Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Workshop: Rhythm & Zils

Date:  April 28th - 4:00 - 5:30 PM

Location: Bright Star World Dance
                  108 High Street, 3rd Floor, Portland, ME

Cost: $25 (Class size is limited to 15 students)

Zils are in integral part of any belly dancer's performance repertoire.  Learning to play them well means knowing not only about the dance, but the music and rhythms behind it. 

This fun, friendly class includes an overview of rhythms that dancers are likely to encounter, along with easy zil patterns that can be played along with them, and each student will receive a rhythm sheet with the patterns written out for practicing at home!

Students will also learn: 
  • Exercises that help build rhythmic skill
  • Tips for practicing at home
  • A few tricks that will aid in zilling while actually dancing!
Total beginners welcome.   This is a hands on class so bring your zils! 

Live music is provided by Stephen Carpenter.


Your Name:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spring Session - Heretica: Cultivating Choice

When: Thursdays, 5:30 - 6:30PM, May 9 to June 20 (SixWeeks)

Cost: $65Advanced Registration/$85 Day Of (full session only – no dropins)***

Where:  Bright Star World Dance, 108 High Street, 3rd Flr, Portland, ME

Are you seeking a dance class that strengthens your spirit as well as your body?

Heretica, from the Greek word heretikos, is about learning to understand the why and how of your own movement.  Utilizing techniques such as authentic movement, meditation, silent improvisation, group rhythmic exploration, theatrical improvisation, as well as instruction in dance technique, you will begin to foster a seamless connection between mind and body; thought and action.  By learning how you relate to your body and how your body moves through the world, you become free to create physical expressions of emotion, build stories through movement, and share more of yourself in your dance. 
When you come to understand the connection between your body, our mind, and our spirit - the better you embody your self and the concept of Heretica.  
You become one who is able to choose.  

Heretica: Cultivating Choice, is a class that provides the structure of an ongoing dance class, with the freedom to explore how your body wants to move. Drawing from a variety of contemporary dance styles, authentic movement, and deep improvisation this class is a seven-week movement exploration.

With class warmups that improve strength and flexibility; exploratory dance exercises to help you foster a seamless connection between mind and body; and cool downs that leave you centered and grounded, this class is your bridge between inspiration and movement.

Plus, each week you will be offered optional out of class exercises that will help you build your movement practice at home.

You will want to wear comfortable clothing that allows for freedom of movement. You may also want to bring a notebook or journal, and a water bottle.

Students of all movement backgrounds and levels are welcome to join the class.

In order to facilitate free exploration we seek to create a safe space for all types of dancers and movement artists to explore creative expression. The class is open to all genders and movement forms.

*** Payment plans are available.  Please contact Joie directly if you wish to set up a payment plan.

Full Session Registration:

Heretica: Cultivating Choice
Student Name

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Old Dream: Forgotten Songs

I have started to gather together the stories that have come to me in dreams.  They are scattered across blogs, Facebook posts, and drafts never shared.  This dream came to me a few years ago and it has stuck with me. You can find the recording of the dream on my SoundCloud page.

It is a small, nondescript house, with an a plain shed standing beside it. Inside the shed the walls are lined with shelves that are filled with large storage bins.  There is a long workbench on one wall and only one door.  There are no windows.   

Each morning a woman goes to the shed and unlocks the doors. It is always early, the grass will be wet with dew or crisp with frost, and the morning shadows long and low.  She steps inside and waits.  Soon she hears the crunch of gravel beneath the tires of a delivery truck.  She hears the driver open his door and step out onto the driveway.   She listens for the sound of the delivery van door sliding open and the driver’s footsteps as he approaches.   She sees him silhouetted against the morning light as he steps into the doorway.  They exchange pleasantries.  She signs for the delivery and he hands her one plain white number 10 envelope.

She pauses in front of the workbench waiting until he is gone before opening the envelope.  As soon as she does music begins to sound. One song at a time she hears the last time a piece of music has been played, or sung.  Sometimes it is entire orchestras playing complex symphonies but more often than not it is a single human voice humming absentmindedly.  She often wonders if the owners of the humming voices ever realize that they were sharing this song for the very last time.

As each note sounds out into the air it solidifies into a tiny colored bead and falls into her open palm; a forever frozen musical vibration.  One by one she places each note into a tiny padded box, like those that expensive jewelry comes in.  Each box uniformly gray, and once closed, utterly unremarkable.  She packs them by the hundreds into the large plastic bins.  Note after note, song after song.

At the end of the day, when the last song has sounded, she writes the date on the outside of the envelope and files it away in a cabinet full of thousands of other envelopes.   She turns off the single light in the shed, padlocks the door and go back into the house to make dinner. 

She doesn’t know what becomes of the notes after she packs them away.   She knows she is not the only person doing this.  There are many around the world doing this work day after day.  She knows that the shed is not large enough to possibly hold all of the forgotten songs she has stashed away over the years.  There is some mysterious process that she has never witnessed in which the songs are carried away to their final destination. She imagines that somewhere there exists an immense warehouse with sky high shelves full of stacked bins, filled with an infinite number of little gray boxes, each holding a tiny gleaming and silent note.   

