i raised my hand after the show:
“I’m not even sure what I need to say, but I’m just gonna start talking…”
[it was the talkback segment after Eve Ensler’s newest play Fruit Trilogy, and I was talking directly to Eve here.]
“Thank you for your work. Thank you for reminding me that our bodies have the answers. I was a ballerina and left that dance world when I was 19 and after thought I no longer had a place in the world to dance, so I stopped. Didn’t have the words for it at the time, but I see how that ballet world was patriarchy embodied in dance, trying to tell me that I had to fit into a certain way of doing it that stifled me and shut me down.
“I’ve been on this path to revive dance in my life in my own way for the last almost ten years, and I’m doing it. I’m dancing everywhere, I’m facilitating classes and programs that guide other people back into their dance, too, and as I’m doing this I’m still wondering,
“is it enough? is my dancing really doing anything?
“What about the children at the border? What about all the other million injustices happening in the world? How do I make a difference? What about you - Did you always know you’d start a giant non-profit? Did you just make art for yourself? Does it really start with our art?!”
And Eve responded:
[and I’m paraphrasing what I can remember]
“That’s the thing. We all think we have to do EVERYTHING and then we end up getting overwhelmed and doing nothing. We forget that we all have a part, we’re all part of a mosaic. We get caught up in thinking about how to fix everything that’s happening at a distance, and we forget that right here in this body, right here with the person next to us, we can make a difference… And dance. Dance is what has brought people together, healed people, for centuries… When dance is awakened, when our bodies are awakened, then we can create real change. Your dancing IS enough.”
(And not to say, by the way, that ONLY dance needs to happen. But dancing will help us, heal us, and connect us, and from that place we can take more aligned action. We can take action politically, show up at the rallies, make phone calls and donate and mobilize, etc.)
She told us about her fan worship of Tina Turner and then she pointed out Liz Mikel, one of the stars of the play, as an example, too, of the power of an embodied woman. How seeing those women perform gives us all permission to do the same. Because they are SO embodied, there is no jealousy. They only instigate our own desire to move and be embodied, too. And that is what shifts us.
I took these words in so deeply.
I lingered afterwards to see Eve and thank her and hear her say directly to me, one more time, while hugging me:
“You are enough.”
[cue the tears and heart exploding]
I got to hug Liz Mikel, too, and trade dance stories - turns out she started as a ballerina, too.
And here I am, typing away at midnight in my bedroom, so filled up with the passion to move things, to move people, with a renewed vigor about next week’s Dance Rebels’ Revival Show.
Throughout the process of planning this show, I’ve had moments where I questioned, “does anyone really need to come to a dance show with everything going on in the world?”
And I know that voice enough to recognize it as crap. Valid crap, sure, because it makes me step even more fiercely into the real voice. The truth voice.
And the real voice, the real truth that I know deep down, the truth that Eve Ensler echoed to me Wednesday night, is that it DOES matter. Your art and expression and dance matter. Your ability to FEEL the pain and sorrow and loss and heartbrokenness of the world and to choose to move those feelings through you, through creative expression, is a radical act. It is healing what so many try to avoid.
It is how we are going to move things and people and create a new paradigm. A paradigm that stops banging our heads against the wall and starts birthing new ideas from the body.
Here’s more on that subject, because I really can’t stop talking about this:
(hint: If you are feeling pain, you are doing something right. Just remember, you are meant to move the pain through you, not let it destroy you.)
So, we have one theater show only, Friday night June 29th. The Saturday night show has been canceled and relocated to the streets of Brooklyn, after the rally on June 30th. We will dance our dances, connect with humanity, and share our voices.
Hope to see you there.
Get your ticket here to next Friday’s show and use my code JESS10 for a $10 discount.
And join us for Saturday’s outdoor performance and film shoot, and dance with us there. (I’ll be sending out information on exact time and location soon. Click here to stay updated.) No tickets needed for Saturday, just donate something to the ACLU or Together Rising or your charity of choice.
Feel the pain.
Cry the pain.
Dance the pain.
Move the pain.
Then take action with the new, freed-up space within yourself you’ll create by doing all that.
The thing that authentically wants to be expressed from you is exactly what the world is waiting for.
Dance rebels, art rebels, let’s do this.
enough is enough and you are enough,