Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wyoming: Forever Home

We returned late Tuesday night from our annual pilgrimage tour to Southwest Wyoming. This was our 8th year working in these communities. This year we primarily targeted 500 second and first graders. We led workshops in dance and storytelling in the elementary schools. At the college in Rock Springs, Roderick Jackson led two master classes in Afro-influenced dance, and Emily Bunning led a master modern dance class. We performed Desert Travels: Tales from the Middle East for two performances at WWCC's theater.
Desert Travels: Tales from the Middle East at WWCC's Theater
Desert Travels: Tales from the Middle East at WWCC Theater
We also were hosted by Nancy and Mark Anselmi at The Outlaw Inn. They threw us a lovely reception and benefit. Friends, family and supporters from the community attended. At one point, while Emily and I were giving our speech, I couldn't help but flash to our childhood; Saturday art classes, camping trips, the many art events we attended, the people who influenced us. In some ways, we were always destined to be artists, made from these people, this place, this land, the events of our childhood.
Food at the Outlaw Inn, reflected our Treehouse Shakers' characters.
Treehouse Shakers' Company at the Outlaw Inn Benefit
Emily Bunning, her son, and Mary Hay at Benefit
Going home always brings out such deep contemplations on my past, present and future. As soon as we drive into the High desert mountains, I feel my NYC layers making way to the deeper memories of sagebrush, antelope and mountains. Sometimes cracked, these memories are like the desert itself. Did I really play with lizards once, skipping rocks into the river by myself, laying nestled in the dirt staring at the blue skies and watching the clouds? Could I, now long-married to New York City and her skyscrapers, have once been the child of this desert?

My daughter out for a walk by the Green River
My daughter, now three, kept saying, "Momma take me to the top of the mountains." I repeated their names as we drove, wanting them to be etched into her memory like the red rocks themselves. Kissing Rock,  White Mountain, South Mountain. And here is where mommy found her first lizard. There I rode my bike, I hunted for arrowheads here. The town now has paved roads where I used to play, but my memories will forever be etched between shale and sandstone, beneath the open blue skies. Wyoming, forever my home.
Playing Dress up in Mommy's costume post-performance
Thank you to Sweetwater County BOCES, Western Wyoming Community College Faculty, Students and Staff, Bernadine Craft, Outlaw Inn, Nancy & Mark Anselmi, our amazing performers; Roderick Jackson, Miranda Wilson, Ashley McGill, Sarah Young, Emily Bunning, Amber Ford and Sarah Milosevich. Special thanks to all of the many family,  friends and supporters who help make our trip so wonderful! 

Performance photos taken by Florence Alfano McEwin.


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