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Today is the first day of Spring. As we prepare to put the cold, darker days of Winter to bed, and wake up from our long hibernation of the heart, I resist the urge to let my mind skip right ahead to Summer. The calendar tells me that Winter is done, I want warmth, long days, feet in the sand at the beach, the scent of flowers on the wind, a farmers’ market bursting with berries.

But I will have to wait, because Spring has its own plan and takes its own time. Spring is not for blossoming, it is a time for seeds.

In my spiritual tradition is a time to plant the seeds of intention; to ask what it is that I wish to grow in myself in the coming year. This is not an easy answer for me. In recent years in I’ve often been too in middle of things to pause and reflect on what I wish to plant. But last night as I lay in bed pondering the coming spring, a word came to my mind:


Like my mind jumping ahead to fantasies of not too hot or humid summer days, uncrowded sandy beaches, and berries arriving at the farmers market at the same time as my paycheck arrives at the bank, my thoughts of my own future are nearly always filled with images of perfection that have little to do with reality. In my dreams of summer there are no bad air days to keep me stuck inside, I have plenty of time to take hours long meanders on the beach (if I even remember this is something I want to do since there are many summers that end without my going to the beach at all), and I arrive at the farmers’ market at 7:30AM every Wednesday, cash in hand, ready to fill my canvas shopping bags with fresh, local produce.

In the fantasies of my future self I am never, ever broke and my whole financial life is perfectly budgeted. I rise extra early each day to do a half hour of yoga, fifteen minutes of meditation, and another thirty minutes writing in my journal. I am a social media and marketing boss, posting engaging content that promotes the work that I do which of course leads to classes and workshops that are not only full but have waiting lists. My future self follows a diet that is organic and wholesome. I am emotionally balanced and almost never self-medicate with booze, food, or Netflix. I get restful sleep every night and I am perfectly, perfectly, hydrated. I live a fearless life where I achieve all my dreams.

Spring is not perfect. Spring is mud, and potholes. Spring is days that are sunny but leaving you wishing you’d brought a hat. Spring is 18 inches of snow in April and 75 degrees the next day. Spring is melting snowbanks that reveal piles of decomposing dog shit on the grassy verge** between the sidewalk and the street. Spring is too many layers or not enough. Spring is last Autumn’s root vegetables at the farmers’ market when what you really, really want is a tomato.

Spring is also the return of birdsong when it seems impossibly early and too cold for nesting. Spring is more daylight than darkness. Spring is fat green buds on the trees, crocuses, daffodils, and, eventually, the scent of lilacs. Spring is the sound of winter water running into the stormwater drain. Spring is sandals with wool socks because I just can’t wait any longer.

Spring is imperfect and beautiful, and it makes no apologies.

And so, this is the seed I plant today. The seed of imperfection. It is the intention to grow into my inconsistencies, my less thans, my not enoughs, my not quite there yets. It is the act of shining the light on my contrariness and off days. It is a seed that I plant in the earth of my cracked self-esteem, watered by my weeping, and warmed by the desire to love myself as I am.


For the audio blog recording please visit my Soundcloud Page.

**yes, this is what that particular space of land is called. I had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_verge

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Saying Yes

"When we said 'Yes,' everything in us said 'Yes.'  When we said 'No,' everything in us said 'No.' We were undivided."  
- Mary Starks Whitehouse

This week during one of my personal movement sessions I moved with the focus of what saying yes to something felt like in my body.   I quickly realized that there are two very distinct types of yes in my life...

...the yes that is in alignment with my values and sense of purpose
...and the yes that isn't. 

The yes that isn't makes my shoulders tense, my chest drop, and gives me the sense of being under a great weight.  I know that this is the yes that I often give because I feel like it is something I should be doing, or that I might disappoint someone.  There is almost always some kind of anticipated outside judgement involved.  It is the yes that leads me to feeling overwhelmed and doubt filled.  It also more often than not leads to a period of procrastination in starting whatever project I agreed to.

The other yes, the one that is more in alignment with my vision and purpose, instead brings a soft opening.  I feel like I want to lift my heart to the sky.  There is a sense of being about to take flight. My body feels lighter.  It comes with a deeper knowing of rightness.  Later, when I sit to do the tasks associated with these projects, even the mundane, non-fun, boring tasks that accompany nearly any great endeavor, there is still a sense that I am serving something deep within myself.

That doesn't mean that there isn't any doubt or fear that accompanies this sort of yes.  In fact there is often a hesitation, a questioning, but these fears and hesitations sit in the same place as the yes does; they are its shadow.  They live in the bits hidden behind old traumas, tucked away out of a need to keep these precious parts of myself safe.  These are the fears I need to allow myself to breathe into, and heal.

My body is often far more wise than my brain.  Learning (or rather re-learning) to listen to its voice is ongoing.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

March 10, 2019 - Contemplative Dance & Authentic Movement Class Cancelled

I am cancelling today's due to the winter weather advisory issued by the NWS this morning. The worst of the weather is due to occur right during today's class and I want to make sure everyone stays safe.

Stay safe, warm, and cozy. I hope to see you next week!