The last week of March 2015. Tech week for Dancing the Mural. I have 5 artists flying or driving in from out of state: two of them arriving the day of dress rehearsal. I have pieces that are being finalized and set during tech week. I have dress rehearsal. I have long rehearsals leading up to the show. I have three fifth graders from a South Tucson elementary school and one community member performing with us. I have a crew that needs to load in and completely strike (as in take all of the equipment to an offsite storage unit) the show in our site specific location every night. I have a very heavy “mobile” stage that needs moving. My phone number is the box office number and I have tickets I need to print and a box office to organize. I have to make sure volunteers and front of house have things taken care of. I have to worry about security, costumes, and rides of artists. I need to make sure this mobile mural is finished and gets to the location of the performance. And I am also dancing in four out of seven choreographies premiering in the show.
I am the epitome of heroic leader, which by the way, is the standard model for modern and contemporary dance companies. One dynamic leader – a la Martha Graham, José Limón, Alvin Ailey – the driving force pushing a company, an art form, the dance field forward. The model has not changed much for the dance community since then. So here I am, juggling and struggling in an outdated model; a one-woman force carrying a company on my back, singlehandedly running a community-engaged multimedia art performance.
And my org was nominated for a Governor’s Art Award so I have to travel the 4 hours to Phoenix and back on Tuesday night of Tech week, in the middle of the madness, in the off chance that we win (we did not). And the EmcArts program, which I am now a fellow of, changed the date of the first Arizona seminar to the morning of the show’s opening, so now I have to attend that. (I show up late and the facilitators are not impressed.) I have a million and one things to do, fires to put out, artists to calm and reassure, details to smooth over. I am at my wit’s end. The house is a mess. I am a mess. Spread so thin. Being pulled in a thousand ways.
And I am not the only one with a show. Thursday morning, the day of dress rehearsal, at 9am, my son has a school play. The annual Easter performance. I never miss his shows, which usually run 2 mornings. Knowing full well I can’t make the Friday morning show (given that dress rehearsal will run late, I am directing/producing/performing in a show that evening, and I am already booked for this EmcArts thing), I go to the Thursday morning show.
It was a cute show. He was a roman solider. I was exhausted. But I arranged the company’s Thursday rehearsal schedule around that show so I could make it. I think I went straight to rehearsal after his show. I think I worked straight from 10am-midnight that night. I think. I can’t quite remember.
But I was there. Tired. Exhausted. But I was there.