This month’s Tap Into Transformation was about breathing out. It is what summer vacation is all about. But sometimes even on vacation we don’t relax, what with all the running around many do in order to see the sites and take in the tourist attractions. Jeannine and I took the theme of Breathing Out and used the song “Sigh” by world artist Praful. It is a beautiful instrumental that musically communicates what it feels like to truly breathe out deeply… and relax.
We had our participants stretch out their muscles first… take deep breaths, and slowly release. We used the tap sounds to tap into those places we need to breathe out in our minds, hearts, souls… and body! After a meal together, which is another way to breathe out in community, we took our time and drew pictures of what it feels like to relax and let go for a while our responsibilities, jobs, duties, issues, worries… and just BE. It was a beautiful experience that I think will stay with us all for some time.
August also brought a wonderful experience of African music our way. Or, I should say we went to go experience it – in Oregon, of all places! Jeannine and I attended ZIMFEST, a weekend of Zimbabwean music. It was held at Western Oregon University.
We took classes, listened to concerts and communed with the teachers, students and participants who came to play, learn and share the joy of the Zimbabwean people. Jeannine’s marimba group, Titandare, played in an afternoon concert. CLICK HERE to listen.
I took a Hosho Class. It may look like a simple instrument to play, but can be as complex as you want it, depending on your hearing ability to pick up rhythms and make them so that it fits with what is played by the other musicians.
I learned the process of making these amazing instruments. It takes weeks and months. The gourds have to be picked, dried (which takes many weeks), scooped out, dipped, filled, etc. before they are ready to become part of the music-making world. I took to the instrument so well (kind of tap dancing with the hands) that Jeannine surprised me by gifting me with some as part of our fourth anniversary celebration, which happened to be in the same week.
Being in Oregon was truly wonderful gift. The Oregon coast is gorgeous! We drove from Cannon Beach to Newport. Here are a couple of pics for your enjoyment.
Wherever your summer has taken you… even if you had a Stay-cation, I hope you have had the opportunity to breathe out some.
The June Tap Into Transformation event went off without a hitch, as we accessed our theme… BOLDNESS. Jeannine and I taught a great routine to the classic song, Mack the Knife. After a break to eat, we played a game of Sharpettes. This time Jeannine and I picked 10 people we considered BOLD, wrote Sharpettes for them, and had our participants try and guess them. Here are four of them. I “borrowed” (copied and pasted) them from Jeannine’s newsletter. Thanks honey!
Moonstruck actress, I got you babe
Like a singing diva with outrageous clothes.
A futbol star, Brazilian joy
Like a wizard, kicking spectacular goals.
And now two more without the pictures.
Prime Minister, British leader
Like an Iron Lady leading the way.
Crossbow in hand, yodeling strong
Like an alpine guy shooting apples off heads.
After several years of being asked off and on whether I teach tap dancing, I have now started teaching again. Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:15 pm to 8:30 pm are beginning classes. Tuesdays at 5:30 pm is an intermediate class. And Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:45 am is set for youth classes.
I am also hosting a camp in July! It is for youth ages 8-13, and is a unique offering of tap dance, acting and performance fun with theater games and such; plus educational games and toys, and success skills for the classroom and beyond! Click on this link to check it out on my web page. http://bit.ly/InnertainmentJuly
Finally, as the summer heats up, may you burn boldly and bright within your own being, shining your love into our world.
The May edition of Tap Into Transformation was a lively evening of tap dancing to the Bee Gees song, Stayin’ Alive. As it was Cinco de Mayo we had for our meal Mexican food from Wapos Mexican Cocina. It was beyond tasty! The second half of the evening was about exploring what keeps us staying alive in our everyday lives. What is it that brings us joy and makes us feel the aliveness of life! Answers ranged from hiking the mountains and trails, to laughing… to being conscious of gratitude.
What makes you feel the aliveness of life? What inspires your joy? What is it that makes you grateful for life? What keeps you Stayin’ Alive?
When planning each monthly event Jeannine and I use a combination of things to help us choose the theme. We look at any significant events in the coming month that might suggest a theme. We also use our intuition to see what is bubbling up in us. We then may look at the speed of suggested tunes, its pizzazz quality, and think about the steps we want to teach in light of the steps and patterns and skill level of our participants. We are looking forward to June’s event when we go back to a classic song of the 50’s and a great tune to tap dance to… Mack the Knife. Jeannine and I have had a lot of fun looking at tap dancers and tap dance groups online who have created choreography to this melody. It inspires us to create a new dance, which may include some steps we see as we create our own moves.
