It was a gray, bone chilling day in early February, a year ago. The snow and rain hadn't let up for a days and things had begun to ice over. Bill Vanaver (one of the directors of The Vanaver Caravan) casually asked me if I were going to India. India? What could he possibly be talking about? He briefly explained the project and I knew immediately that I wanted in. I had to find a way to be apart of what was about to unfold before my eyes. I spent the coming months immersed in thoughts of India and figuring out how to get there.
Now, it's February 15, 2012 and I've returned from India where the strings of my soul were plucked in the most harmonious way. People ask, "Was it life-changing?" Yes, absolutely. The lingering question of my early twenties, “What am I doing with my life?” has become, “How do I continue doing this with my life? How do I nurture it, feed it and keep it growing?” No doubt that patience and presence are key in creating order to the letters that paint words into beautiful images; answers. Each moment, like the careful hands of an artist sculpted and re-shaped the project as we went along. I left with an awakening inspiration and deep-pitted motivation to continue what we've only barely begun.
Not even in the deepest, craziest forest of my imagination could I have created this. The seeds we planted with this program will grow into so much more than a simple cultural exchange. It reaches far beyond choreography and timing. It challenges the barriers of structure and breaks them down. Class and fear are replaced by curiosity, respect and exploration of the unknown,
I am thankful and proud of all the children for embodying and breathing life into the movements we worked so hard to share with them. For sculpting smiles on the anxious faces of every person who had the privilege of watching them. For all of the Dancers, Principals, Teachers, Coordinators for being courageous and feeding this project with faith in ourselves, the children, and the community.
My heart sat heavily in my chest with that awkward knot rising up into my throat when I bid farewell to the people who became family. Like an ocean’s tide, ecstasy and grief rose and fell in my body. We lay a solid foundation on which a strong structure can be designed and built. I am excited to keep on this path and build on this beautiful work.