Monday, October 29, 2018

Darkness into Light

Pamela Trokanski is one of those Davis institutions that we have known for more than 30 years.  I believe she was teaching dance when we moved here.  Since Jeri was taking ballet lessons from a different teacher, she never did take modern dance from Pamela, but we just "knew" Pamela all those years.

Now she has her own studio

But she's really an amazing person.  She has been performing and teaching in Davis for 34 years, has given lectures and demonstrations and, since 1994, has funded almost 10,000 free movement classes for adults 65 and older. She has provided free dance classes for people with Parkinson's Disease and their caregivers since 2010.  She has also written a dance column for the local paper.

After I started being a critic, she invited me to come and review one of her recitals.  I explained that I knew absolutely NOTHING about dance and she said that made me perfect to review her shows because she meant them to be accessible to everyone.

I never go to one of her shows without fear and trepidation that I won't know what to write, and I'm almost always right.  I don't take notes, generally, because I can't write in the dark and if I do write, I can't read my notes afterwards.  But I always take notes in Pamela's shows because at least I think it gives me a fighting chance to know what I'm seeing (I usually still can't read my notes)

I had written to Pamela and asked her to save 2 seats on the house right in the front row for us.  She had not.  We had to go to the house LEFT, as far away from the door as you can get, and if Walt had to make a special trip to the bathroom, he'd have to walk through the dancers.  I was already in a bad mood

To get to our seats, I had to walk over people in the front row.  I had the walker and the tried to move their knees to the side, leaving me NOwhere to put the walker since the dance floor was roped off so we would not make the mistake of stepping on it.  I was quite grumpy by the time we got to our seats.

Her printed programs are rarely of much help.  This one had promise since it said that it listed "company members in order of performance" and listed the 8 dancers.  Well, that went by the wayside right away when there were actually NINE dancers, the 9th being Pamela herself.

Each dancer had a recorded message that set up a dance number and theoretically they were listed in the order of their presentation.   I only knew one other dancer, Allegra Silberstein, the oldest in the cast (she's older than I am and has danced with Pamela for decades).  She was listed as #2 but actually Pamela was #1 (I recognized her voice) and two more people spoke before Allegra did.  My intent had been to cross off people as their bit came up, and I did, but am not convinced I crossed off the right people.

The program also listed the musical numbers, in order.  Something by Pink was the 4th on the list and I figured that would be a nice place marker.  But there were about 7 pieces of instrumental numbers before a vocal came up (I finally gave up).

I actually enjoyed the performance.  It was called "Darkness into Light" and was described as:
If you follow world events or the unfolding of multiple national dramas, if you fret about the health of the planet or the ever increasingly rapid changes in technology, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Join us for an experience that may answer some of your questions on how to find balance in a world that feels increasingly chaotic and disorganized.
And this was put together before the synagogue shootings and the bomb threats.

I would have enjoyed it much m ore if I could just have enjoyed it without having to sit there and try to figure out what I was going to write because I just didn't have the proper words.

Fortunately Walt didn't need the bathroom during the performance and the rude people sitting in the front row left before I walked out with my walker.  So it was all good, but now I have to write the review.

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