Through my company, Power for Life Now, I was invited to lecture at the University of Colorado Boulder on May 19. Sociology professor Eleanor Hubbard invited me to lecture in her Sociology class 317—001 called Whiteness Studies. After reviewing basic sociological concepts for studying race and ethnicity, this class explores white racial identity and its impact on society. I was invited to speak and teach on the African American experience. I had a wonderful, intense and poignant three hours with the brave students who decided to take this class to look at their own race and culture, and its impact in the world. We explored their perspectives regarding African Americans. I told the story of when I first became aware I was part of something called a race. We went from there to explore aspects of race, culture and consciousness. I had them sing with me in a very early Negro singing style, to experience in the body what the soul had produced from the oppression of their life experience. We explored the arts, looking at the history and genesis of Spirituals, jazz, gospel and hip hop musical styles. We courageously discussed stereotypes and why they exist. I offered historical context to help breakdown the baggage of time and race, and to give perspective; even rescuing beautiful gems of meaning and reason from what has become negative perceptions in many minds. It was a profound time with these young souls, to be sure.
David with Professor Hubbard (pink blouse) and other guests that have come to hear his lecture.
David at front of class preparing to begin lecture at the University of Colorado Boulder.
David leading the students in a group singing experience.
David demonstrating the meaning and power of tap dance as a tool of fostering transformation and creating joy.
I have written what I call Sharpettes for many years now. It is a unique system I have developed to help me understand the power of words. Let’s see if you can guess a few. I will give the second and third lines and you tell me the word I am describing. The first Sharpette will be from the easy category… the second from the medium, and the third will be from the hard category. Those who guess correctly will receive a surprise gift for playing. That will be revealed next month. Good luck!
1.____________________ Brings day’s brightness; Lights up the sky Like a brilliant star shining in the darkness.
2.____________________ Moving to sound; Designed movement Like a fun way to connect with music.
3.____________________ Courage’s best friend; Bravery’s might Like that which dies last after all is lost.
As we head on into the warmer days may you enjoy the light and warmth, be inspired by the blossoming of new life, and be nourished by the beauty of life itself.
The September, Tap Into Transformation was themed around the sentiment of how to embrace and then get out of the blues when you have them. We used David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” as our inspiration.
In the second half of the evening, after a wonderful meal…we embarked on an exercise of drawing what our “blues” feels like and looks like on one side of the paper… and what it might look like turned into joy on the other side. It was a very creative exercise that allowed us to explore our internal spaces deeply. The very special part for me was the courage with which our participants explained their own picture to the group, and the depth of sharing. This is where compassion and camaraderie make its power felt… and the result is that it helps all of us to grow. Thank you all for making the night so special!
Lastly, we placed the pictures in a symbolic ocean, which you see below here as a blue, round netting. Then we tap danced around our blues… again giving a powerful witness that even as we all go through them… they do not have to define us, or confine us!
As we head into fall… I leave you with this recent summer picture I took on highway 36 driving into Boulder. Many people, like me, pulled off to the side of the road to capture this incredible display of wonder. May it inspire us in the days and months ahead.
On July 3rd Jeannine and I hosted the latest Tap Into Transformation. It was truly a rocking, high-energy good time! The theme was STANDING YOUR GROUND. The music we used was by Kenny Bobien, a gospel house artist. We danced to his song, “I Shall Not Be Moved.” To listen to this tune, click here, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself not be able to sit still. So, go ahead, get up and dance!
Here is a look at some of our moves, (in case you want some inspiration.)
Jeannine and I created a dance that gave the feeling of owning one’s strength… of being rooted… but being able to sway and bend without breaking in the winds of life that blow our way. This is one of the gifts of dance, and of tap dancing. You can place real life circumstances into the movements of dance and express a corroborating transformative power, through movement, to help one in meeting life’s demands. Doing this can help a person take back into one’s circumstances that which they personally need. Dance, in many ways is embodied theology!
Where do you need more strength to stand your ground?
During the course of learning our fun dance, we also emphasized that you can retain beauty, grace, humility and love… while saying no and standing firm.
