Welcome to our third month of EDPeeps content! Thank you so much for joining us on this journey. We are so grateful for your support, and we hope this will be a wonderful beginning to an ongoing conversation and sense of community for everyone involved. Enjoy.
G R A T I T U D E
“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that,
the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” ~Maya Angelou
I am so very grateful for my life’s adventures!
As I reflect upon all the adventures my life has been made up of, how could I not be filled with gratitude? I am grateful for my family, friends and relationships I have had throughout my life, my teachers and mentors, my community, the meaningful and fulfilling work I have had the privilege to be involved with, my religion, dance, art, the many challenges I have been faced with and the lessons that came out of them…and so much more. I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, the willingness and courage to be able to say yes to them and the ability to welcome them into my life adventure.
I absolutely love Maya Angelou and in 2006, she was brought to Tucson to speak in schools, conduct workshops and perform her work publicly at Centennial Hall. I had the honor of being asked to create a dance piece based on her poem, Equality, that was performed by my students at the event. Maya Angelou and her work have always been a tremendous inspiration to me and I will never forget sitting in the wings of Centennial Hall with my students after they performed and watching the expressions on their faces as we listened to her perform her poetry. This is one of those opportunities I spoke of earlier and is an adventure I am so very grateful for.
I am so fortunate to have had a life focused on art, whether it was playing the flute and piccolo throughout grade school, drawing and painting or dancing. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for this. For me, art is about creativity and has been my life line, my nourishment, the one thing that has literally saved my life during some of the darkest times and the very essence of my soul.
Thank you all for being a part of our EDPeeps adventure. I hope you enjoy our issue on Gratitude and please know how very grateful I am for the opportunity to share Esperanza Dance Project with you.
Be well and please take good care.
Artistic Director, Founder
This month we are taking a look at what we are thankful for, and how we are staying grateful.
G R A T I T U D E
What you'll find this month:
Grateful for our Dancers! - An exclusive peek at Esperanza's latest season of new solos, "A Compilation of Hope" video
Original EDP inspired Drawing - Sharkey's original created for EDP performances, reimagined
A List of things to be Grateful For - And an effortless way to add a little gratitude to your daily life by Samantha
Grateful for Tucson Murals - Lets take a moment to be thankful for this beautiful place we live in. By Karina.
A Curated Content Guide to Internet Goodies The best gratitude reads on the internet!
Showing Up for Myself: Daily Painting Grace inspires us with a look at her latest creative project
Poem of the Month - Original poetry by EDP dancers
New Solo Movement Moment - Zoe DeFalco shares the newest solo for Esperanza's larger work
WE ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR OUR DANCERS
Esperanza Dance Project wouldn't exist in its current state if it wasn't for our dedicated and talented performers. The EDP performing company is made up of young adults ages 15-29 who volunteer their time and energy to help spread our message of hope, strength and empowerment. These dancers spend about 6 hours a week rehearsing and taking technique classes together, as well as facilitate Question and Answer discussions after each performance. The courage and vulnerability these dancers share openly is inspiring on every level.
While this past season was held entirely online through virtual meetings, our dedicated dancers continued to show up for sexual violence survivors, rehearse, take class to prepare for any future performances, facilitate virtual Q & A's and events, and create new original solos for the season. Please enjoy this compilation of new choreography by some of our most inspiring dancers. We are so grateful for the dedication and commitment these young adults have to our mission, and creating a better future for all of us.
ORIGINAL INSPIRED DRAWING
Sharkey was asked to create the original set pieces for the EDP repertoire, “I Don’t Pray Anymore.” Based on movement that is revisited multiple times throughout the performance, Sharkey’s unique depiction of a dancer has been a wonderful addition to the many performances EDP has had over the past 10 years. We are so grateful to have this original work of art as part of our set and the ability to introduce Sharkey’s artwork to students and audience members. It is a unique facet to our emphasis on utilizing multimedia.
For our 10 year anniversary, Sharkey has created this new digital rendition of the original work. We are so grateful to have Sharkey on our team, and we are so grateful for the work she has contributed to the project.
THINGS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR
While we all have specific things to be grateful for, there are many things we can possibly agree on that make our lives more fulfilling. When we can stop and be thankful for what is around us, our mindfulness helps cultivate happiness and a future full of hope.
I am grateful for sunshine.
I am grateful for access to drinkable water.
I am grateful for friendships.
I am grateful for my body.
I am thankful for the time I have to myself.
I am thankful for the nourishing food I eat.
I am thankful for my community.
I am thankful for opportunities to grow.
I feel grateful when I have time to enjoy.
I feel grateful when I hear music I love.
I feel grateful to be alive.
I feel grateful to have my pets.
I feel grateful that I can communicate with my loved ones.
I feel thankful for ancestors.
I feel thankful to everyone who has helped me along on my journey.
What are you grateful for? Consider this list a jumping off point to notice what is making you feel thankful in your own life.
