Catherine Ehret [catherineehret]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
What did you study and why did you choose to study that field?
Education, Music, Theatre, English, Dance, Anatomy and Fitness.
I couldn't decide what I wanted to do and being a Nia Teacher really draws from all of the above!
What is expected of you in your job, and how do you accomplish it?
I'm expected to be an effective and efficient communicator. I'm expected to know the material (choreography) and how it blends with music. I'm expected to understand how the body moves on a practical level. I have to know how to move it safetly and in harmony with the way in which it was designed, which is what Nia is about on a physical level. I'm expected to understand that the body, mind, spirit and emotions are all involved in every moment and should be addressed in any environment in which health, fitness and wellness is concerned. I'm expected to deliver a grounded, balanced, informative class that encourages and supports each student to trust in their own process and find joy and pleasure in their body's way of moving.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
Our local website is in the developmental stages, but the main Nia website is www.nianow.com
Social Network: Facebook
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
No, I want more. Psychology next!
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
Going back to school for a degree in Psychology.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
How are you different from others in your professional sector?
Most fitness teachers are teaching classes. I want more. I love the field and I have alot of information to share so I offer workshops, specialty classes and other events intended to grow and enrich the community.
How is the Interent changing the way you work?
It has made the world alot smaller by opening up the opportunity to communicate with teachers in other parts of the world. It has made regular communication with teachers in the same country as well as in the same zip code easier.
It has also made it easier to share information with a greater audience. I can reach more people at once.
Besides your current profession, what other things would you have liked to have been?
A writer. I have alwasy written the copy for my marketing endeavors. I'm beginning to write seriously again and really combine both.
What is the most important thing you have learned from experience?
Not to take anything personally. I do not have the power to influence all things and not everything is about me. Chances are good, that the angry women who just told me she hates my classes has issues that have nothing to do with me. Perhaps her husband left her, maybe the choreography made her uncomfortable, the list could go on forrever...
Not to worry about the ones that got away. Take especially good care of the ones I have!
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Writer. A Dancer and Vocalist.
Save some excpetions, do you believe professional and personal relationships should not be mixed?
No. Know where the line is.
List any credits, publications, competitions, etc.
52 Moves, the Essentials of Nia x6
The 5 Principles of the Body's Way x2
The 13 White Belt Principles
The How and Why of Nia x2
FloorPlay - Playing with Gravity
Body Journeys - a 6-Month Workshop Series
Community Jams - Spring Fling, Spring Fever, Halloween Shapeshifter's Ball, Terror on the Dance Floor, Nia Party in the House: Fall Fest
Friday Night Blasts: A Nia Party (Movement, Friends and Food)
Nia Spring Dance of Sensation
St. Patrick's Day
Dance For Life (Breast Cancer Awareness)
How do you handle customer complaints?
First by asking them what would make this situation better for them. Next by offering them an opportunity to have a fresh experience. It depends on the situation, but I always keep respect for the person and for myself in the forefront.
Someone wants to ask for a pay rise and they ask you for advice in how to approach the matter with their boss. What do you tell them?
They have to know why they want a pay raise first. Why are they asking? They should be able to show, in an organized and professional way, the need for more money.
What do you do to manage stress?
1. I don't much personally in the scope of my whole life. I don't let much of anything get under my skin.
2. I let other people's problems be their problems. I support and love them, but I do not take them into myself.
3. Work. My work is my stress reliever. Nia is wonderful for that.
What are the most common mistakes clients make when they judge your work?
1. They don't do their homework. They do not understand what Nia is about.
2. They watch. Nia is a somatic practice; it is about the body. It must be felt to be truly experienced. Nia is about how it FEELS not how it LOOKS (though it is beautiful on all levels).
How and why did you begin to be creative?
For as long as I can remember, I have been singing, dancing writing, drawing and planning. My mother is a musician and my dad an engineer/artist, so I guess it's a family thing!
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
By never being satisfied with things as they are. I'm a "change junkie" - I love change and I find that I grow with every change I take part in. How can I make this better? How far can I take this idea?
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
By choosing projects that I am not entirely comfortable with. The research, the work that I have to do to prepare continually shifts the direction and helps me avoid excessive repetition.
Do you have a ritual like retiring to a lonely place from time to time to cleanse your mind?
Not one that comes to mind and maybe I should. I'm "on" all the time. I'm either in 5th gear or I'm asleep! However, if I'm doing a projects that involves manually manipulating shapes and colors (as opposed to using a computer program like Publisher), I do take time to draw out my design and lay my materials out in a pattern on the floor before getting to work. I find the entire process therapeutic.
What cultural sources do you draw from the most?
My personal cultural influences are from France, Louisiana and Georgia/South Carolina (the Deep South).
Who have your teachers been?
My parents, my husband, my children, Twyla Tharp, Gandhi, Ida Rolf, Don Miguel Ruiz, Dali, Jim Morrison - how much space do I have??!!
When you accept a job, how much value do you place on each of the following? Money, creative liberty, visibility, and to work with the best.
