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Being a Beginner Takes Courage

Being a Beginner Takes Courage
Do you remember your first dance class?
What brought you to this class? What internal drive caused you look up the class time table, to pack your bag, to step foot into the studio?

How did you feel to suddenly realize you know nothing about what you were about to do, to suddenly be a beginner?

Being a beginner is scary. Being a beginner takes COURAGE.

As a confession, I haven’t handled this experience well as a more advanced dancer. It is humbling to step back and put yourself back in the vulnerable position of knowing nothing.
It is something that I am working on by working on Instagram challenges, taking  online classes and pulling out material to train.  But this practice will be ongoing for my whole dance life.

As a soon-to-be-mother, recognizing that I am going into a Brand New Role of totally unknown territory is incredibly scary. I will be starting at the base – every child is so different and I have no reference of what to do compared to others.  It is a very scary position to be in.  Being a beginner takes courage.

BUT.  Every class you take, every book you read, every day that passes we become less & less of a beginner.  We start to grow through the adversity, through the struggle, through the sleepless nights.  We gain experience. We learn coping mechanisms.  We cry, we fall, we stand up again.  We show up time and time again to evolve from day 1.

Accepting we know nothing will allow us to grow into something.

For those of you (like me!) that hold ourselves back from doing that thing we want to do but we are too scared – JUST DO IT. Just try it.  Every single person that inspires us was once a novice.

Here is a listen for you if you are in this boat!

Being a Beginner
Artists for JoyListen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/being-a-beginner/id1509742324?i=1000486676552Message me and let me know if you have felt this feeling & how you dealt with it. I would love to hear & learn from your experience!

I have also released my first prenatal pilates video on YT!  Please click here to see it & share to someone who you know that is pregnant!  If you haven’t subscribed to my channel, please subscribe & help me get to 1k subscribers so that I can monetize my channel <3

Big News!!

Big news!! Well if you are on my mailing list you know that I dropped a bomb on everyone last week – I am 14 weeks pregnant with my first (and only!) child!

Big News!  Baby Winter coming winter 2021!
Me & my momma!

Its been a REALLY crazy experience so far as I never wished to walk the motherhood road. I was pretty happy with my life until I met my now-husband and suddenly I started wishing to have this experience with him. Its a big change for both of us and I think we are both kinda like “Whaaaat?” although he is definitely taking it more in stride than I am. This is big news for both of us for sure!

Being someone very health conscious, I always thought IF I got pregnant that I would be able to still eat the way I wanted, workout & train as normal and basically live life the same except with a cute baby bump.

Well sadly this hasn’t been the case! Early on I experienced nausea and food aversions which has meant I haven’t touched a salad or greens now in nearly 4 months, can’t stand the smell or taste of coffee or most scented teas (bye chai 🙁 ), and all I want to eat is carbs and treats like banana bread and chips. Its been a COMPLETE 180 and to be honest quite a hard thing to wrap my head around.

I am nearly 15 weeks and still experiencing these symptoms except it has expanded to anything scented (makes me ill). I am pretty much off the bread train now but my diet has been the worst its been pretty much since I was an unhealthy vegetarian teen.

I have been able to maintain most of my fitness for the majority mind you exercising in masks has been difficult so I have lost alot of my cardio. There are days when I drag myself to the gym and it helps me feel better, some days I just focus on form and don’t break a sweat. I am still teaching pilates so I try to incorporate some pilates into my week when I can. Other days, I am resting.

Being pregnant has required me to start to surrender and give up what I am used to. Its a hard thing for me to process as I am definitely very much in control of my life ha ha so I don’t like giving up easily. I have been told many times that this is just the beginning – I am going to get schooled hard I think.

As for my teaching & dance life, everything is still on as planned for this year. I will finish my fall session end of November as normal and will break until March. I have 2 bookings in October – Raqs Quebec & Kelowna so will still be teaching these. I hope to run a few workshops here in Vancouver for Dance to the Beat of the Drum with my sidekick Tim Gerwing and possibly a tarab workshop.

I will be teaching pilates until the bitter end and hope to see some 1:1 privates post-partum. I am working out of a home studio in East Van (please see my CLASSES page for details) so if you would like reformer training, I gotchu!

