With great joy and gratitude, it is my honor to share my latest video with you.
This video was created for my written poem “Dancing Lesson, (or how to let the words leave you),” which was born right here on Hevria.
It was a dream come true to collaborate with Brad Cooper again, (director of my video for Mermaid Esther, which also came to life on Hevria,) and also to work with Brad’s longtime creative partner, Atom Smith, who I’d been yearning to make art with.
How did I get so fortunate?
Here’s the thing. It is a gift beyond measure to work with artists you admire and trust. Trust implicitly. Trust their aesthetic, trust that they want the best for you, trust that you are being cared for. It is nothing to be taken lightly.
You may or may not know that in addition to my glamorous jet-setting life of champagne wishes and caviar dreams as a po-lebrity, I also teach Zumba. For a few years now, I have had the vision for a poetry and dance video in my mind. I would tell my class participants, “One of these days, I’m going to show up and tell you that it’s happening, that we are shooting, that the date has been nailed down…” I don’t think they knew what to make of me. A poetry video with Zumba? What can I say? I was following my bliss.
Finally, the stars aligned, the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival submission deadline loomed, (nothing like a deadline to make things happen,) Atom, Coop and I decided to go forward and make the video.
They produced the music themselves, with so much love, attention to detail, care, skill and downright coolness, that I can’t believe my voice is lucky enough to live in it.
Coop, who is truly a light worker, (like, a literal one, he is masterful with light,) ordered Choli powder direct from India and hung the black backdrop and the lights in his studio. I lit the bat signal and put out the Zumba call — it was happening.
It felt like everything was divinely ordered. The most amazing cast of women appear in the video with me. I am in awe of their grace, power and beauty. I honestly don’t believe that if I spent a ton of money and hired the world’s best casting director, we could have had any better group of dancers. I am so proud of each one of them and their strong, brave, glorious and gorgeous souls.
And then there was this one dance by the amazing Jhon Gonzalez, and the way he generously agreed to let us incorporate his choreography in addition to my own.
There is a reason why I am saying all this…I think this is what I am trying to say:
It is not easy being an artist. It is not even easy to call myself an artist. I live on the razor’s edge. It’s scary, often. It feels like foolishness a lot of the time. I am plagued with self-doubt about my life decisions.
I am…well, I’m human.
And I often wonder if what I am doing matters at all.
And…there are moments of hope, of bright light and affirmation, like the fact that this video was ultimately nominated in three categories as well as being a curator’s choice in the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival.
You don’t want to value your work based on outside approval, but at the same time, it is a singular blessing to know that your work is resonating.
But…win or lose, adored or ignored, po-lebrity or just…poor, all I can do is stay true to my heart’s message. All I have is my heart.
And I know in my heart that if (Gd forbid!!) I were to drop dead tomorrow, and this video were the last transmission my soul sent out to the universe, I could feel ok with that.
And that is not always the case. It’s rarely the case. Sacrificing everything on the altar of creativity is a lonely and bumpy road.
Shame is a stubborn lock.
Pick it anyway.
P.S. Wednesday, October 18th is The 3rd Annual Hevria & Rachel Kann Birthday Party! Join us at the wonderful Rabbi Simcha Weinstein‘s Hadas Gallery and Synagogue in Brooklyn.
Photo by Brad Cooper (Behind-the-scenes shot from “Dancing Lesson (or how to let the words leave you)” video shoot.)