(Wait! What is this? Skip to the bottom for an explanation.)
It’s hard to put my experience into palatable prose… I don’t know where to start and I don’t know where to end. I mostly ended up with a bunch of questions. I’m going to use one of the notes that Bianca gave me at the beginning to structure my response.
Photo by Anne Lawrence
When I arrived, Bianca gave me letters. Letters are a huge part of my life, and reading them soothed me. She gave me an iPod, and asked if I was ready. HA! Ready as I could ever be. We sat down back to back, heads touching, and listened to the sounds of the skate park, which I love. I was nervous, but I don’t know why—I felt like it was my first day in a new place.
Photo by Anne Lawrence
Photo by Anne LawrenceAs I approached the site for my solo, I was pulled intensely toward the experience but I also felt like running away. I couldn’t leave, though, as much as I wanted.
Bianca knew that I love singing along to my favorite songs. Despite my love of singing along, I'm very self-conscious about it… which is why when Bianca said she was going to sing her song to me, and I could choose any song from the playlist (a list of my favorite songs) on the iPod to sing to her, I realized exactly how far off in the distance my comfort zone was. We faced each other and we sang, displaying ourselves unabashedly for each other. I was surprised by how effortlessly I could let go of my fear and my discomfort. It was uncomfortable and perfect.
The next song I chose was for her to dance her dance. She danced another introduction, encouraging me to feel where I was and what I was doing much more strongly. Our roles became clear: Without one of us, this wouldn’t be happening.
Watch the video of Bianca's dance for Mykaila
Then she danced me. She showed something stunning to me—it was something I had never seen before but that I somehow knew. She ran away, and I stood up. I had intended to follow her, but curbed that impulse as soon as it came to me. I stood there, not sure what to do, until I realized that I didn’t have to hold back—I could follow my whim: it would be honest. Dodging and turning, we circled the skate park. Nobody knew what was going on—maybe not even us.
Bianca certainly (though I’m not TOTALLY sure how) figured out my inhibitions and confronted them with me. After she presented my dance she said, "You go behind that tree, and I’ll stay behind this tree, and we will both dance. Dance party style." I couldn't say no, no matter how freaked and self-conscious I felt. HEY EVERYBODY COME SEE ME CONFRONT MY FEARS!
I am so grateful for Bianca and her role in this project. I’m not sure how to appropriately thank her for the openness, kindness, love, and honesty with which she treated me and approached the solo… but I’m working on it.
It doesn’t feel like the end, really... It feels more like a beginning.
“What if nothing is random?” one of her letters asked me. I have never believed in meant to be, but I have a hard time believing in random now.
And, you know, dancing and singing aren’t scary at all anymore.
A Glimmer of Hope or Skin or Light is an innovative, interactive new work from Seattle Magazine's 2007 Dance Artist of the Year, KT Niehoff and her company, Lingo Dance. 30 people, including two members of the Teen Tix reviewer corps, Anna B and Mykaila O, have been chosen to receive a custom made solo from one of the Glimmer cast. They have all filled out a questionnaire designed to find out who they are: driver or passenger? sweet or savory? what items are currently in your pocket? what is the last thing you lost? what is a Seattle location you love? Glimmer cast members are using the answers to tailor-make a performance for each person to watch. The dances are personal but performed in public locations throughout the city, available for any and all to see.
Read the rest of Anna and Mykaila's Glimmer journals here.
Find out more about Lingo Dance Theater at lingodance.com
The culminating performances of A Glimmer of Hope or Skin or Light run April 22nd - May 15th at ACT Theatre.