Friday, August 31, 2007

Metronome Hips

Who sets the tempo:
The drummer, or the dancer
with metronome hips?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

orchestrated precision

Shrouded in mystery and radiating alure,
with a maelstrom of veil and a delicate shimmy
her danse orientale is an elegant illustration
of subtlety and orchestrated precision.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Master in the Art of Living

The Master in the Art of Living
makes little distinction between
her work and play,
her labor and leisure,
her mind and body,
her education and her recreation,
her love and her religion.
She hardly knows which is which.
She simply pursues her vision of excellence
in whatever she does,
leaving others to decide
whether she is working or playing.
To her she is always doing both.

~Zen Buddhist text

UPDATE: 3/19/08 - Apparently this is a James Michener quote.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hoop dreams

Never, EVER grow up. Don't give in.

Play on...

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Legislating Reincarnation

Reflection of Thai Pavilion
"In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnation without government permission."
-- Newsweek, Aug 20

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fixed Points

Life often keeps us running,
sometimes in circles,
tethered in ways seeming
to trap us. Yet those fixed
points in life are not always
chains holding us down.
Sometimes they are anchors
that allow us to safely
spread our wings


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Monday, August 20, 2007

First Life

I had an interesting question asked of me this weekend. I was in the middle of an extended contact improv dance with a woman I don't know well, but like what I know so far. The dance was quite satisfying for both of us, and at that moment was a duet - it became a trio a bit later. My partner asked, "Is this your first life as a man?" After a beat, I responded, "As far as I know."

There are a few ways to take the question, but in the context of a CI dance, as a man I took it as quite a compliment. I'll be seeing her again, in the context of dance, in a few weeks. I'll have to follow up to see what she was thinking when she asked.

It's not the first time this question has come up. Eight or ten years ago I was hanging around a campfire at a party with a friend. It was just we two adults and a young child of four or five who belonged to neither of us. After a bit of fidgeting and staring at me, the youngster walked up and asked, "Are you a boy or a girl?". I was surprised because, while I do have long hair, I was also sporting a beard and mustache at the time. When I responded that indeed, I was a boy, she was unconvinced and repeated the question. My friend Liusadh laughed and answered, "He's an elf!" That answer seemed to satisfy the child and she wandered off contentedly. As a closer to that story, I ran into that child again when she was about ten years old. When I asked her if she remembered me (now sans beard), she nodded and seriously replied, "You're the elf."

So now I'm curious. I have no strong opinions regarding past lives one way or the other. The skeptic in me says I merely have enough of the feminine in me to make it apparent to those who care to notice (and not so much that I get beat up by the less tolerant!). There has never been any question in my mind that I'm male, yet I know that I have traits that estrange me from the Typical American Male group (I really couldn't give a shit about which team played which other team, and Nascar is best summed up as 'Accelerate, turn left. Repeat.'). But are there specific markers or traits that prompt that question?

If you know me, comment on what you think. If you don't know me, comment on the idea in general.

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Dance becomes meditation when the dancer disappears into the dance, and only the dance remains.

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Friday, August 17, 2007


Give a man a beer
and he wastes an hour,
teach a man to brew
and he wastes a lifetime.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Puppy Piles

The structure of the dance,
by it's very nature,
shatters physical boundaries.
Many of our jams end
with dancers like
puppies in a pile,
unwilling to detach
from the shared intimacy.

(refering to contact improv dance which happens
Wednesdays at Main Street Yoga. Info here: )

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sweat Your Prayers

Gabrielle Roth titled one of her books "Sweat Your Prayers". I see this photo and it drives the title home. For me, the release contact improv dance gives me from my intellectual, analytical side is akin to prayer. The temple of my body is given priority, without judgement, and I am able to set ego aside and just BE.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let go

Dance without limits!
Suspend your need to control
every movement.

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Monday, August 13, 2007



a chance
while walking State Street.
Her hair two-thirds braided, the rest
a wind-whipped tangle eluding her questing fingers.

We spoke, and she asked if I perhaps had a hair band
to share. I rummaged my wallet
and found a red one.
We laughed. She

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pagee GoGo at the King Club

Pagee GoGo played a rousing set of pagode music to a capacity crowd at the King Club. Follow the link above (the title of this post) to see all the photos.

I had intended to experiment with the bounce flash. However, the walls and ceiling of the (dumpy) King Club are painted jet black, so there wasn't any bounce to be had. I ended up using direct flash which I often find too harsh. Any tips on moderating my flash to get softer images? Here's one image I liked:

Lots of dancers shaking it to that sizzlin' samba beat. Here's a couple of Brazilian regulars:

And a shot of my sweetie. This is one of those where I feel like the flash effect is too harsh.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Belly Dance

I am fortunate indeed to be well connected to the belly dance community in Madison. I have started to learn how to take effective photos of the dancers, striving to capture not only the dancer, but the dance. These photos (post title is link to more) are of the portrait variety. I'll be posting some 'dance' images later and hope you'll provide critical feedback.


I have scores of photos of this dancer. I find it really easy to take great photos of her, and I relish the opportunities to do so. This summer she and her troupe (el Genneyya) performed at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in WI accompanied by an Arabic band (al Khemia) featuring my sweetie.


Rivka is one of the dancers in Ayperi's troupe, el Genneyya. I managed to capture some lovely shots of her, both dancing and in contemplative moments. I look forward to more opportunities.

The Dancers and Players set is here:

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Slow Sync Dance


I took this shot at the Mediterranean Hookah Lounge in Madison, WI. The band my sweetie is in - Pagee GoGo - was playing and the joint was jumping. I had just purchased a new Nikon D40 and was hot to experiment with it. This one was shot using a slow sync flash and had results I really liked. I captured a few others that were OK, but this one really jumps out at me. The woman is in such sharp focus while her dance partner becomes transparent. She was static while he was in motion. I can see where a whole series of these style photos would be difficult to look at (my sister says they make her ill) and I'll likely use it sparingly.

The feeling I got when I looked at it was a bit of a summation of the entire bar scene: To her, he is a ghost, an ephemeral presence, quickly forgotten. It's a fun-in-the-moment sort of capture.

If you are a photographer or other visual artist, please feel free to comment, especially on composition. I'm color blind, so I may have color issues I am unaware of too. Constructive criticism is appreciated, but mean criticism will be read as well.

There's another Pagee GoGo gig tonight at the King Club, so I'll be experimenting with a bounce flash.

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Tentative start

I created this blog as a way to expand what I'm doing with my camera. I have a ton of photos posted at Flickr (linked at the top of this page) and felt the urge to occassionally add some text to an image. Flickr isn;t very good for that, so I'm trying this. Please drop a note with your thoughts on what I'm doing here. Be honest; I can take it. If it's completely lame, I'd rather know it up front before I spend a ton of time on it. Thanks!

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