In March of 2013, Project AUM began a 6-week collaborative project to create what ultimately became the first of [hopefully] many contemporary dance works based on Curriculum AUM.  While we await the release of  video from The Moving Beauty Series (where the work premiered back in April), I'd like to introduce you to some key Project AUM players.  Some are Anya teachers or students, others members of Perceptions Dance.

Let me introduce Sarah Sadie Newett from Ellsworth, Maine....

MG: What is your connection to the arts?
SSN: I consider myself and artist in many ways. Most overtly I'm a dancer, aerialist, choreographer and sometimes actress with a deep love for writing and visual art and creations of all kinds. But the more I experience, the more I realize that art exists in everything and every moment is an opportunity to create art.

MG: What is your connection to Anya?
SSN: Anya is my greatest source of inspiration and education in my development. On paper it is my career and the school where I have learned to teach yoga, Pilates, healing for myself and others, decision making and so much more through Curriculum AUM.  Unlike a job where I can punch in and out, it does not conclude when I leave the studio. Like art, Anya is everywhere and in everything so I suppose my connection to Anya is really my connection to self and to growing.

[full disclosure: Sarah is one of Studio Anya's veteran teachers.  Check out her class schedule or book a private session with her at www.studioanya.com]

MG: How did you get involved with Project AUM?
SSN: Creating a movement piece utilizing Curriculum AUM has been a dream of mine for many years. When Melissa Gendreau (Chief Digital Officer and Director of The Sagebook) and and Courtney Bauer, (Owner and Founder) approached me about making a piece for The Moving Beauty Series I immediately carved out time in my schedule so I could be involved.

MG: What was the experience/process of creating & performing "How to Be" like for you? How did it influence your daily life? Do you feel changed in any way from working on the piece?
SSN: The experience of creating and performing ''How to Be'' revolutionized the way I see dance and movement. Since early childhood, conceiving beautiful shapes and movement sequences has consumed me. While we created so many in ''How to Be'' the utmost importance of each shape was its meaning and storytelling. Rarely have I performed without a theme in mind, but pairing each movement with a feeling or storyline made my performance feel much more powerful than previous ones, and also caused me to examine my own body language. How do I use my hands when I'm not performing? What does the way I stand, sit, walk, skip and flit about say? If I'm not on a stage specifically weaving a story am I still telling one? The answer I found is yes, which is both lovely and overwhelming. We never leave our bodies, and as the beloved Martha Graham says, they never lie. ''How to Be'' provided me with the opportunity to notice the points from my baby finger to my baby toe in every shape, to witness the potential to reveal truth and to really 'have a say' over what I was conveying. This process brought up my vulnerabilities, strengths and revealed many aspects about being that I knew existed, but had yet to name.

MG: What else do you "do" in the world of arts & dance?
SSN: In the world of the arts and dance I perform with various modern, ballet and aerial companies including Roschman Dance, Aeon Aerial Arts, Animal Mechanical, Taxiplasm and have also started my own small performance company, LVL. From concert dance to art installations, music videos, short films and various photo shoots I love to create and weave stories without words.

MG: Do you have any upcoming performances?
SSN: I'm performing this Friday May 24th on Coney Island for the re-opening post Sandy. I'm thrilled and honored to hike the 276 feet to soar above a city that's gifted me my most precious years on this earth. I'm also super thrilled that to be wearing a safety harness, insert huge sigh here. :)

MG: What would you like to see come out of Project AUM in the future? How does Project AUM inspire you? How would you like to contribute to Project AUM as an artist?
SSN: In 6 weeks Project AUM changed the way I think about dance, one of my greatest loves since I knew I could move. Its potential is limitless. If that level of inspiration and education could reach children I think so much more understanding could exist on this planet.

It is possible to listen with much more than our ears, and Project AUM teaches listening with our whole selves, and at the best moments - with our hearts. It absolutely effected my being and ability to see myself and others in more of a full spectrum.

I would love to bring this work into schools for classes or workshops. I spent a lot of my childhood very lost in dance classes trying to learn steps and choreography but being scolded for talking so much. If I'd known that my storytelling didn't have to come from my loud and speech impediment riddled voice I would have had a much different relationship with this intensely special craft.

MG: How do you think Project AUM's mission will influence the world of dance?
SSN: This mission will influence the world of dance deeply. It asks the question, over and over again - why? Why this movement now? Why does the right arm lift? Why is this the moment for an extreme extension, jump, lift, kick, hip circle? When we live more in the questions we are able to receive answers to so much that can feel mysterious. Project AUM will influence dance by making it more understood, accessible and real to those witnessing and those performing. It will influence its clarity and expansion.

Learn more about Sarah Sadie - including her work in the arts, education, and upcoming & past performances: www.sarahsadienewett.com

Check out Sarah & the rest of the Project AUM collaborators in action