heartlanders

 
Photo by  Marissa Mooney

Molly Heller

Founder and director. choreography, performance, pedagogy

I am interested (and invested) in people. Due to the nature of this way of working – which requires time, commitment, and depth (and a significant amount of emotional availability) – I have shifted my focus over the last year to work with a particular group of artists (who are currently living all over the world). This group of five performers, two musicians, a scenic designer, and a print maker, has been a part of my work for many years and they are equally invested in building work with me. My body of work over the last year, and now the name of the collective, is Heartland.

It's just around the corner, something is coming, yet it already happened.
Apocalypse.
The longest day.
When your heart beats so hard and fast that it dismantles your body, or when you lose the feeling of it altogether.
The density of living.
Slipping past your skin, hair on end
...thick. stuck. Like a tar you can't wipe off.
The weight of being alone.
Light. Bubbling up to the surface.
The outline of people. 
Love that shows up, and stays.
People matter.
Endings matter, but goodbyes choose you.
Beginnings happen.
(SOUL)stice.
That damn snake.
I wanted to keep my skin.

xx Molly

Photo coming soon…

Photo coming soon…

Florian Alberge

performance, social media direction, marketing design

From the day I started working with Molly, I was overcome by the amount of trust she placed in me.

Since, I was ready to commit my heart and soul to her artistic endeavors.

It is a rare gift to find a group of people that you want to spend endless hours working with, people with whom you don't have to pretend.

Heartland is this group of people: a chosen family.

Being part of Heartland is being surrounded by people so talented and yet so humble that I have grown as a dancer but mostly as a person.

Together, we grow stronger and our voice gets deeper. Only time spent together allow for this level of understanding, care, and artistry.

I feel most alive when I am a Heartlander.

I feel big because I know I exist in the heart of the people I share this process with.

I feel big when I can yield to my body, when my mind is conscious but silent, when I find presence in the absence of my ego, when I am accepted for who I am or for who I am still searching for. I feel big surrounded by people that are not afraid when I am most vulnerable.

Each time, I am closer to know who I really am, and as I do, that exact definition is pulled further and further away: I expand in a non linear way.

The heartfelt truth of the most insignificant moment is a wave that can open the hearts.

Photo by  Marissa Mooney

Nick blaylock

performance, communications direction, tour coordination

• Family: As long as these loving people will have me, I will be wherever they are. 

• Home: It centers me around dance, which first freed me. I am reminded to simply close my eyes and allow what needs to unfold. 

• Manifestation: It is built organically from shared investment and relationships. 

• Full: Such different strengths are brought together by improvising, by honoring any and all moments. 

• Presence: listening and then, acting boldly. The form and the people are adaptable. 

I feel big when my participation is encouraged and trusted. When I am made aware that effort is enough, and in fact, is the essence. 

“Heartfelt”

• Moving from the source of hope, belief, truth, and reverence.

Photo by  Marissa Mooney

Brian Gerke

performance, pedagogy, rehearsal direction

Heartland is a group of friends, artists, and collaborators who are interested in cultivating a research environment that is inclusive, kind, empathetic, and honest. I choose to work with this particular community because of the deep, reciprocal, and ever-evolving respect, support, and love that we share. Each member is encouraged to share their artistic pursuits, both as novice and expert creators, in all any genres that excite them at any given moment in time. Entering a creative environment that already has an undercurrent and understanding of love and respect, creates a fertile group for experimentation and risk taking. I have found comfort, exhilaration, and growth, both as a human traversing this chaotic and often unforgiving world, and as an artist attracted to experimenting with my own gifts, challenges, and curiosities within a safe environment. Also, I just love these people. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got to be friends and collaborators with a group of such amazingly “cool,” world-class people.

Leaning into my own power feels BIG to me. It’s not something I often allow, and it is most certainly not something I feel comfortable doing. It is much easier for me to admit my own fallibility and avoid stepping into moments of authority. However, the more I avoid doing so the more I notice a growing internal, private resentment. The powerful one inside of me knows better and every time I betray him, I feel a small break, a tiny anguish, and an increasing bitterness. I think denying any part of oneself is a protective act: “if you don’t completely know me, you can’t completely reject me.” It may feel seductively safe, but it is selfish and actually quite dangerous.

In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis wrote…“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” For me, to feel BIG is to open my heart to risk and rejection by living fully into my power as a thinking, mover, friend, son, brother, teacher, and collaborator, which really simply means finding greater self-acceptance/love.  

