Leaping into our 5th Anniversary, we wanted to make sure that we interacted with you, our supporters in more meaningful ways. It seems like we have been partly locked in a studio working at mostly our artistic content but now, our visual identity and Social Media strategies is one area of focus in our 5th Anniversary year. We have sought to create visual strategies and engagements leading up to our first Season of Dance and hope that through these strategies you will be able to further interact with us on many levels.
We have gotten a boost, a present we cannot help but share! We would like for you to visit and enjoy the website.
Our Artistic Director thanks all who have offered feedback on our E-Newsletter, Blog and Vlog. He has listened, to those who offered their insights about missing his blog and he will be doing a combination of Blogging and Vlogging starting again soon. Until then, there are many others ways to stay in touch with us and enjoy the content we share.
Do you know what KasheDance means? What about the capital "D" in our name? Do you know some of our company secrets? Want to find out? Like us on Facebook to find out interesting tidbits in the series "KasheDance Secrets" information about the company and its dancers will be revealed every week leading up to the show. We are aiming for 1500 likes by April 2014. Also, you can follow our conversations on Twitter. Find out where we are and what we are doing and but also how it might be of interest or inspire you. MORE WAYS TO INTERACT WITH US @ WEBSITE: www.kashedance.com YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/user/KasheDance FACEBOOK: www.facebook/KasheDance TWITTER:
Over the past year I have been involved in a number of community and Arts Education initiatives made possible from funding from the Ontario Arts Council and through Jumblies Theatre and St. Sofia School in Mississauga. Some might have already seen posting on the subject matter from my work with Etobicoke School of the Arts, Oakwood Collegiate, Northview Secondary School and Nelson Boylen Collegiate.
All have helped me in the development of the art form, presentation and communication of dance at the community and education level. What an invaluable experience to work in the community where persons might not have a passion for dance but by the end see how their mannerisms and posture or mentality about dance changes.
In all work done in promoting the ideology of dance, as Artistic Director I am always re affirming at the Community and Arts Education level that "everyone breathe, feels, dance" it’s the articulation of this philosophy that one kinds kinship with the inner artist being.
At the professional level the same is communicated through each dancer breathing, feeling and dancing together making an ensemble move together like a shoal of fish. This is easier said, communicated than done.
Back to the lessons at the community level where lies the telling realization of teaching mechanisms that reinforces actions, subtly stresses value and difference but always providing encouragement. It’s not about creating dancers at this level in my mind but inciting inquiry into the possibility of dancing and if not dancing then building audiences that will become aware of and support the Arts. Not all persons we come in contact with will be dancers but all can engage in Art appreciation. And that too is invaluable as I feel that cultural / artistic appreciation starts with engaging curiosity leading to increased engagement.
My job at the Living Arts Centre is about the latter sentiment. How do you engage community and what do you articulate knowing the perceptions of the Arts in the general society. Are those perceptions changing? Do people actually get the Arts? In communities and Arts Education I feel the Arts should be a shared experience; where everyone participates in the shared experience. This is where value is produced.
There are many scholarly works done on the cognitive power of the Arts in the lives of the society. Offering a portal through dance into the unlocking of the captive imagination of students or community participants validates the philosophy of the artist being a reflection of the society. What values can artist transfer as important skills for future character development? What can the Arts offer society in the options of shaping better citizens thus influencing humanity? The scope of the arts goes beyond the execution of the act itself.
As an Artist in Education I am an advocate for what teachers teach. We are the catalyst that ignites the captive and creative imagination fussing synaptic connections so that students become cultured educated human beings worthy of addressing issues in society. Community artists deal with these issues on a daily basis in providing contextual framework, focus and programme specific work within communities. Their value I have articulated is underfunded and appreciated. We all live in communities but more often work outside the communities in which we live. Community arts engagements programs nurtures the creative imagination of those involved in programming. This I feel is one of prime objectives.
Thanks for reading as it places you (the reader) at the forefront arts engagement, my main reason for writing these is so that you, the reader, may understand better what we, what I, do as an artist in the hopes that it inspires understanding and incites advocacy leading to support.
So before u know it summer is over and in reflection what have you done. I am sure a lot as summer brings many activities for everyone to participate. It’s now Fall and I have not shared my thoughts since the early summer. Wow for all who read religiously ;) my apologies. Herein lies my summer and fall artistically.
After returning from the Canada Dance Festival the company went on a break for the traditional summer months of Toronto. Laughing I can truly say performances tend to slow down and it’s hard for the Arts to compete with the heat and patios of the summer.
I, after performing at the Dancing on the Edge Festival, got on a plane and head to what seems to be my regular summer engagement (A summer Intensive) in Grenada. After only a week of what was usually up to month stay, hop on a plane again and it was professional development in D.C. with the Dance Exchange.
