I just closed what will probably be the last show I do for a while, given my upcoming schedule. It was a Broadway revue with a spiritual bent that played to several churches around the L.A. area, and in Newport Beach. Three of the songs were choreographed by an L.A. dancer named Sarah Harkness, who miraculously managed to make all of us look somewhat like dancers, though many of us were most definitely... well... not.
Sarah founded a dance company called Meh-Tropolis Dance Theatre, and I wanted to give it a plug for those of you around Los Angeles (and for those of you who aren't, but haven't bought your Christmas cards yet). They are selling handmade Christmas/Holiday cards and gift tags which are lovely in their own right. But they are also sponsoring what I consider one or two very worthy causes.
First, they are supporting the arts in Los Angeles at a time when every politician and evangalistic neo-con is fighting to drag money out of the arts (but not football, you'll notice) in schools and communities all over the country. We need to keep dance, drama, art and music alive, and since our public schools have such limited ability to expose our children to this, we must rely on local companies like Sarah's to provide access and inspiration. Second, a quick trip to the Photos section of the Meh-Tropolis website will reveal that Sarah's dance company is filled with something you don't see too often in the dance world. Breasts. Not huge breasts, mind you. But breasts nonetheless. The female dancers, both principal and corps, in the company are, for the most part, normal-wieght, healthy women in fabulous condition, rather than the boy-shaped stick figures you see on stages in New York and in Europe. Meh-Tropolis dancers are real folks who can dance up a storm, and who don't inspire one to stop the show just to fix them a ham sandwich, lest they perish before the second act curtain.
Meh-Tropolis is providing little girls who have a yen to dance with a proper role model that says, "Dancers don't have to starve to dance." So buy a box of cards or some gift tags. Or a t-shirt with the really neat logo I kiped that starts this post. Or maybe make a teensy donation to the toe shoe fund -- every little bit helps.
Support the arts, and you support the things that bring us closer to ourselves. In the words of Agnes de Mille: "To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking."