In an attempt to overcome my deep emotions over the loss of my mother, I choreographed a solo entitled, “Mother’s Day,” circa, 1998. It took me three years and six months, after my mother’s death in 1994, to be able to get my legs under me enough so I could go back into the studio just for me. It’s easy to work with others, but putting myself into the ring with my shadowy self, was like walking into a dark alley, facing the fear that I might be accosted, or trip on a crack and fall unconscious. So, that time came and went, and I am still alive to tell about it. Phfeww!
As all artists draw upon their pain and suffering to create their art, I, too, was going to revel in my psychological pathos, and use the tools I had, to be responsive to what was lurking deep within me. I had a red chair. That was my tool. It was after my Mom told me that she had a dream that she saw me on a chair, dancing on a stage, that I found it. That was just before she died that she told me that dream. I, in turn, told her the dream I had. It was a dream that she died. She said, “sometimes dreams of death are not always about the person dying.” However, Mom, that dream was a prophetic, and so was yours.
I used my Mom’s and my dream as part of the narrative of my piece. It turned out to be more of a theatrical dance, rather than a “dance-y dance,” and it just seemed to pour out of me. It was just before Mother’s Day in May, when I premiered this solo at the Cunningham Dance Studio, back when Merce was still alive. Backstage, against a dusty, dirty wall, I placed a picture of my mother, took a deep breath, and walked out onto the stage to perform. I felt her presence with me on the dance floor, stirring me to tears.
So, now May 2016, with all cobwebs cleared away from the past, I can engage fully with my mother at any given moment. Though I have no children, I have felt like a mother for most of my life. The joy of functioning as a nurturer has brought enriching experiences into my life, and has even allowed me to help when one of my dancers lost her own mother. The hurt and broken places, within many of the dancers that have worked with me, has opened doors to healing while we have been in the creative process together. Sharing this closeness, through which transformation has always been the result, is what makes me continue to want to create. Without a mother’s love, there’s no telling what might appear in your dreams. Happy Mother’s Day!
See Mother’s Day here.