Dream Chance

So … we’ve discussed my past in dance, and the reason I can’t anymore, right? Now is one of those times where the Fear comes back.

At the end of this year, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will be closing its doors. Their final performance will be at the Park Avenue Armory on New Year’s Eve. But before that, they’ll be here, in DC, at the Kennedy Center.


It’s been a dream of mine for the past oh, 15 years, to dance with/for Merce Cunningham. My focus was always in modern choreography, and they do it better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough in 2007 (just months after my accident) to  see the company perform three pieces … two of which were premieres.

eyeSPACE was something new and unusual … an hour-long piece of choreography, with no music. Each audience member was given an iPod Shuffle … and told when to begin playing. Each iPod had different accompaniment  … some were music, some were city or nature sounds, and at least one was a spanish lesson. (My date for the night had that one.) You could also choose to take out your headphones, and just listen to the sounds of the dance itself. Everyone in the audience had an entirely unique experience. It was a study in DANCE as a stand alone art form … not just as an accompaniment to music.

It was stunning.

I, of course, cried my way through that performance. For the beauty, and for everything lost. When applying to take classes with the company (in hopes of becoming a company member one day), they put you through a course of back strength testing and build up. Specifically, lower back. The part that was so much trouble for me. So … that was out.

And this year, they’re closing. But as a grand farewell, they’re doing the Legacy Tour … and one stop is here. On December 2nd. Any way I can, I’m going.

Here comes the scary part:

On December 3rd, they’re offering a Master Class for intermediate to advanced dancers. I’m not at that level anymore. I’d say, thanks to my limitations, I’m a low intermediate. (And yes, that just killed me to write.) I don’t know that I could handle it.

My husband last night said “It might hurt.” I thought he was talking physically … he was talking emotionally. God love him for trying to protect me … he knows how upset I get any time I’m faced with something I used to be able to do so easily, and just can’t anymore.

But IT’S A CHANCE TO DANCE WITH MERCE. A chance that will NEVER happen again.

And I’m terrified.

What do I do?


As a side bonus … CoisCéim Dance Theatre … from Dublin. I saw this program (Knots) in 2005. This video does NOT do it justice. It’s so much more intricate and dramatic live. The camera work here is just terrible.*

The duet at 4:00 was the last piece I ever performed … just 2 weeks before my accident. It was raw, and emotional … just like you’d expect it to be. Oh … and my shirt wasn’t torn. 



*Though I do LOVE that they didn’t try to edit the bruises out. That was a dance that left huge welts. It was worth it.

4 Comments to “Dream Chance”

  1. I had no idea about the accident, how horrifying for you.

    I used to dance as well, although I stopped performing (voluntarily) about six years ago. The performing is what I miss the most. When I lived in New York, I started taking classes again fairly regularly, which felt great. Since I’ve lived in Toronto, though, I haven’t set foot inside a studio. I’m a bit ashamed of that, if we’re being honest.

    Look. I think you should take the class. I’ve found a LOT of Master Classes terrifying, simply because sometimes the style/technique/choreography wasn’t what I was used to knowing. Different teachers, different ways of having to pick up the choreography . . . sometimes I found it frustrating. I know those aren’t your fears, but they still made the classes rough sometimes. I was a decent dancer, and most of the time I got through it, but yes, sometimes I was embarrassed. What does that embarrassment mean now? Absolutely nothing. My point being, go. Maybe it will hurt, both physically and emotionally. But there’s also the chance that some of it — some specific movement, some 16-count section of the combination, something about being in a group of dancers — that will feel ohsogood.

    If I weren’t such a chicken shit, my out-of-dance-shape ass might volunteer to go with you. Then you could look at me and say, “Wow, what the EFF is she doing,” instead of thinking about your (possibly) limited movement.

  2. Yes Sarah, go for it. I admire you so much. And I think you should try even if it could potentially hurt you in more than one way. (Of course stay safe). I think it will do you go, because from the little that I know you from this space, you love dancing with all of your heart and soul, and I believe in pursuing those things. Plus, you do not lose anything for trying, and I think you just might regret not trying.

  3. oh dearest. Whatever you choose is brave (and I feel this deeply in ways I can’t really explain in words.)

  4. You go for it. You go for it!! And even if you fall flat on your face, you enjoy the fuck out of every second because HELL YES. And you enjoy that out of body experience that comes with being in a moment you’ve wished for your whole fucking life.

    Go for it. BE NOT AFRAID OF FAILURE because what is the fucking point.

    (is it swear word Wednesday, it might be… )

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