagging whispers of doubt, and again that realistic and punishing rejection. I am a strong, opininated, tenacious woman, but man that shit can add up and start to chip away at that tough skin we work so hard to pile on.

Perhaps the bravest thing I did was step away. I only realize this now of course. I devoted myself to my teaching, mentoring youth, and planning my wedding. These were fulfulling and wonderful, and the hum of guilt was subsiding. I worked out and took class for me and my own enjoyment versus feeling obligation or pressure to perform and secretly wish for a job to be offered to me. And then, in early October my friend and choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall needed dancers for ABC’s “Manhattan Love Story.” I was cast for a proposal flash mob scene and would make my television [dance] debut! My body hadn’t forgotten. I survived a fun full day dancing and performing with my fellow castmates. Shortly after, I was hired as the new Administrator of Student Programs at Steps on Broadway. This position previously held by the Ensemble’s Artistic Director whom we all admired and loved was now mine. I am the advisor/guidance counselor/administrator helping to build the futures of the next generation of artists. All roads led me to this place. Including but not limited to:) the uncertainity, the struggle, the joy, the pain, the pressure, the work, the play, the investigation, the exploration, the random gigs, the travel, the money, the everything. Having the ability and responsibility to influence students in the very place where I landed and have called home ever since moving to New York in 2006 is an opporunity of a lifetime.

Despite the fact that I may have been thrown for a loop (or ten), I have and will continue to enjoy each destination along the way on this splendid and adventurous journey of mine.

Be open. Be ready. Be risky.

long time no see

12 Aug

The Jacksons

Hope you are having a great summer!

 

 

 

It’s been a minute since my last post and in that time I GOT MARRIED! My husband Nate and I tied the knot after 11 years together in a beautiful, joyous dance filled event with family and friends here in NY.  Surprise flash mob included : )

 

 

Classes at Steps have been going very well and I continue to learn and grow from my wonderful students.  I am constantly impressed with their tremendous improvement and feel blessed for the opportunities to “help souls feel lighter,” which is how one lovely gal described how she felt after classes.  What an incredible compliment!  Please join me Mondays 10-11:30am, Thursdays 7:30-9pm and Saturdays 4:30-6pm to explore together.

 

My experience as a first time judge for StarQuest International Dance Competitions this year also proved enjoyable.  It was exciting to see the young talent from around the country and offer guidance and insight for growth.  It also became quite clear the boundaries of appropriateness studios are testing ; /  I realized I am a self proclaimed Grandma in regards to the suggestive nature being elicited from these students.  ***For teachers, please realize your students want to grow up and emulate what they see on TV or in the older students in your schools.  Please work to keep things age appropriate from the costume to the facial expressions to the song choices to the choreography.   It is our responsibility to teach these values through our art form and as a judge, it does not make me score higher if I am uncomfortable.  Even with this, there were numerous pieces done well and dancers with very bright futures ahead.  Let’s see what 2014-2015 brings.

 

Stay tuned for more exciting news to come.

 

#whyIteach

5 Jan

I just received this unbelievably touching message from a woman I met this week in class.  I am so honored.

“You have changed the way I dance and think about movement.   I’m always in a fog (a good one) when I leave your class.
As a classical ballet trained dancer,  with your new instruction  I feel like I just stepped onto a new island to explore.
I hope to God I get to take classes with you again. Thank you so much.  Namaste”

…this is what keeps me going

Let’s grow and create together Mondays 10-11:30am, Thursdays 7:30-9pm and Saturdays 4:30-6pm at Steps on Broadway

2013 in review

31 Dec

 

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!! May your 2014 be full of health, happiness and fun: )

music video time

3 Dec

 

Lindsey and I choreographed and performed “Speed Reader” by North Carolina singer/producer Marley Carroll.

