Gemini: Marlee Grace

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Here is the second astrology interview, this one with Magnificent Gemini, Marlee Grace. I see Marlee as a beautiful expression of Air + Earth (Gemini, Capricorn, and Virgo, among other things). She is a connector of people and ideas (Gemini!), endlessly curious, and a practical business person (Capricorn), a humble learner and improver/improviser (Virgo), supporting artists with an (earth) space and community (air) for creativity and idea exchange! Visit her on the internet and/or at Center, in Inverness, California.

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Marlee Grace is an improviser and writer living on the rural coast of California. She works with improvisation as a method for navigating being alive and making work through movement, quilting, writing, and podcasting. Marlee also runs a community space and public studio in Inverness, CA called CENTER.

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1. When do you experience the most joy?

When I am teaching dance class. It is truly my favorite thing on earth to be improvising in a room with other bodies, to watch people show up to themselves when it's scary and uncomfortable.

2. It seems that a lot of your creative practice includes nurturing other people's work. Is there ever tension between your own creative expression and your nurturing of others' work? If there is tension between these, how do you resolve that tension or bring these two aspects of your work / life into balance? 

Wow yes, this is huge for me right now. And it comes up for me in many different waves.  Between my creative adivisng clients, CENTER, teaching, writing books : these all in many ways exist to serve others - which IS indeed A PART OF my creative practice.

But I also have MY OWN practice - dancing, writing, collage making, zines, my podcast - and these sometimes definitely feel like they do not get as much attention when I am putting all of my attention into nurturing others' creative endeavors.

The lifting up of others really is the root of my practice though. I tried to remove it from my life and felt lost without the container of a public space and a way to encourage others. But coming out of just opening up a public space which is indeed a BUSINESS I am feeling a lot of the BUT I JUST WANNA BE AN ARTIST.

Can I be? We'll find out. Or, yes, it just take patience and floating and riding the wave and asking for help and turning my gd phone off.

3. Related to that question, what advice do you have for others about balancing community and individuality in an art practice?

I'm really trying to find this answer myself, in this exact moment. In many ways I don't believe in balance. There is no balance, there is really just choice making. I have to choose to put time into my individual art practice. I have to choose to put time into my community space. I have to pause and breathe and think - what needs to get done today/right now. And : what can wait and what would actually feel good. Often times it's my own art practice that feels good, and also hint hint : if I am feeling fulfilled in my individual practice that is the only true way I can be available to my community or self.

4. How do you deal with the (typically Gemini) problem of indecision related to curiosity about everything? Do you experience that problem and if so how do you manage it?

With all things Gemini I really try to see where they are complete gifts. I would much rather be wildly curious then be bored by everything or only have one focus. The managing it results in self-forgiveness. How can I forgive my book writing self when I am hyper-focused on my dance self. How can I tell my business self it's ok to make a collage today. How can I tell my podcast interview self that today I need to finish my accounting for the business. I don't really know HOW to possibly be another way. So I think that's part of the accepting of it all. This is how I am, so instead of fight it how to ease into it. 

5. Will you talk about dance and embodiment for a minute? Maybe describe a recent experience of this that was fulfilling? Or anything else that comes to mind here.

As a dancer I think it's an interesting observation that just because I am dancing doesn't inherently mean I am embodied. While many people use dancing as a way to become intuned with their bodies, dancing for me is the same as someone who has a college degree in graphic design, or painting. It is my art practice, my path to composing. So it's interesting that by sharing my dances so publicly it inspires many people to search for their own embodiment practice, even though I might APPEAR to be embodied because my BODY is moving in front of them in real life or a tiny screen, I could be completely floating above my body watching it move.

Alas, when I am truly embodied I am usually in a yin yoga class where we do like 5 poses and have to relax our kidneys. And of course, as someone who has for almost 3 years committed to dancing every single day, it hugely adds to the experience of being an embodied person. But it was my friend Sarah Fontaine who once reminded me I have feet and they are on the ground. I can dance every day and still forget I have feet.