here are a few stellar moments from a performance of an as-of-yet untitled piece that i'm growing with dancer/choreographer francesca harper. its an exploration of billie holiday's life and times through movement, music and multimedia. these moments photographed here found us dancing to the sound of her speaking voice, edited from an interview that she did with mike wallace, accompanied by pianist jeremy bacon.
we did this at the first ever harlem arts festival in the newly renovated marcus garvey park ampitheater. huzzah!
this performance has clung to my heart ever since for several reasons. first of all, it happened on my birthday. i really felt as though something wonderful was born on that stage that day. or maybe it was growing out of the pit of me all along. what it was, i can't say exactly. i remember feeling especially overwhelmed by it all. and grateful.
secondly, i danced -- something that i was always made to feel that i was incapable of doing. more on that some other time.
interestingly, francesca has instigated all of this movement in my life -- or at least, tilted my perspective enough to make me believe that i can do it. and i am doing it -- professionally. i met her at a boardwalk empire audition for jazz dancers. we both got the gig and i've been kicking up my heels (more or less) ever since. it's so important for me to challenge myself, to do things i've never done before, to push myself outside of my comfort zone, to try new things. if i don't, i will not grow. and if i don't grow, then really, what's the point?
as kenyatta beasley watched me dance with the francesca harper project, i think he was totally overwhelmed. "i didn't know you could do that," he kept saying, like a mantra.
"neither did i," i replied breathlessly.
and lastly? afterwards, kenyatta remarked, "you danced for me today. you dancing was a gift you gave me." and him saying that felt like the best birthday present i had ever gotten and would ever get, ever ever ever.