Ok Y’ALL (I'm from Lexington, so for those who don't know, this is Kentucky-speak. Ha ha!):
I want to share with you my excitement about my online venture, YourCreativeChord!
You may struggle with the things I’ve overcome or wrestle with, so I'm offering working STRATEGIES for tapping creativity and spiritual wellness!
Of course, it’s not ALL about struggle! Gratefully! There are also moments and chapters that are all about riding the wave of joyous creative output and spiritual momentum!
I’m offering TONS of valuable FREE content on empowering strategies for piano, creativity, caregiver and spiritual wellness. These are MY niches cuz these are all the ways I PERSONALLY express and experience life!
Check the ABOUT page to learn more about why these are my niches and why I'm the perfect person to share about them with you!
If YOU’RE interested in ONE of these niches, there will be great value coming out for you in my blogs, products and courses!
If your life overlaps into MORE than one or ALL of these areas (like MY LIFE does), you’ll be getting great content, products and courses from me in every one of these aspects of your life!
I’m excited about these because creativity and spiritual wellness are worlds that EVERY HUMAN has the potential to explore and THRIVE.
As an entrepreneur, caregiver, Buddhist, musician, music educator and woman, I have MY particular journey. The reason I’m launching YourCreativeChord is to SHARE what has been and is working for me.
To CELEBRATE launching YourCreativeChord, I’ll be having mini-Contests periodically over the next several months. SIGN UP HERE FOR MY MAILING LIST and GET YOUR FREE PDF 2019 CALENDAR AND be automatically entered for a CHANCE TO WIN MY 2019 SPIRITUAL WELLNESS NATURE PHOTO WALL CALENDAR! See the photo cover below!
(Or, you may click right here to buy yours now!)
I’m SO excited to see where we go, to learn from you as well, and to share how we grow in our creative, spiritual wellness together.
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A REVIEW OF LEXINGTON BALLET COMPANY
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
My mother and I attended New Works and Other Voices, a free performance by the Lexington Ballet Company, Saturday, October 27, 2018, at LexArts on 161 N. Mill Street, Lexington. I had no idea what to expect, as I was unfamiliar with the program.
From the moment Lexington Ballet Artistic Director, Luis Dominguez spoke, I knew immediately the audience was in for a robust explosion of cultural spirit. As he introduced each choreographer, musical background of each composition, and the meaning behind each dance, his love and respect for art was exuberant. The featured choreographers are also company dancers and instructors at the Lexington Ballet. As each one spoke before the cast’s performance, the heartfelt sincerity and passion for dance was palpable.
But the dancers’ performances topped that. Beyond demonstrating a graceful physical flexibility, they overwhelmed the room with youthful passion, and shared their hearts through dance. It is rare to attend a concert that rises above technical mastery to resonate directly with the heart. But Lexington Ballet Company cast did just that, with every performance of the concert.
I don’t know anything about dance. But, I gathered from each selection of the concert, that these young people have vigorously worked to overcome their physical limitations. That was obvious from their movements, and their polished achievements are worth the spotlight of attention.
The colorful costumes changed throughout the concert, adding oomph to the visual cultural expression onstage. The unity of the dancers was impressive. They created a harmoniously flowing motion with bodies of different shapes, heights and age. They made it look easy.
The atmosphere within the room transformed through the purity of the energetic dancers. In today’s world filled with self-inflicted barriers, darkness and disunity, Lexington Ballet’s performances immersed the audience with spiritual and emotional therapy. The power of their artful dances, evidently rooted in the expression of each artist’s heart and soul, led the audience through an array of emotion.
I could feel my own heart open, and sometimes be astounded by their phenomenal talent. It is this kind of artistic performance, based on communicating heart to heart, that has the power to bring hope to our society. “Music is an expression of the human spirit; it speaks directly to the heart and proves that we can transcend national and ethnic barriers. It plays a critical role in building peace.”1
This is a strong factor in the argument for arts promotion. Lexington Ballet Company’s program offers solid training in dance to youth. But observing their concert last Saturday, they go far deeper than that. They provide their dancers with holistic development toward becoming true artists.
