I saw my first temps-de-cuisse/sissonne since leaving NYC, last night at the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet. Hey Martha, Debra Jo, I thought of you. I still haven’t taken the Steps NYC app off my phone. I won’t let go.
I sat in the dark, listening to the pianist play Philip Glass, Satie, Schumann, hearing the dancers’ labored breathing. Their silhouettes burned in my brain. This is my job now.
Art has been grabbing me lately. I’m no longer trying to put words to it. I let the heartstrings sing and the throat tighten and the tears well up. (But I tell people that my eyes are strained.)
I stared at photo portraits at Crystal Bridges—that precious gem of a museum suspended above the water in the Ozark woods, built by the Walton family on the back of the impoverishing small-town working class—and the gazes of the indigenous people generations ago halted me. For the directness of their expression. For the beauty of Will Wilson’s prints. For the nobility of the museum’s aim. For the disappearance of the rural middle class.
I breathe and dream this stuff now. Whether it’s the financing of theater, or why the museums are underfunded to start with, or who goes to art festivals, or artists’ legal rights, or the implications of Banksy’s shredded painting, or the policies related to the restitution of Nazi-appropriated works… friends are starting to understand what I’m doing here. It’s all fascinating, and I want more, and I wish it went longer than one year so that I had more time to soak it all in, and I need more people to talk about it with so we can come up with a point of view and an improvement.
Learning is a privilege, a responsibility and a humbling experience. Who knows this? I’ve been fortunate to work where people feel the same way. It can only happen if you let go of what you know, and you stop believing for a few minutes what you learned as an undergrad.
I wish I’d done this before I needed bifocals.