-        Heartfelt desire 

-        Heartfelt fear

-        Heartfelt generosity

-        Heartfelt envy

-        Heartfelt intention

-        Heartfelt attention

-        Heartfelt passion

-        Heartfelt jealous

-        Heartfelt joy

-        Heartfelt rage

-        Heartfelt sadness

-        Heartfelt disappointment

-        Heartfelt community

-        Heartfelt accountability

I think as a culture we often associate “heartfeltness” with emotions or ideas that are related with positive sentiments, especially warmth and care. However, no value, neither positive nor negative, need be assigned to anything having to do with the heart. I experience “heartfeltness” when I allow myself to fully feel and appreciate all aspects of an experience. When we are afraid of being let down, feeling disappointment, or failing ourselves and others, it is easy to move to the outsides of our experiences. My ambition is to move towards the center and engage heartfeelingness by allowing myself to risk failure and disappointment in the pursuit of greater connection and wholeheartedness. All the while knowing that failure and disappointment will inevitably show up, and feeling the sadness, distress, anger, etc. that might be attached to that let down for me is all a part being at the heartfelt center of my experiences.

Photo by  Marissa Mooney

mike wall

music direction and composition, performance

It is not very often that I find a like minded group of artists that all believe and support each other whole heartedly. It is the rarest and most special manifestation of collaboration. This group of people and the work we do is why I work hard at art making. I will not take this moment for granted.

Risk. I feel big when I have opportunities to risk.

Heartfelt risk. Heartfelt support. Heartfelt collaboration. Heartfelt trust. Heartfelt art.

Photo by  Marissa Mooney

Nick Foster

Music composition, performance

First, the people involved. The artists, dancers and musicians are inspiring creators. I'm also interested in Molly's ambition to blur the lines between performer and audience, musician and dancer, theater and concert and so on. When a fan or critic struggles to categorize what they were just part of then you know you're doing something good.

I feel big when I feel connected.... Connected to nature. Connected to the ocean of consciousness we're all swimming in.

As a performer I've felt big when things are really syncing up and being expressive comes easy. It's usually intimate settings that allow "Bigness" for me. It's strange how performing in front of hundreds or thousands of people can make you feel small.

Your heart felt like a greasy microfiber cloth. Like the one in my glovebox that is no longer qualified to clean anyones glasses. The other doctors cleverly compared your insides to a wet stress ball while sipping americanos at the hospital Starbucks. I thought about how your heart is working right now, always working, never a coffee break, no smug palpitations, no voice at all. Like a factory worker not getting paid for his overtime. Always on the clock and almost always ignored.

How did it become normal to be opened up and have your heart felt.

Photo by Nick Blaylock with editing by  Marissa Mooney

Photo by Nick Blaylock with editing by Marissa Mooney

Marissa mooney

performance, set/visual design, media and web design

Heartland is a chosen family. Heartland is growth. Heartland is connection. Heartland is generosity. Heartland is humility. Heartland is severe tenderness. Heartland is witnessing. Heartland is love. This collaborative fulfills me, scares me, and inspires me — it has given me a sense of emotional security I didn’t know I needed. 

I feel big when I’m unafraid, when I make people laugh, when I feel sexy and wild, when I dare to tell the truth. I feel big when I face adversity with grace, courage, and softness. I feel big when I explore nuance and the uncomfortable. I feel big when I surprise myself and others. I feel big when I can express my love fully. I feel big when I’m with people who see and acknowledge my bigness. I feel big when others show me their bigness. I feel big in Heartland.

Scare the world: Be exactly who you say you are and tell the truth. Exist boldly. 

Photo by  Marissa Mooney

melissa Younker

performance, costume design, rehearsal direction

Heartland is deep down just good. Molly Heller invests in people and that’s the core. The goodness fuels us. I am in love with each Heartlander and that shared love bounces back to finding love for myself. Vulnerability softens us. Together everything is possible. Everything is true and whole and complex and more than it seems. Astral! It’s bigger than us and we aren’t afraid of the possibilities. We believe in love!

I feel big when I’m honest. Seeing. Imagination matters. When I trust wholly I feel effervescent. (Sometimes that includes doubt.) I feel big when I am small. I feel big when I am whole. I’m whole when I’m with the Heartlanders.

Heartfelt. Fervent honesty. Somehow heavy, feeling the weight of love. Hearing with every tiny part of you. Always curious. Speechless.