I don’t know what to do with myself. My nerves are frayed. My ability to focus has sharply declined. AND… I feel a little like my tv set when it goes into its “buffering” state. You know… the picture and sound disappear and there is that little circle that goes round and round. I imagine that this buffering circle is running after the sound and the picture… and I sit there praying it catches them before I forget what it is that I was watching.
In both worlds of the pandemic and election craze daze, we have reached the stage of repetition in the stories and warnings and expose’ and charts and statistics and rallies and tallies that only brings numbness and confusion.
Sooooo… in an effort to distract myself from myself I want to tell you a story about my dance audition for The High School of Performing Arts.
How’s that for an oxymoron! (Oxymorons exist… I know few of them…sorry, it was just sitting there and I had to.)
I was 13 and full of myself. I thought I was a gift from the muse Terpsichore.
For my audition I was asked to prepare two different kinds of dances.
My first creation was my interpretation of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz.
My second choreographic choice was to the Boston Pops version of the popular tango, Jealousy.
I thought each one reflected my brilliance as a dancer and choreographer.
Come on, guys, give me a break. I was a 13 year old who dreamed of stardom. If I became a star, I would be loved like I loved Betty Grable. Love and stardom were intricately and undeniably linked.
On the day of the audition, I changed into my leotard, walked into the big bare room with my two recordings, covered my nervousness and insecurities with a solid slice of bravura because I knew any minute I was about to be “discovered”.
Imagine my surprise as I discovered, there among the other people who were auditioning us, sat the High Priestess of Dance herself, Martha Graham. And I knew for sure the only reason she was there was to “discover ME”.
And so I danced with a fury as if my life depended on it. And for me, in a way it did. At 13 I knew family and home had a shelf life. I needed to begin my climb sooner rather than later. I moved to The Blue Danube increasing the tempo with speed of dips and turns never once looking in HER direction. And of course the ending was an overdramatic leap into the air with a slide flat out onto the floor. The thought of that move today would be the end not the beginning.
I immediately rose up from the floor and changed the record before they had a chance to say, Thank you and usher me out.
My interpretation of Jealousy followed along the lines of the movie The Red Shoes. I used the dramatic orchestral flourishes to interpret going “crazy” as I tangoed through the morass of a troubled mind… The everything and the kitchen sink approach…
I’m not going to keep you in suspense. I was accepted as a student in the dance department. I had also auditioned for the drama department. Of course, I was hedging my bets. It was not quite as dramatic as my dancing. I think I did a scene from something I wrote where I played all the parts. Over-the-top defined me then as now.
Many years later when I could bear to think about what I put Martha Graham through, I tried to imagine what she thought. I had spirit and energy. I had an intense desperation bordering on insanity to succeed, which is absolutely necessary for any budding wanna-be artist. And she had to have been amused or at least distracted from her problems for those few moments.
Phew! That felt good. There is no question about it. Distraction was definitely needed. In spiritual terms, I really want to believe that no matter what the outcome during this pandemic and after November 3 … All will be well. And honestly, my friends, in the deepest part of me, I do believe that is true. My sense of life is as long as I have it… life that is… all IS well.
I am the microcosm in the macrocosm. No Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or Anarchist or Nihilist brings the sun up and good old Mother Nature laughs (and lately cries) at those who think they can.
Right??? Of course, right!!!!
Love, Sally-Jane 💗
P.S. I promised I wasn’t going to get into it… but I had my fingers crossed… So, if you are so inclined, give this a look: