My friend Jeanine and I have been the best of friends since our parents moved onto the
same suburban street and brought us into the world just three months apart. It was the sixties and seventies; kids had a lot of freedom, and we roamed the neighborhood; treating every house as if it was our own. As you can see from the picture of our six year old selves , we also danced together. This was and still is one of my favorite dances ever,( it warrants its own blog, so look for it one day), and we bonded even more over
the joy of those tambourines. We were and are very close, so last week when tragedy struck, it was very difficult to be here away from my beautiful friend. Jeanine’s parents died, horribly and tragically, the why , as sad as the deaths. The services were held soon after and I was just not able to get back to Long Island, and it added guilt to my grief. But I was lucky and blessed. ( An aside, I feel the word blessed is overused , but in this case it is the only word that is wholly accurate.) I have had so much support , that I am left only with a deep sense of gratitude. So , I am going to use today’s blog to say my thank you to all who helped me get through this week. I am so grateful to my lovely company members who with only about an hours notice came and helped me teach a class of young modern dance beginners that was scheduled only a couple of hours after I received the news. Instead of me, struggling through, I had three strong young women lead the class, and the young dancers were so inspired that they were
soon falling and recovering like champs. ( see video) . And then those same dancers then stayed for their own class, were focused and hardworking, and the rest of the class rose to the same level. What could have been an impossible chore , ended up being a gift. My adult students were next, and they as always were hardworking and fun. We have found a balance of laughter and work in this class; it is rare and time flies. After class, they all sat and listened with no judgement; they are all beautiful souls. On my longest teaching night, after a day of unspeakable sorrow, I was able to find peace, an unexpected gift . And how grateful I am that Jen Barden , owner of Spotlight Vt, (and a good friend,) allows
me to bring my dog Hooper with me. This little dog is my emotional center, and I needed him with me, and she always welcomes with more than open arms. I am grateful too that Hooper stays ( mostly) in his travel bed, and is so loving towards all my dancers. I am also super grateful , that when he does not stay in his bed, he is shown a lot of love and attention, even when he is a little naughty, ( he is nearly perfect, so a little naughty is ok). And what can I say about the beautiful dancing of company members, ( and friends), Ellie and Corey. Trying to ease my sorrow, I choreographed a short tribute piece to Jeanine’s parents. I have always used dance to express my emotions, because I am not one to show them in public. So , I try to show who I am thorough my work. Within minutes , Ellie and Corey understood what I wanted to get across. They learned the dance In twelve minutes, and shortly after, I recorded them together. So authentic ; it was like watching two dancers with one heartbeat. What teacher could ask for more. ( If you haven’t seen them dance look for our posts on October 1, full length on Facebook, and slightly edited on Instagram.) And finally, I give thanks to my husband Don, who let me grieve and was there to take walks, and listen. I am so lucky to live in a beautiful place, where I can get outside and absorb the
beauty of autumn in Vermont. Being outside heals my heart, and the Vermont woods outdid themselves for me. As always, I am amazed at the power of gratitude. Steeping myself in thankfulness , I realize that pain and suffering are softened, and I can find the beauty in every day, even the unspeakable ones. So I give my most heartfelt thanks to all who have texted , called, helped and generally lifted me up this week. A special shout out to Cindy, who listens more than anyone should ever have to, and then calls back for more. I also would not be able to get this message out without Ellie Wallace and Rebecca Brynga, who run this website, and allow me to do what I do, and not have to do anything technical, (because that is surely not my gift.) So I will end by saying that living your life with open hearted gratitude may change your life; I know it has changed mine. And I know, that this more than anything will help you get thorough the dark days and dance in the light again.