As my Bates Dance Festival withdrawal settle in, and the chills of missing my friends cools my bones, I reflect not only the Bates Dance Festival, but the grand performance of something even more beautiful to me. The beautifully orchestrated 35th anniversary of the most wonderful festival on Earth, also pulled a girl from a deep dark place of hopelessly waiting, into the rainbow of opportunities the world beholds. As the Youth Arts Program kids stormed the stage with their individuality while dancing together in common theme, they shed their black shirts one by one as if to be born from the constraints of society and situation, to become one beautiful rainbow of different shades of life. This was the first time Alina was able to shine her color on the stage of the world. She followed moves I spent weeks worrying if she had capacity to learn, and her face lit the stage. I’m forever indebted to this community for what they have continued to grow with the beautiful guidance of our mother Laura Faure. A finale of the hard work and legacy that had been created 35 years ago, with nothing but a dream and a small light burning inside, that Laura kindled every so gently building the fire to expand inside the hearts of all the people that ever attended the festival; every audience member, intern, young danger, choreographer, instructor and YAP kid has the light inside them, and in us we carry on the light everywhere we go.
This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine. Donate Here
Every year my kids do so much growing in the summer. They spend time learning things they enjoy, managing their own time, and participating with the amazing community of artists. This community sparks ideas and teaches lessons that the school system, or my husband and I just could not teach on our own. To be surrounded by the love of the Bates Dance Festival we fuel up for a long winter of white, only catching glimpses of color through the social media that keeps us in touch. I have a dream of bringing this community here permanently so instead of wasting time in a nearly un-funded pubic school that is required to attend to behavioral problems in their broken traditional ways, we can raise our children in the curiosity and power of their world boundary-less world.
The weeks following YAP my kids are buzzing with their renewed power to take control of their world and shape it to what they want it to be. Bella decided she is going to online charter this year so she can focus on academics, and Lori has started plans to turn her dreams of an orchestra club into reality with the help of our amazing principal Mrs. Gaylord. My kids minds have been so expanded by these three weeks with the most amazing role models I could ask for, they encouraged my children to break the glass ceilings and make the world a place they want to live and participate in. They taught my girls the world is fluid, it can be made into whatever you want it to be, if you have the motivation to make it happen. They carry the light.
As I watch my amazing children navigate their future, to dance the choreography they designed, to bring their plans to fruition I am in awe. What amazing people they are, and what mountains they will move if just given the right formula to grow. In only 5 years I will start to send off the first of my children into the world. This feels like a blink of an eye to learn all the things from them possible, to hear as many dreams, and see as many goals turn into productions before they move on to independent life. It is as bitter sweet as looking at August 30th in the face, the day I put a yellow shirt on a girl who arrived a stranger and left as family. It is sad to see her go, but I am happy she will be able to return to her familiar while she digests the endless input from her summer, while maintaining her connection to her future world. Processing time is seriously under-used in our instant society, and so much internal investigation can be gained from quiet time and space for reflection. She takes the light back to a very dark place.
The summer vacation is so precious to me. Aside from the obvious love affair I have with the arts community, the loosening routines enable us to pack in more time to be together and grow as a family. We spend more time together, working on collective projects and ideas, and traveling and spending time learning together. I have taught my children many things, but in turn they also continue to educate me. This year I started to learn piano and violin. I’ve learned about competitive swimming, dance moves, what is #onfleek and how to live the #thuglife. I’ve taken videos, photos, danced, and laughed so hard. There is no place I’d rather be then helping these awesome people make sense of a world so chaotic and confusing. I watch their friends, some thrive, and some struggle. I try to figure out what the secret key to parenting is, and why my kids would rather spend time here with me, and why my musical.ly is blowing up with popularity. Maybe you just have to bend a little into their culture to be #sofresh (that will be the next viral hashtag, write it down). Maybe it’s about mutual respect, or maybe it’s being realistic about the level of shelter versus immersion. I have learned culture and language of a place I couldn’t find on map a year ago. I’ve watched a girl that arrived in a hallow dark shell be ignited inside by the life a family and community can provide. As she prepares to leave, the reality of a $30,000.00 bill sets in.
How am I going to do this? I literally don’t know. Donate Now
Then my mind starts to panic and say should I offer her to another family? Should I just put her back on the list so she had a better chance with a family with funding? What if I try and I don’t raise the money and she turns 16 and her light is blown out. Will I have done more damage than good? How can I let my community breathe her to life, then seal her fate with a rainstorm of failure.
I feel especially uneasy looking at the first nearly $7,000.00 to start. Just to start. Home study agency is $3,000.00, Hauge approval agency is $1,500.00. Finger printing and I600 is nearly another $1,200.00. This is just to get approval to START assembling the dossier with the help of a facilitator that can cost an additional $10k or more. What if I get halfway and I can’t continue. What if I send my documents and can’t find funding to travel and working as hard as possible isn’t good enough.
This is the walk through the dessert, and my flame is nearly out.
I have lost many connections as my life gets busier. I assume everyone has their own struggle and no one knows how to come together as community anymore. This is the society we live in now, everyone has a sad story and they’re all so far reaching it is nearly impossible to let your light shine through the light of the neon God. The smaller my community gets, the smaller the out reach of our story, and the dimmer a candle burns in a small orphanage in a tiny town in Ukraine.
I don’t know how we will do this. I have been encouraged by community members like Sheila who organized two fundraisers in our honor, or the donors large and small. Every donation I write on the line in my binder that holds the future of Alina’s life.
Dream Big. It tells me.
I don’t know if I have enough fuel to burn my light to see this to the end. I don’t know what to do except get back to working as much as possible to scrape as much as I can to make this fire keep burning another day to keep 6 little flames lit.