“Peace Like a River” Movement Mantra

On January 1st, 2023 I woke up early and went out by myself to my favorite bench to catch the sunrise. I was back in Neenah, WI, the city I was born in, raised, and returned to for the first decade or so of my adult life. It was a cloudy AM, so no bright vibrant colors were seen, but I could see the light shift from a darker gray to a lighter gray. While I was there the song “Peace Like a River” came to my mind. The lyrics seeped in to my spirit and I was flooded with peace. I have been thinking of this song ever since, so this morning I brought movement to the lyrics to help build a deeper resonance in my body for this year, 2023. The physical embodiment helps me to really feel the lyrics. The movements are not complicated, it’s not meant to be performative, they are just there to embed the words into my body. When I find myself feeling stuck, frustrated, wanting encouragement this year, I will return to this movement phrase—to channel peace, joy, and love.

Have you ever created movement to help you find a deeper connection and resonance with a thought, phrase, or mantra? If your curious what this might feel like, I added verbal instructions to this phrase to try and move along with me. It may take you a few tries, but it’s not about perfection, it’s about flow, feeling, sensation, and embodiment. No care if you do the opposite foot, or your arms follow a different path than mine.

That which I do physically I more fully remember. To “feel and embody” the words brings me to a deeper connection. A physical practice is and can be more than just working out. It’s a way to find a deeper connection with the vessel that carries us through the world. It’s not something that we do outside of ourselves. Our arm is not a thing, it’s an extension of our being. This is why when I teach I’m conscious not to use cueing “press with the arm” or “reach the leg”. You press with your arm, and reach your leg. It’s not a separate entity, it’s a part of you. When we no longer identify or connect with our bodies we miss out on a greater embodied existence. We lack a physical expression of ourselves to the world and those around us. May you more fully connect to an embodied existence in 2023. If you’re curious about various ways to do this, reach out, I’d love to chat.

Let me know your thoughts down below. Keep curious and give it a try.

Happy New Year, and may 2023 be welcomed with peace, joy, and love.

-Courtney Anne Holcomb, Move and Yield

Sound on for instructions and lyrics. “Peace Like a River” by Beautiful Chorus

Installation at the Trout Museum of Art

I am delighted to be one of the local artists selected to have my work exhibited in the 41st Annual SECURA Fine Arts Exhibition. This show exhibits works from 116 of Wisconsin’s finest artists of varying mediums. My piece, resisting phototropism is a dance for camera work that I created Fall of 2020. The work is installed on the third floor of the Trout Museum of Art. On June 5th, 2021, my husband Estin and I were able to attend the opening reception for the show. The exhibit can also be viewed virtually through the link below. To see the show, visit the Trout anytime from now through August 15th, 2021. I hope you enjoy the show. There is so much talent to be seen from Wisconsin artists around the state. Support your local museum and local artists.

June 5 – August 15, 2021
Main Gallery
In-Person and Virtual Exhibition

More information below:

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, I decided to release a video dance short. This piece, “Spring Thaw” includes all that Wisconsin Springtime has to offer. Tulips, sun setting, green grass, and that charming snowfall. Music is “Unforgettable” by Sundae + Mr. Goessl .

I hope you enjoy my new work.

-Courtney Anne

A New Work: A video dance made during the Coronavirus Pandemic

It’s been an odd year to be a performing artist. It’s also been an odd year to be a human. I’ve had more available time that ever this year to reflect on what my artistry is, what my personal aesthetic looks and feels like, and how I want to continue to share myself with the world. Enter this new work, created in these times, from these times, for these times.

A new camera dance work was in the making. This video dance premiered November 25th, 2020, and can be viewed here. Excited to share with you what creating has been like over the past 9 months.

The project was created by me this autumn, in true isolation fashion. No crew or other dancers, just me. My husband synthesized the music for the piece. All the video footage was self-shot using my iPhone, and the video clips edited and composed at home with iMovie. The setting, my community garden plot in Neenah, WI. The sunflowers, vegetables, plants, all grown and tended by my hands. A true, homemade project, that just is a reflection of our current realities, and that I hope speaks to you.

Creating is the part for me; the sharing is the part I hope feeds you. I hope you enjoy my new work “resisting phototropism”. Thank you for taking time to view. Consider messaging me to share any thoughts, reflections, or feelings on what comes up for you after viewing. This provides me with creative fuel.

–Keep pressing on, Courtney Anne Holcomb

For more insight into this work, you can read about a brief reflection I wrote and published in FSM. Magazine in the November 2020 issue .

The 920 Feature

I am so grateful to have been featured in the 920 Feature of the Appleton Monthly Magazine. This feature highlights people in the area that have unique jobs, passions, and interests. Learn more about what brought me to becoming a movement educator and Pilates instructor at the article below!

LAUNCHING: Dance Bright Workshop Series

Over the years I have worked with hundreds of dancers on both technique, choreography, and conditioning. I’ve said a lot of the same corrections over the years, seen a lot of the same injuries, and witnessed the gap in traditional dance training to teach the HOW TO of many corrections. The purpose of a dance class is to keep the class moving, which means there is not always time for teachers to break down body mechanics and explain the corrections they may be giving. That is why I’ve designed the Dance Bright Workshop Series.

Dance Bright is a workshop series that focuses on movement education and intelligent strength and conditioning specifically for dancers. The purpose of Dance Bright is to help dancers improve their body awareness, better understand their anatomy and alignment, and learn about proper muscle recruitment and release techniques.  These workshops dig deeper into specific concepts and corrections that come up often in dance classes, but that a dance class setting doesn’t always have time to fully explain or explore.  Dance Bright will help close the gap between what dancers are told they should be doing, and how they can do it.

