"Creativity is not talent but attitude."

~ Jenova Chen

What do you have that’s “in your blood”? Have you developed any practices or skills that have become second nature? What does it take for a hobby to become a skill to become a livelihood?

This Monday following on the heels of Mother’s Day brings to mind the topic of having a passion for creativity and developing lifelong skills. Much like Soul Motion’s Vinn Arjuna Martí, I believe that there is an artist of some sort in everyone.

Sometimes we have to stretch the definition of artist pretty far, but the fact remains that the creative impulse is a universal human gift. Some folks are able to walk the path of purely artistic creation, while others apply their creativity in service of social or business goals.

In our formative years, we often find ourselves gravitating towards something that one of our peers or an influential grownup is doing. At the time we might not recognize these for the opportunities that they are, we are more likely to just be going with the flow.

Your focus on something is likely to change and evolve over the years, creativity is rarely static. Modern dance classes as an adolescent might lead you to launching a conscious dance modality or choreographing a performance as an adult.

My mom passed away in 2011 and looking back over her life, (and through the artifacts she left behind), it’s easy to see that creating with fabric was the common thread throughout her life. I remember her knitting when I was a small child, then she moved onto crochet. By the time I left home as a teenager, she was into needlepoint and something called Hardanger embroidery.

It wasn’t until she was probably well into her 60s that she settled on to quilting. And boy, once she did she hit the ground running! Within a few years, she was entering and winning competitions. She took great delight in mentoring younger folks who were just getting started.

What struck me the most was how much of a community builder she was in her quilting circles. After she passed away they had a gathering at the local quilting shop in Bandon, Oregon where she was honored as a great leader who had done much to grow their community. She put out the newsletter, organized field trips to other nearby towns, and sorted out the housing and entries for their big annual trip to the national Outdoor Quilting Show in Sisters, Oregon each summer.

Her story is a great example of someone who kept a creative thread alive throughout her life and nurtured it to become a central part of her identity. It’s interesting how things that seem like such a challenge when we are younger become second nature after some years of practice.

For me, the creative parallel lines match my initials, M & M. Music and metalwork have been ingrained into my consciousness on a regular basis from my earliest years. As a toddler, I would play in the scrap metal bins at my Dad’s neon sign shop in Southern California. As a child, I figured out that I could make sparks fly from the wires of my electric train sets transformer and leave marks on metal objects as a primitive form of welding.

We had a record player and at our house, my older brothers Beatles albums were the source of much controversy in my earliest years. When I set myself up with a stereo in my room as a teenager with saved-up babysitting money, the first record that I bought for myself was “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer which was brand-new and revolutionary at the time. Music has always meant movement to me, so coining the term ‘conscious dance’ made perfect sense years later.

Later on, in the rave years of the early 90s I began to write about dance and consciousness. That was also when I acquired my first pair of DJ turntables and began to dabble in the art. For the longest time, I held the limiting belief that the only people with a “good ear” or some special God-given talent were capable of doing magic with music to dancers on the floor.

But then I thought, “Well maybe if I just practice a little bit every day…” and low and behold, within a year or so I was actually able to beat match and not sound like a pair of tennis shoes in the dryer. Developing a sensitivity to the dance floor and an ability to read the crowd took longer, but once I got over the hump it’s become a part of me.

Doing metalwork is similar. Where once I was a rank newbie, now I’m an old hand, teaching, making sculptures, and taking on projects for fun. And like DJ’ing, their both baked into my DNA. If I take so much as a step away from either one for more than a month or two they exert a gravitational pull that brings me back.

So whatever it might be in your life that might seem like a hobby or a long-shot, or a side-gig – if it’s activating your creativity from deep down inside, keep at it, one day it will be in your blood!

Much love and creative juice until next week!

Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Member Spotlight :: Living Tango's Ilona Glinarsky and the L.A. Tango Marathon!!!

This week’s Dance First Members Spotlight shines on Living Tango’s Ilona Glinarsky and the Los Angeles Tango Marathon! Ilona is a dynamic and energetic community-builder who is a major center-of-gravity in the Southern California conscious tango world.

Her signature practice, Living Tango brings together a wide variety of movement and mindfulness techniques under the umbrella of Argentine Tango. Far more than simply a form of partner dance,Living Tango is a life-enhancing method of consciousness raising brought forth on the dance floor.

Besides her weekly classes, special workshops, and private sessions , Ilona is one of the driving forces behind the annual LA Tango Marathon, happening Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-27th.Check out this video where Ilona explains “Why Tango?”

The “Endless Summer” event offers you over 35 hours of dancing in amazing venues, a ‘Milonga’ on the beach, top DJs from around the world, great food and drink, a bonfire, a flashmob, and more.

This is an ideal opportunity for you to dip your toes in the LA conscious tango scene, and meet some of the great folks who put so much love and energy into the lifestyle. And if you can’t make it, but have friends in So Cal, be sure to let them know!

Beyond her passion for the dance floor, Ilona is also a widely-known and sought-after life coach who brings a dancers perspective and a somatic sensibility to her work. And you don’t have to live in LA to work with her, simply visit her website and say hello!

Thanks for all your great work and positive energy Ilona! We’re delighted to serve you as a long-time member of Dance First and the Conscious Dancer community!

Learn more at www.LivingTango.com

Los Angeles Tango Marathon “The Endless Summer”
May 23-27th, LA, CA