The theater is dark on this Monday morning, but our company assembles in a small rehearsal studio to quickly re-work ballets to cover for Jimmy's absence. We sit on the floor and talk solemnly; except for the dancer who is trying to learn all of Jimmy's solo roles and is understandably freaking out. We discuss if anyone has heard from Jimmy, we wonder about his condition, we continue try and piece together what happened. We may never be certain about the series of events; speculations continue to fly back and forth.
We try and steer our pre-rehearsal conversation to happier topics; we discuss people who have come to see the show (DanceAdvantage came to see us, as well as a lovely reader of this website named Natalie), our director tells us about the adorable children from her church who came to the show and drew her pictures of the performance. I tell E that I enjoyed meeting her husband and that I "approve" of him. We finish sipping our coffees and rehearsal begins; Nicky learns Jimmy's solo from Freedom, spacing is re-worked in many places.
We go into Douglass and begin to fill in the blanks left by Jim. We muse over Little Freddy, who grew by leaps and bounds as a young artist this past weekend (audience members commented on a noticeable difference in his dancing between Friday's show and Sunday's), particularly in the way he covered for his absent scene partner like an absolute pro (did I mention this is a twelve-year-old I'm talking about? Mm-hmm. Yes. TWELVE. That boy has a damn good future ahead of him).
I mumble that only thing breaking my heart as much as Jimmy is our director: a genuinely great woman who is now in the unenviable position of trying to cover for a principal dancer who, essentially, carried a major ballet on his shoulders (In a big company like, say, NYCB, this is no sweat. However, we are a small company, and everyone hugely feels the impact of one missing person). It is a situation slightly less desirable than scrubbing a public restroom with your teeth; thus there are as many prayers for her flying around as there are for Jim.
It's been a head trip, these last 24 hours. As much as we can now say that we as a company can get through ANYTHING now as a result of this, it's hardly a time to be triumphant about possessing the power to Deal With Crazy Stuff As A Group. We love you, Jimmy; and we're praying for your healing. Get better soon, man.
EDIT: I still haven't given you a recap of Happier Times in the [Awesome People] Dance Company (a.k.a. Friday and Saturday's performances). So instead, here's a picture of us looking cute and joyful in our Shaker costumes: