Barefootblogger: thoughts on dance

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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, August 02, 2007

Opening Night

My new piece for the Fringe opens tonight. It’s called “We’ll Survive if We Don’t Protect Ourselves”, and it’s taken on a new and more immediate meaning in light of yesterday’s tragedy here in Minneapolis.

Driving to rehearsal @ 6:34, I saw an ambulance crossing the river, speeding down Broadway. I turned before we crossed paths.

When I arrived at my venue, a public building, folks were outside, talking on their cells and smoking, not a particularly unusual sight. But then I heard the news. We plugged in a radio and got on our phones.

I’ve worked/rehearsed during tragedy before. It’s true what they say, “The show must go on.” (Though on 9/11 you can better believe I holed up at home, my mom having been at the Towers. (She’s fine.)) We had to get to work; I had to finish the piece, for one thing. The costumes needed a final nod, and a photographer was coming. And so we proceeded, and stuff was different. The irony and bitter truth of my pithy title hit me hard. What began as a an abstract and even lofty notion quickly turned concrete, tons and tons of it.

And yet the work I do is the best thing I can do to deal with something indigestable and impossible to articulate. To me, it is the highest honor I can pay. And perhaps by witnessing it, folks can have some sort of catharsis. We certainly do, dancing it.

As I undergo my final preparations for tonight (costume laundering, ironing and repair, picking up programs, loading in chairs, picking up folks from the airport, rehearsing), I think about grace. I think about my immensely fortunate life. I am reminded to not take it for granted. My show will indeed go on. This magnificent festival will go on, more needed than ever, more capable than ever of creating community.