still learning how to sail

by erika

Hi Friends,

I am re-staging “Jo’s Journal,” Sharon Randolph’s beautiful ballet that imagines Jo and the March girls through flashback from Jo’s perspective. I have danced this role at 17 and 27, coached it at 37 and re-staged it once at 39. My new Jo is 17 and auditioned for me 4 years ago, and though all Jo, she was too young. Now as a “little woman,” she is so very ready for the role. While coaching her to be in the body of the grown-up lady Jo, I asked her to imagine into the future (since she couldn’t go as far back into her past). To think of all the bodies who have danced this role and how old we will be when she is 27. To see us as an extension of her–to feel our lust for those 17 year-old knees, that gratitude for surviving those early 20s, and that wistfulness for the confidence that finally started to come in our 30s. To see the now almost 44 me, who, while teaching Jo, still tries to dance like she 17 (though her feet hurt like they’ve aged in dog years) and is looking into the future, uncertain, once again. There are multiple moments in this ballet where I remember myself at every decade–remember myself exactly–the feel of my face, the shape of my heart, and the strength of my want at that time for what was to come or what had already been. I teared up three times yesterday–watching this young girl become herself and her future. Thank god my  heart is packed in memory foam–to help seal the cracks as I glue myself back together with the knowing of all these women I am, and all of those great women who have come before me.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship”

Louisa May Alcott

Thank you, Louisa. Thank you, Sharon. Thank you, Jo.

love to all,

not-so-silent e