It was a Tuesday in April. The pictures showed up in a text from Allison.
“I know this building!! Yes this would be amazing!” I replied, after my 30 minute I-need-to-let-this-text-simmer-because-I-hate-feeling-immediately-available wait time.
My friend, Allison, and I had been casually (I more casual than she) tossing around the idea of a photo shoot for this very website. Of course, I had been the one to pitch the idea (because she knew very little about the site)… but I love ideas. Ideas are full of hope and require zero work. Ideas are perfect for a Type B personality who wants to change the world. (This guy.) A photo shoot would be AWESOME, right?? Thankfully, Allison is in the business of DOING. She dreams forward. Since taking the full-time leap into her own budding photography business in 2015, she’s had plenty of practice putting feet to dreams. With Allison the Super-Photographer-Networker on board, and a dreamy abandoned car repair garage for a location, I knew it was happening.
I started recruiting dancers, which was only slightly terrifying because I had to begin actually telling people about The Dance Difference. I am still thankful to usually be met with enthusiasm and encouragement when talking about this online space, and feel my spirit exhale big every time I share the website with someone new. We ended up with six dancers (one coming through the night before!) and thanks to Allison’s networking skills, we also had a third friend, Laurel, recruiting Trickers for the shoot!
There was plenty of laborious sweeping (I was literally sore for days… yep, from sweeping) to ready the garage for barefoot dancers. And the dust mask probably kept me from getting some terribly horrific lung disease, but it made my whole head sweat. And I tried to help Allison put together a gargantuan portable light fixture that she confessed, mid-wrestle, had never been assembled by fewer than three people. To be honest, it was the hardest I’ve worked for a dream in a long time, and it felt good.
The dancers arrived cautiously, most likely because they were walking into a building that was primarily serving as a home for pigeons (and everything pigeons leave behind), but they were willing, and I couldn’t have asked for more.
As the Trickers arrived, jumping and flipping and kicking, and the young dancers warmed into each other and the space, and we started shooting in all the “good light,” I pulled up my mental lawn chair and tried to sip in the lemonade of it all. It made my soul buzz inside me. All the work I had done so far for The Dance Difference had been between my fingers and the laptop, but this was real. Real people, from different walks of life, people I would never have thought I would have the opportunity to make car garage art with, and we were all here doing it.
(That’s Laurel in there, Clorox-wiping garage feet.)
Nothing about the shoot was perfect. But in hindsight, it’s the imperfection of it all that relentlessly fixates itself upon the beginnings of The Dance Difference. My mind, this idea, this dream, feels so much like that murky, disheveled, pigeon-poop garage, and I’m trying to sweep it up so I can improv across the grease-stained concrete.
I can’t help but feel the same way about the current dance studio culture. In many ways, there is so much “good light” shining in. Maybe it’s a space that we need to take a fresh look at. See through a different lens. Maybe we can sweep it up a bit and we’ll all be sore for a while but then we’ll have a more usable space. Maybe we will feel nervous and uncomfortable when we first walk in, but we’ll get warm. And we’ll all look up and see the dance studio for what it CAN be. What it SHOULD be.
Will you grab a broom with me?