My life changed forever on January 8th, 2010. I was on my lunch break at work when I received a call informing me that I had breast cancer. Since that day, I walk around in the world disguised as Sharon. The eyes I see with belong to someone I do not know, and my body is a foreign puzzle with missing pieces. Every day I am newly surprised by the decimation of what my life once was. Nine months, two surgeries, 16 chemotherapy treatments, and one broken heart later, I am now ready to make sense of this journey.
My vision is to choreograph an evening-length dance piece that transforms the way we think about change in our lives. In the past months I have struggled with the fact that there is no such thing as certainty, and that death is a tangible and inescapable presence. There are times I am successful in coming to terms with this truth, and I find joy through groundlessness—letting go and surrendering. There are other times, however, when I hold on too tightly, refusing to pry my fingers open lest I transition, floating, into nothingness.The sound of shattering glass penetrates the darkness. Lights fade up on a female form jailed within a small space: reaching, unfurling. A young girl sleeps next to a mother, peeling away every now and then to dance. Projections of rolling dice flicker upon a large white cube. Three women peer into mirrors, grieving for what is about to happen to their bodies and their spirits. A man’s voice dispassionately explains Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Brightly colored bras are strung together, forming a clothesline that entangles and connects a group of laughing dancers. A lone figure with a suitcase embarks upon a voyage to an unknown destination.
Through The Materiality of Impermanence I seek to express the ravages of breast cancer, and at the same time, manifest the beauty and strength of the human spirit. Using contemporary movement language, the piece will be structured as a series of solos, duets, trios, and group sections, and will include nine performers, aerial dance, music (including a live harp), text and video.
The total cost of the project is approximately $23,000, which covers theater rental for six shows, lighting, set, video, and costume design, and performer and technical crew fees. The funds raised on Kick Starter will be used to pay for the deposit on the theater space. Remaining production costs will be covered through grants, ticket sales, and in-kind donations. Once the theater deposit has been paid, I will approach various cancer non-profit organizations to form a partnership—they will market the project to their donor base in exchange for the opportunity to raise awareness about breast cancer through the arts. Proceeds from the performances will be donated to the partner charities.
A new friend recently asked me two questions: "What is your greatest fear?” and "What is your greatest hope?" These were my answers:"My greatest fear is that I will not live to see my child grow up. My greatest hope is that this piece will be…..beautiful, a lens through which we can see that life is fundamentally impermanent, but our spirit is stunningly eternal."
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