Because dance is one way that I express myself, I’ve been wanting to dedicate a dance to the youth with cancer that I have spent time with over the years.
When I learned about Zach Sobiech, a teenager with osteosarcoma, his incredible musical talent resonated with me: the lyrics he wrote and the songs he sang expressed his inspiring attitude amidst his experiences with cancer. With subtle undertones of cancer, his music is simple yet powerful. One of my favorite songs by Zach is Sandcastles: a melodious, heartfelt duet with Sammy Brown about a far off land “where no one gets hurt and no one dies.”
Zach died one year ago today. My hope is that my choreography and performance of a dance to Sandcastles, speaks for itself.
Healing is an intimate process, both for those being healed and for their healers. I choreographed this dance to the song Fix You by Coldplay to commemorate the intricacies of the healing process, particularly for those surrounding the sufferer. Illness may isolate the self, but it can often unite others.
From family and friends, physicians and nurses, therapists and chaplains, there are numerous individuals who dedicate themselves to this cause: to “try[ing] to fix you.” This performance honors these individuals, recognizing their independent contributions. It illuminates the parallels across these different efforts, revealing how these different methods of healing are in fact synchronized. Similar motions are performed with unique takes by each dancer and each healer. Reducing pain with Oxycodone, alleviating emotional unraveling through art. Finding solace in spirituality.
Healing is a collective effort, just as dancing; collaboration demands a conversation of sorts that is embodied here in movement. Each must share their insight and showcase their strengths while recognizing what to forfeit in favor of healing the mind, the body, and the total self. Considering the nutritional imbalances imposed by antidepressants, the psychological side effects of surgical disfigurement. The limitations to restoring normalcy.
There is dynamism to healing. There are trying times and moments of liberation, symbolized by movements high and low. There are bursts of chaos and body rolls, unexpected outcomes and relapses, but there are also breaths of peace demonstrated by graceful releases of the body and sustained poses. Recoveries.
This choreography and its performance demonstrate that healing vitalizes all involved, as it “ignite[s] your bones.”