Juno Diary May 23

Working on a project with a classically trained professional dancer pushes me to work out more and get back into my pre-pregnancy form. Her boundless energy and fun-loving energetic personality make the collaboration even more rewarding. Most importantly we are both moms so when our kids play together we get to plan our performances.

Jana Astanov

May 23

Waiting for Maija and Layla to come over for a rehearsal, we were supposed to meet at 3 pm but Maija exhausted herself with her insane schedule of performing, rehearsals, dance teaching, aerial classes and taking care of her 17-month-old daughter, so she badly needed a break. I decide to go to a Jewish children’s festival that has moved from McCarren Park to the Williamsburg Hotel due to rain. There I am meeting my friend Carolina, who runs Local Project, a nonprofit gallery, and her son Santi, and another Polish mom, Ania, with her kids. Yanis and Santi get along really well and love playing with each other. The Jewish community puts on a great show for the kids, with lovely snacks, dancing, and magic tricks. The kids love it and us moms get to have a break. Being a mom is like having three full-time jobs, it never stops. But it also gives me an incredible motivation to continue with my art practice and writing. I usually wake up between 4 and 6 AM so I have at least 1 to 3 hours of me-time before my son wakes up at 7 am. There is something about his 7 am internal clock that is like a soldier; he always rises to the attention of the morning. It never fails. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I usually go to Yoga to the People for their 7 am class. It’s such a great concept, it’s donation based and open to everyone. Maija converted me to it a few months back and it has really changed my life. My energy levels have perked up, I need less sleep feeling rested, and I find myself feeling content and proud of my practice as my pre-pregnancy body reemerges in wonderful ways. The experience of pregnancy wasn’t easy for me; I gained 45 pounds and it has taken me over a year to lose it. Yoga definitely empowered me physically and mentally by bringing awareness back to both my body and mind, and consequently creating peacefulness within. Also, my collaboration with Maija is a fantastic experience that grounds me. Working on a project with a classically trained professional dancer pushes me to work out more and get back into my pre-pregnancy form. Her boundless energy and fun-loving energetic personality make the collaboration even more rewarding. Most importantly we are both moms so when our kids play together we get to plan our performances.

Maija finally arrives and joins us at the Jewish party. Then we get back to my home and jump into the car to head to Domino Park and rehearse the choreography for “HerStory Hopscotch” with our babies and the sunset backdrop…

Photos Niko van Egten

May 24

Last year I saw most of the shows at the ITINERANT festival, Yanis was only two months old and would sleep in his car seat or daddy’s arms wherever we would go. This year at 14 months he is a bit more impatient with performance art so it’s not so obvious to take him to all the shows. Also having been invited to Maira and Miu’s wedding we decide to join as a family instead of heading to Grace Space.

Both Maira and Miu are dancers who run Dance to the People, similar to the Yoga to the People, where they offer donation-based dance classes. Each class is run by a different dance teacher so you can learn different styles. I took a Ballroom Vogue class with them a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. The classes are at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) dance center every other Wednesday.  

The wedding is gorgeous. They turn the ceremony into a moving dance performance and lead us into this ritual of relatedness and union with another. Everyone invited is a dancer, an artist or a musician – a true community of creatives. Maira and Miu look magical in their white dresses and headpieces made from the green wines leaves. They are a radiating ecstatic delight to witness, a true sister love that carries on the power to change the world. They realize their mission of Dance to the People with such integrity. They are known for organizing “trash outings” where they do nothing else but clean up trash in public spaces, as well as environment-aware dance eco-performances.

We have an absolutely fantastic time. Yanis is dancing and enjoying playing with the ladies with such visible glee. I am truly happy I can share those experiences with him, and share with him the world I know, introducing him to my friends, and art. We stay much longer than planned and get back home around 11 pm. Then we put the baby to bed and make music and dance on our rooftop until 1 am.

Maira and Miu

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