So I’ve wanted to write about this since Saturday but I haven’t felt ready. I think I am now. Hopefully I can accurately put my feelings into words.
As you all know, this Saturday our company, BAHBT, or as I often refer to it, BanB, performed our mixed rep production entitled Fusion in Sync. It was a very well put together show. Each piece showed the gracefulness, beauty, diversity, quality, and expression of our company so well and our packed audiences made it very clear how much they loved it. I have discussed previously here on the blog about the final piece in the show, You Turned My Mourning Into Dancing, choreographed by Cara Shanks, based on the accident that occurred June 3rd and life after it. I know many people were confused and angry going into the show having a misunderstanding about the piece. They thought we were going to re-enact the accident itself when in fact all we did was fall to the ground. These people who had these views coming into the show realized our intentions behind the piece and were deeply moved. I will now try to tell you what was going through my mind Saturday night as I performed the piece.
I think of the beginning of the dance as our yellow tulip section. We are all together dancing as one, oblivious of what is ahead of us in the near future. I try to enjoy those minutes and not think too much about life as it is now and focus on what life was: happiness, silliness, joy, untroubled, carefree.
As Devin, Cara, Aaron, and I take off our hoods at the start of the “trio” I try to visualize every moment of that photo shoot in full detail. I remember arriving at Makenzie’s Grandparents house viewing the back yard and thinking about how beautiful it was. I immediately click into “Caitlin the Photographer” mode. Many times throughout the trio I visualize certain photos or certain locations from the site. My favorite part is when Wiggins and I would hold hands and turn fast in a circle with big smiles on our faces. (During the shows we said our “I love you”s during this particular moment, knowing what would follow a few 6-counts after.)
As Cara steps over me on the ground I pull myself up off the ground as if Kenzie is pulling me up saying “You can do it!” Through Aaron and I’s duet I say specific words. Words that I remember saying in the hospital. Words I remember saying to Aaron the first time I saw him. Words people told me. Words the doctors said. And the dreadful words that were spoken to me concerning dear Makenzie’s fate. I also visualize certain events. The first time I had a hard cry at night. The time where Aaron gave me my tulip painting. The first time I picked up to call Makenzie’s phone to hear her voicemail. As Aaron and I catch each other when we’re about to fall I’m reminded of how much I love him and how lucky we are to be alive and have each other. His support and understanding gets me through each day. Walking back to Devin to give her the white rose is always when I start to cry and I’m really not sure why. All I know is that I’m so glad that Aaron is holding my hand. I would hate to walk that walk by myself.
We proceed to heaven section. I make sure to position myself so I can see Cara when she throws the white rose petals in the air. That moment is so magical and that’s when I really start to feel Makenzie’s presence with us as we dance. As we get start our section in groups that is when I’m the most vulnerable. I’m in the very front practically crying on the front row. I’ve learned how amazing it feels to cry and dance at the same time. When I do that, I’m expressing the feelings that I can express through words but through the next best way I can… dance. Then we watch Cara’s solo, but none of us our really seeing Cara, its Makenzie we see. This part brings tears and smile to our faces, it’s as if we’re seeing her dance again. The group hug with Devin is such a wonderful moment because I can feel everyone. I feel their strength, their weakness, their anger, their sadness, their joy. I feel it with them. Then as we wave to Cara its as if we’re in heaven seeing our Makenzie again. I think about how awesome that event will be and how I can’t wait to see her again. Then we do what I refer to as the “running but going no where” section. It’s as if we’re going through the motions of everyday life, trying to get through it all, but for some reason we keep staying in place. Then we each get touched by either Cara or Devin. I really try to imagine Kenzie’s touch. As the next section continues I try to go through the emotions I’ve been feeling the past couple days and how much I miss Kenz. As we go into the final part of the dance, what Cara calls the mother section, I hear the other dancers sobbing. As I listen closer I can hear the audience sobbing too. And as we finish the piece walking to the back the sobs get louder and echo with the space. Since I’m in the back of the group I see everyone else before me walking and I know that they’ll always be with me just like they are in that dance.
I sit here crying not knowing why I felt like I had to put this into words. But I knew I had to. That dance was in no way used as entertainment purposes. Because of that, Cara is not going to let the dance be on YouTube or performed by any other dancers or be performed at any other performance in years to come. It’s because the dance was a way of turning OUR mourning into dancing, the best way we know how. It was therapeutic for both the dancers and the audience. After the show I hugged so many people. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I hugged. Seeing the audience’s reception to the piece was so beautiful and I’m so glad that I through this dance I was able to help heal the hearts of others. I know that its helped heal me in so many ways. All I kept hearing was, Makenzie would have loved it. Feeling her presence there, I know she did love it.