What an unbelievably GREAT experience that was! I first heard about the festival from Shula Strassfeld on one of her return home and it was always in the back of my mind to attend. It was a Choreographic workshop. I and fellow Canadian Marie Jose Chartier were present to experience the many approaches of the Dance Exchange formerly the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. With funding secured through the Canada Arts Council's Professional Development for Mid Career Artists I embarked on an experience that has changed the way I approach choreography and also teaching. I entitle registered for a week but was invited to stay for the next week of the program; a true honour.
Classes then exploration of the toolkit for creation. Classes and exploration created work which was presented on the Friday in the form of an in-studio presentation. Big ups for everyone who made the first week so special, if I was suppose to say all you would be reading for a very long time. :)
Site specific based explorations. Huh! I don't dance outside lol; I am just getting over my injury lol. Nah it started with class in the mornings followed by work in outdoor spaces in the afternoon. Looking, assessing and finding inspirations from nature. Now I love nature but the interaction of the Arts and nature was indeed a treat. I hugged many trees for Shelly (lmao) sorry all an inside joke for the cinco con tigo crew of my Garth Fagan years. Back to business, one of the most influential was the light study where we were required to get up at 4:30 to watch sunrise and document its impetus and at sunset around 9 pm record the same experience. Wow it’s about the play of light on images like the play of lights on bodies on stage. That's all I will hint at. :)
September saw a whirlwind of artistic expressions with Wind in the Leaves Collective and a presentation of a paper on Community Arts Engagement. The Collective performed at Dancemakers Centre for Creation and the performance represented out first forte into the production format of our work. I have to say great things can happen when dancers collaborate effectively. See the collective's work on facebook and like our page here:
I had the opportunity of once again performing the solo done at the Dancing on the Edge Festival at the IMPACT Festival of the Theatre Arts in Kitchener and also a group piece from my choreography with Wind in the Leaves Collective. I am always amazed at the overwhelming appeal of multi-disciplinary work and was blown away by a company from Columbia who also performed at the festival. Multi-disciplinary work should be about the synthesis of various forms contextually and this company were a master at this synthesis.
I have been working a lot in Jamaica this year from a residency in Jan - March and now it was a pleasure to return again in October to present a paper on the "Intricacies of Community Arts Engagement". From this conference I have received interest in having the paper published via two Jamaican Journals. I aimed to have the paper be a comprehensive approach to how we can understand a framework for arts engagement. It was also great to be home to see frens some family and give back to the birthplace of my artistic achievements.
Work on the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference And Festival to be held in Toronto Jan 26-29th for which I am the Outreach Coordinator and my recent appointment as the Dance Animatuer at the Living Arts Center has kept me busy more often allowing me to affirm at the end of most days... "Geezz I love what I do".
I am confident that experience has made me good at what I do. It’s a demanding but great actualization.
My next blog will be an Arts Education focussed one until then, I am counting down to seeing all my frens coming for the conference.
Ahhhhh yet another blog. No joke mi tiyad jus wanted to have a summer of nothing; no such luck as you get more known for what you do or as I like to say "when you are at the top, you have to work even harder to stay there." I am still not and may never be at the "top" but definitely know the work and lessons involved with the Arts. Its really a place for lifelong learning.
So, with that in mind, I am learning that choreography on oneself takes a lot. This blog entitled "A letter to Bill" is for choreographers like Bill T. Jones, who has done so many solo and company work. How does he do it? Bill how yuh do it?
Its been a long process and quite frankly, I went back into a work that I had not done since Jan 29th 2010 and also extend it to 15 mins. There are many energies for around these dates and for those who are familiar with the events leading up to the transitioning of the quintessential Caribbean man (Prof. Rex Nettleford) you know what I am talking about.
Fast forward to 2011 late June, I MUST BE MAD! I tried every approach with the extension of this solo and it started with the vocabulary for the last section. When that was done, I went back to the first 5 mins created in October 2009 that was a breeze. The middle section however did not fair so well. LOL and to add insult to injury. I don't respond well to learning from video especially looking at myself. Can any other artists testify with me! I spend time assessing what can be better but not remembering the sequencing. LMAO.
So now that's done and because the process is big for me, I constantly assess how I learn and in what context based on the internal and external factors. So this week, I finally finished. Had it in a comfortable place but every run a section was early by at least 45 seconds. GOSH you have to love what you. The mind and the body are always in conflict; which do you listen to? Where is my dramaturge for the this portion? Lol doing great artistic development in Suriname cannot wait for his return. Where is my Artistic Advisor, preparing to leave for other endeavours. My dancers are where? On a deserved break and doing other initiatives for the summer. Summer in the Arts in Toronto is tricky even I want to be on a patio, park, beach instead of a studio. No joke! I have confidence it will be a great solo and I have more rehearsals to get it there. Choreography like dancers need to breathe. We often forget that choreography needs oxygen. Sometimes that oxygen comes in the form of people offering shoulders for you to see over the horizon.
