Why We Dance

In February, “IN” returned to the stage as a part of Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s Choreographers Laboratory. This was by far our most stressful and challenging show, with Katelin injured, and Jenny and Heidi learning whole pieces in just 2 days. Katelin, despite not being able to perform, joined us in Fort Wayne to help teach her parts. She brought not only her intimate knowledge of the movement, but her energy and passion as well, and I guess this brings me to the first of the many reasons why we dance. There is an amazing camaraderie among dancers at Motus. We rely on each other for safety and support both physical and emotional. We are in each other’s personal space with out apologies. We are open and vulnerable to each other’s comments and suggestions as we strive to achieve to the greatest of our abilities as both dancers and choreographers, and we in turn are conscientious of the impact of our words and we utter them with thoughtfulness and respect. It’s how more of the world should work frankly.

By dress rehearsal, on Friday evening, we’d only had a few hours of rehearsal time and the newly learned pieces were a bit rough. We were relieved only because we knew we would have several hours on Saturday before the show, and as we stood around talking and laughing at how far we had yet to go we were humbled by the comments we began to hear from some of the other dancers. For those of you who haven’t seen “IN.,” it is a show about inclusion and exclusion, and while it takes us to some very dark places, there is redemption and love and support in the end. It is a show that moves people, and I will always remember the words of a young girl, also a dancer, probably middle school aged, who walked up to a group of us with tears in her eyes to say how much she’d loved the piece, and how we had taught her “the meaning of dance.” Which brings me to another reason why we dance. We dance to communicate viscerally in a way we can’t with words alone. We bring life and breath to images that makes them that much more raw and gripping, at least that is our aim. I must stop here to say that while this is something as an artist we all long to achieve, it is not necessarily something we know we will be able to do successfully, and that is where the feeling of humbleness comes in. It is an amazing feeling to know that you’ve been able to affect some one so deeply. Later we learned that she was not the only one moved to tears that night.

After 3 intense hours in the studio on Saturday, the shows went well on both Saturday and Sunday, and we heard more lovely comments and feedback for our work. This is now the third time we’ve performed this piece, now shortened to 35 minutes from the original hour long production. As with anything, the more you do it, the more you become accustomed to it. The excitement of newness is gone, but this piece is special and enduring, something we may have forgotten were it not for the openness of the community at Fort Wayne.

MB

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