April 30th. It’s a rainy evening…April showers and all that. I realize how happy I am to be in my new home. And it’s not even The Home yet! A good month and May will be even better as I properly settle in among my favorite things and even a few brand new favorite things like a dust mop, big bright green fern, and best of all an IKEA Day Bed for the guest room/library/laundry. But more about that in the future.
I wrote a small review of my life at 208 that I’ve decided to include here just to properly close out a major phase of my life.
April 8th. This morning was my last morning alone at 208. Sixteen years. A passage. From late-middle-age to pre-old-old—a small amount of nostalgia/sentimentality/memory-gorging allowed. During this16 years, here’s what I did:
- Discovered my kids siblings grandchildren cousins are my best friends and have begun transitioning into a sweet little old lady—the kind of whom it is said, “Wasn’t she just the sweetest thing ever?” Or Not.
- Made (with a lot of help from my friends) a festival called Global DanceFest of which I am very proud.
- Traveled a bunch.
- Became a blogger—of sorts.
- Discovered the wonders of gyms and walking and feeling strong.
- Been the sometimes excellent, sometimes mediocre director of a small but brilliant arts and disability organization.
- And…prepared myself for the next (possibly final!) stage of life as A Writer by blogging, getting a UCLA certificate in literary non-fiction and by Starting The Book and the 100 (more about this later also).
It’s been great
Now moving on uptown
All of the time
Anything else a crime
Because there’s no more time time time…
Perhaps I’ll be a poet.
THE GLAMOUR OF IT ALL
The truth about being a presenter/producer of contemporary dance and performing arts is that it is just so damn thrilling. Friends are asking if I won’t miss the excitement of it all, hanging out with amazing artists, seeing brilliant performances, traveling to exotic destinations. I thought it might be appropriate to share the thrills of a typical festival day so you too will envy us here at North Fourth as we prepare for a weekend of “Moses(es).”
Susanna preparing the program; Marjorie scrubbing the refrigerator; Rujeko delivering the last of the brochures; Omar cleaning up out front and Josh mopping the stage.
I suppose members of the board, and artistic and technical staff aren’t cleaning, typing and delivering at BAM and the Kennedy Center but out here in the west we are just hands-on kind of people.
Susanna, Yeman, Raja and REGGIE.
Well, it’s here—the beginning of the end of Global DanceFest. Ever since I made the decision to bring this ever-exciting, always-engaging program to a close I have felt very good and sure of my decision. “It’s time,” I’ve said often. “Yes, I am through…ready to move on to my next life project.” “No regrets.” And on and on and on.
So now the time has come. And, while I still feel the decision was right, and while I’m still ready, I must admit to some pangs of regret!
As Susanna and I sat waiting at the airport, I said happily, “Hey, this is next to our last airport pickup for Global DanceFest.” Then the artists came through the revolving doors and it struck me what good friends and fascinating artists and lovely human beings they are…and they won’t be coming back…and I wasn’t quite so happy.
As the evening went on, sharing a meal, driving some errands, my sense of the rightness of my decision didn’t go away but I found a certain sadness was occupying my senses in equal proportion.
Now it’s the next day; the artists are in the theater rehearsing and I’m getting ready to clean the theater refrigerator so tomorrow it will be all ready for reception food. There is no hotel near our theater so we drive back and forth often which is usually the task we find most tiresome. NOW however, for me, every action has a feeling of poignancy about it. DAMN. I’ve been looking forward to both the artists and performance and THE END. At this very moment, in my heart, the latter seems to have arrived a little too soon.
Our Global DanceFest artists begin arriving tomorrow. Reggie Wilson and company first, then on Friday, Panaibra Gabriel Canda, Boyzie Cekwana and dancers. It is all quite exciting—just hope I don’t start regretting my decision to stop producing dance after this amazing splendiferous perfect couple of weeks!
Meanwhile my morning walk was cool and energizing. Rained again last night and the damp green of New Mexico right now is quite eye-opening—as in where am I?
Soon I’ll move indoors to walk evenings on the gym treadmill with a book in front of me. Get more reading done but I still won’t feel as healthy.
Don’t worry…this message is not coming to you from a Doomsday Cult. it is only the END of GLOBAL DANCEFEST. And of my dance blogging. Which was never my finest accomplishment in any case. The truth is—as pleasurable as discovering and presenting interesting dance has been—I am pretty inarticulate when it comes to discussing or describing it.
In the meantime, between now and October 5th I will keep trying! With some final pieces about my experiences in the field and also re-blogging some of the posts that seem worth sharing.
A few days ago in “Dancing to a Different Tune” I talked about constantly trying to find geographical/historical/cultural meaning in all of the work I’ve seen and/or presented from all over the world. And how sometimes it feels like the connections are so obviously there—other times like I’m forcing it. More about that in the next few days. I think.
In the meantime I’m going to re-blog something I wrote last fall before deciding to stop presenting. It’s called “A SHORT HISTORY OF DANCE IN MY LIFE,” and is both about how I came to this world of contemporary dance and how I interpret it for my presenting purposes. (At the time Global DanceFest was going to morph into something called Journeys instead of ending.)
I don’t know how to incorporate another blog post into a new one so this will be two separate posts.
Dancing Around the World is one way to describe much of my international travel. During the 1980s it was mostly to France and the rest of Europe; in the 1990s and 2000s, mostly to Africa. With a side trip here and there to Asia and Latin America.
As a dance presenter I needed to see what was percolating globally. As a perpetual student of history and geography I wanted to understand how the environment within which it was made influenced, infused and informed the dance itself.
I suspect my dance friends have found my endless attempts to give our dance programs a geo-art twist a bit silly at times. But I have just never been able to separate any kind of art from its place in the world.
Now as I look at this final Global DanceFest program I feel completely justified. The very last piece we will present is African in heart and soul, body and mind. Panaibra Gabriel Canda and Boyzie Cekwana have worked for a very long time on Inkomati (Dis)cord whenever they have had the chance to connect in their native countries of Mozambique and South Africa, or elsewhere in the world. Now it’s completed and will be here in Albuquerque and everything that a Global DanceFest wrap should be.
Inkomati (Dis)cord IS a visit to contemporary Africa. The history between two countries, the politics that never end, the doubt people feel about where they fit in the sometimes dysfunctional environments…the vitality and genius it takes to survive and thrive. It all comes out in the incredible creativity of African artists. As does the indispensable perseverance, humor and interdependence that these remarkable people bring to this unique work: Canda whose thoughtfulness infuses the work, Cekwana whose humor tinged with cynicism takes on African politics, and Maria Tembe, who lost her legs in a car accident, and is a dancer of unbelievable beauty.
I will come back to this topic of how dance and cultures based on geography and historical amalgamations intertwine. It is usually more difficult to trace than here—but I always try!
I hope everyone reading this blog within driving and flying distance will be here for Inkomati (Dis)cord. Because it is what I’ve been trying to get people to come and see for all these years of Global DanceFest. October 4 and 5/North Fourth Art Center/Albuquerque New Mexico USA.