I cannot think of a single thing our society needs more than raising capable, spiritually empowered youth. The development of young artists connects wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Experiencing art as a performer or audience member is rehabilitation for the soul. Art is a great place to start in our complicated world, toward building bridges between humans. Art is healing and energizing for all, as it is a collaboration between humans in the most vulnerable form.
Choreographer/Dancer Casey Myrick introduced the first piece, Anxious Desires, by musician Sufjan Stevens, which featured modern dance movements grounded in classical dance styles. Myrick said the work was inspired by a Buddhist concept about anxiety stemming from desire and how anxiety can actually work to fulfill our desires. The performance was a unique, outside-the-box mentality of dance that evoked discomfort lending to intrigue. Dancers bodies and expressions emoted fear, doubt, distress, and finally, resolution and relief.
Choreographer/Dancer Alexandra Orenstein introduced UnderTones, her work set to an excerpt from jazz composer, Keith Jarrett's solo piano work, Lausanne Concert. The improvisational music builds on a rhythmic droning, with Jarrett’s infamous knack for outflowing melodic lines. Orenstein’s organic, abstract modern approach to movement for each dancer emerged naturally, in sync with the music’s pulsating crescendo and layered texture.
Talented dancer, Ayako Hasebe Lloyd’s stunning entrance in a bold red dress, and her ensuing solo dance to Sand, mesmerized the audience. Luis Dominguez and Lexington Ballet School Director and Ballet Mistress, Nancy Dominguez "developed the collaborative piece as a pas de seul”2 for Lloyd.
The first section of the dance, Sand, was set to Luis Ni’s G Minor Bach, and choreographed by Nancy Dominguez as an homage to her mother, who passed away with Alzheimer’s last year. Next, Zoom-Out, set to a song by Drummond Dominguez, was choreographed by Luis Dominguez. Lloyd’s movements were elegant, bursting with passion tempered with artistic maturity that shook the room with her life-force.
Lloyd’s commanding performance segued fluidly into Kaylie Conner and Sean Sullivan’s romantic Pas de Deux, performed to Nightflight, by Drummond Dominguez and Ethan Gustavson. The performances, highlighted by vivid red costumes, led flawlessly to the final group piece choreographed by Nancy and Luis Dominguez, to Fernando Delgadillo’s La Inspiration.
During intermission, my mother and I engaged in a natural conversation with strangers around us. Was it the dancers’ performances, emanating with openness and intimacy, that made it so easy for strangers to interact?
We went well beyond small talk to discover that the couple behind us had a 28-year old son who’d been diagnosed with 4th-stage cancer. This led to our sharing that we had lost my 28- year old brother to a car accident in 2004. We opened up and shared honestly with each other in the short dialog.
We took our seats as Lloyd introduced the meaning behind her choreography to Our Blue Hearts by Japanese composer, Joe Hisaishi. “This work is inspired by the blue stained-glass hearts that hang in the Lexington Ballet studio windows as a memorial to a past student.”3 The dance featured the largest cast of the evening, and in particular, the youngest performers.
Lloyd talked about how the personal loss of her brother inspired her choreography. She shared warmly how grief affects many, and it was her intent that the piece would help audience members cope with loss and feel supported. Her introduction and the dance performance were mystically in sync with the conversation my mother and I had with the couple behind us.
The choreography and dance were deeply touching. Depicting the sorrow of loss as relationships end, the stage evolved from soloists to exponentially growing numbers of dancers exhibiting grief through facial expression and movement. As Hisaishi’s music progressed with a symphonic swell, a solo dancer was hoisted atop a group of dancers, like pallbearers carrying the deceased. The audience was moved by its emotional intensity.
The dancers, in delicate blue costumes, swirled onstage from scene to scene, ending with a harmonious, joyful, full cast of camaraderie. It symbolized, to me, the victory over tragedy with the power of friendship, community, and spiritual transformation.
My words do not do justice to the eloquence and impact of the Lexington Ballet Company performances. “We can know a country’s rise and fall by whether its tones are happy or sad.”3 The Lexington Ballet Company's display of artistic beauty, poise and soul expressed the gamut of moods, yet landed on the joyous, the united and hopeful.
