Tofte Lake (June 2018)

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The Lake, the Loons, the Sauna, the Spirit and some Great News!

Artists in Minnesota are so privileged to have unparalleled foundational support for our work!

I was awarded an Emerging Artist Residency thought the Jerome Foundation to continue my work on "Yam, Potatoe an Fish!" the last week of June at the Tofte Lake Center in Ely, MN.  This is the first residency that I was paid to work!  Hallelujah!

Tofte Lake Center is a retreat center in Ely, MN, ("up north" as we say here) close to the Canada border.  An affluent majority-white town of less than 3,500 people that was once a mining town on the Iron Range, their Main Street is now lined with outfitters, outdoor clothing stores, and restaurants.

Liz Engleman is the Director of TLC, a Dramaturg by trade, she is a Professor at the University of Texas, Austin and TLC is a labor of love.  She puts her heart and soul into hospitality.  Tanned, slender and energetic, she can always be seen smiling down a trail with Jai, her tranquil and well-behaved poodle.  She hosts yoga in the dance studio every Thursday morning for the community and gave all us artists dinner on our first night!  Liz gets it. She hosts "dock o'clock," an optional happy hour on the dock at 5:30 every evening, is available for dramaturgical assistance, and checks up on you from time to time.  Yet she provides just the right amount of space to let you have the solitude you need to rest and replenish.

Set the Intention: 

  • How do I produce my work?
  • Develop the language needed to describe the importance of my work for foundational support

Those were the two biggest professional challenges I came to Tofte with, and I left with answers.  On a personal note, I was run-down and desperately needed a revitalization of my spirit. I anticipated a week in a cabin in the woods, lake and sauna would do that, and I was right!

The Experience:

I stayed in a beautiful cabin with a porch and view of the lake.  After a daily devotion, I prepared warm meals with love.  The large dance studio is surrounded by trees and screened windows on three sides.  There was metaphor in the way the trees bent with wind, enveloping me on all sides while I danced.  I found metaphor in kayaking through "Lilly Pad Alley," in the way the lotus flower grows up gloriously from the darkness into the light.  I journaled and prayed.  I listened to myself.  I released my frustrations in the sauna and enjoyed stimulating conversations with all the amazing artists.  I worked for as long as I wanted--undisturbed and patient.  A gift of all gifts.


Prime of Life Coaching by Thea Shelson at TLC

We were also blessed by the talents of amazing Life/Career Coach Thea Sheldon of Ely, MN. She has designed a method using words and color-coded cards to help creatives find the answers they know but need help pulling up.  (My words, not hers)

First draw:

  • SERVICE
  • THE WARRIOR
  • COLLABORATION

My first draw could not be more spot on!  In thinking about the first professional challenge I came with, Thea asked me to think about what serves me? (Umm...conversation, learning, exchange).  In terms of collaboration, another artist reminded me to "divide and conquer" and Thea asked me to think about what other types of collaborations are out there.  (Hmmm. I am obviously letting this one manifest!)

Second draw:

By this time it was 1.5 hours in.  We had all cried our eyes out and were pretty emotionally drained!  

  • THE HEALER (this card was yellow, which symbolizes the Body.  I had been experiencing a lot of conflict in this area so this was an intriguing revelation.  Maybe the source of perceived conflict is actually the source of my healing?  I'll be chewing on this one for a while, I think)
  • COLLABORATION (again!) (this card was orange, which represents Creativity--couldn't get clearer!)
  • RITUAL  (this card was purple, which she uses to represent the Divine.  I spent a lot of time in spiritual devotion this week so I am happy I pulled this card.  It is a reminder to keep my spiritual health at the forefront daily :) )

In remembrance of this residency I will be mounting the following images in my home:

  • A lotus flower among lilly pads
  • A holy image to represent my interpretation of "service"
  • A Black Queen (Warrior)
  • An image to represent collaboration

Life is a wonderful journey, though wrought.  You have to fight for what you want.  Don't let up!

*     *     *

After experiencing the magic of it all I am happy to announce that I will be premiering my solo project, "Yam, Potatoe an Fish!" this October at the Art Box in Minneapolis!

Ticket info coming soon... 

I am also working on a joint showcase with my beloved friend and Choreographer, Idan Sharabi and fellow dancer, Troy Oglivie (NY), in collaboration with the Playground NYC in September!  

*

 Myself and Liz Engleman, Director of Tofte Lake Center

Myself and Liz Engleman, Director of Tofte Lake Center

 The tour: Welcome (or welcome back) to Tofte! (That's the sauna on the right!)

The tour: Welcome (or welcome back) to Tofte! (That's the sauna on the right!)

 Myself and fierce poet, Chia-Lun Chang

Myself and fierce poet, Chia-Lun Chang

 "Aerie" A beautiful dance studio I had all to myself! #privilege

"Aerie" A beautiful dance studio I had all to myself! #privilege

 TLC is the only residential property on the lake. Feels so private.

TLC is the only residential property on the lake. Feels so private.

 Working and rejuvination.  The ultimate balance.

Working and rejuvination.  The ultimate balance.

 Thinking and taking notes in my cabin.

Thinking and taking notes in my cabin.

 Water recreation! Yes!

Water recreation! Yes!

 Research. On-going.

Research. On-going.

 The lake will heal you.

The lake will heal you.

 Some amazing artists! Andrew Rosenberg, Playwright (NY);  Caitlin Saylor Stephens , Playwright (NY);  Liz Engeleman ;  Chia-Lun Chang , Poet (NY); Myself;  Hannah Star Rogers , (NY);  Cori Lin  (Mpls); and Greg Bonos , Musician (MN).  We did a sort of Art Crawl the last night and ended up sharing our last meal together in "Roadhouse."  I am so fortunate to have met these artists.  Follow them on Instagram!

Some amazing artists! Andrew Rosenberg, Playwright (NY); Caitlin Saylor Stephens, Playwright (NY); Liz EngelemanChia-Lun Chang, Poet (NY); Myself; Hannah Star Rogers, (NY); Cori Lin (Mpls); and Greg Bonos , Musician (MN).  We did a sort of Art Crawl the last night and ended up sharing our last meal together in "Roadhouse."  I am so fortunate to have met these artists.  Follow them on Instagram!