On Mar 20, I returned to my Northrop-home-office after a vacation that overlapped with the closure of our building. Also on that day, I started a workday practice of sending Daily Inspiration emails to my Northrop co-workers. Over the course of the last several months, I’ve compiled 99 emails with over 300 links to dance and movement classes, online dance videos and live streams, and other viewing experiences including concerts, literature, and visual arts. This habit has been grounding and healing for me, providing a consistent touchpoint at the beginning of each workday. I appreciate the indulgence of my colleagues for my invasion of their inbox each morning, as well as their suggestions of inspiring and fun links they discovered on their own inspirational journeys.
A few weeks into those emails, we began to share with our broader audiences the artists and ideas relevant to Northrop. The result has been over 80 Daily Inspiration posts on social media and 17 weekly blog posts. Together we’ve been living through isolation, the murder of George Floyd and many other Black lives lost to the dual pandemics, the cancelation and postponement of our favorite summer festivals and experiences. It’s a world of constant change and deep unknowns, and I hope these small points of light have in some way helped to brighten your path through these last few months.
I do have a final selection of links to share with you this week:
We remembered Neil Young’s performance from last year at Northrop. You can also listen to University of Minnesota alumna Maria Schneider on the podcast Speaking of the Arts. I first worked with Maria in 1998 when she composed the score for a Pilobolus work commissioned by the Kennedy Center and American Dance Festival, I presented her ensemble in Wilmington, and I smile at her every time I pass down Scholars’ Walk on campus.
Another blast from my Kennedy Center past is the Free to Dance series, episodes of which have been available free online this month. Originally aired in 2001 as part of Great Performances, Free to Dance: The African American Presence in Modern Dance chronicles the crucial role African-American dancers and choreographers played in the development of modern dance as an American art form. The final episode is streaming now through Aug 6 for your enjoyment.
Finally, we shared the second episode of New York City Center’s Studio 5: Great American Ballerinas series. This episode, also available through Aug 6, features Nina Ananiashvili coaching Sara Mearns as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, with additional moderation by Alastair Macauley.
While acknowledging that the pandemics continue, and that we are still largely isolated from the arts and from each other, next week at Northrop we will turn our attention to preparations for our 2020-21 performance season. After we announce that season on Tuesday, much of my communication with you will revolve around the work of our upcoming artists. I’m continually inspired by the inventive creative processes they use to continue working, and I hope you will be, too. I’ll see you Tuesday night, and I urge you to take good care, and take good action.