During the break, we had a delicious meal catered by Moe’s Barbecue, followed by a beautiful second half of the evening. Jeannine led the group in a very introspective meditation (is that redundant?) that explored the places in our lives where we need to stand our ground. Jeannine led the participants in creating a mural where we drew pictures depicting those areas we would like more strength to stand firm in the face of life’s challenges.
We ended our evening by doing the tap dance one more time!
This has been an interesting month in terms of the animals in our lives. What I mean is, we do not have any, but they have been showing up! First a deer… right at our front porch!
Then a black cat shows up… at midnight… scratching on the front door! We have named it… MIDNIGHT, though we may be taking it to the humane society in a few days.
Now, we do have two bird feeders, but a new crop of never before seen birds have shown up!
Now, I am not sure what to make of it all… except the cat was malnourished, the buck has an injured left hind leg and limps… and the birds are eating like there’s no tomorrow. I have had to be like Dr. Doolittle or Francis of Assisi, and talk to the animals. Another group of birds were yelling at the cat, and flying very close to both of us… even landing right where we were, squawking. I literally told them we all have to get along. Then I went to run an errand and when I came back the buck was gone and the cat was sitting in its place. I had a stern talk with the cat that that all are welcome.
Perhaps we have temporarily become a way station for the sick and hungry. Perhaps the animals are feeling our spiritual vibes. Whatever the case, it is a fascinating development… one we will keep watch on.
As your summer progresses may you have some wonderful surprises still to come!
The June Tap Into Transformation was great fun. The theme was “Flying High”, and we used the theme from the movie, “Rocky” as our main piece to tap dance to. I found a great version that was much faster than the original version; one that packed a lot of energy into an already energetic song. My goal was to create choreography that would give us the feeling of taking off and soaring up into the dreams of our lives. If you missed the promo, check it out here to see what Jeannine and I taught our participants. (Click here to view the video.)
For the second half, Jeannine led the group in a beautiful exercise of putting our dreams, hopes, desires, prayers, etc. down on paper. To perfume our minds she played one of her meditations off of her new cd, SHINE THE LIGHT. (You can check it out or purchase the cd at www.viriditasllc.com.) She then passed out different colored paper, cut to look like kites. We then spent time writing. Afterwards, Jeannine collected the kites. Jeannine and I let them know we intended to burn them and send the ashes up into the sky, a sign of support and giving it all to the Divine. And that is what we did.
Jeannine and I went to Sedona, AZ the second weekend of June to attend a spiritual gathering. While there we were only 100 miles from the Grand Canyon. So, on the Sunday of June 13th, we drove there and found a beautiful spot overlooking the canyon. It is there we did a ritual completing the activity of the kite writing. Not only was this spot a beautiful one, it was powerful and filled with spiritual Umph!!
Jeannine took some great pics while I released the ashes. May they travel well and come back to us full of power, light, love and grace.
As mentioned above, Jeannine played a selection from her new cd, SHINE THE LIGHT.
This is one of her two newly released cd’s by Viriditas Productions. The other cd is entitled, THE LIVING LIGHT SPEAKS.
Jeannine recorded selections based on St. Hildegard of Bingen’s visions. You don’t have to know her work to enjoy the power of her work. Click here to visit her website storeto learn more. The selected meditations are set against a background of beautiful music and song. Some pieces are classical pieces played by Jeannine. Some are pieces Jeannine or I composed. You will also find songs sung by Jeannine or by both of us.
As the summer heats up… may the fire of your holy passions burst forth to bless the world!
Our April Tap Into Transformation was a wonderful experience of SINGIN IN THE RAIN. That’s right! I put together a tap dance based on Gene Kelly’s classic scene. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of doing that dance? Well, we even had umbrellas, and we all danced our hearts out in the safety of a studio where no one was watching but us! This gives our participants the freedom to go for it! Yes, I would love to video it and show what a wonderful time we have every month. Maybe in the future, but for now you will have to trust me on this. Or better yet, come join us! If you want to check out the promo video for it, you will see the routine we taught. I re-imagined myself as Gene Kelly, and Jeannine does a mean Debbie Reynolds!
To watch the video click on our photo below.
For the second half of the evening Jeannine and I asked “What do you do when you encounter the storms of life?” We got answers ranging from cooking, to being out in nature, to going running, to praying.
What do you do? I’d love it if you would share it with me.
