Sunday, September 30, 2007

Notes from the Field (III)

"What I did on my summer vacation!"
Notes from the Field- Fall 2007

When I was a little girl, my dad would take my youngest brother, Robby, and I to Kennedy Airport to watch the planes take off and land. Fido, as we have always called him, (don’t ask why – but I’m pretty sure I was the one who started it all!!) worked for the Post Office there in foreign mail, and knew all the back roads in and around the runways.

Robby and I would bring along empty suitcases, so we could look like we were actually going somewhere, and gradually fill them up with any brochures or pamphlets we saw along the way. This was, of course, long before beverages, nail clippers, and crochet hooks were considered deadly weapons, and one could stroll, without taking off ones funky sneakers, right up to the giant windows overlooking the runways.

I don’t know why my dad took us on these little trips – maybe it was just to get us from under my mother’s feet, so she would only have four children to look after, instead of all six - but what those journeys instilled in me was a HUMOGOUS case of wanderlust, that I’ve been lucky enough to indulge my entire adult life.

This summer, my husband Jim and I, were fortunate enough to go to Rome for nine days – and what an experience it was!! People call it “The Eternal City”, and I get that, I do. But, I call Rome “The Madonna of Cities”. And by that I don’t mean the one in the Pieta, I’m talking about “The Material Girl”.

Much has been made of Madonna’s (the singer, that is) ability to reinvent herself – from “voguer” to “kabbalist”, Brooklyn girl to Londoner. The same could be said of Rome. From the ancient days, where the Christian’s were the underdogs (to say the least), to the rise of Catholicism, Rome has under gone many a makeover! For example: under a seemingly “old” 15th century church, is buried a home that existed hundreds of years prior to that. Pedestals that one supported statues of various and sundry gods, now hold aloft Catholic saints. Like a character in a hero’s journey tale, Rome keeps moving forward finding what it needs to go on, to survive, to thrive.

It was this sense of evolution that touched me the most about Rome, this tangible symbol of one thing, literally building on another. We are, all of us, standing on the shoulders of those that came before us, continuing what another generation has started.

As an artist, I have sometimes been plagued with doubts about my multiple interests and bizarre career trajectory. (I mean, how does a classically trained ballet dancer land up as a storyteller and a clown???) I’ve sometimes craved to be more “one disciplined focused” or more traditional in my creative endeavors. But what my sojourn to Rome showed me, is that to evolve, to change, to grow, is not only natural, it’s beneficial. It makes things a whole lot more interesting, rich, real, and beautiful.

So now that I’ve said, “Ciao!” to that city of a thousand identities, I cherish the fact that layered over, and mixed into my dance, is my storyteller, my clown, my stiltwalker, my American Sign Language skills, and even my yoga practice. I love the fact that I know that any tale I told last year, might be unrecognizable in six months, because I have grown through the telling of it – that what I did in a dance performance has informed how a character moves, or what I found works in the physical comedy of clown is prefect for a story. I will ALWAYS cherish the fact that every single day, I seem to find something new and fun that inspires me to take all of my many layers, and use it in my art. Mille grazie, Roma! Ciao!!

Upcoming Performances

October 11th: New Providence Library NJ 6:30PM
October 12th: Fort Washington Branch, NYC Public Library 4PM
October 19th: Van Nest Branch, NYC Public Library 4PM
October 20th: Donnel Library, NYC Public Library 3:30PM
October 24th: Morris Park Branch, NYC Public Library 3:30PM
October 26th: Kips Bay Branch, NYC Public Library 3:30PM
October 27th: Summit Library, NJ 2PM
October 30th: Fair Haven Library, NJ 3:30PM
October 30th: Peapack-Gladstone Library, NJ 7PM
November 14th: Barnegut Library, NJ 7PM
November 24th: Westfield Library, NJ 1PM
February 2nd: Jackson Library, NJ 2PM
February 17th: Afro-American Historical Society Museum 12PM