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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a dancer with Minneapolis based James Sewell Ballet, a small, contemporary ballet company. I also choreograph independently.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

To Be Downstage Left

I dance because of its immediacy. I was reminded of this last weekend as JSB performed our fall season at the Guthrie’s McGuire Theater. I danced and remembered.

James opened the program with a solo performed while reciting Hamlet’s famous soliliquy. This was an inspired addition to our show. Created in NYC in 1992, this revival affords him the right to claim that he is the first to perform “Hamlet” at the new Guthrie. His movements aligned with then juxtaposed the language, rich in its simple delivery. We all listened from backstage, continuing our warm-up. On Sunday however, I wanted to give it my full attention. I watched from the edge of the first wing, downstage left. I was blown away by that simple delivery thing, and newly inspired for my own solo/(silent)soliliquy in “Klezmer Dances”.

At the beginning we each emerge from the center. I am first, and so get to do a small, grounded solo before I link with N. I leave him falling into J, then begin my circling. I walk, at first toe-heel, then heel-toe for two rounds before evolving into lunging, chugging, and finally, running. We are all running. We come together in a joyous, hand-clasped circle. We weave, with and without holding on. We end the section in pairs. The waltz begins.

For me, it is this initial circling that sets the tone. In the pure red shell of our new theater, in our russet and rust costumes, we are open-hearted and invited.

I watched from that same wing every performance of Sally’s new “Brahms Duet”. My proximity to the action, to the expressive faces and bodies of Sally and M as they gripped and grabbed, fell into and, ultimalely, away from, one another, was a private taking-in. I was privy to many rehearsals, and with each viewing my heart has absorbed more fully the beautiful ironies of life, mine included.

This week brings a needed planned lay-off. I am in Houston setting James’ “Amahl and the Night Visitors”. I am bonding with new dancers, folks I will perform with in December when I return to dance the role of Amahl with this group, Sandra Organ Dance Company. I reconnect to myself, reaccessing the immediacy of my quirks and natural rythyms. It is a relief to be away from my hectic schedule (though I miss my cat and balcony, and, I’m ashamed to say, my car).

This empty time, like spacious Texas, is filled up with my changing. I plot the day tomorrow, beginning with a Graham class and ending in the old home of a new friend.

I see possibility, sense it even in my end-of-the-day aching back that so often feels so much better. To be or not to be? To be, to be, to be…


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