I shouldn’t be surprised that the Eau Claire Area School District is interested in partnering with me to produce Hands of Peace, my performance project for next year – they don’t have to invest any money, I’m doing most of the work, the topic and charity component help them look good, and it is offering their students valuable growth – but I am. I’m surprised because I didn’t think another one of my crazy escapades would actually have the potential to be successful (though this time I am not procrastinating nor doing it all myself), and because I simply can’t believe I get to do something that I really, really, want to do. But here we are!
If you haven’t heard yet, Hands of Peace is a series of dances about Peace (to well-known Peace songs) performed by children (some created by them, but most choreographed by me) at either one (or hopefully several) locations to raise money for charities chosen by the children. Doesn’t that sound simply lovely?
I met with Timothy Liebham, the Deputy Superintendent for the ECASD, last week to discuss how this potential union would work out. He seemed to be as excited as I was, and alleviated all fears by reminding me that they do these kinds of partnerships all the time so all things were easily workable. I don’t even need to have my own liability insurance (don’t have it yet) as the schools will cover their students.
There are still a lot of details to iron out before any work can even begin, but the part of the planning that is typically hardest for me to accomplish well – obtaining students, advertising and financial help – is done! I have three super interested elementary schools, and we’re going to get a middle and high-school group to add into my own private groups (a tot group and one other tbd group). Am I ready for the work?
You may wonder why I’m doing Hands of Peace – what do I get out of the whole deal? Well, my husband and I have already asked this question a lot (and will a lot more I bet). It appears self-sacrificial, (this is a habit of mine) because I don’t get any money, I have to rearrange and fill my already starved for family/self-time schedule, and it will be exhausting work, but the benefits make it a no-brainer for me: I get to dance about Peace, I get to get kids to dance about Peace, there’s the joy of seeing children bring this lovely message to the community, the money raised for charity, potential future students for BaredFeet (assuming I don’t embarrass myself) and just being able to produce and swim in all the positive vibes that come with the whole idea. I really just can’t not do it.
Ben Harper’s With My Own Two Hands came on the radio in my car a few months ago and with it popped a vision of children dancing it’s message: creating a world of peace – and I wept tears of joy. In fact every time I envision this project I weep. This topic is so natural to children, due to their innocence, generous hearts and pure spirits. Who better to bring Peace to us when so many of us need it?
The hard part will be figuring out rehearsal and performance schedules when so many people will be involved, but I’ve got teachers, student-helpers and a school district by my side to figure this out. We’ll be meeting in August to discuss the initial production steps. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, if you are moved in any way to be a part of this project – through whatever skills you have (artwork, babysitting for me, monetary donations, screen printing, food/water for rehearsals, sewing skills, volunteering at events, dancing, music…) let me know. There will be an appreciative place for it.