It’s late fall here in Nova Scotia, and the weather (apart from some freakishly warm and much-appreciated days this week) is getting chilly. The other night I was getting dressed for a coffee date with a friend of mine, and I pulled out a scarf.
And it made me smile. Because the scarf has a great story behind it.
Over the summer between my first and second year, Skidmore College’s campus sprouted an art museum. The Tang museum opened its doors in October with an exhibit called S.O.S. Scenes of Sounds, and it featured all kinds of exhibits that made noise.
I don’t really remember being all that excited about the museum or the exhibition. At the time I’m pretty sure we all thought the museum was kind of funny looking. But then one day before the opening, this man came to watch our improvisation (dance) class. Our teacher told us that his name was Nick Cave and that he was looking for some dancers to wear his sound-making costumes during the museum opening.
So we danced. We danced our hearts out. And he watched. And at the end of class he picked 3 students to wear his costumes. I was one of them.
On the day of the opening, when the museum was packed, we got into costume and went outside. We started out on this big exterior staircase leading down to the main exhibit room. We walked down slowly, wearing our full-body soundsuits. Very slowly people began to notice our approach. And then we entered this narrow area enclosed between two walls (and doors) of glass, and we just went wild, improvising all kinds of movement in the giant, rustling costumes as the museum-goers watched. It was incredible.
I wish I had photos or video of us dancing in costume. Youtube wasn’t even invented back then (…I don’t think), and believe me, I’ve looked anyway. The closest idea I can give you to what this was like was this:
Like I said, not a video of me. But you get the idea. WILD.
Several weeks later, I got a package in the mail. It contained a note from Nick Cave thanking me for dancing for him and presenting this scarf (from his fashion line) as a token of gratitude. I’ve treasured it ever since.
When I went looking for video of these soundsuits, I found out that he went on to make many, many more of them. He’s had exhibits around the world. Hundreds of people have seen them and performed in them. And I danced in one of them 11 years ago, right near the beginning. That’s pretty effing cool.
I think we all have stories like this one…not necessarily about dancing, but about a really awesome experience and a memory we treasure. Sometimes I feel like we don’t like to talk about them because it feels too much like tooting our own horn.
But you know what? Forget that…I say let’s share our awesome stories proudly. Let’s tell the world. Because the world needs to know that cool things like this happen to “normal people” (whatever that means). And stories are important. Your story is important.