Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Following up...

Hey there. Don't know if anyone's still reading this. But I'll write it just the same. It's almost a full three weeks since camp ended. It's hard to have good closure at the end of an intense process like that, especially for me since I had to catch a 6 am flight the next morning to get to a rehearsal in Chicago (but don't let me complain, I love those relentless sequences in life when you turn immediately from one undertaking to the next). First of all let me say, and I am not the only person who thinks this, our final show was momentously awesome. All the pieces came together relatively smoothly, it was short, sharp and powerful. The dancers packed a solid, well-choreographed punch. The Musicians absolutely rocked out like absolute rock stars. The Visuals made work that MOMA should be drooling to get their hands on. Musical Theatre had incredible showmanship and compelling confidence on stage; the West Side Story collaboration with dance was one of the biggest hits of the night. The Actors took on an epic story and with total ambition made it clear, engaging, and inventively theatrical. (What costumes!). After some last minute technical problems (which took me about 5 hours to fix, in a franticness that lasted until just before showtime) the music videos were all a big hit. Thank you Mauricio. And I am rather proud of my little baby, the Montage, which we will have to upload to this blog or some website so everyone can see it. All in all, an explosive night.

It's hard for me to put all my thoughts together for final comments. Coming back to New York and stepping right back into the wonderful madness of this city, our work in Homestead can easily seem like a blurry dream. "Did that really happen?" And as I said, it's nearly impossible to accurately explain exactly what we did down there. Yes it's voluntary outreach, but it's also an arts camp, yes it's an arts camp but it's voluntary. No you don't get paid it's outreach. Yes I was teaching but I was doing a lot more than that. No we make the whole thing up ourselves. We are the camp. Yes.

It isn't all roses. There are disagreements and times when the group cannot agree; times when one person cannot get along with the group, or the group cannot get along with one person. There are issues with the students which are impossible to resolve in three weeks; there are issues which have no good solution. There are students whose lives are changed, and students who shrug it off and move on. But there is never a lack of surprise. The students whom you are sure couldn't care less are often the ones who are the most moved at the end, the ones who don't want to go home last night, who stay talking or playing or crying until the last possible moment.

And as a teacher you went there to give, you went out of some altruism in your blood, or some yearn to do good, or some distaste with the pattern you were living in. You went to impart your own wisdom and came back to find yourself with this whole new awareness about your self. This whole new sense of capability. What I thought I could do was such a limited idea of what I can do. Necessity breeds creation - there was no one else who could teach this, no one else who was available to hang lights, or edit this video, or lead up this class about this thing that I have no idea about, etcetera etcetera, and at the end you find that you did that. Because you had to. It's a nice realization with which to come back to the big bad world. That world which can often make you feel insignificant. And the best part is, no one told you to do this. Probably most factors in your life were telling you not to. Practicality, finance, career. Those factors which are now viewed in a wider perspective. Yes, it is the perspective more than anything. The perspective that makes you fuller, stronger, more capable, more giving, more vivavious.

And that makes you want to go get more of it.

Much love to all those teachers, and much love to all those YA's.

Till next time,