Mari Meade moves places, earth and bodies. She leads and supports. She creates and gleans. She designs and makes patterns. She notices and connects. More formally, she is an educator, a dancer, a choreographer, a leader, and brave space maker. She is also a teacher, a student, a daughter, a wife, an American living in France.
1. Tell us in a few sentences what you do. And why you do it.
Le Moulin de le Belle is a physical space to explore and support those values. By converting an 1800’s watermill in southwest France into a residency retreat powered by sustainability and creativity, we hope to re-imagine residencies to be truly accessible, and to offer a haven for people disconnect and recharge.
In addition to co-founding Le Moulin de la Belle, I am also the Artistic Director of Mari Meade Dance Collective / MMDC, a contemporary dance company based in NYC that tells epic stories with epic movement formed in 2009. I have taught and choreographed nationally and internationally and am currently a teaching artist for New York City Ballet and Dancing Classrooms, and am involved in a slew of other projects, including working with the Kupferberg Center for the Art at Queens College, Creative Catalyst: Artist as Leader, Entrepreneur and Innovator, and UNCSA’s Choreographic Institute.
2. What is your contact info (that you want shared) please include any active social handles, websites etc.
FB: Mari Meade, Le Moulin de la Belle, Mari Meade Dance Collective/MMDC
Insta: @marimeade @LeMoulinDeLeBelle @MMDCbrooklyn
3. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is?
First I brush my teeth (because no one wants to smell that, even the animals).
4. My best business advice is….
Connect every time you can. Include people—ask questions, listen to opinions, or incorporate other’s input. Learn how your team feels valued and then follow-through and do that! Know problems are inevitable, problem-solving is a learned and valuable skill, and we learn more from mistakes from successes. With your own leadership be willing to address issues early and try to prevent them by checking in often
5. My professional goal for 2021 is…
…to further develop our new creative residency retreat, Le Moulin de la Belle, while still teaching and choreographing.
For Le Moulin de la Belle, three main goals this year are:
1. Get the $! (Obtain our first earned income–vegetable produce, soap sales, or Airbnb/space rental)
2. Get supported! (Solidify our Launch Committee and Advisory Committee)
3. Look good while doing it! (Complete the first stage of branding–Website! Logo! Merch, merch, merch!).
6. Supporting women in business is now more critical than ever. How can our community best support you?
First, get in touch! Send me an email at LeMoulinDeLaBelle@gmail.com
if you are excited about the project! We want to find ways for everyone to be a part of our residency. Maybe this is a zoom conversation, coming for two weeks of work-exchange this year, or coming as an artist in residence next year! For those that it is possible, we also have a GoFundMe to help seed fund travel stipends and our dance studio renovations
Finally, you can always follow us on SM so you can see what we’re up to!
7. Your Astrological sign:
Aries (Pisces cusp)
8. Favorite donut:
Not a huge donut fan (crazy, I know), but I do like blueberry cake donuts. And here in France I had a blueberry beignet (different from in the US, more like a donut hole), and it was AMAZING.
9. Favorite podcast:
My all-time favorite is RadioLab. But I love This American Life, The Daily, UpFirst, NPR Politics Podcast, Fresh Air and so many more. As a freelance New Yorker for over a decade, podcasts made my hours of daily commutes enjoyable.
10. Favorite book:
My classic favorite is The Sun Also Rises, by I also really loved is A Visit from the Goon Squad. Right now, I’m reading The Other Wes Moore: One name, two fates, but also The Body Holds the Score (for education), and Sue Grafton’s alphabet series (for indulgence).
11. Favorite pandemic binge watch:
Sopranos! I also loved Better Call Saul.
12. When I practice self-care I…
…play piano or draw. Art practices without the pressure of producing (or even being good at!) are really important to me. I also like to walk/run with my dog, take a hot bath, or do a self-manicure.
13. The place I am happiest is…
…a theatre! I also love the beach, the garden, a dance studio, a good bookstore, or basically anywhere new.
14. People are surprised to learn I…
…was born in California. I spent my childhood there, but after also lived in Louisiana and New York for around a decade, North Carolina during college, and now France.
And now, we leave you with some dance inspiration from the Mari Meade Dance Collective!