On the heels what has been a simultaneously blessedly productive and depressingly exhaustive six months, I am so thankful for the space from which I just came: The Gathering.
Organized by Camille A. Brown during this season's APAP, she orchestrated the coming together of black woman identifying dance makers, and those in allied professions (critics, presenters, academics etc.), and those who are simply our allies. It turns out when I saw Camille's work at The Joyce three years ago and left the theater asking, "Who are the other female choreographic voices of color?" - so was she.
We assembled. My sheroes and I were all in one room. It took over an hour to take attendance, that is, for each person there to state her (and sometimes his) name, professional identity, and three issues to bring to the table regarding black women making dance. We showed up. We stated our case. We made space for ourselves. We mapped our needs and assets, exchanged resources, and brainstormed collectively on constructive ways to continue the process.
I am moved, and deeply encouraged to keep pressing on. I am not alone in the quest to decipher a professional life that does not eat me alive while achieving my goals. I am not the only one who wants a full and nourishing family life that does not operate in opposition to my professional life. I am not alone in seeking mentorship and guidance through it all.
The Gathering tonight showed me that black women are not only making dance but that it is a strong and vibrant legacy that I am a part of. Sitting in this room renewed my energy to continue this creative work. I sat amongst scholars and artists whose work I first only learned about in a college classroom, dancers who I've watched perform for twenty years, women who've taken a chance on me giving me opportunities, sisters who are my partners in crime, younger sisters with whom I've shared resources.
After countless tears wondering, how the hell am I going to live this life?, it feels good to know that so many of us are willing to build together to make it work.