I’m trying to get back to a routine, or craft another one, in the wake of the below mentioned deaths, plus a few others.
I lost my dance teacher with whom I studied for over 10 years, and worked for for a significant portion of that time. I went to her funeral the weekend before Robot the Rock Opera, which I had choreographed, opened. I had planned to invite her. I wanted her to see the traces of her own fingerprints on my choreographies, something only she would really be able to see. Because I’ve been struggling with other grief, I’ve had a hard time keeping up on correspondence, and I hadn’t spoken to her in a while. I regret that. Mostly, though, I regret that she didn’t get to see what I’ve done with the careful training and genuine affection she gave me.
Last year, I choreographed a stage production of Cannibal! The Musical. It was a challenge, and a rite of passage from being a sort of “dance ronin” to taking my place as a company choreographer. The cast were all adults, and few had had any dance experience at all. It was incredibly rewarding to watch some of them start to look like real dancers, some surprise themselves with what they could do. I started Planet X Dance Corps after that experience, to help them keep up their newfound or reawakened skills, and to keep being part of that amazing experience. I’m about to start production again on Cannibal! this year, and Planet X Dance Corps performs a couple of dance numbers at Planet X’s monthly cabaret show, “Hell Toupee Cabaret.” I’m not sure if I’m any better a choreographer than I was at this time last year, but I’m certainly more confident and experienced, and already proud of the returning cast.
I wish I’d been able to handle my own life well enough to be in better touch with my dance teacher before she was gone — without knowing what she had helped me accomplish.
I also lost the professor from college I had who most inspired me to try to be a scholar. He had gone to Harvard Divinity School and wrote me a recommendation for it when I applied. His belief in me allowed me to suspend my own disbelief that I could do it. I did a couple of directed studies with him, too, which I found incredibly flattering, considering how popular he was and how large his classes tended to be. I hadn’t been in touch in years by the time I heard he was gone. I think he knew I had made it to graduation with my Ph.D., but I don’t know if he knew what a profound effect he had had on my educational trajectory.
Needless to say, I’m trying to be better about communicating.
I also still haven’t really gotten past the previous losses. It remains a struggle. But I think writing about some of it here will help. I’ll try to keep it entertaining.