“These lessons we will bring home with us.”

Written by LINES Ballet dancer Maya Harr during the company’s three week residency in Wickenburg, Arizona

When there is nothing extraneous left for the mind to preoccupy itself with, we become free to focus on the tasks we care most about. Here on the ranch it remains quiet other than the conversational neighing of horses and howling and hooting of coyotes and owls at night. As we walk through the morning fog to breakfast all that we must concern our minds with is the day of work ahead. We then dance, all day, creating something brand new in our fresh state while weaving in patches of old work. Our creation process parallels our company’s reunion, falling back into old habits and joys held in time by familiarity and trust. We have been granted a respite from the chaos of the virus, and here in our bubble, we are able to sit close, hug, and see each others’ smiles. I missed them. We all realize how lucky we are for this chance to step back from the overwhelming noise of reality, and listen only to our original voices, those we were given with our call to art and movement years ago.

When the working day is done we drive home, overlooking mountain peaks lined with the pinks and oranges of daytime welcoming the night sky. Though we are moving through space, and soon the sky will be colored in an entirely different palette, for now its stillness and glory are immortalized. I know this scene will be one that stays painted on the backs of my eyelids for a long time. At home on the ranch we close the evenings gathered around a fireplace, one we keep aflame until the last person is off to bed because it’s the only thing bringing us heat. It keeps us warm as we play games and make crafts, and even continue dancing; we never really stop moving. There are some nights we sit around the fire with our own activities, silent and independently immersed, but nonetheless we are together. I feel there’s an unspoken, maybe subconscious, realization that it may be another eternity of waiting before we can see each others’ smiles again and are able to hold each other while we dance. So there we sit, in personal silence, enjoying the company of one another, not taking a moment of this privilege for granted.

We have created beautiful work here along with a home. We have all been endowed with a new perspective on the necessities for happiness and fulfillment. To have each other and to have purpose is enough. As we spend our last days with hard work in culmination of our efforts these past three weeks, there is still peace and silence. As our bubble world spins into its finale, the ranch cats curl up in our arms to remind us to be happy, and to enjoy the present moment. The horses show us how to be still, and to stand free from the vibrations of exhaustion and excitement when they weigh too heavily. These lessons we will bring home with us. What was created here is beyond dance, it is a new way of seeing.

Stay tuned for details about the Spring 2021 release of the groundbreaking film produced during this artistic residency. This work was made possible through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Photos provided by: Madeline DeVries, Danielle Colburn, Maya Harr, Kara Wilkes