118 S. 17th St.
2/13, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
In a turning the wheel production, there are people of all ages, colors, class and creative abilities interweaving their words, visual art and soulful movement for personal and social transformation. For such heart-centered work, it is only appropriate that the makings of Wilmington’s HeartDance high school performance will begin on Monday, Valentine’s Day and encompass the entire week.
Celebrating 20 years of bringing people from all walks of life together, Turning the Wheel, a national nonprofit organization, relies on the enthusiasm of volunteers to facilitate and support its work. Therefore, potential facilitators for the HeartDance production are being offered a workshop on Sunday, February 13th.
Alana Shaw, founder and artistic director of Turning the Wheel (based in Boulder, Colorado), will orchestrate the workshop with Suzanne Palmer and Holly Hubbard, co-directors of Turning the Wheel Wilmington. Perry Smith will improvise the music. The all-day workshop is geared toward [people 16 years and older,] and will encourage participants to express their own personal story in a creative and nurturing environment.
“One of the underlying principles of Turning the Wheel (TTW),” Smith said, “is that the container you are in as a group has to be one of love and trust.”
“Emotional states are stored in the body,” Palmer explained. “We gently ask people to move (as in modern dance), and open up to these emotions and trust that the body will help them deepen their understanding of themselves and those in their circle.”
Palmer was dancing in Boulder when she met TTW’s founder Shaw. “She created a community and generated a performance based on the experience of everyone in the room around a certain subject,” Palmer said. “We would think about the idea, write about it, and move to it with some directed structure to give it cohesiveness.”
One really powerful subject was the idea of giving up personal power to someone else, as in the case of Palmer’s C-section at her daughter’s birth. This idea required Palmer to trust that someone else would truly care for her and her daughter. But it could be as simple as giving up one’s power when the light turns green and the driver in front isn’t paying attention. The variations in response to different ideas can be huge and must be respected.
“We often find that our best fit is with special-needs groups,” Smith said. “We worked with participants at the Arboretum’s Ability Garden for several weeks. We would form a big circle on the lawn and just move.”
Smith is considered an “incredible gift” as he follows the improvisational mode of the dancers. He has a special knowing of when to pump the music up, and make it rhythmic and strong, countered with moving all that out of the way to provide a relaxing sound that encourages deeper exploration.
Other core members of TTW include Smith’s wife and yoga therapist Heather Till and UNCW’s dance instructor Nancy Carson. Smith plays for Carson’s classes, including those ethnic dance lessons sponsored by World Culture Through Music’s associate professor John Rack.
All of TTW’s core members will welcome participants for the HeartDance workshop on February 13th. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Dance Cooperative, 118 S. 17th Street in Wilmington. For more information, call Palmer at 910-512-4702 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.