If you are wanting privates for pilates or dance please book with me soon as my schedule is already filling up ö.

Any advice for this wary first time mom? Please comment below!

What Does SUCCESS Look Like to YOU?

The Iceberg Theory

What does SUCCESS look like for you?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀⠀🎯Creating content, choreographies, workshops, class programs, prepping for a show is a hustle for sure. It’s easy to look at someone’s work or success & think that either they have it easy or that it is easy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

🙅🏻‍♀️What we don’t see is the magnitude of sweat labour it took to get to the finished product. It’s easy to forget the layers of foundation work it took to get there.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀🗣I find this with clients. When they balk at your price or ask for a discount it can be really disappointing & rude. As I reflected a few weeks ago on my Instragram, I’ve really started to lose patience with this! But quite often it’s because they don’t understand the level of work it takes to even just show up at their door let alone how you got to the place where you would even be considered to be hired as a professional in the first place. This is the opportunity (if they are willing to listen) to give a quick run down of why your prices are what they are & why, because of these reasons, you should be hired.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

💰 We spend thousands on honing our crafts. Between classes & workshops alone that is serious bank. Not to mention costumes, jewelry, make up etc. This is without the non-monetary value stuff – what about missing your cousins wedding, dancing on a broken toe (me! lol), spending hours on research & analysis…it all adds up quick. Don’t forget you can still do all this work and still not get to where you want to go. It’s tough. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

☝🏻Remember what we see at the top is a tiny fraction of what is unseen below. Where do you think the real successes are found? I would wager that these real success are the ones that are unseen – without this foundation you would never see the peak!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

What are some other things we sacrifice in order to find our personal success? Comment below 👇🏻

Finding Your Creative Process

Finding Your Creative Process

Generating ideas for a choreography or performance is hard in the best of times.

This can be even harder when you are asked to dance in a themed show or given a concept to work with. It might be something that you don’t necessarily jive with or you feel restricted by the direction.

It can be all-consuming, stressful or even painful creatively to get started.

Rehearsals can feel wasted or even that you don’t have the drive to start.

I’ve been in this boat MANY times & tbh sometimes my best work comes out of being commissioned. I tend to fight against it a lot but it typically forces me out of my box & to put on a different hat. But even creating choreo for myself can be tough & hard to navigate.

I’ve created a way over the years to help me get on board & reduce the stress around creating performance. It helps me hone into the end result but essentially storyboarding the entire thing from concept to creation.

So you have been asked to dance in a show. Now what?! Lets start from beginning… looking at the overall Theme of your performance.

#1: Choose Your Theme

This part might have been given to you already so now where are you going to go right? Well this is the part where you can take that idea & turn it into your creation.

Say you have been asked to play a certain character in a show. You have the rough sketch or expectation of the character, but you can turn that into something personal that you embody.

Focus on what feelings & emotions do you want to portray. Find your theme by exploring the overall tone & message of your piece. Determine what feelings & emotions you want to showcase both in yourself & your audience…what do you want you audience to feel?

#2: Represent

This is now your chance to take these emotions & feelings and start to embody them. What & how do you want to represent your theme? Start by brainstorming what you want to represent by setting the tone & the message. Write these out so that you have a clear understanding on where to work from & to make connections. You can also cross reference or delete in this step once you start compiling ideas.

#3: Inspiration

What is your inspiration? Where do you seek inspiration from typically? Are you inspired by watching other dancers, reading poetry, watching a film, nature? When starting to create your overall theme, go to where you get inspired keeping in line with your idea for your piece. Keep writing, create wordclouds, doodle. Allow yourself to connect with words and use them to keep setting the theme.

#4: Communicate

This is where you want to start to further enforce your message. What message do you want to send to the viewer? To the performance? Do you want to take the audience on a journey with you? Do you want them to experience visceral emotion? Do you want them to interact with you or silently observe? Do you want this piece to be purely authentic in its style or abstract? Do you want clear symbolism or leave it up to the audience to decide what it was about?

Having a clear direction about this message means that you will be able work from here equally clearly as you can start to draft the experiences from this place.

#5: Dive In

Get to work! Now that you have determined the overall theme & tone of your piece, it is time to dive in and start working.

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Ashley Rhianne xo