Tag Archives: creativity

horse dancing

Sarah playing with her miniature horse, Chub

On Saturday  we visited Sarah Hollis of Tintagel Andalusians in Westhampton, MA.  Sarah is the owner of Escorial, the beautifully trained liberty horse that we have performed with for the past six years.  She is also the most extraordinary, visionary and talented horse person I know.

Sarah, like many of us, is at an interesting, challenging crossroads with her work, due in part to the wild economic weather of the past four years.  But here is the thing that I am seeing with myself and Sarah and a number of other friends.

The terror and the struggle has birthed a lot of new enterprise and imagination.  I launched a blog, wrote a book, made new performance work and am about to launch a new website with a host of new offerings – teaching, coaching, writing, performance.  Sarah is looking at the whole landscape of her work and digging deeper into her greatest passions:  teaching and training.  We are both looking to move in order to get ourselves closer to what will nourish us best.

Pam and I were talking to Jon Katz on Friday, and I said that I had recently gotten a blog post from Seth Godin about catastrophizing.  Over the past few years I have gotten the feeling that I am hard-wired to catastrophize.  That it is my nature  It is who I am.  Jon said that he sees this tendency in our economics and politics and personal lives as a failure of imagination.  He is absolutely right.  When i am in a state of terror, I cannot imagine or create anything.

I know this from my work with horses as well.  When a horse is afraid, they cannot learn.  They cannot do anything but flee or fight.  That is why the positive reinforcement training strategies work so beautifully.  They open space for communication, calming, relaxation, breathing.

I said earlier that the terror and struggle had birthed new enterprise.  That is not exactly right.  Before I could see my way to new creative endeavors, I had to do a lot of that calming, breathing work first. Sometimes I had to do it every minute or even every breath.  I had to use a lot of different strategies, because if yoga or walking worked one day, it might be ineffective the next.

The point is that I have figured out some ways to stay, as Abraham says, “in the vortex,” or in a state of feeling good pretty much of the time.  When the big rogue wave rises, I can duck dive and let it go by most of the time.  I feel good about that.

This week Pam and I are going out to look at some properties.  Leaning forward into whatever is to come next.  We have a tentative name for our new home:  Wild Rose Farm.  It has a feeling of something old, something growing, something blooming, something wild.  It has the feeling of home.


Engaging the artist within is one-to-one coaching for those who want to jump-start their creative practice.  Sessions include body dharma strategies (how to engage the body and let it inspire your work), improvisation & creative alignment practices.

My background as a movement educator, improvisational movement  and theater artist, writer and somatics practitioner gives me unique ways of helping you to engage your deepest, most embodied creative self.

The other part of my background is that I spent many years having an out-of-body experience.  This year marks 33 years since my last drink, and 25 years in recovery from eating disorders.  I have been on the planet for a while.  So for those of you for whom the body is not necessarily friendly territory, I get it, and I can help there too.

Beginning March 15, I am offering FREE COACHING CALLS.  These are introductory 30-minute sessions to help you optimize your creative goals.

I will only offer 10 of these, so if you are interested, contact me soon.  To make an appointment for a free call, either email me or fill out my form 

body dharma 2

Here is the next part of body dharma.

Randee Fox sent me this link.  Daniel Mollner is 47 years old and is making a film a week about being a dancer, something that he has only recently claimed.  It is a brilliant, generous idea.

I have just started making solos again. My friend Ryder hosts an open mike at Cafe Helsinki in Hudson, NY.    She said, “Why don’t you do something?”  And I thought, “Yeah.  Why not?”

I have not performed a solo for over ten years.  Here is what happened:  Over a period of twenty years, I lost my ability to move, even to walk.  My hips were GONE.  Everyone said, “But you are too young to have the surgery.”  Really I wasn’t, but I liked that they thought so.  By the end, I could not even walk across the street.  I felt a terrible sense of shame.  “I am a dancer.  I cannot move.”

The other thing that happened was 9/11.  Many of my artist friends were creatively derailed.  Mute.  Numb.  It went on for many months, even years.  I went into a creative deep-freeze that lasted about seven years.  I felt ashamed. “I am an artist. I cannot make art .”

It was finally the horses that brought me back, and a persistent, wonderful image of making a dance with horses and an aerial dancer, the beautiful Paola Styron.

The one thing I know about body dharma is that it is not one thing.  It is not a straight line.  It is a meandering river with backwaters and tributaries and terrible, ferocious class 5 rapids that will leave you washed up and rinsed out way downriver.  It is also the only place to be:  in the water, between the banks, flowing.

Sharing my experience and  passion in a way that helps and supports others is what I love.  I am always thinking about new ways to do that.

So here are three of my body dharma offerings:

I have other offerings.  You can check them out here.

body dharma


Deanna Pellecchia        Photo by Jeffrey Anderson

Body dharma is about bringing our practice into physical form.  It is rooting all of our experiences in the body and seeking a fully embodied creativity.

What it means to me is continually engaging the body in a spontaneous, authentic and improvisational way.  Practicing body dharma means that we are listening to and feeling the body all the time, and weaving that awareness into our moment-by-moment experience.  It is about listening at the cellular level.  It also means that we allow the body to be a teacher, a guide, and understand that it is a reflection of the presence or absence of harmony and balance in our lives.

I will be exploring this theme more this week.  In the meantime, I have just finished my new eBook, Breaking into Blossom.  It contains ten chapters on bringing more vitality and improvisation into your life.  You can order it here.