For the last three years, Jeannine and I have journeyed into an extensive study on the music of Africa. Yes, all 54 countries! It has been wonderful and amazing, and it has come to an end as of April. With Jeannine and Gary Grundei, we have created a group of songs that you might enjoy listening to and reading about, if you have not yet done so. This music is based on what we have learned and brought into our own creativity. It is meant to be joyful, entertaining and uplifting. Give it a listen. My last song is a celebration of the Borana people of Ethiopia. They are a nomadic tribe that sometimes has to go to great lengths to obtain water, especially in the dry season. They will dig wells as deep as 90 feet down. I mean huge wells! Then up to twenty men will climb down and haul water up from the depths. And they sing while they are working! This is not your Disney movie with the 7 dwarfs singing, “Whistle while you work.” This is an amazing sound to listen to.
You can click this link to go to the JOY COLLABORATIVE. Once there you can read about our work and listen to all of the songs. Here are the lyrics to the last song on the Borana people and their amazing wells.
WATERS OF MY ANCESTORS’ SOULS: ODE TO THE SINGING WELLS OF BORANA Lyrics and music by David Sharp
Waters of my ancestors’ soul, may you never run dry. Hmmmmm. I will climb down and drink from you. I will climb down in gratitude.
Thank you for the life you give. When the ground is dry you let us live. I give thanks for your waters of life. I give thanks, you keep us alive.
Waters of my ancestors’ soul. May you never run dry. May your waters be blessed. May your waters be blessed.
No fighting at the well. There’s no fussing at the well – this sacred place with all we are where all are welcome to life.
No money changing hands. No trade. Just the gift of life you see. Just the gift of life.
Waters of my ancestors soul May you never run dry. From the high to the low, the water serves all the water serves all.
Singing gratitude to the ancestors. I will climb down and touch you there, where life is found in waters deep beneath the earth. In song the waters rise that souls may survive when the dry season comes we’ll still be alive.
Waters of my ancestors.
When you go to the site, there will be other links that take you to videos where you can hear how they sing and see how they bring the water up. Yes, I think it is a must watch!
Since 1981, I have been creating what I call Sharpettes. They are three line poetic renderings of words, and they help me understand the power of a single word… even words like a or the or and. I have secured a copyright for them and a trademark and have been developing a board game by the same name. I have many words for this game already, but would love to receive a list of your favorite 50 words. I will use your list to create more Sharpettes. I have hundreds of my own words, but I recently asked some teenagers to give me 50 words each that they would like to see turned into Sharpettes, and they were wonderful! I would never have thought of some of the words they came up with.
The number of words in the English language is roughly 1,025,109. That’s a LOT of words. I am at a point where I would love to have other peoples’ words to work on, not just the ones that come into my head. So please help me out and send me a list of 50 words. They can range from words you think are easy words in our language to difficult. Just send me words you like. THANK YOU.
Contemplation Soul searching thought; insight’s doorway
Like a meditation with heart and mind.
Serenity Peace and quiet; Stillness and calm
Like eternity whispering through one’s soul.
And finally, I am asking anyone who feels called to donate to Camp Kesem. This is a camp for kids whose parents have cancer or have died from cancer. It is a national project with individual chapters on college and university campuses. This year, the University of Colorado is in its second year of hosting such a camp, held at the end of June. My daughter, Danea Sharp, is the Director of the camp. Last year, in its inception, she served as a staff member. This camp takes kids out of their high-stress environment and into the woods, at a beautiful camp facility for a week of fun, bonding, and remembering that there is more to life than the present circumstances they are experiencing. Please check out the link below for more information. Thank you!
On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, Jeannine and I presented a performance piece called, Tap Into Love in our Viriditas studio. It was akin to dinner theater. We started with appetizers and refreshments that people took to their seats. Jeannine and I spent time sitting and talking to people before the show began. We even became the waiters as we refreshed drinks, and took away empty plates. Then, we blinked the lights, which quieted the audience and we began the show. Tap Into Love tells the story of how Jeannine and I, following our love for tap dancing, were eventually led to each other at this time in our lives. The hour and a half performance went smoothly Jeannine and I had so much fun and the audience response was so warm and enthusiastic, that we are considering making this event an annual presentation. We received several appreciative thanks in regards to how glad people were to have something else to do besides dinner and a movie. Of course, we would create different presentations, but the theme would center on love. And I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend Valentine’s evening with my wife! Stay tuned!
