The last six months of my life have been consumed with this amazing project. What began as a simple dance film to raise awareness has evolved into a truly amazing project. Too Many Bodies, Place Called Us is a music video that leads to action, laid out in a website with resources for victims, loved ones, family members and activists. We have national and state resources for victims' support, compensation, voter registration and voter education. Additionally, I am creating, in associate with Nurjahan Boulden of Shooting Survivor and The Art Of Elysium, a series of individualized workshops to create safety, healing and societal change through art. Never has a project so aligned with my mission statement as an artist. The video has, as of today, been accepted into four festivals, including the prestigious San Francisco Dance Film Festival, where it will screen as part of the Raising Voices program on October 14. I will be at the screening and will speak on the panel following the films. San Francisco Film Society is hosting a panel discussion on October 9th featuring artist/reporter Dana King, choreographer Krissy Keefer, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and our director Reena Dutt. Email me if you are interested in attending that event. In Los Angeles the same week, it will screen at the South Asian Film Festival at Universal Studios. So far we have also been accepted into the Twin Falls Film Festival and The Grove Film Festival. We are spreading it far and wide and hope to add many many screenings to the list!
We are launching the video and website to the world on September 26 in Los Angeles with a press screening of the video, a sizzle reel from our pilot workshop collaboration and with an artists' panel. This event will be live streamed on Facebook and we invite you to join us! Joanne Divito will moderate the panel discussion between Nurjahan Boulden and Actor/Activist Alyssa Milano, the founder of NoRA and a fierce advocate for social change. We have one more surprise panelist! NoRA is sponsoring the video and the launch event is sponsored by Art of Elysium, NoRA and eTech. We are so grateful for their support and inspired by all of the work that they do.
So, I don't spend a lot of time talking or writing about how I feel about sustainability, climate change, and our stewardship of the earth. Living with a small carbon footprint is something that I take into account with everything that I do, but up until now have been mostly quiet about. That is about to change. I just took part in the Climate Reality Leadership Conference here in Los Angeles. Al Gore is a charismatic and astonishing person. There was a bevy of brilliant scientists, passionate journalists and the 2200 participants themselves, a gathering of so many wonderful people. I am both incredibly dismayed by the mess that we are in and buoyed up by the passion, intelligence and power in the room. The message is two fold: the situation is dire AND we have tools to combat it.
Every global crisis starts locally so this, my first posting on the subject, will share three important ways that I am personally dealing with climate change. These are the choices that I make each and every day. It is hard for an inherently shy person to say, "this is what I do, you should try it too." I usually joke and say something about being a Northern California hippie at heart. This is true, but not the whole story. Time to own it. These are choices that I make and I would encourage you to try one or two, you might actually like it.
1. Plant based diet: I know, another self righteous vegan telling others how to eat. Even Mr. Gore said that he doesn't try to change people's diets though he too is vegetarian. The facts are these: industrial agriculture is a huge source of climate change. If more people abstained from that way of life, we would be in a better place. So, I would encourage you to take it a day at a time. Eat less meat, avoid dairy for a meal, a day, a week. See how you feel. See how much money you save. Eat real, whole foods, not meat or cheese substitutes. Try world cuisines that don't rely on animal products and see how delicious it is. Make different choices and treat it all as an adventure. You might discover a whole new you. Corny sounding, but true.
2. Transportation: As most of my friends know, I don't have a car. I bike everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I average 30 miles a day and often hit 50 or 60. Considering that my job is dancing and I am literally on my feet all day long, this is a serious commitment. I admit that it is also a little crazy. I don't think that everyone needs to make this commitment, but everyone does have room to lessen the amount of time spent in a single occupancy car. Carpool, take the train or a bus, ride a bike or scooter part of the way and take the train the rest. Even in notoriously poorly served Los Angeles, you can get to many many places easily and quickly via public transportation. If you do you have a car, keep it in good condition and move towards a hybrid or electric vehicle.
3. Shopping. We are such a consumer based society and we create so much waste. I gave up buying new things several years ago. This includes clothing and shoes (with a few notable exceptions: underwear, running and dance shoes, most workout clothes), kitchen items, furniture and accessories. It does not include electronics (computers, phones, etc) or bedroom and bathroom supplies for sanitary reasons. In addition to WHAT I buy, I am conscious of how I transport it. I always carry my own bags, avoid extra bags for fruit at the store, carry a coffee and water bottle at all times and shop for food often to avoid throwing things away.
Below is a graphic that we can all use as a guide. Take or leave what works for you! And thanks for taking the time to read my first Climate Reality Leadership Blog Post!
Got to have fun dancing in a hysterical scene for a new show! Still under wraps but good stuff all around! Love working!
Shooting with one of my favorite choreographers on a new show Monday!!! Details to follow! Yay dance!
Super excited to dance with a bunch of very cool and talented dancers on Saturday night July 21 at 7:30pm in this one off show! Choreographed by the wonderful Scott Thompson!
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I just spent a week on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands sharing dance with a wonderful group of at risk youth. The community center associated with the St. Thomas Reformed Church invited me to work with their wonderful kids for a week before the end of the school year. We touched on ballet, modern, musical theater and tap! I had a wonderful time and hope to make this a recurring excursion! The kids were excited and talented and thoroughly enjoyed their week of dance. In addition to learning what I brought, they shared their own work with me, including two dances choreographed by one of the older kids. It was so joyous! Here they are in their final pose from Hairspray, You Can't Stop The Beat!
I designed this necklace as a fundraiser for March for Our Lives. Every purchase benefits the organization! $40 + tax and shipping. Payable through Venmo, Chase Pay, or Pay Pal. Limited edition!
Always a laugh riot shooting with HeidiMarie Photography. New shots to be posted soon!
Nancy Dobbs Owen
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