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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No one's Laughing at G-d

Today there was the largest terror attack in Jerusalem in three years.  A bomb exploded on a busy street at rush hour near the Central Bus Station--One person was killed and at least 40 injured....While we are far away from Jerusalem, up in the North of Israel, it still was a shocking reminder of the reality of this situation, and how sad it is that innocent people are maimed because of it.

We were having an especially busy day today because we were in an all-day workshop with choreographer Sharon Vaisvaser.  We heard about it when my roommate, Bec, got a text from her friend regarding the situation.  We went back to our apartments for our dinner break and I immediately texted my friends in Jerusalem, went online to make sure everyone was okay, and Skyped my dad, and later my mom.

When I went back to class, I had this weird, kindof distracted feeling at first, that was soon replaced by a sense of relief in this craft of dancing.

I was strongly reminded of a day that was over 9 years ago now, but that I remember with such clarity--September 11, 2001.  I was a freshman in high school, and I was in Band, and next, Choir, when it happened...while it was so overwhelming and shocking, I was so grateful to be surrounded my my music friends here!...after having seen the towers fall, live, from the TV in the choir room, and watched the news the rest of the day, I was home with my family, huddled around the TV, just staring at the shocking images, being played over and over again.  When I found out my regular Tuesday night ballet class was still being held as scheduled, I was amazed.  Why wouldn't class be canceled?  Why would I want to leave the comfort of my family right now?  Out of not wanting to be counted absent, I went to class.  It turned out to be incredible; not only were all of us young dancers present, but the class was even more full than usual.  Other teachers and random drop-ins came in, just to take their mind off of the crisis in New York.  While chaos still reigned not too far away, for an hour and a half, we danced.  And it was beautiful.

Tonight's experience was different because, though we are closer in vicinity to Jerusalem than Chicago is to New York, terrorism here is--so unfortunately--something Israeli's almost come to expect might happen.  We also had just barely heard about the bombing, and there are only a select few of us who even know people in Jerusalem.  However, I definitely had this on my mind as we were dancing.  In the aftermath of hearing this news, I felt lucky to be interacting with people through dance.  The Israeli-Palestinian crisis is deeply upsetting, and I really hoped I would be here during a time when peace talks were moving forward.  It upsets me to see things like this happening (and other rockets have been fired out of Gaza in the last few days, and the IDF has been bombing within Gaza as well).

There has been a lot on our mind's actually, lately, with the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan claiming so many thousands of lives...(About a year ago I wrote a post on the Haiti earthquake with similar sentiment...see post here).

We artists, however, have the power to remind people of our humanity and our ability to be compassionate people.  It is times like these that I am most strongly reminded why I do what I do...and that dance can be a catalyst for peace and comfort.

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