There are angels in our lives that sometimes reveal themselves with an even brighter ambient glow and beyond my company dancers, parents, family, friends, there is Pulga Muchochoma and Melissa Noventa and Vivine Scarlett.
Injury recovering, physio and strength training going well. I am now getting back definition in the calf as the achilles lengthens out again.
Ohh did I mention the last section should be danced nude? :) YEP! I am unclothing the inner rhythms.
Wow wow wow what started as a mere idea has now grown into the longest choreographic work thus far. What's really amazing about this and all the processes thus far is what movement vocabulary I keep as choreography and what I shelf for "another opportunity". With Recalcitrare the pieces all came together interestingly proving that, artists are indeed a reflection of society and with whom they interact. First, there was Anna Wassenburg, then Brian Heap, Micheal Holgate and the staff of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts. All fostered the creation if this piece in many ways. But, the dancers...
In them I put all trust that they will embody my craziness lol even though hard on them sometimes, like those before me, it’s about going beyond maximizing mere potential. I respect the grounds they dance on. Cannot wait to see what the mercenaries of the Arts will do come next Thursday in Ottawa at the Canada Dance Festival. They must be recognized by name Kerry - Ann Wright, Jasmyn Fyffe (original member), Ian Huggins, Gabriella Parson, Aisha Nicholson (intern), Byron Beckford, Andrew Taylor (incoming company member). The intricacies in my mind have been fined tuned by them and polished by a dramaturge for KasheDance years in the making; Arsenio Andrade. I cannot wait for our next rendezvous. You have an eye and technical detail reminiscent of Garth Fagan. I am humbled by your presence because you have made dance real and the heart beat; a connected part of the being something reiterated to me by Ron Brown while at Bates Dance Festival (2000). Christopher Cushman yuh dun know! My photographer who has captured some of the most difficult moment of Recalcitrare as evidenced here. Diane Sobers for taking an idea and making it costume art. Thanks If I have forgotten anyone my parents, Nigel, Charles Smith, Celia Akinlami, Lucy Hamlet, Vivine Scarlett et. al. It’s not by memory that you are not here but by shear space. You are like my ancestors always in my heart RIP Grandma
So back to Recalcitrare... I am avoiding telling you anything about it as I want to not tailor what to expect in the piece LOL. But there is no real story; it all does inter - connected to an opportunity and choreographic inquiry which I am even more curious about now. It’s about the heel, the flexing and pointing of one’s feet, interpersonal relationships to time and space and finally music. Ohhhh the music is off di chain to me. The Kora and the Cello together on one album (Chamber Music - Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal) was freaking amazing but add talent of the Chinese Erhu (George Gao) and I was convinced this was it.
Set in 4 major sections (Re-tain, Re-from, Re-fine and Re-define) each addresses a different understanding of contemporary dance. Re-tain set in 2 section looks at ballet and afro-Caribbean movement motifs. Re-form explores the multiplication of bodies on stage and starts with a solo than leads into a duet which blends into Re-fine a quartet that starts with the same images of the solo. The final section Re-define challenges a redefinition of how we see dance. Does form / style matters over artistry and technique or choreographic structure. Where do we start redefinition?
So that's a little bit about the piece we will present. For me, it’s difficult not dancing much in it but also it was challenging because of my injury and also my recovery period. I also get nervous when my choreography hits the stage, this was never so when I was only a dancer but each knot eventually leaves and I smile as I understand the value of the process. The process from thought to presentation is paramount. 25 minutes will past and the performance would be over but the blood memories to borrow a thought from Ailey Ailey, will be in the collective and individual process and that is dance as intertext. It’s about the values communicated in the process where I as choreographer and the dancers learn something else about the dance, our interactions, our bodies range of motion, our physicality, the work, the history and the connectivity.
Brian Webb, Artistic Director like many others was right when they said "give it time". The time has allowed me to embrace other talents and initiatives. KasheDance is my baby and after 4 years there could be no better place to do it up than the Canada Dance Festival. It's important that we believe and invest in the capacities that we possess, "cause when one door close anadda wi open" so the here and now should matter in the same breath as what they will say tomorrow. It can all change in a month or two and can also change a year. Live it, dance it without regret. One flex, one pointe, one whine and a ripple in the back then LEAP!
Its been a while since I blogged about my injury. So let's reverse to December 31st. On that day I got my cast off. What happened then? I started preparing for my residency unaware of how it would all happen coming out of surgery and recovering. I remember writing that perspective is everything and today I am a even firm believer.
