Sunday, April 29, 2012

The bear went over the mountain--

--To see what he could see.

We climbed up the foothills of the Kyrgyz Mountains yesterday. It was humbling and a beautiful reminder of my place in the world. Yes, in a hippy dippy spiritual one with nature kind of a way, but more so in a you can't help but be a part of the world kind of way.
You are here. You are alive.
While most people spend there whole lives striving and struggling to leave a mark on the world. I've sort of stumbled into affecting at least a few lives. And while admittedly it's not at all why I do what I do. I can confidently say that I will never be able to ignore that fact again.

The other day at a meet and greet a young girl said to me, "Thank you for coming and shaking up our lives."
And I said, "really?

Modern dance. Shaking lives up? She explained that it was the fact that we were people who were clearly passionate and enjoyed doing what we did. Most importantly, we were doing it. The questions at that meeting weren't about being famous or MTV or step up 2. They were asking us how do I live my life in a way that will make me happy, how do you define success, how do I do what I love, etc.
The idea of doing what you want, saying what you have to say in the way that you want, as Sean would say, "Speaking an old language, in a new way, with a contemporary accent." is something that as an American I completely take for granted. Well I used to anyway.

Each day here I am more and more grateful that I can do exactly what I want and have the opportunity and proclivity and to live my life as an artist. For me there is no other way. But the blinders have come off. Nothing exists in a vacuum. It's simple physics. You cannot create something from nothing; therefore living a life of creation cannot help but alter the world around you. The inverse must be true as well and for this I am humbled and extremely grateful.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

I was so hungry I could've eaten a horse... Then I did

Well apparently it's the half way point of the tour.
Since I last updated we've had two shows.
Tonight will be the third at the pyramid.
It's a giant pyramid.
Pretty cool.
The audiences receptions have been nothing if not overwhelming.
Also I ate a horse steak.
It was pretty good but I'll gladly stick to beef.
Speaking of which check out the Belgian film "bullhead"
Very intense. Very good.
During our current call at the last place I got tulips.
That was a nice surprise.
I have a really nice stage burn on my hip and two splits under my big Fred flintstone toes. But they're healing having not performed for a few days, just master classes.
Last night the embassy threw a reception in our honor.
We've been playing lots of monopoly on my iPad. Apparently the company finds my business practices shystie.
I won the first game but lost the last two.
Reading and enjoying very much Derek Raymond's first book in his factory series "he died with his eyes open"
I've been having crazy dreams and my roommate tells me I grunt squeal and thrash..... But at least I'm not yelling.
Missing the hustle and bustle and sheen of new York city. And my lady and puppy son. But still insanely grateful and humble to bring modern dance to other cultures and get paid to do what I love.
We have our first day off on Sunday where we'll go sight seeing in Almaty.
I'll update then.
Cheers from the middle

Oh I almost forgot at restaurants and pubs they serve (instead of beer nuts) a plate of very salty string cheese that tastes like smoked mozzarella .........

It's amazing.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Email from audience member 2

Dear Shane,
My name is Helen and I would like to express my thanks to you for the
wonderful show you made in Ashghabad! I lack English words to express my
delight and I guess there exist no such great words in any language. So
marvelous it was. I attach a photo taken with the help of the camera of my
cell phone (that's why the quality may be far from being perfect)...You
might have had plenty of different photos with your fans, still I found it
possible to send you another one to remember our sunny Turkmenistan. Don't
you find this girl's dissatisfied face funny? I do, and I think that it is
radiant with joy when taken with her camera.
In spite of being dying after the concert and being practically torn to
pieces by people around you (may be that's why you don't face the camera)
you managed to answer my question about "Radiohead". When I heard the
voice of a singer during one of the dances I thought it to be "Home video"
(a band, similar to "Radiohead", but not so popular, though you may have
heard of them. Here is their official web-site if you are
interested). But they don't have such song, that's why I made a conclusion
that it was "Radiohead". You backed up my opinion. Thank you for that!
I again thank your whole team. May be, one day, somewhere in New-York or
elsewhere I'll watch your show again. I wish you to continue making people
happier by your dances. I equally wish you success in your creative work.

