Things to Do


Worrying is a pointless activity.

And yet, every night around 3am I wake up and worry for no good reason.  I have Mom Brain. Even though it has been 8 years since I had to wake up at this hour for nightly feedings, I still wake up at this time. No matter how much I cram my head under my pillow or attempt to be productive and “meditate,” this is just the worry time of night. Last night, at my usual time, I woke up stricken with anxiety over this 365 Dances project.  What am I doing exposing myself and my dance and my art to the (potential) masses of the universe? All right, it is only a handful of people who are actually reading it right now.  EXACTLY! Who cares? Am I gonna make an idiot of myself?  As choreographer Ben Levy once said, “For me, dance is the most vulnerable art form I can practice. When I’m sharing my work I feel like I’m saying “here it is,” pointing to himself, “here is my art. I hope it doesn’t suck.”

You can imagine. I was freaking out.

I went to one of my most treasured resources. Ah yes, the voice of Tina Fey, “Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever – your golden nuggets. But you’re also going to write some real shit nuggets.”  I realized I was being “too precious” about my choreography which was what had led me to this project in the first place!  The beauty of creating something different every day is that there will be no time to worry and get all hung up on whether or not things are good.  So in order to alleviate my anxiety, I made a list of things to do.  I’m a Virgo. We make lists. Look . . just, I’m not going to explain myself on every little thing all right?

Things to Do:

1. Decide on a Launch Date: No, not a “lunch date,” a launch date.  When should I start?  “Now! Now!” you are all chorusing, but I don’t have a way to upload video yet (see #5) so there will be a natural small delay while I figure this part out. I’m thinking of launching on my birthday (September 2nd) although that does seem rather far away.

2. Create Guidelines: It would be helpful to have guidelines so you and I will have a clearer idea of what counts as a “dance” etc. I’m guessing that a minute of teeth tapping won’t count. . . but now 10 minutes with a special microphone. . . oh! nevermind!

3. Create some Accountability: How will you all know I’m making a different dance every single day? I’ll be making my own video record but I don’t think I want to share all 365 of them.  I need to leave room for the shit nuggets, remember, so there will have to be another way to account for it online. Maybe a list with titles.

4. Recruit Dancers:  This thing is going to be so much more interesting if I have some collaborators for at least some of the pieces. . . oh lord. I’m already calling them “pieces.”

5. Buy a Video Device:  I think I need a droid thing, er, iPhone? I don’t know. Something I can take rather longish videos with and then easily upload them to youtube to imbed here. I loathe, LOATHE! technology shopping so may have to have tequila luncheon before making way to corner Sprint store.

6. Rescue copy of Twyla Tharp’s “Creative Habit” from Ex-Boyfriend: I can’t really think of anything I’d rather do less.  You know that part of Harry Potter when he meets the Dementors for the first time and it looks like the black ghouly thing is sucking his face off?  That’s how I feel when I’m face to face with this person.  But I’d really like my copy back as a resource of inspiration.  I’m more cheap than I am afraid so I must call him (aaaaaakckkk!) and ask for it back. dum da dum dum!

So, here we go.


About Holly Shaw

Holly Shaw is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer and choreographer who has performed as a soloist with Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos off and on for several years. Shaw is the creator of the Eve’s Elixir project, a platform for artists of contemporary world dance wanting to bring new ideas to traditional dance forms, and has produced several shows in San Francisco. Her flow between contemporary modern dance, flamenco and Middle-eastern styles makes her a unique choreographer. Shaw has spent years training Bay Area dancers in technique and improvisation, challenging them to dance from a deeper level and uncover their unique style.

One response »

  1. What a PLEASANT surprise to be perusing facebook the other day for the first time in a long while, and stumble across this Holly venture!!! I must say, I have always thought you were a captivating writer, so to share your process via the written word with the masses, I think is simply courageous and lovely! I can’t wait to stay tuned… way to put it out there…letting it all go, beautiful and so appropo. Know that only loving and positive thoughts are coming from our side of the screen!

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