So quick catch up the residency happened to the benefit to both myself and the University of the West Indies - Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts. I taught classes, curated and did Arts Marketing work. I partied, celebrated my first birthday in Jamaica since 1992, saw my lovely family, entertained a best friend from Lyon, France and gradually walked, danced out of the major part of my injury. This I also did under the watchful eyes of my physio therapist twice a week. Man when my surgeon emailed and told me that I should have been out of my air cast a week prior. My smile could not have been any bigger. It was not however easy to get back the mental capacity of not supporting the injury with my left side. That like everything took time.
In that time add the loss or should I say divorcing of someone I have known for 17 years (not my choice and not sure what I did in all that so ...life happened), I left my apartment in an ideal location in toronto behind, finalized the choreographic consultation on a show, signed contract for a major opportunity for my company, got notification on acceptance in another festival in Vancouver and loss my grandmother. Rest her soul, she lived a fruitful life. Ohhh I went back to Jamaica for a week. Lol
Fast forward to April 26th.
I had a appointment with my surgeon. I was up late watching movies, tired ah kill mi! Bathurst St car at 8:30 am di worst. Then again it might always be bad. Side thought "when are we getting the new streetcars? It needs to be like now" anyway. I am at the hospital's fracture clinic and I see people where I was 4 months ago and time offers another perspective. I am there for a total of 8 mins if that much and he remembers me the surgery , the residency and our conversation about his impressive post surgery track record. WOW! Angels come in many forms. He was an excellent surgeon and I have to give him props.
He looks prods and all I hear is wow ok healed perfectly minimal scarring. Shreds of doubt in the form of clouds for where I will once again be starts to clear. "Have you tried pressing up independent of support on your left leg?" he asks. I say no just still cautious you know. "No need to be you have healed superbly...here take my hand" I take his hand and up I go. For the first time in 4 months or more. I releved on my right leg. The sense of accomplishment parralled any major achievement in my life. The clouds and doubt move on by. I am given future physio instructions and that's it.
With all the cloud outside there is sunshine in my heart, mind and spirit. SOUNDS LIKE A CLICHE! But when life deals you sour orange yuh try beg wata an mek juice drink! You don't even need sugar. This will be my last blog on my injury. Thanks all for reading because through reading you helped my recovery.
Perspective changes requires that I now think of strengthening my right achilles and further increase its range of motion to its full potential. When is the company going on tour again! Hmmmm for those who know me well u know what I am thinking.
(from top to bottom) 1. air cast 2. incision today 3. incision just after cast was taken off. 4,5,6 cast removal
My temporary cast (mainly cloth with a plaster on top and bottom of my feet. I have been in a Pointe or plantar flexion for 3 weeks) lol. To be honest, all the days melt into one. Christmas came and went saw my Shell Bell, Darcie, Gabby, Carole and Arsenio went out to eat, chill and now here I am back in the Fracture clinic for cast removal. I was very adamant at the onset of knowing I had an injury that I was going to continue doing as many things as was possible. 8 hrs of choreographic workshops for Wind in the Leaves Collective, many meetings, 2 newsletters (the first email marketing for KasheDance and one for AC) and all I can say is that, beyond cancelling a few Artists in Education bookings to theirs and my dismay is that I AM THANKFUL!
Thanks to all who have helped me make the best of this my first injury. I remained positive all the way because for some, dependent on moving, the process could have been nerve racking; it is a best remotely challenging carry stuff in your hands with crutches or going it and down stairs (mastered) were the most challenging. I made sure that my diet was complementing to the process of muscular and tissue regeneration and focussed on the needs of the injury. I cannot say that was much. I woke up in a cast and that was what I had to deal with. It would itch at what was the entry point (possibly where the stitches were) but I noticed it did for only 3 minutes each day. Other than that I have still not needed anymore pain killers and have been actively working my feet and ankle in the cast.
Ever so often, sleeping was uncomfortable or the cast would shift up on my shines causing momentary discomfort; a simple wiggling of the cast and I am well. Cabs were my main means of transportation but earlier and ventured into the public transit system. Funny how people react to seeing you out on Yonge St as if you should be isolated to your room or something lol.
8:30 New Years Eve... I wait! Maybe I can still head to my residency for mid January at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus I think to myself. LOL another return for a prodigal son! I am hopeful and patient. I wait wondering what my surgeon will recommend. ANTICIPATION can so get the best of us. I wait Dr V is apparently not here as yet cause all his patients are here patiently waiting. I circle my ankles in my cast. I look in my bag; find something to do. DAMN no headphones...I am screaming on the inside. Lol My name is called at around 9 am... Snip snip snip snip, the assistant is cutting off the cast and the lower part of my leg is revealed. I smile “I have a battle scar for the Arts” and now as I see my foot again a smart determination of the road ahead. I wait for Dr V. Hmmm it definitely needs mobilization.
