Last December I was in the middle of Winter Dance Camp and my husband texted me. I was right next to my phone, so I could see the text flash on the screen. It was not good. My uncle had been in a boating accident. I didn't know what to do. I had 35 kids under my supervision, running their dances for a show the next day, and 45 minutes left in the day. A minute later my husband said I needed to leave work and go to the hospital. Luckily we were tech-ing a show, so there was one other adult there with me. I left her with all those kids and raced to the hospital. My uncle didn't make it.
As I sat in the pews at his funeral a few days later, with his casket before all his loved ones, I started to get inspiration for a piece of Choreography. I'd need some "pews."
My dad built them, and Kit and I painted them.
The day after the funeral, we had a Memorial for my uncle near the site of the accident. My uncle was an avid paddler, so of course we had all the canoe's paddle out with a big flower drop.
I've been searching for this one photo from the canoes looking up at the helicopter, taken right at moment the helicopter released all the flowers. That was the second inspiration for this piece: that feeling of flowers falling from above to create beauty down below. But I can't find the photo anywhere!! Here's a shot of Ivy in the canoe. Her first time for a memorial. When my grandma died in May 2011, she was too young to go out in the canoes.
After rehearsing almost 5 months, the piece debuted at the Maui Academy of Performing Arts' Spring Extravaganza at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. I used music from the score of the movie, "We Bought A Zoo." Here are some shots (compliments of Elizabeth Yee):
We also shot it in Paia, Maui "on location." Here is an "in progress" shot from that video shoot. They're all holding flowers, because during filming they threw them throughout the dance:
My uncle passed away just a few weeks after my cousin's wedding in December 2011. Everyone was together that day. Ivy was the flower girl. You can see my uncle in the back right of the photo blowing the conch shell, as he did at every important family event.
(I wish I knew who to give credit for this photo. If you know who shot it, let me know!)
So thankful for my uncle's legacy, and so thankful for the creativity that was sparked in me through his passing. Thank you uncle, for all that you did for us, and for how hard you worked on this earth, so that your family can continue to flourish even though you're no longer here. We miss you.