Yours sincerely,

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Location:Sunny Turkmenistan


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Airport terminals mostly

An email from an audience member

Hi Shane,
I just wanted to thank you for the great show you guys performed in
Ashgabat. I love any form of art especially the one that people
perform. Unfortunatelly, there are not such performances in our
country and I doubt we will have in the future.
Best of luck,
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Location:Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

I'm big in Ashgabat.

Well this has been quite a start to the trip. From napkin flowers at breakfast to exchanging music with young English students, to teaching a workshop to 200 orphans, to being the first (and maybe the only) American dance company to perform in a country where their own national identity and culture is so strongly enforced that outside influences are strictly controlled, shaking hands with ambassadors, to taking hundreds of pictures with excited people who have literally never seen anything like what we did last night on stage. And I mean never.... They've seen what Hollywood has produced but live performance is quite a different thing and contemporary art that has meaning beyond spectacle is quite another.
There was skepticism at how we would be received at first and even at the top of the show there was apparently still some hesitancy as to what was happening on stage but Sean's brilliant and subtle use of humor broke down all cultural barriers astonishingly quickly.
I wouldn't be surprised (and this was confirmed by some of the English language students who volunteered to help out backstage) if there was a small trend of wearing horn rimmed glasses in at least the Ashgabat youth culture. Shane Dennis Rutkowski bringing pub tricks and 90s nerd/alt rock fashion to the world.
I could go on and on about how fulfilling and rewarding this experience has been but I think you get the point...
What I will say is this
We've changed things.
Next stop Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Location:Somewhere in the air between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's a yurt and we're in it!

Here's. My pre show recap of this week in Turkmenistan....
Since I can't access the blog online I wasn't sure if my last post went through which became a good excuse for me to slack off on the blogging and just use instagram.
So we arrived Saturday at about 3 or 4 am from Istanbul then waiting to get our visas and went through more security (where we found out that a few people's luggage didn't make it.)
My little carry on bag which I checked did... Phew.
Update: after a couple days they got their bags

Anyhoo we drive into the capital under a giant full moon and see an impeccable clean and empty city of gold and white marble and fountains lit up like las vegas. Palatial opulence abounded.... The rooms had their own works of art individually lit in them.... You get the point. See the previous post.
I stayed up and battled with the Internet discovering that they slow down the speed to next to nothing in the predawn hours. Timewarner does a similar thing during peak times to save bandwidth ....
Then I ate breakfast which I wont recount every meal I ate this week but the diet is no different that the one I eat at home except with a lot more lamb. Eggs meat cheese and coffee. Rice and a meat filled donut at one point.
You read that right.
Meat donuts.
Also we had lunch in a yurt.

So I've been loving the food and I feel great although the smog and dust has been a little hard to get used to.
Sunday we went to the national museum where we saw the worlds largest carpet weighing 2 tons... And other archeological finds the last 7,000 years or so....
Then we went to the ruins of a famous mosque...

SundayMonday and Tuesday we taught workshops first at the local sports exercise and movement center where they teach yoga and dance and sports and what not. Then Monday was with the local folk dancers who do traditional turkmen dances... And they taught us the wedding dance which although it's thousands of years old I secretly hope its just become the equivalent of the electric slide.

Tuesday we went to the national ballet school and after an amazing warm welcoming from the director of the center we went went to meet the dancers and walked in during their barre.
Boys on one side girls on the other. All in traditional ballet uniforms and their teacher giving bar in his full suit and tie.

Of course once Sean starting teaching they all loosened up and jumped right in.
I should probably mention that until fairly recently all dance and opera was completely outlawed. And even more recently it's only been traditional folk dancing and Russian ballet....

The teacher's tie was off and sleeves rolled up by the end as everyone was getting in on the action.

It was pretty great. Plus even without our amazing translator, maya, who translated all of Sean's classes I think it's hard to resist Sean's energy no matter what language you speak.

Today we took a day trip that started at 5am to the old city's of Mary and old merv.... Which along the great silk road are amazing ruins of huge mud brick structures and amazing domed mosques and tomes sounds like a very cute old couple to my american ears.

What else? Last night Becca, my roommate and I, did laundry in the tub and using the laces from my boots rigged a clothes line.... The hotel has a laundry service but we're trying to save as much per diem As possible.

For the first three days our driver was the amazing Sergei ..... He was a huge man with big meaty mitts for hands, who smoked skinny little cigarettes and had a gold tooth, and drove like a bat out of hell.
He even danced really well when prompted.

