"Do I dare disturb the universe?"
~T.S. Eliot

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interlochen Center for the Arts--"Art Lives Here"

This past weekend I visited a place that is incredibly special to me--Interlochen Center for the Arts.  While visiting family in the pinky that is the mitten of Michigan, I spent a day at my former summer camp that was the epitome of artistic inspiration for three summers in high school. And yes, I know I already have a blog post about Interlochen (http://artinmotionblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/reflections-of-interlochen.html), but inspiration calls for writing, and you can never abandon inspired writing, despite the risk of being redundant. :)

I can't even find words to describe the feeling of being back in that haven of art and nature, where music emanates from everywhere.  I have visited once before since being a camper, so it was not quite the same shock of emotion I received last time.  Still, I did tear up a bit when I approached Kresge auditorium, the beautiful pavilion with its large glass windows lining the upstage wall so that you can see the lake, shimmering behind the performers.  I noticed that overall, the campus seems a bit smaller than my high school-self remembered (perhaps due to spending four years at a Big Ten university...).  Kresge, however, still seems epic in stature to me, and the words "Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship Through the Universal Language of the Arts" that are written above the windows are hopeful and comforting in this crazy world we live in. 

I spent the day watching orchestras and bands rehearse, meeting new teachers in the dance building, having a moment in my favorite, sunlit studio, and wandering the campus (including finding my name and a quote I had written on the walls of a former cabin!).  As I sat on the grass outside the Bowl, another outdoor pavilion, I thought of the final closing performance of every summer, Les Preludes, in which a 500-piece orchestra performed Liszt's piece of the same name.  Us dancers waited eagerly for our cue to enter toward the end of the piece, and we danced on top of the roof of the Bowl, a thrill I will never forget.  Not to get too mushy with things like destiny, but when I step foot on the grounds I feel as if I have arrived home.  I have always thought that some day I want to teach there.  Now I feel that desire with more power and certainty.  I want more performance experience, and definitely need more teaching experience, before I could be hired at Interlochen.  But I know in a couple years I can see myself spending my summers there as I did before, this time, on the other end of the studio.  Thinking about the time that has passed still saddens me in some way, and I know I can never go back to being the innocent, excited, youthful recipient of knowledge like I was at age 15 to 17.  But I hope that being the bearer and deliverer of knowledge with the power to transpire information and plant a seed of inspiration can be just as powerful.  I know that when you teach art, it can be a truly shared experience.

On a more practical topic, without much transition...I have always been surprised that Interlochen has no physical therapist on staff...When I was a camper there, I was dealing with some extensive ankle injuries and remember going to the "Infirmary" after every intense day to get ice.  Working in the physical therapy field, I am increasingly aware of the need for performing-arts-specific PT's who understand dance-specific injuries.  I also know that musicians are incredibly prone to injuries of intricate, intrinsic muscles of the wrist and hand, and I remember a cabin-mate of mine, a violin player, who did exercises every night for tendinitis.  During my visit, I inquired at the Infirmary if they have since hired a PT, and the nurse did not seem to understand the necessity and said it would not be cost-effective (they send students down the street to a hospital if one needs physical therapy).  It's amazing to me that even during the school year, when Interlochen runs the Interlochen Arts Academy (boarding high school), they still do not have a PT.  So, of course, in the back of my head, here I am thinking that I can change all of this and might have a future job in store, granted I go for  DPT.  Perhaps if I do not end up teaching dance at Interlochen, I can be hired as the first on-staff physical therapist!  Maybe....:-)

So, in conclusion, visiting Interlochen has brought about a lot of wishful thinking....But among the goals that are stretches might be some realistic ones as well.  In any case, it's wonderful to have a reminder for why I do what I do and why art matters.


  1. Isn't Interlochen AMAZING? My folks have a place right across green lake, and I can see kresgie from my house :) There is no feeling like being back there. . . I hope to write about it soon as well, with some pictures too

  2. It seriously is beyond-words amazing. That must be an incredible view from your house! Thanks for sharing, it's always nice to hear from other people who feel the same.