How to proceed?
The world is opening up and like bears coming out of hibernation, it seems we are cranky and out of sorts with it all. The confusion and fear is palpable, and is coupled with a fierce "get out while you can" mentality.
I have found myself living outside this week, the endless sunshine has been an incredible source of happiness bordering on euphoria. I have immersed myself in nature and my garden, and it has felt almost perfect. What mars the perfection is a lingering question in the back of my mind.
What next, how to proceed? What is the next step for MDC. And the answer is I don’t know. I can’t tell you how hard the not knowing is for me. I love a dictionary, I love to learn obscure facts, nature documentaries are a constant; my brain has always needed to be fed. I like to plan, I like hard work, and I love to use my time wisely. Annie Dillard once said, “How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.” This resonates with me. I strive everyday to feel like my day was not just well spent, but excellently spent. Lately, my days have been spent recovering and sleeping; this is not how I want to spend my life.
Happily, I am starting to feel well enough to dance again. I pushed a little too hard last week, and had a backlash of exhaustion, so I am being careful. But every day I look at a handmade get well card that precious Nora, (one of my students) made for me. One page is a very glittery, a one word bit of sparkle. I look at it as a happy command; dance. I want to dance, choreograph, and get MDC moving forward.
And this is where the confusion comes in; how to proceed? How does a company of young dancers move forward? Our mission is to raise awareness and funds for charities and organizations working towards improving human conditions for those in need, often desperate need. I especially love the work that Ibutwa has done, and most of our work has been for them. At the beginning of the Covid response, we made the difficult decision to cancel our March 15 performance. In retrospect, this decision was wise, but oh so painful. Months of hard work and planning set aside for the greater good. I look to the future and the dire predictions of another peak, and I worry about working and planning another performance, only to cancel again. Can my dancers sustain enthusiasm for rehearsing knowing it could be for nothing. For me the work is meaningful; I love the process, the performance is secondary. Yet performance is the life blood of the Arts, especially dance; again, how to proceed?
I am looking to my garden and my mother as inspirations, both positive and hilariously negative. Despite some neglect, unexpected May snow and ice, my flowers are blooming.
The work that I put in last summer and fall has given the garden a good foundation to survive. I am going to believe that the good foundation classes at Spotlight Vermont have given my company members will give me the same bloom. And just as I am starting to work in the garden, I believe we will figure out how to work together.
As for my mother, the stalwart Maria.
I asked her how she was doing, (as I do every day). Her reply; one for the ages, “Just here bored and contemplating the misery.” Now, let’s be honest we have all felt this way, it could very well be the motto for quarantine.
It is unselfish, she didn’t say her misery, Maria said the misery, and there is certainly
enough misery to contemplate. But what I ask, good could wallowing in the misery do me. My mom is 89, her options for activity are limited at the best of times. Mine are not, and recovering from this illness has given me a greater appreciation for what my body can do, and what I hope to do soon.
Which of course leads back to my original anxiety producing question. How to proceed?
For today, my decision is to proceed much like my garden. I will take what is already in place and help it thrive. I will begin the work of creating again with the belief I will put the work on my dancers, and that it will someday be seen. I will try to get over my dislike of technology and perhaps create a zoom performance or a film of our company work to be used for fundraising. Or perhaps we have company classes, zoom or in studio (small and distanced) to raise money and awareness. Most importantly, I will believe that my dancers will continue to love dance enough to move forward with me as I explore our options. Alice Walker wrote, “Hard times require furious dancing”. I have come to believe that this is the answer to my question.
How to proceed, with furious dancing: anyway we can.