After seeing a piece we do called metal garden he was convinced that I had the same facial expressions as an old Russian film comedian... I'm assuming a sort of soviet buster Keaton.... But who know. It was a greatly appreciated compliment.... I'm gonna miss him.

What else. We stick out like sore thumbs but everyone has been insanely nice and mostly just seems entertained by us. It's a very polite society but no one is certain about how the performance tomorrow night will be received. It's a sort of social experiment for them.

The president who is the be all end all of power and national identity will be watching either a live feed or see a video tape later to judge whether or not they will have other modern dance companies in the future. While its an honor to be the first I hope we won't be the last.

Oh we also had two meetings with local American language students who were thrilled to speak with and meet natives like us. And I found the kids who loved rock and roll and we bonded over the foo fighters.

While I'm here to spread the cultural language of dance... The roses I make out of napkins have become a big hit.
I made one on the first morning for tony to give our waitress at breakfast and she loved it so much she wanted to learn to make it. So I taught her.
The next morning there were vases filled with paper napkins of every color in the breakfast room.

Spreading art through pub tricks.

Tomorrow we tech and dress and do a workshop for 200 orphans.
Then perform for diplomats and the ambassador and maybe even the president via video feed.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Doobre veecher

Oh and I'm slowly learning Russian.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Viva las Vegas

Holy opulent gold trim batman
Arrived at like 4am this time and went through the visa process.. Just gonna stay up and have breakfast in a bit before a day of sight seeing but seriously the city is so beautiful.... And well I can't stop saying it but... Opulent

That's my hotel room.... Here's some other photos that may or may not upload because the Internet is wonky....
I thought hotel wow in Istanbul was fancy but this place wins....
Also when I arrived in the hotel in Istanbul the James bond theme was playing in the lobby it's a sign... Having read to Russia with love in Ohio.
International man of mystery leaving you with these

This is little Sean a puppet I made on the flight....
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Location:ул. Алишера Навои,Ashgabat,Turkmenistan

It's a tour---- and I'm on it

Soundtrack- the good the bad and the queen "a soldier's tale"
645am left Ohio after a great show at the university. Then flew to dc then flew to JFK which was hard to fly into JFK and not be going home... Really tugged at the ol heart strings.... Then after making a few phone calls and a last meal of a martini and steak panini I found out that thanks to the most amazing tour manager ever I was upgraded to first class.... Which on a ten hour flight made all the difference. Holy crap there was so much food... And I got to watch Sherlock Holmes 2 again...... Then completely lay down and sleep for 7 hours..... Hopefully I'll get to see a little bit of Istanbul in our 9 hour layover.....
Also I'm in the future. So wanted to let you know on the east coast that Friday is looking good.
And since the turkmen government wasn't thrilled with the idea of us performing our first show was cancelled which considering that it was on Sunday will be a welcomed break for the bodies.... Still teaching lots and doing cultural stuff though.
Will update more as the adventure continues but for now it's a tour and I'm on it.
Signing off from the 'how will I ever go back to flying coach' first class luxury
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Update: I feel great having slept gonna shower and shave we have a little under 6 hours before we fly to Turkmenistan ... Which I think is like a six hour flight....
The only story to report was an older man stopped dead in his tracks in the airport and stared at me for a very long time, he even turned to watch me go.... It was either my hair. Jealous of the cry baby curl... Or he thought I was Robbie Williams

Location:39,000ft first class cabin

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day one on the road

Current soundtrack: dr. Dog "ain't it strange"
Greetings from the beautiful and wondrous Athens, Ohio.
An hour on the subway, two flights, one lay over and a two hour car ride later and we hit the stage. Nothing to crazy to report today besides eating a protein bar, a triple cheese burger, and a 12 ounce new York strip steak today.... I'm still kinda hungry but saving the churros for breakfast.
Tomorrows show should be good. Performing with the students from Ohio University who are doing a piece that Sean set on them.... Not looking forward to the 630am travel call the following morning but at least we can try and get in a nights sleep in a bed before sitting on planes for all eternity. Although still pretty excited to go to the future....
The real highlight of the day was the woman at Airport security telling one of my co dancers, David, to remove everything from his back pockets and when he assured her that his pockets were indeed empty. she said ... "oh" and checked out his butt....
Also I was the only one who packed for a one month tour in only a carry on roller board and a backpack..... Weird.......
Till next time
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Location:Athens!!...... Ohio

Monday, April 2, 2012

They pay me not to come home (a Tom waits inspired post)

It's starting to sink in that very soon I will be in the other side of the world... I've kinda shrugged it off but it's also going to be the longest tour I've ever been on..... I can also think of it as going back to the future because it's 11 hours ahead over there.

