It’s Easy To Drown

Heidi Sutherland
Heidi Sutherland

A new dance emerged in my Jiffy-Mix style in the chilly month of February — a month that typically has me searching under the snow and hard ground for fertile ideas. Heidi Sutherland was willing and able to join me for what was to become a gem of a solo. We started it in a very tiny studio at Ripley Grier on 8th Avenue, where many-a-dance has been created. Within an hour and a half timespan, she sewed the movement into her skin and bones, and beautifully grew into what became part I, featuring emotional piano music by Pure Composition — btw,  through a site I found that allows for a quick purchase of a music license.  Part II started at  Trisklelion Arts in Brooklyn on February 5th, where Heidi took her craft to a new level, with inspiring music by Tom Rosenthal.  I came across Tom’s music while working out one day at the gym. A cool image showed up in my Vimeo feed and I clicked on it. I immediately started to move as I listened to the poignant lyrics, not caring if anyone might’ve caught me in between their grunts and lifts. A prolific songwriter/musician from the UK, Tom was kind to give me permission to use his piece. In another quick turn- around — about and hour or so — Heidi learned what I poured out with such alacrity, I felt she had been rehearsing the piece for a month!

Ok, time’s up!! In walks the videographer, Joel Stephen.  Switch gears and start teching. Joel worked on Dream Spell and Ebb and Flow, and was thankfully available for this project.  His eye for detail and top-notch camera work, allowed for smooth operations from camera’s rolling to the final credits. His laser focus instilled a great confidence in me. I set the lighting quickly,  had one dry-run, and voilà —  a dance was born! With three takes, each having a wide and close-up version, there was much footage to sift through. Heidi was a trooper and kept up such an athletic pace, I hardly could believe she made it through three run-throughs, each one dancing more vigorously than the next. That’s a true professional, and I am so grateful to her quick-study commitment to all the movement, and her passion to perform! She nailed it for the camera, and danced the story of triumphing over adversity —  the story I keep telling over and over, ad nauseam!!

After a four hour editing session, Joel and I came to our final mix. What a breeze! LOL!! It’s the intricate work of editing that’s far from Jiffy-Mixing. Not bad timing, though, for all that we had to do.

So, why is it easy to drown? Go figure. It’s all of our stories, right? Like that old afghan that lays on the back of the couch, we’ve all sewn in our patches of hardships over the years to create our tapestry. Somehow, it soulfully keeps us warm and reminds us of where we’ve been… and just how lucky we are to still be able to pull it over our shoulders on a cold night in the winter. It’s easy to drown in pain, sorrow, debt, and tears, and I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve swum up to the crest of the wave, only to be swept away again. Each time the hanging out to dry process seems to get shorter and shorter with every passing year, but the distance to the water, where we might slip in… remains a close cousin — it’s easy to drown, but relative to our inner-strength, we become consummate swimmers in the waters of life.

(While writing this blog, I learned that Heidi’s dog, Gizmo, passed away. May she rest in peace and float forever in God’s love — oh and did I forget the mention the  car accident that my husband and I were in this week? We’re in one piece, but the car was totaled. #5  not our fault on I-95 in the past 10 years — it’s easy to drown and this was one of the easy stories!)

Its Easy To Drown (2018) from Mitzi Adams on Vimeo.

The Seasons of 2015

Alana Kirzner
Alana at the Botanical Gardens

The seasons of this past year imparted new information to me, most differently than most years. 2015 brought waves of new energy in, as each season came and went. Beginning with the frosty chill of February, when we made our film, “Hush Little Child,” when the bitter cold was whipping at our feet, we went deep into our creativity. We felt like the mail carriers delivering mail, no matter what the weather, as we trudged through the snowy botanical gardens. The frozen parts of our souls were melting into our editing, as Amelia Golden and I, churned out another film short, complete with symbolic threads that apparently were just beneath the surface of winter. 

Alana and Gierre KoDaFe 2015
Alana and Gierre KoDaFe 2015

Next wave was when spring sprung into action. After a bear of a winter, palpable change and transformation were in the air. I was inspired to return to my piece, “Miles,” to contribute again to the IKADA Dance Festival in NYC. Spring allowed me to get my mojo going and invite understudies into the rehearsal process, which made for a fun and productive time. My niece, Alana Kirzner, and dancer, Gierre Godley, (returning to the role), worked their magic with the dance, melding their energies together with beauty and strength. 

annieportdebra2
“A Dress in the Stream” with Annie

Summer washed in a wave of energy when our film, “A Dress in the Stream,”  was screened at Triskelion Arts Film Lab, at their new, funky location in Brooklyn. We were honored to be among the first participants of their new film lab series. It was an evening of uniquely crafted films, and a chance to hob nob with their creators. This summer also found me housecleaning a lot.  Not only did a few dance shoes leave my collection, but I also decided to overhaul my website, as it felt like a necessary thing to do, and long overdue. Those hot, oppressive days inspired me to go deep, and find what I really wanted to keep and what needed to be tossed in the annals of my site. My website had felt like an old shoe wearing out with the many years of its treading the web. So, after finding web developer, Greyson Schwing, I was put to work making all the needed changes.

Jazz Class with Mitzi & Annie
Jazz Class with Mitzi & Annie

I also was delighted to work with dancer, Annie Heinemann, in the heat of the summer, entrusting my vintage jazz class to her, for the purpose of bestowing it to future generations of dance enthusiasts. Posterity worked as a great workout for us, as we ball-changed and isolated ourselves into a pool of sweat, which lingered into the fall, when we seemed to have mostly pulled it together for safe keeping.

Mitzi and Claire at the Baryshnikov Ats Center
Mitzi and Claire at the Baryshnikov Ats Center

With the crisp air and the colors of the leaves deepening, more inspiration was in my midst. Dancer, Claire Hancock, (from my blog, Fall in Love With Claire), was able to find time to work out a new piece with me at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, “Drift.” Anyone who is lucky enough to work with this gem of a dancer, knows that whatever she touches, turns to gold. And so,  with the knowledge that she was in town for only a couple of short days, we jumped into another one of my Jiffy-Mixes, and I all too soon was lost in awe.  Art in any form is art, even without a professional staging, for which we didn’t have the time. So with this project, I respected the process, and how the raw performance, superseded the product.                                                                                        

So, after the arduous task of gathering, building, and tweaking my new website, the autumn saw the launch of MitziAdams.com. It’s a work in progress–we all know, you never arrive, it’s never done, and it’s always more for yourself than anyone else. FB: Like! I also was happy to be on a panel of lecturers again this fall with the dance students at UMASS. My colleague and former dance partner, Paul Dennis, is a distinguished faculty there, and it’s always a good time to share with the younger group of hopefuls, and shed light on the topics of dance survival.

Behind the Lens 2
Behind the Lens 2

Alas, the final wave of 2015 was Behind the Lens 2,  slated for the Producers Club Thanksgiving Week.  After some grueling hours in the editing room, I had my film in hand and was all set for my screening night. As a matter of course in the theater, there’s always technical issues that can crop up, but thanks to my tech-savvy husband on board, a click of a few switches, and a shout of “the show must go on,” we screened our film, ironic as it was: Behind the Lenswhat goes on behind the lens. It proved to delight the crowd of some of my closest colleagues and admirers– the after party in the lounge saw more tech problems, though, as the the bartender forgot how to measure, but no one seemed to care! 

Finally in December, I enjoyed the season of light… no rushing around for me. I was at peace, and so grateful for the waves of dance experiences the year had brought in. Season’s Greetings were year-round for me– very indulgent, indeed! What a wonderful gift to be able to reminisce at the close of the season… Happy New Year!