Lexington Ballet Company is a professional dance company and a ballet school with non-profit 501(c)(3) status since 1975. The Lexington Ballet’s mission is to present high caliber productions, educate youth in the art of ballet, and engage with the community through outreach.
Lexington Ballet offers classes ranging from kindergarten through adults. They support a variety of community alliances, including in-School Programs, For Educator Field Trips, Countdown to Kindergarten and Scholarships.
Lexington Ballet Company will perform The Nutcracker at 2pm and 7:30pm December 14-23 at the Lexington Opera House. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster from $22-49.
Bring your school, church, or group to a performance!
Special performances are scheduled during weekdays so that schools and non-profit groups may attend. Each performance will have a detail introduction and question and answer time with the Artistic Director and performers. These programs meet Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS) for Dance and Theatre. Study guides are available in English or Spanish(if requested in advance).
Sign up for more info about Lexington Ballet Company program and events.
Find upcoming events at: LexingtonBalletCompany.org
Click here to donate via PayPal to Lexington Ballet Company.
Click here to learn more about how you can support Lexington Ballet Company.
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1 Daisaku Ikeda, peace advocate, Buddhist philosopher, educator, author, poet and leader of
Soka Gakkai International
2 Extracted from LexingtonBallet.org
3. Extracted from LexingtonBallet.org
4 Nichiren, 13th century Buddhist leader
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Listen to the Podcast here.
Plenty of adult music students have told me that they were not creative. I’ve always responded, ‘Nonsense!' Everyone is creative. Some of us have learned to tap it more naturally than others.
Anyone who knows me uses the word creative to describe me. I write, compose, play piano, improvise, sing, garden, decorate, take photos, present, tweak a lesson for my students in mid-stream, and more. The point is that I know how to be creative. Ideas, thoughts, patterns, melodies, words, drama, and humor burst forth from me as an unstoppable fountain.
Incidentally, I’ve never met a child who was not able to be creative. Young people are fully tapped into the creative dimension. They need no map to get there. Adults, however, are a different story. We lose our way sometimes, due to pressure from our daily responsibilities.
If you’ve lost your way or simply need some help getting connected to your creative side, here are some things I’ve learned about how to be imaginative:
Enjoy your process and Viva La Vie Boheme!
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by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
The more I thought I knew about teaching music to elementary students, the less I felt I knew. After every summer, I'd have a panic attack. I felt I had completely lost all ability to teach anything. I felt like a total novice. I drew a complete mental blank about where to start preparing for students.
I pushed myself to start things rolling with the most basic ideas to welcome students. I started with the intention to spark a love of music in them. I decided on the clear, simple goal to create a climate where they felt comfortable to be themselves.
I crammed to find the time for lesson plans based on the required music standards. I morphed my resources of activities into actual structured lessons for the classroom.
My job required me to focus on implementing national teaching standards. This aimed my lesson planning on engaging students to function and progress through each learning goal. My lessons were also geared to help students develop skills to use and comprehend specific music vocabulary.
I discovered that the true teaching moments arose from something unexpected and unplanned. I had a few of those moments in various classes. When it happened, it was such a delight. What was that?
It was the transformation of the music classroom. The atmosphere changed with inclusive connections between student to student, teacher to student and the lesson content.
When the students laughed, their eyes lit up, and their brains became ultra-alert and attentive, I felt like a superhero character. I shed my identity as a panic-stricken wanna-be to emerge as a wise educator. I awakened.
My students taught me what is essential in the classroom. Those magical moments when students felt my energetic passion for both the subject matter (music), and my sincere care for their educational progress.
When it happened it was a period of sheer enjoyment, trust and camaraderie. Both teacher and students arrived together at the pinnacle of the most treasured part of our daily lives in the classroom; learning.
And I unwittingly discovered my own forte (heh heh) as a music teacher in that process. My sense of humor and dedication to the almighty subject of music, when combined with my sincere prayer for my students to enjoy themselves, became a collective, awe-inspiring energy. It was a force that propelled my students with me toward the greatest aspiration of education; Happiness.
I am transfixed by the simplicity of this lesson; that learning should be fun. That’s what being a kid is all about.
In a reality that is deeper than what is visible to the eye, the true lesson is that my students taught me.
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In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.