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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.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


It’s almost a guarantee that in any given dance studio one can find a stray bobby pin. I love that this is the case. One never knows when one may need an extra, especially when one is growing one’s hair out like I am. (At least partially. It is a weird in-between length now, which is where my whole self has been since my last blog entry. I’ve been in a weird, in-between place.) But now I’m back.

I’ve missed this blog like a person. Indeed, the person I’ve missed is myself, my writing self, this self that got me through my divorce and then some. I’ve been so crazy busy there hasn’t been time to process, much less reflect upon it all. I can’t begin to catch up, so I will settle with starting from now, catching my own hand mid-air and guiding it gently down to earth where it belongs.

I’m reflecting these days on the concept of “career”, how I’ve managed to build one out of a ton of tiny parts, like a collage or a mural, tiny parts that add up to a big, beautiful thing. So many transitions are happening that it’s hard to keep track. Like how I am now Artistic Associate of JSB and am in a constant state of attempting to capture what that means exactly and how best to apply my energies. Like how I am now a published writer, writing the dance column for METRO Magazine, a newish Twin Cities publication that’s glossy and urban and where I have to assume my readership doesn’t know squat about dance so I have to be very clear and not very poetic. (Oh I know there’s a way to be both; it’s just not always apparent to me, and certainly not on a deadline.) Like how Justin is leaving the company after this season. Justin, who has been the subject of my fall, my partner in crime as we tumbled our way through Firebird with MN Orchestra and The Nutcracker in his Maryland hometown. I am not ready to face all the missing that’s going to happen there. And then there’s the departure of Gary Peterson, our Executive Director of almost 13 years, my lucky number. Again, a departure I am not ready to face, though it occurs next week.

That’s the thing about the collage-style career, it contains so many parts it’s hard to keep track. So many people and places and ballets coming and going that one wonders where the gib is, the steadfast force that keeps it all glued down.

It’s important, therefore, for me to blog, to string words together by way of record keeping if nothing else. These words tie me back to myself so that I can lean into the wind.

I determine to write more and to be less precious and precise. I will run-on a lot and I will forgive myself that. The point now is to just do it so that I can move on and not be stuck in this weird, in-between place. (Who know what I’ll end up doing with my hair? It really doesn’t matter… much.) It’s more like, what are all the strays doing at this moment? I don’t really want to pin them all down


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Penelope,
Just wanted to let you know that I love reading your blog - it is fascinating to dive into the thinking of a dancer - a wonderful writer-dancer I should say. I don't know whether you remember me - I took classes as Ballet Arts during my fellowship in Minneapolis. Now I am back in Germany where I continue to dance - in my own, very layperson, non-dancer way. But there is just no better way to express yourself and your emotions.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just "happened" to peak to see if you had written anything new after such a long silence- and there it is finally!
I value your thoughts and love having the chance to "hear" them.
Looking forward to seeing you in Fergus on Thursday!

10:44 PM  

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