Step of Two

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.14.09 PM

In ballet, a pas de deux (French, literally “step of two”) is a dance duet in which two dancers, typically a male and a female, perform ballet steps together. The pas de deux is characteristic of classical ballet and can be found in many well-known ballets, including Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Giselle.

Pas de deux – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dancers Rachel Malehorn and Annia Hidalgo

Chorus/To Write. For Women.

Watching various classical ballets. Thinking about the heroines, who are often longing for love in impossible situations with Princes, and who usually die.

Juliet. Giselle. Odette.

While making a new work for female ballet dancers, one of them described her role as a solo artist in classical ballet. She told me a story about a rehearsal director that asked her to sit in the audience one night to watch the other soloist perform the role that they shared. She resisted and thought it would rattle her nerves too much to watch. But when she did, she explained that she realized it was the Corps behind her that gave her strength as a soloist. She saw and experienced the massive set, lights, and the large group of women standing on stage behind her. She then understood that she was part of a community, and that it wasn’t her sole responsibility to achieve perfection on stage.

Despite the proverbial, inherently sexist storyline of the female character destroyed by love, the performance of classical ballet often includes sections of dancing for large groups of women. These moments construct an invisible, meta-connection between the bodies of those women. The relationship of their collective dancing embodies a reverberating energy that moves with and holds the soloist up.

Feminist ballet.

sometimes, the sheep is real

My cousin Margot was about five years old when we attended a family wedding at a farm outside of Madison, WI. She lives in an urban area, and got very excited when she saw a sheep.

She announced, “Mom, when we get home, I want a real, NOT PRETEND, live sheep.”

Is it possible that being an artist feels like this to other people too? Does it feel like you are walking around with a stuffed animal and that suddenly one day, maybe your sheep will be real? Your art work will be real?

I asked Emily Wexler this question.

the thing about art and the thing that the practice of making and performing it is, that we keep trying to make the sheep real. sometimes it is. seriously. sometimes the sheep is real and everyone sees it.

Em Wex


the ocean blue

and then i became a mermaid

we could reverse those waters to see how the precipitation
collected from such a drought
review the sickness below the gut
not on purpose but on accident,

i would fledge it out
mock diseased
not on purpose did i swim to the bottom
where it is colder than your arctic freeze,

warmth settle between the soft blond hairs on my arm
up on the stand
backdive here you go where the warmth can
organize its part
below this life
i went
not on purpose but on accident

confused without beauty
what kind of dangers lie beneath
fish brainedsloppy
tongued heart
am sworn to secrecy
by the warmth that lives below

what fun

she learned such bravery
or apology

the volume had its cost
such an economy
would not sustain its loss

beauty never tells
how to
its deed

capacious as the sea
celestial break broke through
the sun’s light on the top
how could you deny
such ocean blue?

without incident, finally
and then i became a mermaid
and then i was free                  —       emily wexler

Youthful People

I would just like to take a moment to call BULLSHIT on the notion that the younger generations of humans on this earth are apathetic souls with nothing to do but stare at their phones. Just because they are staring at their phone doesn’t mean they are inactive. Maybe they are doing something incredible, like starting a revolution.


I recently spent two days visiting the beautiful campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. Out of 1500 students, 350 of them are enrolled in the University’s rigorous music conservatory. While I was there, a student was rehearsing on the stage of Lawrence’s Memorial Chapel. I walked into the Chapel from the rear of the building, aware of this rehearsal and this young woman who was  SHREDDING Bizet on her violin. I experienced a sort of recessional for two as my host and I walked to the front of the Chapel, the music emanating to the white walls and empty royal blue seats behind us.

I was so moved by her commitment.

Photo by Engberg Anderson