Ground Annie Parr: Break Mental Patterns with Movement “We are peeking into the future. Either you experience it as a slap in the face or a window opening to opportunity.” By Annie Parr As the world grapples with the shift toward social isolation, managing pandemic-related stress, and an uncertain future, we at Wanderlust know that our greatest strengths are the wisdom of our leaders and the power of community. We have reached out to the lighthouses in our teaching community to share some succinct, actionable insights with our community, as well as to call on us to be bold and envision how this shift can create a better world. Because extraordinary times call for extraordinary leadership. COPING IN THE PRESENT Moving is a way of managing state of mind. Disrupting movement patterns breaks mental patterns. Now is an extraordinary time to pick up and drop habits. How you express yourself physically can be one to adopt. Because dance has always been my source of emotional and physical inspiration, it excites me to inspire others to engage in this medium. Dance/movement is communication and such a powerful way to discover your identity. Although it is abstract and sometimes complicated to articulate, individual expression promotes a deeper sense of self and purpose. Pull away from the screen when you can and be with your body and not your head. Through movement and dance there is a door to alternative communication and expression. Perhaps this is a good time to self-reflect or to listen with your body and respond without words. ANSWERING THE CALL What you think is optimal could contain barriers. So many of the things we have been stripped of in this time maybe things we could let go of forever. An obvious one we could drop: compulsive habits or negative relationships. But what if there is something that we feel is the only way, or the best way, and we cannot do it? As a studio owner, I am confronted with flipping the whole business on its head. I’m fighting with the notion that the optimal and only sustainable way to do what we do is to be in the room together. Well, maybe I’m being short sighted. Now, people can engage in this practice with me from all over the world and not just in my home town. Now, people who have fear about being a beginner, vulnerable or exposed will walk into my virtual door. Now, I have an audience that has no maximum occupancy. I’m trying to let go of many assumptions. We are peeking into the future. Either you experience it as a slap in the face or a window opening to opportunity. Annie Rosenthal Parr is a Bay Area dancer, choreographer, teacher and founder/director of RoCo Dance, Marin County. She received her BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was a member of Della Davidson Dance and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company before she founded RoCo Dance, Marin County in 1993. RoCo currently programs 300 plus classes weekly for adults and youth in its two locations. (Mill Valley and Fairfax) RoCo employs nearly 50 Bay Area artists and instructors annually to teach classes and choreograph for their biannual shows at Marin Center. Connect with Annie on her Modern Yoga website and on Instagram.