Tori Types Thoughts
Tori's very average blog
A few weeks ago (aka a lifetime ago at this point) I took a modern dance class for the first time in about 15 years from the Limon Dance Foundation. I have always admired the style of modern dance that emerged from Jose Limon's choreographies but I never had the opportunity to give myself the luxury of specific study. I paid for two classes but only took one (the life of a gigging artist) and I was struck by the feelings of joy and generosity the movement released from my body.
Hindsight is 2020... or 2021? Eh whatever, these years sorta blow. I digress - the timing could NOT have been worse as it coincided with the final week of my summer intensive for my MFA and the biggest move of my adult life.
Of course I signed up.
Of course I didn't quit once I learned about my pending move.
Of course I had to shuffle everything in my life around to fit this dang week in.
This training was unbelievably worth it.
The instructors, Kurt Douglas and Kristen Foote, are just amazing. I wish we could have been in person so they could better absorb my deep admiration for their knowledge, talent, and teaching styles. I typed and backspaced the private message "Can we be friends?" so many times - I had to try and keep up with the incredible cohort of students so I had to focus! Kurt and Kristen shared Limon's philosophy and movement vocabulary with precision and authenticity - I think Limon would have loved to see the attention to detail and the attention to JOY both of them portrayed. I have a deep gratitude... can we be friends?!
In addition to this, the workshop had accompaniment and MAN OH MAN was that a joy, a treat, and a delight. We had a chance to ask accompanist (and PHD) Allen Fogelsanger a bit and his ENCYCLOPEDIC knowledge only bested by his love and understanding music and dance's relationship. What a cool person - if you ever see this I'm already using the playlist!
The fellow students in the cohort were knowledgeable, playful, deadly serious about dance but also amazing in their artistry. If there was a moment where I MIGHT feel imposter syndrome - that would have been it. However, I never felt out of place with all of these friendly artists.
I took pages and pages of notes, but I'm going to give myself a minute to digest them before I start organizing them into my final thoughts and create the connections between what I learned and my teaching practices. I will say this - Limon's philosophies and the tenants of his modern dance style loan perfectly to traditional and modern belly dance. It is amazing how things in our universe are so connected.
All in all I think I gave myself a few very nice gifts with the cost of this workshop - a bunch of new friends (they may not know it yet, but I do), invigorated teaching ideas, refreshed look at modern dance, and a slew of artistic inspiration. If you haven't guessed it already, I highly recommend everything about this course.
This is my heart
Singing to you
In colors of teal, brown, and blue
These are my hands
Touching the ground,
Up to the walls, up to the down
This is my mind
This there which – where’s the fucking cat
Listening deep to the sounds of this house
The breathing AV -The grumbling walls
The ants in the boards continue their toil
I’m leaving things here, as best as they be
The concept of home is coming with me
The title of this looong blog is inspired by the the amazing Malala Yousafzai.
“One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world” -Malala Yousafzai
I have some announcements, thoughts, admissions, and hopes!
I am entwined with a story - a story about a little boy with a HUGE dream. This child became my husband. I'm being vague so SEO won't associate him with all of the sappy love I'm about to pour out, but if you know me you know that my husband has fought against all odds to attain his dreams in the NFL. Ever since he was 2 years old, he knew he wanted to be a part of football: since that time he's published books, worked in the media, and made some incredible friends along the way. During the pandemic, he went from being a beloved "football outsider" to an "insider" and began his journey working directly for teams. On Monday the 21st he got a call that he would be working with some of his greatest allies...and some of the most fabulous football minds out there.
After the experience that was 2020, I witnessed both incredible feats of human resilience and instances where man has come up short. Working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and on the Advisory Board for Jesse Tree, a non profit that prevents homelessness in the Treasure Valley, I had a front row seat to a lot of stuff. I have heard horror stories from my coworkers working directly with children and families during this time. I just can't believe that so many vibrant children, filled with potential, want to die.
A recent news briefing from the Kaiser Family Foundation shared these conclusions (click here for the source on this one)
There is talk about classifying the pandemic as an Adverse Childhood Experience or ACEs (click for some reading). With my work at Big Brothers Big Sisters, I know that the predominant way to reverse the ill effects of ACEs within youths are strong and healthy mentoring relationships (more reading for the click happy). After delving into several trainings like QPR and Mental Health First Aid, and from my lived experience as someone with ACEs who had to figure out things as I went along, I decided that the most important thing I could do to help and heal my community was to take Myra Krien's Pomegranate SEEDs teacher training.
Honestly, SEEDs perfectly combines so many incredible tools. I've included a link for your information that details all of the incredible qualities of this program for young people.
Myra has lovingly created an experience with the Pomegranate SEEDs training. For long time readers of my blog, you've seen me gush about the generous and talented human being that is Myra Krein. Needless to say, I had high expectations for the training and the 5-day event totally left my imagination in the dust. The training itself is a flash of what the young people who partake in the SEEDs program will experience, but I invite you to understand that it is not a mere intensive. This sort of work is personal and requires an extraordinary amount of skill and tact to manifest results in the SEEDs program... let alone in a week with adults who will potentially teach it. The fact that Myra customizes the experience of the teacher training to those in the room and guided us through charged and powerful topics is a testament to the depths of her knowledge and compassion. I laughed, I cried (embarrassingly quickly I might add), I made new friends and gained skills that will help me in my career and as a person who wants to make a positive impact for young people in my community. I will say anything to make you believe that this program works - it is a cure we so desperately need. I am so grateful that it exists.
Here are some highlights - aka pictures of me with my friends.
Considering my pending move, my plans to assist Starbelly with bringing SEEDs back into the Treasure Valley are a bit loosie goosy (Cecilia used to administer it until circumstances prevented her from continuing). I will offer my expertise and heart to Cecilia, Cassandra and Bayla, but my personal foray into the program itself is to be determined... However, I know that I will as quickly as possible implement all of the incredible tools I have gathered over the training. I can hardly freaking wait.
In order to keep contact with all of you, I decided to start and try and maintain an Instagram. I have a LOT of content but what I really want to do is keep a line open to my friends all over as well as become better friends with people in my new city. Right now my handle is @toritori.bobori (banana fanna fo fori). I'm not trying to needlessly gain followers, but if you're on this blog or seeing this message - odds are I want to stay in touch with you somehow. Add me or something? I'll add you back? WHAT ARE THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT?
PS: This section was also going to be a long section but this blog post is already unreal. Enjoy the book, class.
I mentioned it before but I'll mention it again, please keep your calendar wide open for the up and coming Starbelly Folkloric Celebration!
More info coming soon, but check out the facebook event by [[clicking here]]!
Tori King is a belly dance artist, culture enthusiast and general weirdo. Is this a good biography? Do you like me yet? :-)