By Annette Hinkle
Kate Mueth, founder of the Neo-Political Cowgirls dance company, talks about “Be a Cowgirl for a Day,” a women’s workshop she’ll be leading this Sunday, December 16, 2012 in Bridgehampton.
How does one “be a cowgirl” for a day?
It’s really women in camaraderie with each other — exploring and hopefully sharing fears. It’s about finding some really strong ideas within ourselves — who we are — and shining the light on that so can be stronger. It’s about inspiring and discovering each other and ourselves.
You offer this workshop four times a year — twice for women and twice for girls. Typically who are the women who sign up?
The last one was a bit of a mixture — some of the women literally wanted me to see their work, they were more performance driven. Others wanted to see what I was about, what kind of work I do. And then there are people who are at an age in their life where they’re really curious about what more they can do. I know that I’m at that phase now.
Can you expound on that a bit?
Women in their 40s and up start looking at what they can do next. Older women, 60 and above, I find them to be the bravest of all. They often jump right in. These may be people who are bored or going through a change. Two women came who had gone through a divorce, some have empty nest syndrome. I have one woman coming back who just lost her partner. It’s life changing, but that’s all relative to what age you are. In your 20s what is life changing is often different than when you’re in your 40s and 50s. It’s all important and worthy of reflection.
So is this workshop only for women of a certain age?
I used to have an age limit — you had to be 35 or up. But I took that away. I find the younger women are treating themselves better … and young women can learn so much from older women.
Do women end up bonding with one another at workshops in ways they might not have otherwise?
We don’t expand in our communities much anymore. In my hometown neighbors used to drop by all the time. They weren’t announced, they came for no reason and they’d have dinner, or tea and coffee cake. We just don’t do that anymore, we’re such drones in our own world.
Sisterhood is taking traction, the idea of women supporting women. I try to veer away from the “cheese” factor that can contain and try to make it about everyone’s personal mission. It’s our process of supporting each other, stepping out of our comfort zone and reaching out. It’s not something we put on because “we’re going to our goddess meeting now.”
Neo-Political Cowgirls is a dance company. How physical are the cowgirl workshops?
This is movement centric, but adaptive. You can be in a wheelchair and be involved. We start with journaling, it’s an opening that is private, and regardless of whether you share it or not, it’s there. That’s flowing from your being and from that, we will extract particular words.
You share what you want. It’s not therapy though it is therapeutic. Women learn to choreograph their story. They pull out power words, language that touches us, affects us, has this impact. We go into exercises, create gestures and give physical life to these words and phrases. I might choreograph your story, and you might interpret what my story is – it’s outside ourselves.
Is it difficult for women who aren’t used to expressing themselves to open up?
Everybody gives to whatever level they want to. Just because one person is more shy or introverted, they can still create gestures from that feeling. The exercises we do are really meant to relax everyone, and make you comfortable. People can learn as much just sitting back and watching.
“Be a Cowgirl for a Day” is noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 16, 2012 at Hampton Ballet Theatre School, 213 Butter Lane, Bridgehampton. The cost is $40. To pre-register, call Kate Mueth at 329-7130 or email email@example.com.