He is hovering around, I hear him ANTICIPATION!
WOW WOW WOW I am such an optimist but sometimes when you expect the worst it does not happen. Dr V comes in and everything is good he says. Of course the over achiever (me) has a list of questions:
1) Can I soak? - He says no.
2) Can I travel on the dates specified Jan 16 or Feb 1st? - He says" YES but where you going?"
I say Jamaica and he says "ok I have a colleague at the university there, send me your email and I can have you do follow ups there"
3) The other question was can I get a hospital certificate or letter. But no need I can go to the office.
He exists after my questions and the assistant again takes over.
Intermittently ahh ouchh ewww ahhh ohhh they are taking out the stitches. "Sorry it's 3 weeks since I have felt any sensation down there" I say and the orthopaedic nurse says "its ok, I understand." He leaves and return with an air cast, shows me how it works and I am off. Follow up appointment is booked and I go to the office...
It's closed till Jan. 4th!
I smile and think to myself “YOU WIN SOME YOU LOSE SOME :).
On the way home a different sense of sensations. My foot is now back in a semi dorsal flexion after 3 weeks with sensations I have not felt. I head home. Of course anticipation of the New Year is upon me. I am having friends over to celebrate with me because I cannot go out. I shower and feel water run down my leg again. The power of water is an amazing thing. Its runs over my scar and I feel my skin reacting. I get to the cocoa butter and natural Shea butter. I know I have to place moisture back into my skin and the areas around the scar. THE ELASTICITY OF THE SKIN helps in the working of your muscles and yep I HAVE SOME ANTHROPHY around the scar and ankles. I start with a superficial massage then eventually a little deep tissue in the calf. My leg responds.
I start with some small mobilization exercise and realize in the process how connected the bottom of or feel is to the heel and Achilles. The ball of my foot and heel is tender as it adjusts to gravity and my weight. WOW it’s only been 3 weeks since I am off my foot imagine if it was longer? While my daily routine is the same, I now have an hour set aside for stretch, strength and mobilization. Ahhh heck I make it a part of my warm up. Ever so often I feel tingles and spasms in my heels and my calf. They are adjusting fixing what needs to be aligned. It feels like worms running up and down my leg. (Sorry if I am too detailed here) LMAO
I head to rehearsal and of course do my mobilization exercises. Hold up! My foot is now on the ground and closer to my supporting leg. Hmm I can now support my weight in parallel 4th. This means after just 2 days my range of motion in the injured Achilles has improved. Smile because I still have to be aware of the internal healing and while it responds to the mobilization exercise, I know I am not ready to bear weight on both legs. The external cut might be healing but the internal might be in a different place. DO WE HEAL INTERNALLY THEN EXTERNALLY? Or do they happen at the same time? Hmmmmm?????
Same routines of emails, searching flights start writing some grants etc. Beyond my injury I have to go to figure out how I will teach students next week. Figure out who will help me with demonstrating, see if it’s financially wise to leave on Jan 16th as booked or push it back to Feb 1st. If I push it back I will require a hospital certificate or I will lose my ticket for the residency. Then there is logistics of going to the residency only to leave after a week to head to the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference in Los Angeles which I am required to go to. Hmmmm hello Kevin getting around is a problem for you LMAO. Here I am planning like I am completely able bodied. I have been given a dose into the world of those less able to freely move around without help or planning. I finalize some other sections of my grant and
Some more planning and things are falling into place. More work to be done on both the Artistic and physical side of my career some e-mails are promising for professional development in choreography later in the summer. Exercise and more mobilization will get me focussed on the prize.
It’s important for everyone who depends on the use of their limbs to be aware of anatomy and how it relates to your job and their wellbeing. While I knew some things, I have learnt that the signs of my injury were occurring in progression...if the Achilles is connected to the muscles in the calf then I should have saw it coming. In the last class I taught my company, my calf was tight and I did make the metal note to get in there and massage it. THAT DID NOT REALLY HAPPEN. Now that I am put back together again the source in the calf is lol still there and as I do my physio I feel those connecting points more and more. I have taught and seen dancers not aware what to do to aleve tight muscles or how to effectively warm up their own bodies and this can be a problem for the longevity of your profession. Take the time to invest in what you love to do...
Monday and Tuesday - nothing much really. Send out e-mails etc, follow up on some good news artistically and prepared for day 3.
Its surgery day! I am up at 8:20 am and get ready. I ate up until 11:50 last night. I head out at nine; make arrangements for pick up before and after the surgery. A tad nervous but that dissipates as I go about getting to the hospital.