In fact, this is what Jeannine had to say in her own newsletter about the beginning of the show: “It begins with David and me singing the song that David wrote for me many years ago when I was trying to get the rights to certain music for Feathers On The Breath Of God. The song is called “Don’t Hold Back Your Love.” Singing it with David that night, looking into his sparkling eyes, surrounded by the love of the people present, I can say that I know what heaven feels like!”
When I wrote that song for Jeannine, I had no idea I would ever sing it live, or sing it with Jeannine; and certainly had no thought of being married at that point. But as the song says we didn’t hold back our love. That is what Jeannine and I communicated, the power of love to heal, make new and bring heaven down to earth! As the show contains a lot of tap dance, we ended the performance with a beautiful homily or what we call dance prayer to Psalm 91. This is a piece Jeannine composed and I created the arrangement for. It is apropos ultimately, because it was our tap dancing intertwined with our spiritual lives which brought us together. We were asked to do an encore and we did, to Michael Jackson’s song, “BAD.”
For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is the promotional video that Jeannine and I created for this event. Take a look and feel the LOVE! (Click Hereto view the video)
Above is a shot of Jeannine and I singing the opening song, “Don’t Hold Back Your Love.”
Here we are, kicking up our heels in the closing number, Psalm 91. This movement is what we call The God Step. It is a visual representation of the reality that God’s presence is all around us, present through all time and all space, always.
On the heels of the Valentine’s Event, Jeannine and I prepared for the March edition of Tap Into Transformation. Our theme was “Express Yourself.“Since we do this event only once a month, I pay special attention to who has been coming and where we are with our tap dancing. This month, I brought in a different style of tap dancing. It was more syncopated, with intricate steps that required more ankle dexterity. It was challenging but fun to try to do some of the fast footwork called for. The group always goes for it, no matter what I throw at them. Thanks everyone!
After a great meal of hot chili, hot clam chowder and fixins’ Jeannine led the second half of Tap Into Transformation. It was a wonderful activity of diving into our souls to see what there is to express! Jeannine had us close our eyes and tune into some aspect of ourselves that yearned to be expressed. She then placed on the floor full size sheets of paper for each participant, large enough for the whole body to lie on! After working through some inhibitions (who, me?) everyone settled on their pose. The partner then drew the outline. They switched, and now the other partner did their own pose and was traced. As fun as that was, now, the real play and transformation began. Jeannine handed out crayons, and we colored ourselves based on whatever was in us that needed some expression in the moment. Thank you, Jeannine! That was an awesome process to get what is in our souls or imaginations OUT and expressed in such a powerful way! We then took a tour of the exhibit! You should have heard the oohs and ahhs as we looked at, took in, and appreciated the beautiful expressions of the inner life of the group.
Each person took his or her masterpiece home as a souvenir of the night’s adventure. Below is a picture (standing up) approximating the poses each had on the floor. I must say, the picture cannot quite capture the power of the artwork created! We have such a talented and expressive group. We even discovered some hidden talents as artists we didn’t know we had in our group!
On March 7th I traveled to Los Angeles to be a special guest performer in a concert by the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers. It was a performance in celebration of and to commemorate the civil rights marches that took place in Selma, Alabama in the 60’s. These acts of social justice helped to secure the Voting Rights Act, which mandated equality and the right to vote for all who are American citizens. For five years, I sang with this group and toured many countries with them. It was a great pleasure to be brought back to perform with them, as myself, doing my own thing. And what was that? I performed parts of my one man show, including a long, historical poem entitled, “Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Rap”, which captures the ethos and aesthetics of how and why African Americans created these styles of music. I did a piece about my mother and how she taught us the true genius of tap dance and how she used it as a form of therapy, creating joy from pain. I had audience participation, getting them to tap dance right there in their pew seats! Ahhh, you should have seen and heard people, in a catholic church, sitting in the pew tap dancing! Now, that’s my idea of a church! I concluded with my piece, “I’m a Black Man, Who Are You?” This is a poem that arose out of the pain of racism and me not wanting to be Black anymore. In my pain, I had encounter and conversation with the Creator and out of it came this poem.
Here’s a picture as I am saying the closing line from my poem, “I’m a Black Man, Who are You?”
