Monday, January 22, 2007

Up the Stairs in the Attic

I witnessed a powerful presentation yesterday at The Dance Place that resonated strongly with me after my recent visit to see 98-year-old Aunt Zelda in Chicago. I went with my friend Elizabeth to see her sister (who is about my age) perform with a group of very talented dancers.

This premier performance of Up the Stairs in the Attic was choreographed by Jane Franklin. The dance focuses on the dismantling of a life as a woman gives up her home to move to an assisted living facility.

The dancers so beautifully go through the process of moving her things out of the attic, one piece at a time. They examine the photos that have no identifying names. They pass down an old cooking pot. There are plastic Christmas tree ornaments. There is a little suitcase. You know all the kinds of things people store in their attics, long to be forgotten amidst so many other things just like them.

There were spoken words added to the fluid dance movements that emphasized the various things encountered, with just a snatch of why the thing ended up in the attic.

I can so identify with this dance, having danced the same movements through my parents’ house of 50 years and not so gracefully filled a dumpster outside. It was agonizing to make those necessary decisions. And there were so very many to make.

Perhaps I identified with the dance even more because these were not thin-as-reeds young girls performing it, but rather woman of my generation, who might be facing such decisions in the next couple of decades.

It was a very powerful performance that left me with unfinished thoughts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds quite powerful and unlike anything I've seen before. I actually just googled this to see if I could find any additional performances. I'm disappointed to note that there were only two.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I think like this dance every time I go up to my attic. What can I get rid of that will make it all easier when the time comes? And what would I regret throwing away? It's harder when you love to collect things and you really do have space for them as I do.
I wrote a song about it called "The Attic Of My Mind". It was interestin because I woke up singing the tune and then wrote the words to go with it. It's usually the poem first and then the tune!

7:13 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I am most definitely not an emptier of things. I am a definite packrat. I keep things because I never know when they are going to come in handy. As well, I love to go through my old things and discover forgotten treasures among them.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny the things we keep because of a certain memory. I have decided to start my cleaning now, in a broad sense of now,

4:24 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I'm sorry you can't see this performance. It is one of those memories that sticks with you.

MOI -- Can you send me the words to your song?

Richard -- I'll bet you have some real prizes squirreled away. My father was the world's greatest packrat and it was so interesting seeing just what he packed away when I cleaned out their house.

OL -- Maybe we postpone cleaning out because it seems like the beginning of the end.

7:52 AM  

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