by Rima Dael, CDSS Executive Director
I started my journey in the Arts as a classical ballet dancer at a very young age and moved on to musical theatre. It is no wonder that one of my heroes was Agnes de Mille who blended both. I loved the drama of her dances. I loved her choreography. I loved her ability to tell a story. She was a brilliant dancer, choreographer, director, and, most importantly, she was a brilliant arts advocate for dance! For all these reasons, I was tickled to read the article "The Ballet and the Country Dance," by May Gadd, from The Country Dancer, December 1942, republished in our recent CDSS News. Personally, it was a wonderful way to end this Centennial year for me. It was a way that I feel I have come full circle in my artistic life, noticing the connections of how May Gadd influenced the choreography of Agnes de Mille that I discovered as an expat kid in Thailand and Hong Kong, where I also learned how to square dance, English country dance, saw morris dancing for the first time and yes, went to pub sings after rugby games. I've come full circle noticing and celebrating all these connections in my life that have brought me right to this moment.
So much of this Centennial year has been about noticing the connections, honoring them, continuing connections that sustain us, and building new connections that will ensure our future. The best part about traditional dance, music and song are the connections that foster community, about participating in a community. It is why our tagline for many years has been continuing our traditions and linking those who love them.
So let us continue to notice and foster connections in our community. Let us continue, connect and celebrate traditional dance, music and song! Thank you for helping spread the joy. Thank you for making this Centennial year a truly spectacular one. Thank you for all the wonderful connections!
"The truest expression of a people is in its dances and in its music. Bodies never lie." ~ Agnes de Mille