A fulfilling and easy way to add a daily gratitude practice to your own life is to take a moment when lying in bed each morning, and name 2 things you are looking forward to for the day ahead. Additionally, try to spend a moment before you fall asleep to reflect on what actually made you grateful that day. This accessible practice is an easy way to sit with gratitude consistently without adding too much work to your busy life. This might make an easy addition to cultivate an overall positive mindset, from the comfort of your own bed.
Thank you to Samantha for sharing this wonderful practice with us!
ADD A LITTLE GRATITUDE TO YOUR DAILY LIFE
BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SPECIAL HOME
Let's take a moment to be grateful for this special place we call home. When we go on vacation, we often find little hidden gems that inspire us- that is one reason exploring is adored! Consider looking at your own corner of the world in the same light. Is there a place you haven't explored in your city yet? Or is there something that brings you happiness again and again whenever you see it? Karina shares the following collection of her family's favorite murals around Tucson. We are so lucky to live in this artistic community. Let's enjoy this public art and feel free to share your own favorites in our Facebook community page.
Get your gratitude on with these goodies!
The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief
(Great long read on what makes gratitude work for us, tools to implement, and ideas to get started.)
Modern Love: We Need More Significant Others
(Finding more shoulders to lean on and appreciating the significant people in our lives for who they truly are)
7 Crafty Ways to get you Kids to Express Gratitude
(Great ideas for the kids in your life to learn gratitude practices early on!)
No Dismantling without Intimate Reckoning (Appreciate this opportunity to engage in understanding emotional justice, and center intimate reckoning within your own life.)
The Art of Noticing
(Practical mindfulness advice and ideas to "help you notice what you care about, and care about what you notice.")
Open your heart, open your eyes. Open yourself up to the incredible gift of living. Let the gratefulness overflow.
TedTalk by Louie Schwartzberg
Every moment is an opportunity to be grateful, and being grateful makes us happy
TedTalk by David Steindl Last
A 2 minute video on the science behind gratitude, and a few tips to try to increase your mindfulness today
DAILY GRATITUDE PRACTICE PAINTING
As I continue on a journey of self-care and personal growth, I thought of no better way to create my own gratitude project than to dedicate time to working on a skill I really want to improve. As a full-time student, I feel that the way I spend my summer is precious. I also don’t want to lose the progress I have made learning to oil paint in the last semester, so I have made a commitment to myself to do a 2 hour daily painting every day this summer. I am now in the 4th week of this personal challenge, and I have had both breakthroughs and breakdowns. It has been extremely humbling and productive, challenging and peaceful. This practice has given me time each day to spend with my thoughts and really look at things. I find myself looking through new eyes at the overlooked items in my life. I have been able to paint dearly departed pet portraits, a sink full of dirty dishes, lonely shoes left out on the porch. I have found many things to paint and many things to explore, just by looking closely.
I am grateful for this opportunity to capture a moment in time and memorialize it, as insignificant or trivial as that moment might seem. I am grateful for the “extra” time I have, or the time I have carved out of daily life to dedicate to prioritizing this artistic journey. I am grateful for the ability to purchase the materials I need for this project. I am grateful for the opportunity to practice something just for the sheer interest of getting better. Most of all, I feel gratitude for honoring my own values and goals, and work towards something meaningful to me. Afterall, isn’t gratitude a mindfulness practice in essence? Please enjoy the following paintings from my daily progress.
2 Hour Alla Prima Paintings by Grace - Oil on Canvas
POEM OF THE MONTH
A huge part of what makes our performances so powerful is through the dynamic use of spoken word. Our dancers recently participated in a writing workshop to create new material for "House of Hope." Each month we will be sharing a poem written by the dancers.
Poem by Dancer & Narrator Anita T.
You cast my heart in plaster and swore it would be protected
But now, I watch as clouds of powdered dust
Fall slowly down through the air.
Remnants left over from its cracked and smashed armor.
The stale air is laced in doubt, bitterness, and confusion.
Disbelief concealing harsh clarity.
Now, when golden afternoon sun blisters through my window,
I see sparkles of dust, unsettled and unclaimed.
I wish a spider would come and trap them in her web
I wish a flood could break through and drown them away
At least then, the fractals would belong somewhere
SOLO MOVEMENT MOMENT
Each new season of Esperanza Dance Project means it's time for new movement to be created. The first piece of each performance begins with all of the dancers entering and using spoken word and original movement to begin "I Don't Pray Anymore." This is the first opportunity for dancers to show their own voice and create movement that resonates with their own unique experience and dance background.
While years past poetry to inspire the movement was provided from the first writing workshop, this year we took the opportunity to create all new poetry. Derived from a writing workshop facilitated with local artist Kimi Eisele, the dancers created new poetry, shared with each other durring rehearsal, and created all new solos utilizing these new phrases and thoughts.
Please enjoy this amazing solo choreographed by Zoe DeFalco,
"Clouds of Dust"
We'd love to hear your feedback, your thoughts, and most importantly, how YOU are staying creative these days! Please join our private Facebook group dedicated to our EDPeeps. On this group page we will be able to communicate and share ideas and find inspiration form each other!