WHAT A YEAR – 2020

Oh, what a year— !!!What a long, unprecedented ,challenging .isolating time with the pandemic, and all the political events that transpired.

What saved me? kept me going? Teaching almost daily, as I had for many years. Learning to zoom classes, keeping my international workshops on line! Without the use of touch and one on one physical closeness , was the journey and process, inherent in Klein Technique simplier? more satisfying, less frustrating? Was the distance helpful? The stay at home circumstances definitely made attendance more consistent, and we have been a group now for a long time. We know for certain group learning speeds up the process of change, encourages trust. Does that happen with the barrier of miles and miles, of the barrier of the internet? For ME, the teacher, leader of the clasess, the situation was definitely more challenging. However, i have come to embrace it, to relish in the faces I see most days, in the consistency, and the desire for learning. I teach, along with my daily classes, a weekly class for Movement Research – a service to the community, and to certainly to Movement Research for their faith and trust in my teaching, experience for 19 years.

The initial days/weeks were so much about learning how to just manage the logistics of zoom, getting the appropriate computer that supports zoom, dealing with crashing and unstable internet.Still i have become quite adept. My saying is often Ïf i can do it, anyway can¨ – A slow and precise learner am I!

Everyday classes were/ are well attended, and even without touch and a more personal connection, I am watching people/bodies change and understand themselves, feel better in their bodies, work through their injuries, be present, be ok, be ok be ok with not being ok. Still showing up, working, resting, making the trip, which seems to get longer every day !!! from their kitchen to the computer room, studio whatever.

The experiences of growth have been palpable to me, and to the students as well, to others in attendance on the other side of the screen, the other side of the world. Together, we still work, breathe, focus, work on grounding; we are together; we talk bones, breathe, work on connections ; we are in community.

Their were people from all over the world- across the pond. New students, students of 20, 35 years ago. Our daily ritual has also encouraged me to delve further into myself, my movement, my body and to expand my own movement possibilities. I would give myself Klein Technique class most days and on occassion was blessed to zoom into someone elseś class Klein Technique class.

Along with more deeply embodying this work (1977 a long time!!), I, in my tiny apartment took/take 3-5 ballet classes a week with the Corvinos. Yes, I have been a dancer for many many years, but classical ballet technique seems a whole new world , quite different and challenging and I have been so deeply enjoying applying my own body knowledge to other techniques, because in truth, from my main teacher Susan Klein, its applicatble to all styles of dance, and is about embodying owning and handling ones particular set of body parts (smile!!) well, with ease , grace, power, specificity, connection, groundedness, ease, strength, It is a long circular process well worth investing in. It takes concentration, analysis, self-understanding, patience and time. So, at 68 I am jumping for the first time in a long while, to the occassional annoyance of my neightbors!, my brain twisting and overflowing with information, my body totally confused for a while, messing everything up on occassion. Not so terrifying actually as the whole world seems upside down .

Many other movement forms I watched or participate in to clarify refine and challenge my vocabulary, my perspective, my knowledge.

All of my workshops usually done traveling were brought on line beginning in April – Tanzfabrik, Berlin 4 or 5 times, IDA-Independant Dance Agency in London, and weekly with Movement Rearch .Taipai, Horse Dance Theater, also on line….ahh but i so miss the amazing food, not to mention all the amazing, warm, generous people. I missed my yearly travel to Chile – no zoom classes there but some students have been regularly present.

A special and deep thanks here to my first teacher Professor Dorothy Vislocky at Hunter College , where I began my dance training, – improvising before i could stand up, really,! in 1971, I thank her for so many things but especially for first showing me the action of the rotators on herself w no gluteal muscles–blew my mind. She also taught me how to see under/beyond technique, and introduced me to the principles of Zen, Castenada, and instinct. Little did I know then! All I could think of was why the heck we were reading these books for a dance class!!!!!!! Also I met Jana Feinman there, a life long friend.

Hunter College is where I began dancing, where my introduction to improvisation took place. I am back, in my own practice, to improvisatng often.

My performance below was a practiced improvisation. It was for me the first of 3 outdoor virtual performaces part of the Queensboro dance Festivals´ 5th season where 40 plus choreographers and events were turned virtual in the wake of an eye. Extraordinary, time consuming. I am so grateful.! Festival 2021 shall also be virtual for the most part.

A special and most profound thanks in this time of times to Susan Klein, for always inspiring me, For me, she is still my teacher. I have a body of work I can use to impart information and share to others, to continue to grow within myself, In fact, I first met Susan in the office of Dorothy Vislocky, 1976 perhaps? Mailing lists,or anatomy sheets or something…..such a vivid moment still etched in my memory!

My next post will be more about my students as I see I have been rambling on about myself!

I missed my annual workshop in Santiago, Chile my special teaching trips to Taipai (Horse Dance Theater) , missingthe FOOD!!!! sigh sigh sigh. The annual workshop (year 5!) was done on line…zooming!

(These photos are by JPinlac for the outdoor virtual performance at Windmuller Park 2020.)

And of course, I found a way to dance often or should i say MOVE!! in my apartment, outside when the weather was good, and randomly, when the health risk was less, in a studio.I created some short works, worked on improvisation in performnce, found ways to stay connected. Queensborodancefestival -7th annual event, this year a 6 month tour was rapidly converted to a virtual series with classes, virtual performances, live stream, instagram. SO NEW TO ME!!! EVEN ZOOM WAS A NEW WORD FOR ME!!

And where I live was quite//is quite a hard hit covid zone. A very challenging time. There is still in the neighborhood a feeling of community, of hope. Below is one of the 3 of my virtual performances – the first of my series of ¨The Broken Sidewalk¨ to John Cage.

Wishing everyone love, and health! stay safe .!!!

AND COMING UP IN FEBRUARY BEGINNING THE 26 PANDEMIC ZOOM WORKSHOP with TANZFABRIK!

LINK February 26-March 19….4 consecutive classes workshop style

https://www.tanzfabrik-berlin-de/en/events/1245 ..if this link does not work please go to the tanzfabrik website!!!

About Barbara Mahler Dances

Barbara Mahler is a long-standing and active member of the New York City dance community as a choreographer, performer and educator - a master teacher of and contributor to the out reach of Klein Technique™ ( first certified teacher, teaching at the school 1982-2004). She is a Zero Balancing Teacher and Practitioner, and through these mediums of touch, movement, performance - creating in all of these realms, involved in the extraordinary and intricate world of movement and the body: moving, sculpting, teaching, re-educating: always learning. As a Her choreographer, she draws upon the intricate and infinite possibilities of the textures of time, space and the (her) body, creating dances that are spare, articulate, emotional," and elegant" (NY Times). Her choreography is consistent with her teaching vision and bodywork: exploring the endless possibilities that the body can reveal. Barbara has been an on-going faculty member with Movement Research (NYC) since 2004 and was an ongoing guest faculty at the State Theater School in Copenhagen, Denmark 1994-2015. She has taught at many other studios, colleges, and dance festivals in the greater NY area as well as across the US. She travels abroad and across the United States, Canada and Europe creating, performing and teaching. Barbara is a senior teacher and practitioner of Zero Balancing, a hands on healing modality, maintaining a private practice in movement therapy, and body work.
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