Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dance History

I've been in a correspondence rut lately, focusing more on reading than writing. Maybe it's the change of seasons, or being back home after such an adventure, but I just haven't had much to say. But it's Thursday, so why not take a trip in ye olde time machine for a spell...

August 1993:

Photo by Barbara Morgan
As always, [sic]....

"Hey woman,

Sorry it's taken me so long to write you - I've beem thinkin about ^you quite a - but I hope ^your dancin dancin. You sound like you have a crazy schedule - I'll send you my address when I get it. I'll be staying in a graduate housing type of deal. I haven't danced in a long time I'm getting pretty nervous. I don't remember how to do this school thing. I want to make this good. I want to learn my brains out. 

I'm leaving here the 16th and probably be in Mass around the 25th. I'm going to try to get an E-MAIL account so we can communicate - Take care

Love ya - T"

This was the summer before my final year in college, from a friend who had graduated some years before but had come back to my school to teach and generally be awesome the previous year. She was on her way to Smith College to get her MFA in Dance. I can so relate to those nerves about school and that thirst for learning, although I'm pretty sure that "a long time" back then meant something like 6 weeks. Nowadays I sometimes go months between classes - and trust me, even when it's been weeks, it might as well be 6 months. Aging bodies are cruel!

As with many school friends, we drifted apart after a few years. She did come visit me in Seattle after her graduate program, and through the magic of social media I know she's still choreographing and dancing (yay!).

The most telling part of this postcard is the final sentence - this was back when email was accessible primarily through schools (and was still being called Electronic Mail or "e-mail"!), and everyone was so excited about this new, instant way to communicate with people. "Instant" being relative, of course - at my college, at least, few people had their own computers or access to a modem on their own, so we'd find excuses all day long to drop by the mail room or the library to use one of the 3 or 4 terminals. But the (electronic) writing was on the wall. It's no coincidence that my archive of postcards dries up about two years after this.
 
You can see the tape marks on this postcard - it was clearly well loved. The photo is from legendary modern dance pioneer Martha Graham's work Celebration, taken in 1937. I love the simplicity of the action in this picture, as well as the costumes and those gorgeously pointed (but not over-stretched) feet.