I am there and prepared I must take off all my clothes jewellery and of course pre surgery questions. Surgery begins at 12 and I am wheeled into the waiting area. It’s now 10. Ohh boy I will be here waiting for a while.
Texts and BBM roll in as they have since Tuesday night. They warm my heart and calm my soul. Darcel said she was back. This came as a surprise since we last spoke she was and had a great audition in London. I smile. Post operation she might come in very handy for the work I do.
Wow hospitals always seemed like a building of despair but in this reality there is life. Possibilities are endless and as with life there are risks. They are so cheerful and take pride in the work they do. That's comforting. I YAWN and YAWN. This I am sure is a part of the process and I have not gotten to anaesthetics yet. I AM SLEEPY! YAWN YAWN.
11:21 - YAWN - 12:45 my anesthetic consultation I weigh the options and recovery and go for the spinal. It offered less recovery time and heh I go home less drowsy.
I am in the surgical room I see the assistants. I am apparently a buzz being a dancer. They ask me what type how it happened etc.
IV goes in; I am talking my ass off. Thoughts hmmmm "it's not like the surgery rooms you see glorified on TV. I I I I I am out...did not even feel the freezing or the spinal needle go in. I am still talking my ass of blahhsssggggFfggggggggggg....ohhh great don't know when I stopped talking or what happened after that...hahhahahahhahahh
I wake up to being wheeled out, in a cast to post operation room. Where is the oxtail and curry goat? Lmao. How did I get in this position! I was sitting up in the operating room. HUH! Its 2: 45 pm. I can't feel my legs ohhhh I can't feel my legs. Ahhhh I was frozen spinal from the pelvis down. I am wheeled to the post operation floor and I still cannot feel my legs. “You want coffee, tea, biscuits?" says the nurse in recovery. "Yes thanks".
I reach for laptop and started working as a male nurse checks blood pressure and whether I can move my legs. Wait should I be concerned that I still cannot feel my legs? Ahhh the spinal tap was supposed to be a speedier recovery! I touch and feel my legs with some. Respond to the touch below my pelvic girdle. This is 30 minutes post surgery.
I am starving! The nurse comes back check on me. More cookies then I see NR walking down the hall but it’s still not time for me to leave and I still am working on the legs a tingle here and there feelings coming back. I notice the many patients around me. I wonder how long they will stay.
It’s around 5:30 when I am finally cleared to go. My surgeon came and set a date to take off the temporary cast (Dec 31st) and give me my pain killers. Huh I don't feel any pain!
6:30 pm. I am hungry eating like a pig when ahhhhh ahhhhhh what's that? PAIN more pain than when I first sustained the injury. Ohhh boy I reach for the pain killers read the instructions and down two; the rest is history. I am drowsy fall in and out of sleep. Four hours later, I take two more so that I can sleep through the night.
I am awaken through the night some pain still and feeling a little groggy. But by mid day I have eaten and take another pain killer. That was to be my last. Everything is uphill from there. And the routine of recovery continues. Gosh I was in my room all day and for someone always on the move and or dancing it’s a little annoying. It’s the evening and I have a rehearsal to attend the Heritage Singers have their show this weekend. I show get dressed (now a longer process) and head out. I make a vow not to be in bed for the entire day on Friday prior to my final rehearsal with the Heritage Singers.
I get up stretch a little and do my abs, hang out with some friends and head to my rehearsal 1:00 am. I am home with no idea I would be out that late. Next day is the show and while I did not think I would have to go; I needed to. I get picked up go to the show and heh again all day I am out. The Artistic satisfaction of working with Heritage singers is the fact that I am brought back to a rich cultural base of Arts presentation. Some good ole folk songs and traditional movements, I grew up with this; it’s MY ROOTS. Their guest was Joan Andrea Hutchinson a Jamaican artist and like the tradition of great artists before and like her. SHE IS PHENOMENAL. A lickkle laugh mus help recovery.
Rehearsal for the Wind in the Leaves Collective and Baby Bobyz both went well. I cannot believe I am able to do all that I can. Mental power and perspective is a wonderful thing. I have been able to communicate with the dancers by mere verbal prompts at random occasion hobbling over to them to give anecdotal suggestions for movement impetus. I am grateful.
DAY 7 - I RELAXED
I am Blessed, thankful and I am realizing that the resilience of the human spirit is all we need sometime. Of the fifty pain killers I have taken 5 and this is great as we are all aware about the dependence of people on drugs, pills etc and what it can do to your liver and kidneys. I have had some amazing support through this and for that I am grateful. Counting down to the day the cast comes off and hearing his advice for continuing with work as usual. Don't worry I am still cognisant of the rehab time and what my body can do. If it’s one thing dancers listen to their bodies as it’s the temple and instrument which we use. Keep strengthening your instrument y'all.
