This weekend I had the privilege of performing with DITA (Dance in the Annex) in RAD Fest (Regional Alternative Dance Festival) hosted by Wellspring/Cori Terry in Kalamazoo, MI. It was wonderful to rehearse with this group of dancers over the last few weeks and wonderful to be onstage again. It was wonderful to take class with a terrific guide, Leslie Dworkin, and to see so many familiar and loved faces from my personal history in dance- from my undergraduate professors, former colleagues, former students, and long-time friends. What a treat. I feel so very fortunate.
It is funny, to me, how things continue to cycle through including relationships and exchanges. I marvel at how easy it can be to fall into conversation with some, as if the last time we saw each other was 15+ days ago and not 15+ years.
On my drive home, I pondered how much of my life is in accord with my goals from 15+ years ago and how much is different. I pondered the areas of my work and abilities that were dormant so long ago but have come forth to be strengths and distinctions. I pondered how some of my life might come as a surprise to those that knew me long ago and then again, maybe not.
And I am curious about the growth of others….. Often, when I see people from my past I tend to feel as though for them, nothing has changed. Maybe it hasn’t but that seems hard to believe. Job titles or dance affiliations may not have changed but what about their ideas, philosophies, practices, interactions. I wonder what we’d think of each other if we had time to reconnect as deeply as we once were. I am sure we’d still have affection but I wonder how the appreciation might be different now- not necessarily more positive or negative- simply different.
I find myself using these cycles as an opportunity to measure my growth; the increase in my perspective and decrease in ego. I watch strangers backstage, imagining what their lives may be like and wonder where that night’s performance stands on the map of their dance life. Where have they been? Where are they going? I realize “ego” seems to be exactly what separates the younger dancers from the, ahem, more mature.
I was also aware of the stories carried in the bodies I saw moving in class. Again, where have they been? Where are they going? How many children have been born, traumas and exhilarating experiences embodied, directions and levels changed? Movement is different in bodies that have truly lived.
So back to the cycles that keep us connected, moving, and measuring…..
…….where we will stop, nobody knows.
May we never stop.