Dance Again... And Hope
For the first time in as long as I can remember I didn’t have a single plan for the Fourth of July. My husband was working and frankly, I forgot about it and didn’t think to plan anything. Seemed like it would be a beautiful day to get gardening done, course work in for a certification, and finally class work.
Yes, dance class work. My dance world is opening up again. I am teaching a small outside class today, I taught a private lesson last week, with another planned for this week, and have a “socially distanced” class planned for Spotlight Vermont this week, (still one spot left for Int/Adv teens and adults). My first in studio, new work class since mid March; it feels good. I spent time yesterday prepping everything, and even took a first since covid power walk; all in all, a pretty good day.
But still, at days end, Don home, and hanging out in my beautiful yard, I felt an emptiness. I did fill the void a bit with holiday dress up with Hooper. I remembered just in the nick of time that he had a new Uncle Sam’s hat. And then madness ensued as I got out all patriotic dog wear. A picture of JT in his patriotic mask* brightened the day, while highlighting this new normal. But still...
Finally, I realized that the emptiness was valid. It’s a sad and hard world right now. The virus is surging and we seem to to have given up. People are choosing to ignore social distancing, masks, and are playing a sort of Russian roulette game of chance, betting that they will, at worst , contract a mild case, and to hell with other people. Students in Alabama are having Covid parties; the world has gone a little mad. The greatest despair stems from knowing that we really should not be celebrating American values right now.
Our values have shown themselves to be values of exclusion, and wealth building on the backs of other people. What has changed really; half our of our essential workers make little more than minimum wage. Amazon delivery people make about 15 dollars an hour, Jeff Bezos is a billionaire almost 200 times over. I am just as guilty, Amazon kept my 89 year old mother safe as my sister and I kept her in food and supplies, so I ignored the injustice to keep my mom happy (sort of anyway), and secure. The biggest problem of all; we have a president who is actively and proudly racist.
I have always hated politics; have held this vague belief that the checks and balances really did work, that it somehow didn’t matter who was president. I also hate talking politics and try to have a “window of tolerance” for those who have different leanings than I do. I have always voted; this is not a privilege I take for granted, but living in Vt. for the last thirty years, hasn’t given me a sense of power in a presidential election. (Don’t get me started on the electoral college). Now, my window of tolerance is closing.
The absolute embarrassment and horror of having a president who is not afraid to use racial slurs in speeches, calls protesters thugs and terrorists, and basically panders to the worst elements in our culture, can not be a cause for celebration. I look at these quotes from the Declaration of Independence, and I marvel at them; I do not see much difference between King George and Trump.
Though our nation was built on great ideas and philosophies, the founding fathers themselves were guilty of owning slaves and being part of the white male power structure that is still in place today. We are slowly making changes. Let’s speed it up. Let’s not teach our children anymore to “not see color”, (and really, who are we kidding), let’s teach them to see racial injustice large and small. Let’s teach them to care, that words and actions matter. Let’s talk about what can be done, not just steep ourselves in guilt, reading more and more, but doing nothing.
Let’s do what we can, in our lives and in the fields that we work.
For those in the Arts, it will be hard. The pandemic will make it hard, near impossible to keep the Arts alive. Studios will struggle to stay afloat as social distancing and fear will keep classes small. Studios will have no money for scholarships. Salary cuts seem to be inevitable. The Arts and especially, to dance, are a mirror of society. How do we keep dancing?
I am actively working to find a way to share dance with children whose parents cannot afford the steep cost of lessons. I will have a company member help out as a demonstrator, as this old body can only do so much. I can volunteer my time , my talents and my company members. What else can be done? What I ask of readers is to open their wallets.
A great way to help is to sponsor dancers.
A donation to Spotlight Vermont, (or any studio), is a tangible way to give back. A monthly monetary donation designated for a student to take a class, would take the stress off a parent, the studio, and give the gift of dance. Plan ahead for September when all studios are looking to open at the fullest capacity possible and see what you can give.
In a world where we are bombarded with negativity, with seemingly little to celebrate, what better thing to do than give the gift of dance. It’s something we can all do...
And yes vote, so next Fourth of July will be worthy of fireworks.
*This fun mask on JT was made by company member Becca Bringa. Visit her website for personalized masks, that are affordable and fun - www.bblinescreations.com. She seems to have new fabrics almost everyday, and is dedicated to keeping all people, big and little, safe in this germ filled world.