There I was extremely loving my first return since leaving. Dance classes going well, I am in a place of total bliss when the reality of that bliss chamnged on the second day. For good or for bad who knows. I never question occurances in life. You are placed in these situations for a reason and I am a firm believer in that. EVERYTHNG HAPPENS FOR A REASON and sometimes the resons are not apparent to you at the moment. My motto has been to live without regrets and being there was not going to be the moment of regret... but letès fast forward a week and a half...
Getting a stock of it all
I arrived at the Toronto General's Artist Health Clinic at 10:40 for a 11 am appointment and after doing the Thompson test via a YouTube video, I sort of knew my outcome. One, good time to establish this relationship with the clinic and two, good to find out the next steps as I plan the overall steps for the next little while. :) I am big on sending the right energy into this world. Perspective for me is everything.
After being seen by a nurse practitioner and a sports medicine doctor, it was official. A RUPTURED ACHILLES. Eghhhh so what's next?
I am thankful the sports doctor was there. If you can imagine he was literally doing a residency at University of Toronto and was here for a day. this day, Dec 7th of all days. GREAT! Wow him and the nurse practitioner moved mountains. I am wheeled downstairs for an admit card, they walk over to Imaging for a impromptu ultrasound (arranged)then I go up to ultrasound wait for a while, hear that the next available times for appointment was end of December :) yet some miracle I am in. Ultrasound and imaging confirms suspicions and I am picked by my two medical angels and wheeled over to the artistic clinic where authorizing signatures are secured. They make calls, pull strings, I speak with a doctor and before you know it there go the wheels moving again.
I am now heading to the fracture clinic for a boot cost a little much for a short time in them but my angel advises and I get a cast. Another appointment on Thursday regarding surgery, cast on, crutches needed and before you know I am in the food court its 4 pm and I am hungry. Asian Gourmet sounds good before heading home.
Everything happens for a reason and after 25 years in dance this is my only major injury. How can I not be thankful? This does not compare to half of what the hospitals in our world has to deal with. Everyone thought I was so cool about the revelations but what to do? Would it change the situation? I have been saying lately that perspective is everything. Herein lies that truth.
I am humbled by the inter-connectivity of the human body and our dependency on mobility not just as dancers but as human beings. As dancers these are the paramount needs. Take care of your bodies all and realize that even when we do SHIFT_HAPPENS! Lmao (that's used courtesy of a dear friend GT) I am getting on the other good foot lol.
I created and wrote down 12 phrases for movement exploration today while been wheeled through halls and in between waiting rooms. SWEET! No let's see how I will demonstrate them. :)
A continuous learning curve that will be a great asset.
Getting use to it all
Ahhhh home not having the mobility on one leg can be challenging. I feel a rush of blood down to my ankles every time I stand but no weight on the foot is required from this point on.
My surgery consultant is tomorrow (Dec 9th) at the Fracture Clinic at Toronto Western General. I go through my regular paces but showering was challenging. First I thought of half body in right foot out lol. Then I got a garbage bag. Ahhhhh there go. Garbage bag went over cast and into top of cast and I get in holding injured leg bent at the knee that way water does not go down to calf. IT WORKED! Ahhh a shower feels good. :). A few movies; some needed personal time :) an influential director I recently saw always said "find the good and praise it" so ah time to get those grants and arts marketing consultant work done. Hint hint GT and NG :) thanks a million NR.
So I am up at 9 snooze till 9 30 then head to the hospital for 11. I arrive and ahhh the fracture waiting room area. The doctor is running late. The guy who just walks in is late for his appointment with the same doctor hmmmm.
I head for the canister of coffee and my book on dance composition. Let's read... I sip my coffee take in some basics theories on dance composition. About 15 minutes later
" Kevin Ormsby...I am Dr..." I go to get my cast off and he speaks of the risks etc. He then says "so are u ready for surgery today?”Huh! I had no idea the surgery could have been that day no one told me :( all I was told that this was a consultation to meet with you"
Think quick Kevin, think quick , "I mean I can be ready!" Did I even know what that entail?
"Did u eat or drink since 12 last night?" says Dr. G
Ahhh damn I thought, “I did not eat but I had coffee this morning"
I feels the clouds darkening as the ohh so enthusiastic South Asian doctor and his team's facial expression and demeanour changed.
"We have to book you for another day. If u did not drink the coffee we could have put you in today at 1 pm"
FUNNY SIDE BAR: “Damn Shelly and Guy for my introduction to coffee” (LMAO ahhhh joke)
I get another date for surgery and also another temporary cast. That night and the all other days to Sunday, I went to rehearsals leading up to the Heritage Singers production on December 11th and even had rehearsals on Sunday for the wind in the leaves collective.
