After a thirteen year hiatus, I started choreographing again in the fall of 2016. I went into the studio in September with an amazing, generous group of dancers: Chris Gallegos, Mia Holtan, Kati Pienimäki Schenker, Belgica Rodriguez and Brandi Szabo. I worked with Eric Kupers, using his music as the bulk of our soundtrack. “Dawn’s Song” and “Rosh Hashanah 5775” provided our sonic landscape, and we added nursery rhymes .
My goal was to create a piece about experiences that crack us open. I wanted to look closely at those moments when who we *are* is forever changed. The death of a loved one. The birth of a child. A move across the country. A word used to describe us that transforms us as soon as we hear it. Huge, tiny, happy, sad. I wanted to look at how we are changed. When we recognize that we were wearing a shell, and it has cracked open, and we are forced to emerge, all soft and naked. When we have to figure out who we really are, all over again. This was my intent.
On October 6th, 2016, my little sister died. Suddenly, and traumatically. She fell-jumped-flew from a cliff, and her skull cracked open on the rocks below. I was cracked open by loss. This piece became her piece. I added a song of my own to our soundscape, and we worked feverishly to put this work together in just a couple of short months.
In December, 2016 I shared the rough draft of Cracking Open with a kind, empathetic audience at the Temescal Art Center in Oakland. People came out on a rainy Thursday night to witness our performance of this raw, rough draft because I trusted them, and they trusted us. Our audience was both honest and kind as we shared this very vulnerable experiment. And…BANDELION joined us, sharing their healing music ritual between the two performances of our rough draft of Cracking Open. It was a magical night, and it was just the beginning.