One of the very first choreographers that I met when I moved back to Boston 17 years ago was Lorraine Chapman. When we were both selected for the first concert produced by the Choreographers' Group at Green Street Studios in Cambridge, she found time to grab coffee with me several times, something that made the local dance community seem far less intimidating to me. As I struggled to develop the soundscape for Mourning After/Ululation, she helped me to find an amazing sound designer, David Remedios. In the ensuing decades, our paths have criss-crossed numerous times as we danced in Nut/cracked, designed pieces for Dance in the Fells, or bumped into each other at performances. Her sublime mix of quirky humor and innate elegance always impresses me.
As I have been navigating through the process of mourning my family members, I have not attended as many dance concerts as I used to. But, when David Parker and the Bang Group's Head Over Heels popped up at the Oberon Theater a few weeks ago, I knew I had to see it. I was feeling self conscious and out of place after the show ended and then Lorraine approached me with her expressive arms outstretched for a hug. Within minutes she was trying to help Monkeyhouse find a space for a new home and offering observations on her own grieving processes. Her thoughtfulness helped to quell my discomfort and encouraged me to get up and reconnect with other dance artists in the room. As we said goodbye, she hinted that big changes were brewing over at Green Street Studios.
For those of you who don't know, Green Street Studios is one of the anchors of the Boston's dance scene and they have had a nail biting year of negotiations to stay in their current space. As Central Square has become more commercially viable, this nonprofit has wrestled to keep up with the rising rents. On several occasions in the last ten years, it has looked like the dance world might lose this precious resource. Green Street Studios has a special place in my heart both because it is the first place the I presented my choreography in Boston and because their space grant program introduced me to Monkeyhouse artists, Nikki Sao Pedro-Welch and Caitlin Meehan. You can only imagine how delighted I was to skim over some of my Facebook feed to discover that Green Street Studios has just signed a lease for another two years at their current location and that Lorraine has just been named the new Artistic Director!
It is a blustery, rainy afternoon here in Boston. Downtown thousands of people have gathered to remember the strength that our city demonstrated in wake of the 2013 marathon tragedy. I am thankful for this news about the resilience of my community here. Running a dance nonprofit is a marathon of endurance, determination, and blind love but it is easier when you are alongside others who inspire you.