Thursday, April 24, 2008

Strength and Grace

Diane and I drove to Sacramento on Tuesday, the 22nd, my 62nd birthday. I did not care that it was still snowing and blowing all the way into Califiornia's central valley. We were going to see Allison, my daughter, have a nice dinner to celebrate her 18th birthday as well.

I'm also on a photographic mission. Ron Cunningham has been the artistic director for 20 years and there is a special gala
performance Friday evening with a party afterwards. The following night is another event, the annual Modern Masters series. So, this week is intensive for Ron and the dancers with two dress rehearsals and seven upcoming performances. The gala rehearsal was last night and once again I was amazed by the athleticism and artistic beauty of the dancers.

However, the story does not end here. Behind the fluid movements on stage, the dancers are dealing constantly with injuries and pain. They do not let it show, they endure and go on. Their strength and grace comes from years of commitment to their art. Jack Hansen has plantar fasciitis and Ilana Goldman has dealt with many injuries over the course of her career. The list of injuries dancers incur rival those of athletes in any professional sport.

Earlier in the day I spent awhile with my friend Geno Masuda. His strength and grace since the sudden death of his wife, Patti, April 4th, towers above anything else imaginable. With his closest friends he has let the pain show and now he has begun his recovery and deciding what life will be for him. "It's relationships and memories," he says. "Things don't matter."

I had not thought about how dancers and Geno were similar until I was out on a bike ride this morning. The when and where is relevant here. Eight days after Patti's death Geno had a wonderful epiphany after his first ride. He realized he was going to be all right. Geno and the dancers and many others in this world who are faced with major obstacles persevere, work through pain and stay committed to a way of life based on relationships and memories. Some ride into the future, some dance. The journey for us all goes on, every day lived to the fullest, and there will be no whining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay -
I"m a Sacramentan & friend of Geno's. He alerted me to your web site the other day, so I thought I'd comment. For a photographer, you DO have a way with words.Let me restate that (in a non-snarky way) - you have a graceful way with words. I know that Geno has found comfort in your observations and he is proud to call you a friend.

I also appreciated your comments on ballet dancers, as it was a ballet dancer that first drew me to Sacramento in 1977. She moved on, but I stayed. Anyway - cheers.

~ Peter Saucerman