dance, Dance, DANCE!

Some interests in life come and go. Others, If you’re lucky, hang around for a lifetime.

It’s hard for me to believe that I have loved dance since I was a toddler. Even before toddlerhood,if you believed my mother! That’s a long time ago.

minime

I loved dance throughout childhood, took a few detours during adolescence, then returned to it, in one form or another,  throughout adulthood.

I can no longer dance personally because of physical limitations. However, for the past two decades, as a result of a non-profit organization I founded, I’ve been able to promote and support dance.  At a time when it too frequently feels as if the world is going to hell, I am fortunate enough to have an alternative focus.  I like to think what we do here at DANCEworks makes a small contribution to elevating the best side of our humanity.

In a few days, a new season of DANCEworks will begin. I’ll soon have the pleasure and honor of welcoming Adam Barruch and his dancers to Santa Barbara.  I’ll wake up each morning with a jolt of pleasure, knowing that the artists are in residence at the historic Lobero Theatre, just a few blocks away from where I live.

During the month, I’ll soak up the dancers’ energy, revel in their talent and share food, drinks and laughs with them. I’ll gain new perspectives, meet new people, and have the deep satisfaction of knowing that right here, right now we are contributing to the future of dance in America.

A gift will arrive soon that is about to be unwrapped.  I like to think it’s here for everyone.

DANCEworks 2015:  September 1-26th. 

gift

WANNA TRAVEL? NOT SO FAST

We’ve all filled out  checklists for “things we like to do.”  You know, the list where you tell the world about your favorite pastimes like travel, cooking, knitting, playing tennis, reading, or running for Congress.

I think my list might have just gotten shorter.  At least for the kind of travel that demands sightseeing, eating out for three meals a day, making endless decisions about what to do, as well as packing and unpacking on a regular basis. Add the role of navigator for car rides through an unfamiliar city; a role fraught with the opportunity for conflict between travel partners. Unexpectedly,our GPS friend could suddenly change her mind, periodically throwing in a misadvised right turn that could take us miles out of our way.  Sometimes, you can’t tell who to believe anymore.

We just returned from a ten day trip to Portland, Vancouver and Salt Spring Island.  By the time I arrived home last night, I’d eaten 30 meals at different restaurants, checked in and out of three different hotels, acquired an upper respiratory infection, gotten tired of looking at tatooed bodies and skanky beards, decided that no farmer’s markets top our Santa Barbara farmer’s markets, sampled a dozen different local brews, ate regional ice cream whenever possible, and was saddened by the numbers of homeless that barely manage to get by in the cities we visited.

bearded men

This NW trip was largely motivated by curiosity to check out the food mystique that surrounds Portland, Oregon.  My husband is the real foodie in the family. He was a foodie before anyone had even coined the term.  Eating good food is second only to fishing for him. His capacity for culinary exploration is boundless. His willingness to travel is dependent upon what the quality of the food will be at our destination.  His passion is unrelenting.  On the morning of our departure for the Portland Airport, he proposed that, we not eat at our hotel, but rather stop for breakfast at one of the famous and admittedly fabulous donut haunts in Portland. It was futile to suggest otherwise.

apple cider donutIf if ever dare to suggest that we skip a meal on our travels, the look of hurt and sadness that crosses my husband’s  face, quickly makes me say, “just fooling.”

Around Day 5, I started counting the # of days until I could come home.  My illness left me with little energy and less enthusiasm for exploration.Big cities are morphing into a similar deadening architectural consistency. An ever expanding march of monolithic high rises have risen across the sky of the urban landscape. The corporate world quickly fills in any blanks, so that shopping too has become homogenized and monotonous. For me, the most compelling parts of the landscape were the natural ones.

salt spring island
Salt Spring Island

The views seen at the edges of the cities on Salt Spring, Vancouver and Portland were beautiful.  But so are the views closer to home.

Do I sound jaded?  My heart just wasn’t in it this time.  Bottom line?  This kind of travel was work. I no longer want to fill my day chasing Things Meant to be Seen and Eaten.

This morning when I awoke, I smiled in recognition of the familiar light and objects that surrounded me.  The wall behind my desk has an informal arrangement of people and things I love.  As my gaze fell on each image, I felt welcomed back into the world where I am surrounded by the people, memories, places and things I love and give my life meaning.

momentosjapanese momentos

A DAY FOR LOVE

wedding day

Throughout the centuries, great minds have tangled with the meaning of LOVE.  It’s a big mysterious word, yet one that is used frequently and casually in our culture.  Although we all speak of love frequently,  we don’t have many opportunities to immerse ourselves in its radiant glow.

On a basic level if we are lucky, we learn to:  Love our parents, love food, love God, love the sunrise, love Thanksgiving, love our child, love our dog, love the full moon, love a restaurant, love to travel, love to dance, love a movie, love the color green, love a sibling, love our Manolo Blahniks, love yoga, love San Francisco, love the sunrise, love flowers, trees, the ocean, and the Sierras. You get the idea.  We get some bang for the buck from each of these relationships, but can take many of them for granted.

I only want to comment about being in the presence of a universal ritual devoted to love, called a wedding.  It caused me to pay attention to LOVE in a way I don’t often get to do.

We had a small wedding at our home recently.  It was not for a close family member, but for a friend.  It was a privilege to be present and to witness the love that surrounded those present and the spaces we shared.

It goes without saying the bride was beautiful.  The groom was dashing.  The day was spectacular.  The setting intimate and personal.

But, what I will remember most and what permeated everything was the spoken and unspoken celebration of love.

I was aware that this ancient tradition is the highest expression of our humanity.  Before me stood  a young couple, deeply in love, vowing to be there for each other. Their parents, relatives and close friends heard their vows and surrounded them with their own love for each.

I was aware of what a brief moment in time we were sharing together in this fragile world and fragile life.  A sacred moment of beauty, intimacy and hope.

It was a time that seemed blessed, no matter its length.  It was a time of smiles, laughter and tears.  It spoke of the importance of family, continuity and friendship.  Most of all, it was a glorious day for LOVE.

We are born of love; love is our mother.  Rumi