7 a.m.—Departing Bogota airport. I like Bogota in May. The rain cools everything off, but not so much that I need to wear socks in my sandals. The city has a bouncy, enthusiastic...
Show's over and my mind races to the next dance before I have really processed the last one. I have this lovely idea of portraying Icarus: Alex held aloft, swooping and diving, not touching ground for the whole piece. It's a risky job, but sounds so fun!
The concert went well. We drew better than 50 people both days: a victory on a holiday weekend. Anne-Marie's group and ours got along comfortably. My group performed well both days! We're still working out the kinks in the new dance, but I was proud on both evenings, a rare treat.
We arrived on a breezy Friday afternoon. Much to my surprise, the Memorial Day traffic was light, at least coming into Philly. We had the inevitable holdup on the bridge, but no big deal. We dropped off props at the Bride.
The Painted Bride is at the northern tip of Old City, in the theater district, but far enough off Market St that you wouldn't just stumble on it. It is "painted" with a sprawling mosaic of glass and mirror shards: a Philly landmark. The performance space holds 200 with a dozen or so tiers of seats, but the performers are remarkably intimate with the audience: everyone is very close. It is an almost perfect venue for us: close enough to see the intricate movements we make within our huddles, far enough to see it when we jump. The staff was friendly, capable, easygoing--magical.
After a quick bite, I dropped off Maya and Jen with friends in University City, then proceeded to Group Motion for another delicious romp! I had a quiet practice. As soon as I started to move, I felt my lower back seizing up. This happens to me when I am under too much stress. On occasion, I have had lower back spasms that leave me immobile for days. I was scared that this might happen, so I continued to move, to release those muscles. I moved slowly, at first with discrete muscles, then in integration. I kept to the back of the studio for over an hour, just releasing my tension and allowing my emotions to empty into the space, hands over wet eyes, realizing just how much I wanted this show to go well and how frightened I was of failure. Eventually, I got to standing and had a lovely duet with a woman named Melissa. It was a good night, just what I needed.
I took a long bath afterward, read a book, and relaxed.
Saturday was a hump! We started warming up/teching at 11am. There were lights to focus, dances to run. The director now, I was unable to simply focus on my body and the dances, but spent at least as much time in consultation with our excellent lighting designer, Stefan Johnson, as on the dance floor.
I had everyone take out lifts during the tech run to save our strength. This was a successful strategy. By the dress run at 3:30, some of the lifts were rough, but we were not utterly exhausted. I did, however, not take enough care with my last lift, throwing myself onto Alex instead of giving him my weight. I managed, by accident, to hit the side of his face and made a finger-sized bruise. I needed some rest.
I used my hour off to nap in the back of the theater. My back was sore, but no longer felt like a cinched belt.
We got to watch Anne-Marie Mulgrew's dances during the dress rehearsal. I was pleased by her dances, especially because they were different from ours, with more unison and bubbly energy. They were a nice contrast to make for a better show.
I was satisfied by the performance. We had sold precious few advanced tickets, so I was pleased by the numbers who arrived. We got to hang with some Group Motion folks during reception. Afterward, we sought food together: Alex and I bought sandwiches, Amanda and Stefan bought yummy ice cream at Franklin Fountain. Frances Gremillion, one of Anne-Marie's dancers, wandered the bustling streets with us in the cool breeze.
Sunday, we brunched at Sabrina's Cafe in South Philly. I got to catch up with Jen and Maya a bit. They were having a different Philly experience: playing with the twin boys Jove and Griffin with whom we were staying. It is a strange experience to be a stay-at-home dad, then go almost a full day without seeing either wife or kid. I felt as if I were wearing a disguise. We played in a playground under searing sunshine before Alex, Stefan, and I had to leave for the show.
The matinee went just as well. I planned to be a bit more subdued, but didn’t manage it. I was a little too hyper in spots, but not frantic.
On the road home after the show, when Maya finally napped, Jen and I got to chat a bit. It had been a hard weekend on her. She made it to the show on Sunday, but was pooped, had spent more time fighting off sleep than enjoying herself. I realized that Jen had not even seen our premiere before the show, an unusual occurrence in our years together. I begin to understand how much we have missed each other since Maya was born. Now that Maya is a little older, I look forward to spending more time with the woman I love.
Photos by Bill Hebert.