about a week ago, ava had her very first dance performance and I'm all crazy inside about it. it's so much that I don't even know what to write or how to begin. such an emotional thing for me, seeing her on stage for the first time. yes, okay. I admit it, people. I cried. all these years dancing, performing, teaching (other people's children)... wondering what it might be like to have a child of my own who might be interested in dance. I am aware that ava is only four and this is probably one out of like, 5,731 things she is going to take an interest in, but still. there she was, up on that stage... in her brown velvet costume, under those bright lights, a little unsure, a little unsteady. the student musicians started to play (miles davis!) and they all began to dance (well, sort of) and my heart swelled and I thought surely I might burst into a million pieces. I wanted to fly out of my seat and onto the stage and hug and squeeze her and dance with her. instead, I sat quietly. beaming. at the curtain call, the sound of african drums filled the rialto theatre as a swarm of young dancers and musicians took the stage for final bows. I could barely see ava amidst the chaos. what I was able to make out was her smile-- small, but proud.
ava and dance. in the womb, she kicked (hard, man) while I worked with the moving in the spirit kids (usually when the drums were loud and driving). she is partly named after an amazing african dancer I met while studying at the american dance festival at duke university, summer of 1997. this woman (ava) was one of the strongest, most beautiful dancers I had ever met. behind the electricity and power of her dancing was also an incredible mother, so warm, so open and loving-- full of grace and life. I loved watching her move. fell in love with her name (and all that it had come to represent to me) that summer and secretly vowed that it would be the name of my daughter, should I ever be so blessed to have one.
and so this could be the first of many performances for ava... or the last. I have no way of knowing what will spark her interests in the coming years. of course, I would be lying if I said I didn't care. to take her to her first modern dance performance... to expose her to all the wonderful and different kinds of movement out there... to take an african dance class together... maybe even collaborate/choreograph/perform together. yes, that would be brilliant. what I am thankful for today, though, is this: I was given the chance to see her on stage dancing with live music and lights and excitement this once, to share this love of dance with her, witness this thing of beauty. and that is enough for me.