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in the park, with the people

Posted on by Molly Johnson

i am sitting poolside at the lakeview motel in haliburton, ontario. i have been here most of the day, finding the balance between work and play and the two r's. the actual job happens tonight, but that too takes place by the water, embraced by the elements. nothing's perfect but this tour comes pretty darn close to hitting the mark.

i've been involved with dusk dances for over a decade now. first as a spectator, when i visited the big smoke in the summer of 2001 to audition for the school of toronto dance theatre. i got into the school and i fell in love with dance in the dusk. the following two summers, i returned to the park as a keen volunteer, thrilled to spend as many nights as i could experiencing the tiny perfect performances under the darkening city skies. i was so keen in fact, that in 2004, i was offered a job as the park coordinator, which led to a more full time job the following year working for then producer meredith potter, at her brand new freelance hq. through mp, I became immersed in another side of the dusk dances world - writing up contracts, hassling artists for invoices, planning the logistics of these very tours that i now know so well. this foray into the administrative side of things not only made me a diehard for diligence who sends invoices on time and replies to emails promptly, but also somehow magically put me into the artistic view of festival director sylvie bouchard. and so in 2007, i found myself stepping onto the grassy stage of tecumseh park in good ol' chatham, ontario, trotting beneath a pink umbrella in corpus' carousel to the delight of several hundred spectators and a handful of dogs. seven summers later, i'm still a part of this world. and i'm still mesmerized each night, when the sun begins to set, the crowd begins to gather, and we are all a little bit transformed by experiencing it all together.

it is a job. there is a s*** ton of work that goes into it, and there are the ups and downs of anything that involves humans. mother nature plays a big part, and that's a blessing and a curse to be sure. we are making art, creating performance, and that will never be perfect either. whether for the audience or for yourself, you're not going to win em all.

at the end of the day, the magic of this work lies in the proximity to your audience. it is found as you wrestle with the wind and discover the vastness of the sky. it is the moving act of witnessing five hundred people from all walks of life descend on a public space, the sun hitting its last crescendo of the day behind them, and knowing the beauty of what we do is bringing them together in this place. and if not bringing, keeping, which is sweeter still.

i wish everyone could see the sea of faces that live before me, in the sublime light of dusk.