As it turned out, one of the performers came down with bronchitis, and I was recruited to fill in for him. I had a blast being part of this amazing singing chorale. One of the things that make them so special is that while they are great singers, they are also known for their productions numbers, which includes movement and choreography. Because I didn’t get to connect all the dots there were two times that I entered the stage when I wasn’t suppose to and I had to improvise to make it look like I belonged in the scene I didn’t belong in! Inside I was laughing because, I knew enough about performing to pull it off and there is nothing like live performance to keep one humble but I also kept hearing this song, “There’s no business like show business!”
The two-hour show was held at St. Bernadette Catholic Church. People came to the show I had not seen in ages; I mean like over 30 years, including an old fraternity brother and one of my mentors as a minister. While in Los Angeles, I even had breakfast with my college roommate, whom I had not seen since college!
This is the response to my 20-minute performance!
This audience was so receptive, warm and appreciative.
This is the last song in the performance! The song is, “Walk Together, Children”
There I am, center stage with the white tux jacket.
After the concert, here I am with two of my best friends, David Labat and Douglas Griffin, who is the assistant director and chief choreographer. Douglas and I have known each other since we were 4 years old!
One of the great surprises of my time in Los Angeles was that I got to meet Charles and Elaine Bibbs!
That is Charles Bibbs on the right. He is the painter of The Reader II which graces the cover of my book, I’m a Black Man, Who are You? We finally met for the first time. His wife, Elaine is on the left. The man in the yellow hat is David Labat, a best friend, and the man who steered me to Mr. Bibbs. Thank you, Labat!
Celebrating with wonderful friends! My daughter, Danea is on the far left.
There may be no business like show business, but there is NOTHING like spring. I close with this anonymous bit of verse:
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz I wonder where the birdie is The bird is on the wing Oh how absurd, the wing is on the bird. As I looked up in the sky the bird dropped whitewash in my eye I didn’t laugh, I didn’t cry I just thanked God that cows don’t fly.
The February Tap Into Transformation was truly outstanding! We tap danced to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and had a blast doing some of his signature moves with tap shoes on! We even had hats to help us have some… att-i-tude. During the second half of the evening, Jeannine led us in a contemplative session of connecting, as she used a scene from the film, “THIS IS IT” to set the tone of the discussion. If you have not had a chance to experience this once-a-month funfest, come to the next one on March 6th!
After the evening was over… it wasn’t! Two of our participants got back on the floor to film a final video, as they were cheered on by those who chose not to be filmed. First timers Krsangi Davis (on the left) and Rachel Hunt, put their own oomph into the dance and finished with this final flair! Click Here to view the video.
On Valentine’s Day evening, Jeannine and I performed our multimedia piece, “Tap Into Love.” It is the story of how tap dancing brought us together as we pursued our spiritual paths. If you missed the promo video, CLICK HERE to see it on Youtube.
On March 8th, 2015, In Los Angeles, California, I will be a Special Guest Artist for the world renowned Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, who are performing a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery. I will be performing stories and poems from my book,I’m a Black Man, Who are You? If you are in the Los Angeles area, I encourage you to come out to this concert. The Jubilee Singers are amazing! Their individual voices are beautiful in their own right, and together they produce a sound that is powerful, gorgeous and soul stirring. They also perform production numbers that incorporate movement and storytelling. I sang and performed with them for five years, touring nationally and internationally, from 1995 to 2000. I am honored and excited that they have invited me to join them as a solo artist, to celebrate this milestone in Civil Rights History that brought about the Voting Rights Act.
May the winter weather refresh you inside and out!
2015 started with a bang as Jeannine and I hosted the first Tap Into Transformation event of the year the day after New Years Day. Eighteen participants showed up on January 2nd. Our theme honored and celebrated the elephant, which is an endangered species. We had a very special guest with us for the evening, Kristal Parks. Kristal runs a non-profit organization called Pachyderm power. Her mission is to save the elephant. Jeannine and I invited her to tell us about the plight of the elephant and her experiences in fighting the poaching and abuse that have brought elephants to the brink of extinction. Kristal’s story is amazing, poignant, sad, and ultimately hopeful. Click here to visit Kristal’s website if you would like to explore her important work.
