ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: ADRIENNE BARR CHAIT
Adrienne Barr Chait, M.S. is a DONA Certified Doula, Educator, and Mother of three. She provides counseling and support through pregnancy, birth and beyond. Adrienne has been teaching yoga and mindfulness practices for over 15 years in New York, most recently as a faculty member at Bard High School Early College. She also teaches individual Breathwork Sessions and is currently affiliated with Carriage House Birth and the Hypnobirthing Institute. With a BA in Dance, her lifelong study of embodied spiritual practices informs her healing work with families. Her private practice is based in Brooklyn, NY where she lives with her family--when they are not running wild toward the beach or the mountains. Learn more about Adrienne's work at adriennebarrchait.com.
Here's What Adrienne Had To Say About Her Time w/ The Vanaver Caravan . . .
What age did you start dancing with The Vanaver Caravan? I had the incredible fortune of finding the Vanaver Caravan Summer Dance Program was I was 14, just as the first Youth Dance Company was forming. My family had recently moved to the area and I feel as though I stumbled upon the vibrant community I hadn't even realized I was seeking. I can still remember the captivating and ancient familiarity of that summer’s soundscape. The universal languages of West African drums, Flamenco rhythms, soulful Bluegrass and Brazilian songs spoke directly to my heart. My first embodied history lesson was learning the steps and political context of the South African Boot Dance. I continued to study and perform with the company for the next seven years (little did I know that my future husband’s family would be South African!).
And how do you spend your time these days? I currently have a private healing practice in New York where I provide counseling to new parents through childbirth and beyond. Many years of dancing absolutely informs my work and trust of the body’s intuitive wisdom. Creatively, I am working on a dance film and I also collaborate with my husband who is a visual artist. We have three gloriously wild sons who are beginning to study folk music! We recently created a site-specific installation which aimed to make a traditional art gallery exhibit more accessible and inclusive to all people, including children. I am forever inspired by the way The Vanaver Caravan manages to integrate work, art, travel and community life.
In what ways has The Vanaver Caravan impacted/shaped the life you live today? As a parent now myself, I am in awe of Livia and Bill’s limitless patience for teaching and their dedication to modeling compassion on-stage and off. They were willing to travel internationally with a motley crew of teenagers which was fabulous but could not have been easy! Touring through multiple European countries, there were missed trains, long rehearsals, lost passports, poor sound checks, travel sickness, bad jokes, hungry dancers, power naps, laughter and the list goes on. Instead of pressuring us to always perform flawlessly, they offered respect and understanding. If there were unforeseen obstacles during a show, we would come together as a collective to do our best, improvise with grace and let go of the rest. These lifelong lessons of joyful surrender continue to influence me today.
Can you share a story or memory about your time with TVC? Performing with Pete Seeger was a transcendent highlight of my time in the company. Dancing to his live accompaniment was like a dream. The important messages behind freedom songs are still so resonant today - but when Pete had the whole audience singing together - you could feel the power and possibility of peace.
What are five words you'd use to describe the overall feeling you get when you think of that time? Adventure, Creativity, Inclusivity and Joyful Chaos!
Thank you, Adrienne. We love you!
What's all this about? See our Spring Fund-Drive 2018 Letter of Giving
One of the common threads in any thriving, happy, peaceful society, is a feeling among the people, of belonging and being understood. The Vanaver Caravan provides workshops, performances, and on-going school programs that directly help people understand and connect to one-another.
This spring, our goal is to fill our alumni scholarship fund, which will help bring new students of lower means into our after school and summer programs--into our dance community.
We have a lot of alumni. Over 50,000 students and dancers across the globe, from more than 1,000 schools. We couldn't get in touch with every one of them, but we have reached out to some of our alumni to see how they are using their Vanaver Caravan teachings to make an impact in the world. For the next 6 weeks, we'll bring you new stories from old friends, just like Adrienne's. Next week, our lovely Moraya Seeger, granddaughter of Pete!