2018 reflections from Artistic Director Sarah Leversee
Chloe (our board president) and I recently met with friend of Art as Action and non-profit consultant Kathy Kuscan, and she marveled at all of the things we accomplished this year. As we shared stories of our loyal tribe of Boardavists, performers, Artivist allies and Reconnect participants, she was trying to figure out how we manage to attract so many incredible humans to our tiny non-profit. Then it hit her:
“it’s a heart thing.”
Sitting at my desk on this beautiful Colorado afternoon, these lovely words still echoing in my head, I look down at my desk and see one of the heart stones that we used throughout The Artivist Process this year. At the beginning of each Artivist Session we choose a heart, speak “I’m an Artivist because,” make a dance gesture and then hand that heart to someone else in the circle. We all go home with a heart and bring it back the next time to do the ritual all over again.
Through these hearts, we express our connection and commitment to each other – and the metaphor of a piece of our hearts existing outside our bodies could not be more on the nose. This season was all about inhabiting (in)VISIBLE – and our performers did not hold back. Allowing yourself to be seen is a terrifying endeavor – but it feels far more possible when you are not doing it alone. We collectively and individually claimed our Artivist identities and shared our heARTs with our audience. (Scroll down to see some of Annabelle Denmark’s amazing images from our show)
It wasn’t just in the (in)VISIBLE performance where our Artivist heARTs shined – here’s the list of our 2018 accomplishments during our 16th performance season:
- 91 weekly Reconnect with your Body classes at two locations, 875+ total attendees
- Artivist House Concert
- Reconnect 7th Birthday Celebration
- Artivist/Reconnect Performing Company performances and demonstrations in the Parkinson’s and Dance communities:
- Dance Foundpresented by Colorado Conservatory of Dance
- HOME: where dance lives presented by Control Group Productions
- SCFD Showcase at Denver Botanic Gardens
- Open Space presented by 3rd Law Dance/Theater at Dairy Arts Center
- Dance and Sing for PD at Colorado Ballet
- Boulder County SCFD Check Ceremony
- MDC Center Parkinson’s Symposium at CU Medical Center
- Capturing Gracemovie screening, demonstration and performance at CU Medical Center
- Dance is for Every Body Showcase at Boulder Public Library
- 18 classes guest teaching for Boulder Dance for PD
- Dance for PD Advanced Teacher Training in Brooklyn
- CO Creative Industries Summit Presentation: From Disorder to Dancer
- Governor’s Creative Leadership Award Ceremony: honoring Artivist & Reconnect Dancer Wayne Gilbert
- Parkinson Association of the Rockies e3 conference presentation
- Reconnect dance demos with 7 different Parkinson’s support groups across Colorado, from Lone Tree to Greeley
- Artivist Process and Performance: (in)VISIBLE
Thank you to the performers and Reconnect participants who found the courage and power to be seen. Thank you to the audiences who bore witness to our stories and received our light with open hearts. Thank you to the people behind the scenes whose hard work and generous spirits made it all possible. Thank you to every person who contributed energy to our Artivism in the form of donations.
I believe that each time we come together to dance/create, we make the world a better place. The compassion, gratitude and grace we conjure in that sacred space (whether it be a theater, a studio, a conference room, a community center or a hotel ballroom) shifts the energy toward light, releases fear and radiates hope. In these moments, we trust each other’s heARTs and our humanity shines through.
It is my privilege and my honor to do this work.
Yours in Art and Action,
Reconnect with your Body Teacher
Founder & Artistic Director of Art as Action