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pleasurable reflections

June 10, 2009

festival09-1

It was five days ago, and I still get shivers when I think about the performance.  This particular performance was significant because it my first performance since reading John Paul II’s Letter to Artists.  The letter, which was written ten years ago, is addressed to “all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new ‘epiphanies’ of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world.”  That is exactly what the Letter to Artists was for me: a new epiphany.  I could see my convictions and ideas about dancing reflected in the words of John Paul II and realized there was much more besides.  A veil was lifted as I continued to meditate on his message.  The revelations were endless.  My perception of dancing didn’t necessarily change, but it was greatly enhanced.

That was how I found myself last Friday afternoon: standing on the edge of the stage, energized by these “new epiphanies of beauty” (Letter to Artists).  My heart was bursting with excitement.  I took my place and waited for the music to begin.  All my fears vanished as I began to dance.

My feet moved to the rhythm of the music.  I swished my skirt this way and that, along with the other dancers.  The festival09-2audience was enthusiastic with their applause.  They weren’t merely spectators: they participated in a beautiful exchange of passion: the dancers’ passion for the gift given and the audience’s passion for the gift received.

John Paul II’s closing prayer in his Letter to Artists was “may your art help to affirm that true beauty which, as a glimmer of the Spirit of God, will transfigure matter, opening the human soul to the sense of the eternal” (Letter to Artists – 16).  Those who were truly engaged in the performance, dancers and audience alike, were awakened by the energizing and life-giving exchange.  I know I experienced this and from the feedback I received after the performance, so did many in the audience, whether they realized it or not.

Throughout the entire performance, I basked in God’s pleasure.  I wasn’t lost in my own little ‘spiritual’ world, doing my own thing.  “Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.  It is an invitation to savor life and to dream of the future” (Letter to Artists – 16).  Savoring life through my performance meant that I was present in the moment, aware of each movement, turn and step, responding to the audience and communicating with them.  I allowed my body to speak the language of truth and beauty.  It was a glorious moment!  As St. Irenaeus said “The glory of God is a human being fully alive!”

It was over in forty-five minutes.  It was the most exhilarating performance I have ever had.  I have never been so completely aware of God’s pleasure as I was on that stage.  Even thinking about it now is overwhelming!  I can’t wait to do it all again.  This is only the beginning.  There is much more to be revealed regarding dancing, the Letter to Artists and the Theology of the Body.

Until my next performance, I will pour myself into every practice.  Whether it’s just for fun, a performance or a grueling practice, whenever I dance I feel God’s pleasure!festival09-3

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cristin Luea permalink
    June 11, 2009 10:13 am

    True beauty indeed!

    Glad it went well. :-) Good job.

  2. Eric Wertanen permalink
    June 11, 2009 10:16 am

    The pictures are amazing and the story (along with JPII’s words) are inspiring.

    I wish I could have made it with mi madre (thats about all the Spanish I learned I from her)…

    I’ll keep an eye out for the next performance as the Picture look incredible.

  3. Katherine permalink
    June 19, 2009 4:00 pm

    I really want to come see you dance. I liked watching you practice, but I have a feeling it’s just not the same. :)

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