Ann Law

Ann Law, MCKA

photos by Lauren Anastasia Holmes / LAH Fotografia
Ann Law is a certified Kinetic Awareness® teacher and practitioner of over 20 years. 
She is also a certified Pilates Instructor, dance improvisor, dance educator, and art activist in her community of Chattanooga, Tennessee. As an active dance participant, the somatic practice of Kinetic Awareness®lies at the heart of her daily dancing, teaching and creative makings. This empowering and enhancing somatic form places her inside so to continue the conversation of what is dance and how do we make dances.  She is the founder and artistic director of CoPAC (Contemporary Performing Arts of Chattanooga) at Barking Legs Theater ( where she also teaches and directs the dance program at Chattanooga State Community College.  Her BA in Dance is from Mills College and MA in Dance Education from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has been honored with the Tennessee Association of Dance Outstanding Dance Educator Award and has received numerous grants for her collaborative projects.

Beginning, Ending and Inbetween a Landscape of Bones Resting

(written for a Pecha Kucha talk in Chattanooga, TN October 2011)

My focus is to stay strong, flexible, and balanced.  I am releasing, unwinding, and giving up, allowing the floor to support me.  I am a dancer.  That title, for me encompasses my work as a performer, choreographer, educator (teacher), and arts activist.  They all happen simultaneously.  The older I get, I realize that life is just one big never-ending dance. 

No matter if I am teaching adults Pilates or Kinetic Awareness® or kids creative dance or college students the art of dance, my goal is to bring the inner and outer worlds together, connecting body and mind.  Unraveling to learn, how to move from the inside out and bring both worlds together in harmony for a full conversation.  I find the importance of listening so that your body can become your teacher.

Breathing becomes an internal way of massaging to encourage spinal articulation and extension into connecting all possibilities.  My body informs me that limbs are only a reflection of the spine.  And here, I find myself in time and space.

The dance is unfolding, moving in and out of space, time and weight.  Expression, thought, body and mind connections work in unison when listening and being mindful.  It is here that movement becomes dance.  It is here that my practice of Kinetic Awareness® constantly informs and encourages me.

I grew up near Los Angeles and learned to listen to my body in motion from a tap dancer.  I love making connections with others, sharing new ways to eliminate physical discomfort and distractions so to find home inside the body.  Through a smorgasbord of dancing, from jazz to tap, from ballet to modern, from LA to San Francisco, Miami, NYC and finally here, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I no longer teach dance steps but find home in this incredible art form of dance through the conversation of problem-probing.

As I grow and mature, I find my dancing to be more and more capable of communicating with others.  As my body expands, I learn how important communication is in all aspects of dance, and in all aspects of life. 

Through my practice of Kinetic Awareness®, I keep my body strong, flexible and balanced.  This practice constantly enhances my art form as I develop an independent voice.  In fact, Kinetic Awareness® supports all my investigations as a mover, educator, and creator of dances.

Learning from my body, I understand the importance of letting go of selfishness, and of judgment.  Can I teach how to pause, listen, and understand that you are truly your own teacher?  If I do not practice these things, then how can I teach them?  With no more memorized steps, no more set exercises, no more pre-arranged orders, can I, like Kinetic Awareness, continue to open the door to new discoveries, invite change, and embrace transformation?  After years of learning by rote and by imitation, I begin, with my eyes closed, so that dance can continue to inform me of myself, of others, and of its place in the world.  This helps me find my pulse, my own internal rhythm and places me right here as I try hard to be wide awake.

Taking away what I always thought was dance, what I was always told was dance brings encounters of surprise, change, and unpredictability.  Those that chose to study with me step into this territory as well.  Palms facing the heavens and feet stepping gently into the unknown we begin to discover who we are.  This means leaving no trace.  This means never being the teacher, the performer, the dancer.  My work, slowly through all these years of dedication and discipline, becomes the dance of life.

So what is it that I do?  I try to live, teach and perform in a mindful, thoughtful, caring way.  Take away the effort, eliminate all that is unnecessary and I find that I am practicing mindfulness.  But do I stumble?  Constantly stumbling, I actually find that being balanced means to be out of balance, being a good dancer means not being a good dancer.  In the process, I find that my students become empowered and begin developing very strong voices for a more meaningful conversation.  Kinetic Awareness® is a key to turning all of this on, about being the dance, the embodiment of life!

For her graduation, Ann Law created special rubber-balls which are highly useful for the practice of Kinetic Awareness®
She demonstrates them in the video above, with live-guidance from Elaine Summers.
(recorded at 537 Broadway, New York City, July 2011)

balls KA - pricelistballs KA - photo