Grab his whole album Sings http://marleycarroll.bandcamp.com/album/sings

one exciting week

13 Oct

This week was very cool for a number of reasons!

famousI made my NYC City Center debut at Career Transition for Dancers 28th Anniversary Jubilee BROADWAY & BEYOND celebrating Theatre and Dance.  This diverse program full of amazing talent honored the iconic Ann-Margaret with such celebs as Liza Minnelli and Rosie O’Donnell.  My brush with fame was topped off with a terrific performance of Josh Prince’s “Doggy in the Window,”  which won him DanceBreak a few years back and how he became choreographer of Broadway’s Shrek the Musical.  And I must give love and credit to Career Transition for Dancers. This is truly a great resource for anyone transitioning or simply in need of advice and guidance.  I highly recommend their services and expertise for whatever one may need.

Then the very next day my choreography was showcased ucofas a finale to the United Colors of Fashion 3rd Annual Gala.  UCOF is a New York City-based non-profit organization whose core mission is to empower youth through fashion.  Locally under-resourced youth are mentored AND provisions of financial assistance, food, and clothing are offered to youth in South Africa who are living with HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia and paralysis.

It was a privilege to be part of such honorable organizations and use dance as a means of awareness, growth, and community.

red carpet37053_10151976332146264_1878704540_n

Moving in that direction of commendable companies, I have begun working as a leadership trainer in the The Leadership Program.  Leadership is a dynamic urban organization that enriches lives, emboldens confidence and expands options by building strong leaders in classrooms and communities.  This incredible program is capable of achieving real change in school cultures and I am super excited to work with my Bronx middle schoolers in our afterschool dance club.

tlp

MY CLASSES

14 Sep

Thank you for your patience while my upcoming class schedule got organized.  I am excited to announce starting Monday, September 30, 2013 we will have 3 class opportunities to dance together at Steps on Broadway every week!

MONDAYS 10-11:30am Studio 5 (starts 9/30)
THURSDAYS 7:30-9pm Studio 5 (starts 10/3)
SATURDAYS 4:30-6pm Loft 3 (starts 10/5)

 

Mindy’s class is inspired by a variety of dance and somatic principles including yoga, gyrokinesis, pilates, Gaga technique, sprinkled with a little ballet and a dash of jazz.  Pulling from a mixture of concepts informs the body in contrasting, yet complementary and harmonious ways. The class allows dancers to work for their most expansive and expressive selves.  We take the time to find our skeletal foundation, then move outwardly through the muscular, and finally arrive onto the sensing, responsive, alive skin surface.  Students deepen their sensitivity to the environment around them and apply their entire moving bodies and minds to the present moment we all share. Through imagery, tactile applications, and very fun, eat-up-the-space exercises, not to mention, enjoyable tunes, students learn and grow together.  Mindy’s class honors every opportunity to examine and develop one’s artistry by pulling from our collective passion to dance. 

HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON!

Have you learned about the Broadway Dance Lab yet?!

10 Jul

This amazing project brought artists from varying NYC dance worlds together under the creative direction of Broadway choreographer Josh Prince.  It was an incredibly fun and fruitful month! Check us out

Tall & small at ADF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

14 Jun

Lindsey and I are so so so so so so honored to have been selected from the North Carolina Dance Festival’s rich 10 year history to perform at The American Dance Festival’s 80th Anniversary Celebration this Wednesday.  Heralded as “One of the nation’s most important institutions” (New York Times), the ADF’s sustained record of creative achievement is indivisible from the history of modern dance.  We are 1 of only 4 pieces picked for this enormous privilege! Thank you to our panel, which included David Dorfman, Faye Driscoll, and Camille A. Brown! No matter the time or distance apart, Linds and I love dancing this piece together.  I can’t wait!!!!

If you can’t join us at the Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke in Durham NC Wednesday, June 19 at 7pm and/or 9pm then you can wish us luck and enjoy our performance of “A Tribute and Reflection of the Relationship” right here

http://www.americandancefestival.org/performance/adfduke/adf-and-the-nc-dance-festival-celebrate-statewide-dance/

http://ncdancefestival.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/ncdfadf-choreographers-lindsey-kelley-and-mindy-upin/

Check out my show at Dixon Place

21 Apr

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