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Flash Response, 1-19: Courage, Sarah!
"The artistic mind continues to create ways to create, even when the dancer's body needs an unencumbered path to the bathroom."

A Letter from Suki John
Copyright 2005 Suki John

Dear Paul,

I found Sarah Michelson's letter very moving and familiar. I should be studying for comprehensive PhD exams, but keep coming back to these thoughts:

Sarah, though we've never met I appreciate how you've opened up a dialogue.

Self-producing, choreographing, touring.... It's a tough lifestyle, even when it's fun. There is even less security in doing your own thing than in the medical-benefit-free universe of downtown modern dancers who work for others. Sometimes the riskyness is exhilarating; sometimes it's just exhausting. I trust that the passion that has driven you, Sarah, will persist, though you may change the ways in which you channel it. Maybe you'll will make some pragmatic choices which will allow you to dance longer or with a bit more comfort in your lifestyle. The artistic mind continues to create ways to create, even when the dancer's body needs an unencumbered path to the bathroom.

I encourage you to remember that injury always catapults a dancer into despair. The moment after canceling your season might not be the best moment to contemplate major life change. Consider going easy on yourself for a week or two.

I'm glad Paul didn't print my cranky-ass note last week. I was cranky because I'm tired too. And I'm angry at the state of the world which, when I set out to become an artist, I had so fervently (if naively) hoped we could improve upon. And I miss the consuming rush of making new dances, that rush which puts the world and the self on hold. I struggle to create ways to dance and teach and choreograph while redesigning myself as an academic and a parent. The hope is that I will find a place to make dances, teach dancers, write about dance and still make a living. That's a lot to hope for in the good ol' USA.

I wish Sarah luck and thank you (Dance Insider) for providing connections between those of us in the far-flung dance community. We need each other.

Bon Courage,

Suki John

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