It's a strange and beautiful life and I know that fit now I'm torn in regards to my feelings about leaving the city..... I hate leaving this island....(not to mention my lady and puppy-son) . But this will be a once in a lifetime experience to share art and culture and the gift that I can't help but do with countries where some of them haven't had any exposure to western culture ever only becoming democratic in the last 4 years....

The Sean curran company taking modern dance where no modern dance has ever gone before....

I keep wanting to make the joke that this has international incident written all over it but I won't.... But I think I just did.... But anyway my dance belts are packed... I shined my boots and I have a badass haircut....
While I am technically being paid not to come home.... I'm also going to be doing things that people have quite literally never seen before. And that's pretty awesome.....

Of course we going to Ohio first so I'll curtail my poetic excitement for a few more days.....
Until then

You said it Tom

They pay me not to come home

You know I gave it all up for the stage
They fill my cup up in the cage
It’s nobody’s business but mine when I’m low
To hold yourself up is not a crime here you know
At the end of the world

I kick my foot at the lights
I breathe it in all night
There’s a light on a canvas tree
Money from home supporting me
They pay me not to come
I won’t eat crow
Ill stay away
And though all roads will not lead you home my girl
All roads lead to the end of the world
I sewed a little luck up in the hem of my gown
The only way down from the gallows is to swing
And I’ll wear boots instead of high heels
And the next stage that I am on it will have wheels

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Location:On my couch staring at my single carry-on bag

Friday, March 30, 2012

Testing one Two, one two, just two just two

Soundtrack : Beirut "Rhineland (Heartland)"

The Daily Shane has really become the biannual Shane but I figured I would resurrect it to keep a record of the upcoming tour for friends and family and super shane jr' in the future.

Currently we are driving to a boarding school in Connecticut for a master class and a show but will be back in the city tonight.
After a weekend of packing and taping money and documents to my leg hair and attempting to construct a cyanide capsule fake tooth in the event of capture it's off to the magical land of

Wait for it--


Wait that's not it . We have master classes and shows at Ohio University. Then on Thursday we fly to
Wait for it--


Bamn. That's the one. Long layover then on to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and then Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic).....

It should be an adventure.... I'm bringing along Ian Flemming's to Russia With Love and will be talking into the bottom of my shoe often.

Until the next time
Das-ve-danya, comrades

Update this boarding school is Hogwarts.... Plus the food is free and it's taco day.

Location:In a van somewhere in Connecticut

Friday, May 13, 2011

New York doesn't love you

"The subway ride to Colombia is far. It was like really scary to do by yourself? It was like half an hour *gum snap*. The people were weird? I wish this was a new train? Where are we going again. I'd much rather go to nyu. What's that smell? Ugh I almost fell?!"

The subway is dirty. The crazy people who live here have more of a right to talk as loudly as you are right now. That tall blank guy singing California dreamin on an out of tune guitar, that old woman completely decked out in gold lemay, that other old woman that can take a single step forward with out arching backing and throwing all her wait forward while at the same time yelling "Aaaahhhhhhh shit" (she does this with every step), the little drunk Mexican who fell asleep and sneezed on my arm, the fat black lady who sat on half my thigh, and the man who finished off a whole bottle of sleeping pills while everyone watched as he slipped away (I'm disgust mind you. Don't worry I told he conductor. Wonder what happened to him). All of these people the crazy the smelly the dead eyed commuters the insanely agitated and opinionated middle aged women with eccentric fashion tastes, they all belong here. New York loves them. New York doesn't love you though, new York doesn't even like you, new York wouldnt walk across the street to piss in your mouth if your teeth were on fire. So stop complaining. Next time take a cab.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

True love is...

Picking up another beings poop.


" "The difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can't help doing.” ― Charles Bukowski