Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reflections and respect

I am humbled by the following observation and realization. Thank you, Ken.

This reflection is from my husband, Justin, who graciously volunteered to video the InHale Performance Series after one of the crew had an emergency. Because of this, he had some time behind-the-scenes during the last few moments before the house was open.

"You know... Ken's an important person. He's the Executive Director. That's a big deal."
Yeah, I'm really lucky I have the opportunity to learn from Ken and Kun-Yang. They're both such smart people...
"Yeah... but... you probably didn't even notice this. It seemed so normal to the both of you... but Ashley and I noticed it. And neither of us could really believe what we were seeing. It was really amazing."
Hun, I'm confused. What are you talking about? (Ashley is a wonderful, wonderful individual who has graciously and gracefully been stage managing and lighting InHale for the past few performances. A performer herself, she's young, dedicated, and I continue to be impressed by her willingness to learn and her professionalism during the process.)
"You were warming up. Like, completely on the floor. And you and Ken had this whole conversation. And you never stopped warming up. And he even got down on the floor to talk to you so that you didn't have to stop. And it was totally normal for the both of you."
Confused face. Pause.
"Jess. The Executive Director of this really amazing international dance company GOT ON THE FLOOR to talk to you. Your own needs as a performer were so important to him that he GOT ON THE FLOOR so that you wouldn't have to stop warming up to talk to him. Do you know how amazing that is? You probably don't even realize that it was happening. And he acted like it was totally normal. But! It demonstrated how much he respects what you and the rest of the dancers do. How much he values your body, the safety of your body, and how much he understands the importance of what you're doing.... how important the performance is and how important it is for you to warm up properly and get into a certain mindset. Jess. That was really awesome. And it was a really big deal. And Ashley and I couldn't believe it."

I remember the conversation clearly. Ken and I were discussing some space logistics and pre-performance notes. I was on the ground warming up. Ken did lower himself to talk with me, not only to be on my spatial plane, but also so we could talk at a level that would be respectful of the other performers in the space.

Thanks to Justin and Ashley for pointing out something that I did take for granted.

And thank you, Ken, for your commitment and dedication to this art.

After previous posts regarding the lack of respect I've received as an artist - or, perhaps (with patience...), the misunderstandings that people in other professions express concerning what I do for a living - this acknowledgment feels particularly poignant.

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