Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Want to laugh and cry, and say, "Oh, my?"
And then, "Oh, yes, oh, yes?"
Read Cynthia Winton-Henry's new book, Chasing the Dance of Life – a faith journey.
Cynthia, co-founder of InterPlay, speaks with candor and honesty about her struggle to find a place in the world for her dancing spirituality. She says of herself, "What do you do if you hear voices or see things? ... You should shut up. However, if there are voices that prod you to quench the thirst for big human needs like Love, Justice, and Freedom, you might become a blabbermouth performance artist like me." (p. 9) Like a ballerina doing tour jette's in a china shop, Cynthia plunges into confrontation with church officials and august parishioners, while we stand with our mouths open in admiration and fear.
She starts with her struggles as a child, teenager, and college student to pull her love of dance and her spiritual inclinations together. Her joy at finding Carla DeSola, Doug Adams, Pacific School of Religion, Judith Rock, and the Sacred Dance Guild is tempered by the struggle as an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to carry dance into the church. When, eventually, she finds she needs to renounce her ordination she doesn't just slip away from the church, she demands the right to have a ceremony of de-ordination to counter the ordination ceremony.
She wrote this memoir specifically to show why she eventually renounced her ordination, but her struggles go beyond just the struggle with this particular denomination or even with "the church" in its larger sense. She is struggling with the way of life she grew up with, finding new ways to approach people who are different, new ways to live in a material world, new ways to see our world, our life.
When subtle acts of humming birds and eagles speak to her, she dares to see them as prophecy. She analyzes marriage and comes up with new metaphors that better fit reality than the older ones that don't seem to work. She jumps dancing feet first into life and discovers, "For young or old, the universe loves a dancer." (p. 216)
And the message? She says:
Stubborn standers, beware.
Planted on twin pillars
Your footing stiffens
In that precarious pose.
Resist -- you stand against.
Consist -- you stand with.
Persist -- you stand through.
Insist -- you stand in.
All stands degrade.
Release your footing.
Dance life's stubborn dance
(Winton-Henry, Cynthia, Chasing the Dance of Life – a faith journey, Berkeley, CA, the apocryphile press, 2009, 255 pp)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
International Centre for Creativity and Imagination
Governor M. Jodi Rell March 8, 2009
Executive Office of the Governor
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Dear Governor Rell,
As the focus of much of government turns to the financial sector and the word "crisis" is foremost in the media's dialogue, it is important to remember the fundamental contribution The Arts make in our culture and to our cultural stability. Yet, in Connecticut the artistic endeavor is
For example, the proposed incorporation of the Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCT) into the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is not a hallmark of efficiency; but rather it is a damaging consolidation. Keep in mind, of the 50 state arts agencies; CCT is the only state arts agency to not define itself as arts-centric. No other state is making arts as inaccessible, or proposing such consolidations. Should Connecticut have the dubious distinction of taking a lead role in arts exposure reduction?
Often the arts are considered frivolous and non-essential to education. I would contend that society is measured by its art, architecture and literature. Furthermore, science and art are not mutually exclusive. You may be aware that the Mars space rover unfolded from its transport ship because the NASA engineers were familiar with origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. This is a wonderful example of the confluence of art and science. Children learn in different ways and the language of art makes that learning more accessible.
As The Constitution State, Connecticut has a distinction of leadership. As Governor, your exemplary contributions can help ensure Connecticut arts programs continue to lead. Respectfully, I suggest the following:
1. Assure the arts division will maintain staffing and funding to carry out their work.
2. Ensure the right staff are in place and available to meet the challenges.
3. Creation of a Volunteer Arts Advocacy organization, similar to Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, to maintain Connecticut Arts posture and integration.
4. Convene a forum to assess the status and needs of CCT arts programs.
Through CCT, I have been featured on the cover of the CCT Teaching Artist Directory (left), my work is displayed in Senator Lieberman's Washington, DC office as part of CCT's Art in Public Spaces program, and Senator Lieberman selected me as Connecticut's 2008 White House
Christmas Ornament Artist. I mention this, not out of self-interest or self-promotion, but to establish credibility.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
And I am none of them.
When I write, my fingers
get covered not in ink, but in blood.
I think I am nothing more than this:
an undaunted soul.
-- Words Nikos Kazantzakis used to describe himself in 1950
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
[Plus, read more in this same article about German artist Joseph Beuys -- "My life in art: How Joseph Beuys convinced me of the power of conceptual art" ... Beuys's strange work changes the status quo into a world where facts and fiction are indistinguishable]