Recently I was flying to Colorado Springs on a turbulent flight to work with Max Aaron. I was reading Wine & War by Donald Kladistrum as I stopped to look out the window of the plane to behold the beautiful wonder of the Grand Canyon with its many layers of colorful rock below. This compelling book is the story of how the Nazi's tried to take all of the wine from France during World War II and hide it in Hitler's retreat in Berchtesgarten, Germany. Maybe it was because of the marvel I was seeing out of the window in conjunction with the location in which this book took place, but I found myself reflecting back with awe to my days as a ballet dancer in Germany.
The sun was setting at the time I looked out. It was striking how the sun cascaded the most beautiful hues of color on the Grand Canyon walls. As I stared at the layered gradations of rock and saw the repetition of similar colors, I began to think about Max, myself and our similarities.
Some thirty-eight years ago our choreographer and ballet master Jiri Duchoslav commissioned the work Monument for a Dead Boy for our ballet company. Everyone was excited to see who would be in this ballet. I was hoping to get a small part in this 37 and 1/2 minute tour de force. I knew that the title role had been originally choreographed for Rudolf Nureyev and although tragic, it was a true story.
When the results of the casting were posted there was my name as the lead dancer in The Dead Boy. I was convinced it was a mistake. I was too young and inexperienced to step into those dancing shoes. Well, to my great surprise, it was true. I remain grateful to this very day that Jiri Duchoslav saw in me qualities that allowed him to entrust me with this special role.
As I gazed out the window on the plane again I realized that all those layers of gradation in the rock that plummeted so deeply into the Grand Canyon were like the layers of deep emotion I had to withstand in what I deemed, “37 and 1/2 minutes of Hell.”
I am hopeful I can inspire Max to trust me as I stand sentry at his artistic doorstep. I know I see the potential in Max Aaron that Jiri Duchoslav saw in me. The journey will be long and at times difficult but the reward of learning to move in a new way with a specific purpose can be very rewarding.
The session is over & the Zamboni is coming out.