BY CHRISSIE DICKINSON
Somewhere in Nell Weatherwax’s repertoire there must be a Judy Garland, channeling Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
“I came back to Bloomington because it is my spiritual homeland,” says Weatherwax. “I have never been happier anywhere else.”
The movement artist, storyteller, and Monroe County native recently moved back here after three years living in Madison, Wisconsin. The Indiana University graduate has resided and performed in a number of cities over the years, but for Weatherwax, there’s no place like home.
Bloomington artists were quick to enlist Weatherwax upon her return. She was cast in Gratitude!: A Sound Celebration with Janiece Jaffe and Friends, and Krista Detor tapped her to perform in the Time Travels: Intergenerational Song & Story Extravaganza.
“Nell is a powerhouse,” says singer/songwriter Detor. “She’s incredibly energetic and wholeheartedly commits herself. There’s nothing that she does that doesn’t emanate directly from who she is, from her soul, and her world view.”
In her irreverent improvisational show The Storyzilla—Full Frontal Human Movie, Weatherwax combines the timing of a stand-up comic with the movements of a dancer. “Not a word or motion is wasted,” wrote one audience member on the Minnesota Fringe Festival website. Another observed that her show is filled with “honesty, humor, and compassion.”
Weatherwax’s stage work is a mesh of movement and autobiography. “Always tell the truth on stage” is her guiding principle.
“I’m a fifty-two-year-old woman who is on fire,” she says. “I’ve lived a life. I’ve been a stepmother. I’ve been through menopause. I came of age in the seventies during the golden age of sex. I’ve got some stories.”
Those stories inform the artistic expression in her solo stage work, healing arts, and Story Play workshops that welcome amateurs and professionals alike. She also hopes to launch a career counseling and hypnotherapy practice in January.
Weatherwax embraces middle age as a time of growth, not limitation. “I never dreamt this would be true: I’m healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually than I’ve ever been in my life,” she says. “I see my age as my greatest asset.”