We asked Mimi to share a little more about the classes and what to expect.
PWN: Why incorporate dance with writing?
Mimi: When I offer a class that involves both writing and movement, I choose activities based on the premise that our bodies hold our stories. Our bodies hold memories and experiences. Through guided breathing and relaxation techniques, and basic exploratory movements that focus on rhythmic patterns and repetition, as well as improvisation, I encourage children and adults to engage with their bodies in a way designed to create new neurological pathways in the brain and/or activate pathways that lie dormant. Waking up the body in this way—through dance and breathwork— engaging with the body before engaging with the page, often creates a very different writing experience, a deeper experience, a more meaningful experience. Plus, it’s super fun!
PWN: What is your experience with movement and writing?
Mimi: I was in graduate school when I first became interested in the intersection of breathwork, the body, singing, and performance. About ten years later, while I was working teaching music in the schools, writing lots of songs, and performing widely as a singer-songwriter, I realized that the study of breathwork and the study of voice were incredibly similar. In 2001, I lived at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for a month and did my teacher training, and at that time, I noticed a huge shift in my writing output and realized: that came from being present in my body in a new way.
I continued to sing, teach music, teach yoga, and write, and I continued to pay close attention to the connection between my body and my writing. It was only through the deep connection with my body, I discovered, that I was able to ramp up my output.
All along my journey, dance was a constant companion. From being cast as a sugarplum fairy when I was very young, to jazz classes in high school, to formal training in college, to informal participation in Kripalu Center’s YogaDance, to a brief but impactful experience as a student at Lincoln Center working with members of the iconic modern dance company Pilobolus, to my living room—dance has dotted the map of my life. It’s kept me connected to my body in a way that enables me to go deeper with my writing.
PWN: What are some of your favorite songs to inspire your creativity?
Mimi: How long do you have?
Seriously, if you’d like to listen to the songs that continually inspired me while I was writing my debut novel, Before Goodbye, or my second novel, Shining Sea, just follow these links to the playlists I created during that time.
Before Goodbye, 55 songs, 3 hours and 15 minutes: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5ZJi04o0Vw134UT9uAKj5t?si=2a03a1b6131c4f43
Shining Sea, 53 songs, 3 hours and 50 minutes: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3YQ5vlxZZHds5ODP8iThhi?si=a51ac24b0af043fd
I’ve made a few other ‘writing playlists’ that I’m using now, so if you need more music, just ask!
PWN: What can we expect from this class?
Mimi: The descriptions really say it all! But basically you can expect to spend a few minutes of stillness while we get ready to explore our bodies, and then a gentle full-body warm up. From there, we’ll listen to several songs guaranteed to move us! Expect seriousness and silliness—in both classes!—before we wind down and start to write. The younger you are, the less actual writing you’ll do, but everyone needs to bring their imagination to these sessions.