I do notice my choreographic nature is kicking in big time.
The 12 phrases written on Day 1 will be brought to fruition.
Teaching students Nelson A. Boylen C.I
Four years ago, I was asked to write a report / thought piece on the importance of dance arts education in the Caribbean to be presented to the Ministry of Culture in Grenada. In this piece, I argued that dance education was beneficial in teaching interpersonal / physical skills and built the capacity for memory retention and critical thinking. while forging an understanding of the Arts that could potentially influence culture and society.
A fast forward to the here and now, finds me traversing the city as an Artist in Education Program Grant recipient through the Ontario Arts Council. This opportunity has made me realize that these arguments mentioned in the Caribbean ran in tandem with the nature of dance arts education in Ontario with equal credibility and scope.
While there are approaches and intellectual discussions at the cultural, academic and funding levels, I am interested in how much conversation happens at the artistic level. Indeed the same level of approach and understanding can prove beneficial to an arts organization or an artist like me working in many areas. A battle of influence, art appreciation and audience mobilization has been raging for years. Effective dance education has been a part of that war. How its importance is communicated from an artistic level to the educational level. Many might consider the inclusion of an artist an important addition to experience of students but what of the improvement of the students knowledge base; ultimately, influencing potential viewing audiences, potential future interest in the artists of the future.
I think on so many levels there other factors at play. Where does the "knowledge" of the Arts originates? Where does one find and assess the credibility of those creating the knowledge base? Does increasing the knowledge base for dance education solely related to writing? Where does oral traditions / visual traditions fit into the proliferation of dance education.
ACCESS - One of the central issues relates to access. What does this proliferation look like in countries where the accesses to resources are limited? Even in Toronto, Ontario and parts of Canada access is not what we think out it as in a cosmopolitan setting.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC / CULTURAL SENSITIVITY - What do you do in dance education when it does not involves students who aspire to be dancers or have an extensive training in the form? How do you unify both dance and education based on socio-cultural and economic realities? Experience in the field happened to have been one of my earliest repartees with this subject matter as it relates to dance.
Case 1: The Socio - Economic Sensitivity
The following occurred while dancing with Garth Fagan Dance and on tour in Cleveland, OH. Normally on tour, a lecture demonstration format was used for outreach into various communities. In this particular instance I and other company members were in a school where for almost 2 hrs our sense of accomplishments in the arts diminished to that of being mere minstrels because the entire class did not want to participate in the workshop. We of course having been in settings where there was a willingness to participate was lost for approaches, ideas and impetus to spark interest.
Why? Why was this so having done workshops prior? It was after closer examination (a week of emotional disappointment in what I called the future of America) that I realize that there were socio- economic realities at play. Yes there was validity in many of the student’s comments. A female student's comments are ever-present. Her resistance to participating was because of concerns with ripping her uniform which would not sit well with her mother and who could not afford another. It was an inner school and students will relate to dance education based on their exposure and socio -economic situations. Other questions to ask was where they actively prepared by their teacher for the movement required and the expectation of having clothes suitable for moving and participation.
Case 2: Cultural Sensitivity
If that sometime we overlook the concerns of cultural sensitivities in education and with a world so ethnically diverse, we sometimes have to. However, at what expense? If it means shutting out an artistic experience on any level are we willing to make that sacrifice? I thought at a school in the GTA and had to forgo many of my expectations going into the class room. Why? The issues of dance and cultural sensitivity slapped me in the face and I had to be in the moment. My class was culturally diverse and did not occur in a tradition space for dance. Some students were not and could not due to cultural values wear clothes traditionally worn for dance. But should clothes be a necessary requirement for the experience of dance? Needless to say like I teach in a professional setting dance is about negotiating space and I quickly negotiated between experience and artistic requirements.
The two cases mentioned bring to the forefront some of the issues in discussions along cultural, social and economic sensibilities and the Arts. Some time when artists are place in these positions, it’s hard to actively think of solutions. We are more often in interactions with students who want to dance who come to a "space" with already an understanding of dance or a willingness to learn based on the artistic subject matter being taught. The idea of inclusive experience is paramount in dance education.
Understanding the pulse needs many approaches, knowledge base work and inquiry but also a chameleon sensitivity as no two schools, teacher or student will be the same. The pulse continues, changes lessen in flow and increase in fervour depending on the cultural and social exposure that students have had with the arts. With also the mass produced format seen on television, the immediacy of the product or presentation often undermines the work in technique and practice. The product (the dance) becomes a misconstrued entity. I am supportive of creating and fueling the pulse; hopeful that the pulse will incite inquiry in student and teacher creating and broadening the pulse that is dance education.