My Photo
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008


JSB performed in Fergus Falls this Friday night, and I am reminded that it is a wonderful thing to connect with a community that’s different from one’s own.

We’ve been to Fergus many times over the years now. The downtown strip exudes small-town charm. The theater is on one side of the street and the dance school is on the other, ½ a block away and across the intersection.

The stage is a sort of subtle trapezoid shape, a former movie house I think, that still fulfills that use occasionally. We enter and exit through doorways instead of wings; upstage doorways also have stairs, a challenge in the dark.

But it is a pleasure to perform there, to engage with a community by doing what we do best. We also teach master classes (ballet, pointe, modern and jazz). James and I even made it to a party, a monthly potluck gathering of artists. In the warm and sturdy 1913 bungalow of metal sculptor Jeff, I felt as though I was in the right place at the right time. Warmed by wine and chili, I sat by the fire and communed.

My experience in Fergus goes deper still, as it was where I spent the last 2 weeks of August working on the magnificent original musical “Songs from the Tall Grass”. Because of my past connection to the place, I was hired to choreograph this newest installment of the show. I bonded so thoroughly with director/songwriter/co-author Randy that I became co-director. That buffalo of a man still resides in my heart, part of the permanent collection.

So Fergus goes deep. After the show there was a party across the street at a former hotel turned artist live/work residence. Such a valuable reuse of precious architecture. There I communed again as I caught up with “Songs” colleagues as well as Rebecca, Ramona and Mary, the folks who make it possible for us to be there.

We premiered a ballet, engaging with the community on yet another level as we required eight extras to fill out our cast. They did a superb job, especially after only three hours of rehearsal. I love seeing folks step up to the plate.

The next day I taught the last master class and headed home with Jack, his new painting freshly wet in the back. I love how we can simultaneously do our art then come together at the end of the day, (you guessed it) commune, then go for Dairy Queen. (MN must be the only state where at 35 degrees it feels like spring enough to want ice cream!)

Despite my ankle stress that occurred at some point on Friday night, I am thankful for all of it. The new scrape on my knee keeps me childlike. Hopefully it’ll heal in time for Rochester in two weeks. No matter, the battle wounds mean that I am doing battle.


Post a Comment

<< Home