The Jessica Effect

Letter to the Editor:

Dear Post Dispatch (Dis-botched journalism!),

Thank you to the organization for the very nice article covering the Dance New Horizons Show in Sunday’s edition of the paper. I also like the pictures, particularly since I am smack dab in the middle (albeit waiting on the sidelines) of the photo featuring Common Thread. Just ignore the beautiful soloist girl, Tara Spiderweb Chicken Cacciatore- or whatever her name is. I also like the photo of St. Louis Ballet: Tiffany Mori Aljets looks gorgeous as always, and I don’t know who the girl in the black tights is to her left, but she has really amazing legs and winged feet that create a pretty stunning line. (So much for the whole ‘you don’t need to know Balanchine from Gorbachev to appreciate dance’ statement. Actually, I agree but if you DO know dance, and you see something done beautifully, it’s just that much better because you know how hard it is to accomplish!)

Tiffany Mori Aljets and fellow St. Louis Ballet dancers in Paw Tanowitz’s ‘La Tristesse de St. Louis’ photo by Huy Mach

That being said, there was one tiny thing I’d like to nitpick and mention. I don’t know about the other three guest choreographers, but Jessica Lang at least is not only a ‘nationally recognized’ architect of dance, but internationally renowned. (It really is a lovely article- read it here)    Thank you- self-appointed home editor- Madam Snob Jessica

See that pale girl on the left in the halter leotard? That’s me! Photo by Christian Gooden

As the prospect of this show becomes an ever-closer reality, I am feeling more and more excited and humbled to be a part. I remember checking out Jessica’s website before her arrival and among her impressive list of accolades was this tidbit:

American Ballet Theatre principals Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky performed Lang’s work Splendid Isolation III in gala’s around the world including for ABT’s opening night gala at the Metropolitan Opera House.

I can hardly imagine having such high profiles, Irina, Maxim, ABT, the Met, attached as closely to my name and work as they are for Jessica Lang. But there she is, the choreographer who has worked with these incredible talents in these astounding places, in the studio with us. We even share the same name! Too bad that doesn’t translate to a give-and-take of genius. I would be more than happy to share some of mine- just kidding. It gives this feeling of celebrity in our presence. Do you know where she was before coming back to us in St. Louis? Working with Royal Birmingham Ballet. I want her life! This collaboration between Dance St. Louis, Ms. Lang,and our group just adds that extra nod of credibility to our company- a sign that local organizations believe that we are a group capable of putting forth a good represention the professional quality of dance in our city. We’re good enough to hang with the celebs! When I think about how lucky I am that Jennifer Medina allowed me to come take class, to join her company, and that Michael Uthoff and Dance St. Louis took the initiative to make this performance happen, and that the St. Louis community and press seems excited about it too, well…it feels like much more than I deserve.

Beautiful Artistic Director Jennifer Medina and Common Thread dancers in rehearsal. Photo by Christian Gooden

I am only a little tiny nameless piece of this much larger ambition on many of our parts. There are so many dreams at work here. There are choreographers brought from around the country, specifically asked to make a work of art. There are people like the Dance St. Louis staff who are putting their creativity, time, and talents on the line with something so new. There are the writers and photographers travelling to rehearsals to snap gorgeous photos and talk to our beloved directors. There are those heads of the companies hoping to provide good opportunities for their dancers, for their reputations. And there are all of us hoping that we can give something special to the St. Louis community. I know that I only play a very tiny part in this whole grand scheme but it is still an honor.  So I’ll leave you with this poem, ‘Untitled’ by Anonymous (very fitting since ‘Anonymous’ is the title of Jessica’s piece) which I copied into my ‘favorite poems journal’ at seventeen years of age, complete with a picture of, you guessed it, Maxim and Irina.The fascination and draw towards those we idolize never fails, especially for the anonymous dreamers, like me.

3 thoughts on “The Jessica Effect

    • I don’t know what the photographer working with St. Louis Ballet was like, but Christian was fantastic when he visited Common Thread! I think dance is one of the hardest things to capture in a still shot and he did such a wonderful job. The letter is just a joke- I actually really did enjoy the article by Calvin Wilson.

  1. Pingback: ABT Dress Rehearsal and Studio Company | BODIES NEVER LIE

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