Some of you may know that my father-in-law passed away two weeks ago in Vancouver. Although he was ill for some months prior and we expected an imminent end, the moment of passing is never precisely expected. It’s been hard for Marina and her mother and siblings, each feeling the loss in their own way. As we all live in different places, family coming together for support was limited to the short time we were in Vancouver together over the past holiday weekend. On the other hand, we have experienced something equally – and arguably, in some ways more – important—the kindness of community.
Friends, family-by-love, and even strangers have connected with us and stepped up with a wide variety of much-appreciated support. People have provided us meals, and gone out of their way to be present, share memories, and listen to our stories. It has helped the long process of grieving the loss, and helped as well to enable us to regain some semblance of normalcy, as life and its often unrelenting demands must grind on. It all has been of great comfort to know that the kindness of community mobilizes and appears at the moment it is needed.
So too has my experience of the dance community emulated such need in the past. I recently participated (and contributed some effort to) a memorial for a dear, much-loved, and highly regarded member of the dance community who passed suddenly a few months ago. Nearly two hundred people came out to dance in his honour and to share memories and memorabilia. Over time, I participated in fundraisers for those facing dire illness or other unfortunate circumstances, memorials, and events to remember and to honour. In every case, the dance community came forward with no hesitation to lend both material and moral support. Despite the healthy (and sometimes unhealthy) competitive attitudes that exist among some Toronto dancers, when it comes time to be present for one another in serious life matters, we stand – and dance – together as one.
Dance connection is powerful between partners. It seems that dance connection is also powerful among friends and acquaintances – and even among some strangers – in times of need. Toronto is fortunate to have such a strong and vibrant dance community with members who are capable of considerable kindness. This is something of which we can be proud throughout our lives, and something for which I am very grateful indeed, when we…
See you on the dance floor.