In our tap dancing, we connected with elephant energy, concentrating on the strength and grace of this magnificent animal. I highlighted steps that allowed us to feel our feet firmly hitting the ground. In tap dance, there are two distinct ways to feel the movement. There is a way of dancing that constantly lifts your body off of the floor; that challenges you to feel the lightness of your being. The other way is to feel the downward motion of steps… to feel your body as a grounded entity, even going so far as to sense this connection running deep to the center of the earth. This kind grounding is very powerful, indeed. And as the group “tapped” into this energy, our steps reverberated with a power and volume that impressed us all. It was awesome to feel this power we all generated as a community, and it gave us a sense of what the elephant may feel all the time. I have a feeling this time spent with the elephant will have lasting effects in all of us. Thank you Kristal, for your work, and helping to inspire us!
For the February Tap Into Transformation, on February 6, 2015, Jeannine and I are going to celebrate the great moves of Michael Jackson. It is Valentine’s month, which I think fits, because of Michael’s great love for love, and for children. One of his constant messages was a call for us to love each other, and he called us to begin by looking at the Man in the Mirror.
How, you may ask, are we going to transfer his moves to tap dancing? Well, the dance has been choreographed, so stay tuned, as the promo video will be out soon! We are dancing to the song BAD… but it is going to be GOOD. At the very least we are going to have fun dancing like one of the best performers ever.
On Valentines Day, Jeannine and I will present our multi-media performance piece, TAP INTO LOVE. It is the true story of how the love of tap dancing brought us together, and the miracles that can happen when you follow your bliss. It is going to be a great alternative for anyone who wants to do something unique and different on Valentines Day evening. We will be serving hors d’oeuvres and refreshments and the cost is only $20.00. If you are interested you can buy tickets by going to www.viriditasllc.com, or you can call 1.888.612.8189.
Continuing our busy time, Jeannine and I are also preparing for our workshop, Tap Into Power For Life. This potentially life-transforming event will be held March 21-22, 2015. It is a two-day workshop that explores areas of your life you want to engage and address – be it joys or pains, dreams or dreads. In this workshop participants are invited to offer the wounds or issues they feel are still with them, holding them back in some way, that they are ready to transform. Jeannine and I facilitate a process that allows breakthroughs so that you can move forward in life with newfound strength, freedom, creativity and wholeness. Using the arts as a tool of exploration, expression and healing we begin with simple tap steps (no experience is necessary) as we explore what is in us to be stomped and stepped, tapped and touched, acknowledged and honored, remembered… even forgiven. Using storytelling and an array of props, along with our counseling experience and the arts as a doorway, Jeannine and I help participants in their personal journeys and spiritual evolution. The environment is safe, intimate and sacred. This will be the second time we are offering this, and we are very much looking forward to it.
Our JOY COLLABORATIVE website now has five offerings. The newest piece is called Tap Dancing with the Royal Drummers of Burundi. I love their enthusiasm and joy, and the rhythms these marvelous musicians create. Jeannine and I so wanted to dance with them somehow. So, using iMovie and its green screen magic, I created a video where we combined our tap dancing with their drumming and dancing. Here is the link: www.thejoycollaborative.com/listen. Enjoy!
On January 17th, I had the incredible privilege to preach a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fred Peterbark, the head of recruiting for the music department at the University of Colorado Boulder was giving a concert in honor of Dr. King’s birthday. He asked me to deliver Dr. King’s 1957 sermon, Love Your Neighbor. The concert was at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado. I must say, it was amazing to try and channel Dr. King in this manner. The sermon is 40 minutes long and expresses his philosophical approach and belief in non-violent social change.
If you have not heard it, I encourage you to take the time. Dr. King was only 28 years old when he delivered it. To hear Dr. King deliver the sermon click here.
On Sunday, February 8th, I will be conducting the choir at First Methodist Church of Boulder, for their annual gospels/spirituals Sunday. This event is in celebration of Black History Month. The church, located in downtown Boulder, has a beautiful sanctuary and is known for their wonderful acoustics. I have presented there in the past and have enjoyed the people and the atmosphere of the church itself. For this program, I have been invited to teach the chancel choir a spiritual and gospel song for them to perform in the worship service that Sunday. We will be performing the song, DEEP RIVER, as well as a gospel song to be announced. Service begins at 10:30am.
Lastly, I am thankful to begin another New Year. I have love, work, family, goals… and support for them. I am connected to God in a powerful way, and am growing. And I have power for the life I am called to live. I hope you can say the same.