Laurel Keen’s Farewell

I have been hesitant to write this last tour blog because there is something very final about it.

However, I read Michael Montgomery’s post this morning and suddenly felt inspired to write. I just want to say a quick thank you to him for his beautiful words and also express how he has affected my life in turn. It is so exciting to see someone with so much fire and hunger just beginning his journey at LINES. I cannot wait to see this new generation of dancers, and where they take the company. I know that it will be beyond what I can imagine. One of my most vivid memories from my last show in Sceaux was just after Michael and I finished a duet and came offstage. He started crying and sat down beside me in the wing and said something to the effect of “I’m not ready for you to go”. It stuck with me because I think that’s the thing about change, we’re never prepared for it. It is a bittersweet place, where fear and excitement are both close at hand along with the ever present reminder of time ticking on… The thought that soothes me is to remember that change is simply things taking on a new shape. The elements are all still there, they are just arranged in a new way.

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With Keelan Whitmore and Meredith Webster

For me the bitter is that I will miss the opportunity to travel to all of these amazing places with such a great group of people. Performing in the beautiful and ornate theaters in Italy, finding the best croissant in the small towns of France, walking home late through the cobblestone streets, sipping wine at cafes, and enjoying the slower European pace of life: discovering something new almost everyday. I will miss the feeling of being “out of your element” and then appreciating home even more when you return to it. I think most of all, I will miss the countless silly moments that we share as a company on tour. There is a bond that forms on tour, when we are all away from home, that is hard to describe. It makes us come together like a family and I will treasure that feeling. I won’t go into details, but getting caught in the snow storm this past winter has to be one of my favorites. Thank you to the autogrill gas stations for providing us with countless hours of fun. P.S. You might consider removing your restriction on carafes when there is four feet of snow outside. Just a thought.

The sweet is that after nine years of traveling I feel ready to put the suitcase in the back of the closet for awhile. I am excited about exploring the idea of “home” and investing in one place. Spending more time with family and friends and treasuring the time that I got to spend seeing the world. I know I will be back out there someday, but for now I am quite content with being still.

Thank you again to everyone who made my last season at Yerba Buena so sweet. I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude. I wish you all strength and peace as you move forward. I’ll be seeing you.

Lots of love, Laurel

P.S. I was fortunate enough to go visit Brett Conway (former Company member) in Den Haag, Netherlands after I left the company in Sceaux. He is doing very well there, dancing with Netherlands Dance Theater and living with his partner Jesse and their dog Bitsy. I’m including a photo below.

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Written by Laurel Keen. Photos courtesy of Laurel Keen.

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