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  • Anna-Lee Wright

When Broadway ends and its all over...

Updated: Aug 2, 2018


When a return to choreographing and teaching after being away for over a year on Broadway unexpectedly turns out to be the healing I needed and waited all year for...

#andjustlikethat we did it. It's over. After the most turbulent and formative year of my life I got to return to see and work with some of my old students and kids. I underestimated how overwhelming each little reunion would be.... the last time I had seen many of them I was such a different person in so many fundamental ways as were they.... and words cannot articulate what it felt like to look up and see a favorite student I hadn't seen in forever and realize that they were no longer a child.... but a new fragile adult version of themselves. (Like, Bwah??) It felt so spiritual... like...hello little soul that I once knew... my how magnificent you have become... I too am different! I have more scars but I remain soft in spirit which is all that matters. Choreographing is one thing, but getting your hands on 100 dancers at a time is something rare and special....especially when these are kids I've spent years adjudicating, scoring, talking to over a recording I didn't ever really know if they listened to or not. These kids went DEEP with me and leaned into my vision with blind faith and enthusiasm .... I really wanted to dance about the underrated power of JOY and the overlooked bravery it takes to be OPTIMISTIC. #this was the #healing I needed. I knew I would get this opportunity in January, so I had a while to think about what I wanted to dance about. That required me to take honest stock of how I was doing...because to create authentically one has come from a place of awareness. With the end of the the most chaotic year of my life (the zenith of my life so far you could say making my Broadway debut which had been my sole dream since I came to this country as an adopted Korean orphan) also came the impending drop-off.... where the daily routine and community of working on Broadway was gone..... and so was my Mom. Oh, and yeah, my boyfriend because he had moved across the country to pursue his own dreams or purpose and the ability to live a life of choice........ so I was dreading the silence of that sudden shift that seemed almost unnatural to expose living, emotional, empathetic creatures to. I was scared of what was to come.... I had only ever thought about up to this point now.... literally... I was truly one of those kids that had tunnel-vision set on Broadway from the jump. (that means from the beginning fan:-) I didn't want to dance about GRIEF though... I trusted that these kids could understand that it was a dance about LIVING.... and knowing that momma waited till I "made-it".... at least to where "it" supposedly meant to me.....to pass on unexpectedly shortly after. I kinda knew she'd pop in to say hello here..... I dunno why... we always had a relationship like that even though we weren't blood... we were more than that.... we were connected in spirit....we have probably swapped roles of mother and daughter numerous lifetimes... haha. She didn't disappoint and picked the perfect time to stop back in and check in on me. I didn't wanna get my hopes up.... and I didn't really have the time between frantically wrangling dancers and obsessively giving notes. You never know whats going to really happen when it comes time for the show. Sometimes it just doesn't come together and that is the risk of live theatre but also the magic.... because when it does... its not a dance...its an experience.. its a collective moment out of time that can never be replicated or experienced again. When everyone focuses.... when everyone makes eye contact and breathes and trusts the shapes I've asked of them.... when it comes together you can feel the electricity in the air... its the feeling of love, healing, relief, forgiveness, mercy, validation, divine universal energy, God, whatever resonates best will very person to person - but that feeling.... that moment of revelry of life so precious. Thank you for going to church with me kids. For sweating, and breathing, and grieving, and running, and waiting, and practicing and feeling with me. #thatsdancing and my soul literally turned back years watching you. #thank you. so very much. It was such an honor and I love all so very much and miss you already as I leave for a year on tour! I look forward to seeing you again down the road.... some important work is being done at these studios. thank you @daniloewenchoreography for being the best assistant ever.

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