It feels great to hear good news about one grant application the same day you submit another. Mad King Thomas has received money from the Jerome Foundation to finish our latest endeavor, the Home Project (but wipe that from your mind, it is a stupid title and not long for this world).
We went to Albuquerque, NM last fall (my home town). Cody, WY this summer (Theresa's stomping grounds). And we just got back from Great Barrington, Massachusetts (Monica's childhood setting).
In less than a week, we head to Raleigh, North Carolina (to visit Monica's dad)... and then we spend a month in Miami (where we will actually put all this research together into a performance piece). By the end of the year I'll have traveled to 10 states I've never been to before. (If you want travel photos, they're all over our facebook page.)
We have met each other's parents, grandparents, cousins, fake cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, step families, pets, high school teachers, religious leaders, family friends. We have (notably) not met each other's dance teachers or dance peers.
It has stirred up (or has been the stirred-up result from) interest in family, heritage, location. We've talked about this project for years--almost as long as we've worked together--but I think if we'd done it seven years ago it would have been a mess. It would have been all boisterous contrasts, confusion, bouncing joy and autumn leaves. We needed time to find our inner starlets, our lost polar bears.
Now it feels slow, intimate and maybe a little bit noxious. It is uglier and more tender than it could have been when we were 23.
I feel zoomed out and zoomed in at the same time. How can a dance incorporate Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone, the Appalachian Trail? How can it hold tight (but not precious) Zozobra, Buffalo Bill and WEB DuBois? How can it be more than us telling stories we want to hear about people we love?
I think, maybe, there are no mermaids. We are all land-locked, mountain-dwelling creatures. Maybe I am a bear in this one.
How can we investigate the land we live on when it was taken from those who came before? How can we show our love and our sorrow in full, side-by-side measure? It seems to be the question we are always asking.
On a more practical note: How can we possibly make this dance without flying out every member of our families and putting them on stage, which is, by the way, completely prohibitively expensive, not to mention totally awkward?
Well, it is big and scary, as it always is. Here we go once again, into the breach.