I grew up in Forks. “Pre-Twilight,” practically none of you would have had a clue where that is. In this “Post-Twilight” era, however, you all know of the town I’m referring to; and to offer a proactive answer to the question that is undoubtedly on the tip of your lip, no, I am not a vampire. Nor am I a werewolf. When I was in Forks, it was a simple logging town and nothing more.
It has been 20 years since my family moved to Bainbridge Island, but I still remember my years of isolation in the Washington wilderness. We had no theatre, no concerts, no art galleries. We had no cultural exposure. Had it not been for my mother, I never would have known what exposure to the arts does for a person’s emotional well-being.
My mother was a schoolteacher and a natural nurturer (she still is), and she was determined to offer my sister and I a view of the world outside our little corner of the state. She did this via Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), Seattle’s professional ballet company. We had season tickets, and made the trip regularly.
I was a small town kid, and the experience of big-city fancy-people performing arts, and the cultural atmosphere of a professional venue in the heart of Seattle, opened my eyes to the world around me. I would sit there in my little suit, in the middle of The Seattle Opera House, surrounded by city-dwellers who consumed the performance in a silent state of appreciation that I did not yet understand, and I liked it. I felt like I was a part of something, of a culture, that was a whole new world to me.
My exposure to the Seattle scene and its performing arts opened my eyes, my mind and the scope of my aspirations in life. When the time came to leave Forks for good, I didn’t even glance back at the road behind me.
Last night I attended the CWU Orchesis Dance Company’s Spring Performance, and as I sat in silence taking in the show, my thoughts brought me back to those years in Forks and our trips to the PNB. I watched the jazz, I watched the tap, I watched the ballroom, I watched the ballet, and I reminisced.
Performing arts give us a means of emotional growth. They offer us opportunity to connect with artists and to consume their art. They provide a medium through which to bond with our neighbors. Performing arts express the nuances of humanity.
Orchesis gives the CWU community all of these benefits while also providing performance and development opportunities to the dancers among the student body.
Thanks, Orchesis, for doing what you do. Oh, and bravo; the show was magnifico.