Electrifying Nantucket: one yoga pose at a time

On September 18th 2012, I taught my first yoga class at the newly reopened Dreamland Theater. Accompanied by the internationally acclaimed yoga spin master, DJ HyFi and buoyed up by the visionary production stylings of my partner, Burr Tupper, we put together a great night. 44 Nantucket yogis and yoginis packed the Harbor View Room and I think we all felt a little high. It was a chance to come together in a new space, over looking the harbor we all love, and try something new. By the time the evening was over our hearts were deeply entrained and smiles had spread like wildfire across our faces.

I knew we had to do it again.

I’ve always thought fondly of my fellow NHS alum, and music aficionado, Pete Ahern. So after watching his career as a DJ build steadily, especially in the last few years with steady gigs at Pazzo and the formation of Audio Architects, the production team he and Billy Desmond spearhead, he seemed like an obvious choice to collaborate with. I especially liked the idea of working with someone else local, someone who had roots here as well, someone I knew I could build an ongoing partnership with.

Pete was game, and on December 4th, 2012 Electric Flow was born. Once again, I rented the Harbor View Room at the Dreamland – and 39 yogis showed up for a challenging 90 minute practice. And again, my always supportive and artistically inclined partner came up with a few visual surprises. Burr enlisted the help of local filmmaker Kristen Kellogg, and they put together a black and white montage of vintage yoga footage and an animated beating anatomical heart. The footage played on a makeshift screen, Tupper had created seemingly out of thin air, at the beginning of the practice, and as the beat of the heart faded into the distance, Pete’s electronic grooves steadily built. It was magical.

Electric Flow: December 4th, 2012

I knew right away Pete and I had a great chemistry together. Even though it was our first time collaborating, I felt we got each other. Clearly in tune with bodies in motion from years of spinning at parties and in clubs, Pete had an immediate knack for supporting the yogis during their vinyasa practice. We came up with ways to communicate to each other silently (hand gestures for take the tempo down, take it up, cool us off, heat us up, etc.) but mostly the evening flow took care of itself. I took queues from Pete, he took queues from me and the crowd was buzzing.

Due to overwhelming demand, two months later we decided to try it again – this time with a little help from our friend Floyd Kellogg.

Maybe you know Floyd from You Scream, I Scream, the band he heads up with his partner Audrey Sterk. Or maybe you know Floyd from the Brewery, where he plays in the crazy punk rock/rockabilly/alterna comical music  duo Lance Mountain Dance Party. OR maybe you know Floyd because his new project, Violent Mae is awesome, and now available on iTunes. In any event, Pete and I met up with Floyd, who had collaborated with Pete a few times at Pete’s regular Pazzo gig, and asked him to play percussion. The resulting three-way was killer. The guys played off each other and the yoga nearly took care of itself. with 40 beating hearts in the room and the thumping pulsation of the music I thought the roof might blow off the theater. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about volume, I’m talking about vibration. It was epic.

Students lining up for Electric Flow: February 6th, 2013

 

Electric Flow: February 6th, 2013

It was so much fun working with Floyd and Pete together we almost immediately booked the next gig. Then I got cancer

I thought at first that I should cancel our April 25th reunion; after all I was getting chemotherapy ever week, my hair was falling out, I felt sick as a dog, and part of me wanted to hole up in my house and hide. But then I realized that if I was going to survive, I had to keep teaching. Cancer takes so much away from you – it is one big practicing in non-attachment – that teaching more than ever helped me to stay present with myself. So after much debate about how’d I’d hold up, we decided to go for it.

On April 25th, 2013 nearly the entire Nantucket yoga community showed up at the Dreamland and turned our Electric Flow into a fairly spontaneous fundraiser. With the Dreamland’s generous support, we were able to cross the hallway from the Harbor View room and occupy the Studio Theater, filling it to the brim with over 90 students. Pete and I were join by both Floyd, and his partner Audrey on stage. Floyd played upright base, Audrey joined him on percussion, and Pete spun the sexiest electronica and ambient grooves. To make an incredible evening even better, Burr and Kristen Kellogg collaborated on a video installation, which was projected on the screen behind me.

Electric Flow: April 25th, 2013

It was one of the most powerful, magical and profound moments of my life, and I will cherish it forever.

Electric Love: March 27th, 2014 6-8pm

This week, Pete and Burr and I are collaborating once again. This time we’ve enlisted help from local yoga teacher and mindfulness meditation instructor, Clay Twombly as well as Brooklyn-based artist Craig Anthony Miller. And like last time, this event is a fundraiser. Only this time, it’s not for me. I am 12 months into my cancer treatment, and officially CANCER FREE. With 7 more infusions to go (the last scheduled for July 17th) I am all but out of the woods and well on my way to recovery. Healing would not have been possible though, had it not been for the support of local non-for-profit, Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket. So this time around, we’re giving all the money to them.

In 2014, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.

Clay, Craig, Pete and I have all been personally affected by cancer – and all of us would like to do whatever we can to abate it’s tide of trauma. Through music, art, meditation and yoga we  believe we can heal the world, and we’re starting here, on the tiny island of Nantucket.

Please help us support PASCON, an organization who’s services have helped hundreds of Nantucketeers in times of need. Whether it’s navigating  long term-illness or the death of a loved one, PASCON exists solely to help people transition through life’s more challenging times.

Spreading the Love at 97.7ACK FM

Want to know more about this Thursday evenings Lovefest? Listen to Pete and Clay and I being interviewed on 97.7ACK FM this morning.

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Electric Love: poster by Craig Anthony Miller

 

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