Creative liberty and to work with the best are at the top of my list. Even though I'm always in a very visible position, I do not like being in the spotlight. I'm a teacher rather than a performer and I'm not comfortable being the center of attention.
As far as the money is concerned. I'd work for free if I could. As it is, I need the money to support my continuing education and to support the travel I choose to do as a part of my work.
Have you ever had a job that was so stimulating that you could not get your mind off of it?
"To give birth to ideas." Is this only an expression, or are there really parallels between giving birth and creativity?
I use this expression myself. For some projects/jobs, I feel that the entire process is in parallel. There are several projects I have definitely birthed practically the way I birthed my children. The nurturing that was needed for either my mind to produce the ideas or with others I was working with to bring the project along. The feeding through exposure to others work or reading material. The tending; making sure I didn't go too long without giving the project some attention during the gestation process while other parts of my life were in progress. The Labor of finally bringing all of the thoughts and plans together to produce a finished product and the Birth as it is manifested.
Does spirituality contribute to your creativity?
Spirituality as in the effects of the universe around me, yes, definitely.
It is possible to fall in love with a bad idea simply because it is yours. How do you avoid this?
Just because I love something doesn't mean its meant to come to fruition or perhaps it's not intended to come to fruition right now. Often, for me, "bad" ideas have been ideas of timing and audience or marketing.
If an idea is not connecting to the audience/demographics or the desire/need of my employer, then there's a feeling like being in someone else's skin. The work fro the start doesn't feel "right" and all along it gets cumbersome. Even if it does come to fruition, it doesn't flow and isn't successful.
Must someone be the leader or boss in order for a creative team to function well?
"Leader" and "boss" offer two very different connotations. A leader, to me is someone who has a vision and I might want to share it and work toward a common goal. A boss may feel entitled to give orders and only be invested in the outcome. This, to me, speaks of hierarchy and I don't believe we have to work this way. The idea of "needing" a boss is a common one because it's the way our society is set up to work. As long as at least one strong communicator and each person is invested as a responsible team member then why would a "babysitter" be necessary?
What criteria do you use when selecting someone to be a part of your creative team?
Whoever I would consider should be willing to be responsible for themselves and accountable for their words as well as their actions. They should be self-motivated and be able to take initiative. They should be willing to come up with and share audacious, ridiculous and completely over-the-top ideas. The ability to plan, organize and manifest ideas is also expected. I realize that the ability to come up with ideas and be able to bring them to fruition is not necessarily within one person, that's why we work in teams. I appreciate and expect the running with scissors, but they also need to be able to play well with others.
The armchair psychologist: Is creativity an act of rebellion for you?
The literal act of creativity is not, however the reason I am doing the job may very well be!
What is the best advertisement you've seen recently?
The Cymbalta ad. I don't love the drug ads but this particular piece brings to light symptoms of depression that are not commonly associated with the illness. In general, I loath TV commercials.
Do you work well under pressure?
Very well. The pressure, however, cannot be indefinite. I couldn't work in an environment in which everything is a crisis - real or imagined.
What city in the world currently attracts you due to its creative environment?
Portland, OR. Paris is amazing! I'd like to experience L.A. also as well as New York.
How is an idea sold?
Time, place and demographics. A fabulous idea is not a fabulous idea if no one is interested or ready for it. I believe in Natural Time as opposed to the idea that any idea can be sold to anyone - that's cheap.
What do you feel when, after two or three years, you see an idea of yours again?
Interested that someone else has had the same thought.
You are as good as your last idea. Wouldn't you like to have a more secure type of work?
Considering that I use creativity to support my work the answer is yes and no. Yes, but doesn't relate back to creativity and no because I really wouldn't want to do anything else if I didn't have to.
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
Young Reader Mystery Stories, Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe.
I began to write around the 4th grade - about 9 years old. I wrote stories about the people in class and they read them.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
My favorite genre/s to read: professional non-fiction, historical fiction and non-fiction, poetry
My favorite genre to write: poetry
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
My writing generally is a result of an emotional experience or in response to an experience. I usually feel like my head's going to pop off or my chest will explode or my heart will break if I don't write.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Tight, visual writing. Or pieces that evoke rich emotion. More often then not - poetry.
What well known writers do you admire most?
"Admire" is to strong, "appreciate" is more accurate.
Jane Austen, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Updike, Dali Lama, Garcia Lorca, Peter Straub, Stephen King
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Absolutely not, I can't get it out fast enough and the details are skipped. I'm not a great oral story teller.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Often with poetry, yes. With short stories it's usually for the fun of a "great" idea.
Does reader feed-back help you?
It depends on why I wrote the piece. If I want to put it out for others to read, then, yes.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I'm very tactile so I write alot with a pen and paper. I'm more prolific on the computer since I can get ideas out faster. I edit and correct on the computer. Often with poetry or a piece for marketing, I write it and that's it, no editing, no "correcting".
What are you working on now?
Professional writing - pulling together pieces I plan to submit to magazines.
Poetry is ongoing.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Re-read them and share them or throw them away. Clear the air, so to speak, and move on, one way or the other.