Workshops are 2 hours and 15 minutes in length and combine an element of lecture, movement exploration, strengthening, and stretching.  The series is designed for dancers ages 12-adult.

Join us for our first workshop in the Dance Bright series, “Understanding our Hips and Core”, Wednesday, August 21st, 1:15-3:30 PM, located at Waveforms Pilates, 210 S. Commercial Street, Neenah, WI.

This workshop explores pelvic placement/alignment, proper core function and use, strengthening strategies for our hip stabilizers, as well as release techniques for tightness in the hip area. Through a combination of lecture, movement exploration, strengthening, and stretching, students will leave with an understanding of how to align and stabilize their hips to support the dynamic movements required while dancing.

Cost of workshop is $59 and includes a pinky ball and Franklin air ball for dancers to take home with them to incorporate the exercises and stretching strategies they learn at the workshop.

Pre-registration and payment is required by August 12th, 2019. Seats are limited! To reserve your seat or for question, reach out to Courtney Holcomb via phone (920) 740-3085 or e-mail to info@waveformspilates.com

The Dance Bright Workshop Series was designed by Courtney Anne Holcomb.  She is a professional dancer, choreographer, PMA®-Certified Pilates Trainer, and owner of Waveforms Pilates in Neenah, WI.  She received a BA in Dance, and brings over 15 years of dance and fitness instruction, 9+ years of Pilates training, and professional performance credentials.  She’s worked with dancers ages 2.5-adult to help improve their technique, alignment, confidence, and expression through movement.

Find the event on Facebook!

What Brought Me to Pilates – Finding Mobility, my Manifesto

-Courtney Holcomb

I always knew the I was designed for movement.  Having been a dancer since age three, I loved the feeling of my body traveling through space.   It wasn’t until I was a preteen that I realized that my body was so much tighter that I wanted it to be.  Though I moved, I felt stiff, and when I tried to move more, it felt rigid. Being someone who has always dealt with chronic low back pain as well as stiffness/rigidness throughout my whole spine, I operated in the world for years thinking that this was “simply how I was created” and I would have to learn to endure through the pain my whole life, and then, I found Pilates, at age 15. 

Hamstring 3 Oblique Twist on the Pilates Chair

Through the consistent practice of Pilates I have been able to create more mobility in my spine than I ever though possible. With all of the movement principles of Pilates working together–breathing, core activation, neutral pelvis, abdominal strengthening, lumbo-pelvic stability, spinal strength and mobility, scapular strength and mobility, alignment and posture analysis, release work, and stretching–I have felt more length, mobility, and strength in my body and spine than ever before and I have been able release years of chronic tension from my muscles and skeleton. I now feel I have access to more space in my joints and spine and I continue to work towards opening and accessing more of my body each time I practice Pilates and dance.

Re-patterning the body does not happen overnight, but there is a great reward associated with creating new muscle memory that facilitates optimal anatomical efficiency throughout the body, producing a pathway to operate with a sense of ease and availability to movement. Whether it be in a dance class, performance, or just walking around, or standing for a long period of time, Pilates grants me the ability to move properly from the body’s natural design. Joseph Pilates, who created the system in the early 1920’s stated, “It’s not about what you do, but how you do it.” Or as my dad always says, “Train smarter, not harder.” Yes, we have to work with what we have, but this should not be limiting. We DO have the capacity to change and transform our bodies, with time, patience, and proper practice.

Now for myself personally, now have been practicing Pilates for over 11 years and remain as engaged in the practice as when I began. I continue to see and feel changes within my body and make new discoveries with every class I take. Now, as a fully Certified Pilates Instructor, I get to share my passion for movement with the world.  It’s so exciting to share Pilates with others through teaching and sharing in the joy that others experience when they make new discoveries in their own bodies. Transformation is something wonderful to celebrate.

For more information on Pilates practice, or to schedule a free consulation, please e-mail me at: courtney.anne.holcomb@gmail.com

I would love to share my work with you.

The Pilates Reformer

Vocal Motion!

Working with show choirs always brings me back to the days!  I was a Neenah High School Act II, and Vintage member, and my fond memories of competing all of the Midwest for show choir was a highlight of my high school time.  This Fall I got to work with New London Middle School’s show choir Vocal Motion, and choreographed their competition show for this coming season–student empowerment with songs like “Brave”, “Cool Kids”, “Roar!”, and “The World is Ours”. 

An opener,  one boys number, one girls number, one ballad, one closer, and ONE extra song later, we had a whole show of choreography!  I had so much fun coming up with the movement and working with them over two-weekends, and it brought me back to my “glory days”.  For the record, I was a dancer who could carry a tune, not a singer who could get by on the dancing.  We called ourselves dancer-singers, not singer-dancers.  I wish them the best luck for their competition season this year! 

New London Middle School Vocal Motion is under the direction of Ms. Katie Levendusky.

Badger State Girl Choir has…Gone Country!

I had a great day yesterday working with the Badger State Girl Choir.  They had their annual summer choir camp, and in honor of their upcoming “…a little bit Country!” music Fall concert, I taught Line dancing to the middle and high schoolers, and square dancing to the little 2nd-4th graders.  Playlist included: “Mountain Music” by Alabama, “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline, “Mountain Rag” by Al Brundage, and “Arkansas Traveler” by American Square Dance Group to name a few.

Concert will be Saturday, October 17th, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church, Neenah, WI.  There may even be some dancing!