Photo Credit: Phil Wayes

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Photos by Mike Abate.

I'm home! I've been here for two days, reconnecting with my roots, my family, my friends, my old life. It's been an amazing whirlwind, these last 48 hours alone-- I have not been here in an entire year, and yet as soon as I stepped off the plane it was like I had never left.

Last night was my "homecoming" as a dancer-- I drove up to the Pocono Mountains to dance with PADV for the first time since we did Mountain Dance two years ago. It was a special Alumni-Master Class for both current and former PADV dancers. And it was amazing.

At the beginning of the class, each of us dancers introduced ourselves and stated how we had found/joined PA Dance and why we stayed/why we "keep coming back." I mentioned that I had been in the company five years ago (really? Five years already?) and that I now live in Texas, but "I keep coming back because I love it here. This is my home, and the studio is like my other family."
Quick aside/backstory: During my time at PA Dance, we had a second, smaller studio in the backwoods of Cresco, PA, way up in the mountains. I would work there, and since I was usually in the office myself during the day, I would listen to music-- in particular, a lot of Tori Amos.
Back to last night, Maria told us we would be learning choreography to a Tori Amos song. Then she proceeds to turn on "Winter," which was my favorite song about two years ago, the one I always listened to when I was alone at the Cresco studio, the song that reminds me of the place and that time more than anything.
I got goosebumps.
And then I danced. I danced Maria's choreography for the first time in years, alongside her dancers-- some I danced with many times in the past, some I had never met. It was beautiful, it was fun, and it was perfect.
Afterward, G and I sat down with Maria and Mike and had a good, long visit. We talked about where we've been, where we've gone, what we've done over the last two years. G is married, dancing in DC and going to grad school. Mike and Maria are now married and doing well, finding love and peace in everything. We got caught up and shared wonderful conversations and memories. It was like Christmas, celebrated with my dance family.
Tomorrow, I celebrate with my family, in our usual tradition-- go to the Candle Light Church service as a family, gather at our house to exhange gifts and eat and laugh and bond. Tonight I helped my mother decorate the tree (I seem to have an awful lot of ballerina ornaments), tomorrow I get to see the rest of my family for the first time in a year. It will be the most perfect Christmas.

I am so happy to be home.

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