Penelope Freeh

We Are Family

Posted by on Jan 28 2016, in Uncategorized


It’s official, my cold has settled in with a vengeance now that I am home from Abu Dhabi. I felt it happen on the plane. It started in my throat and now, three classes, one rehearsal, one meeting, and several phone calls later I have lost my voice. Seems a fitting state of being, the physical manifestation of what my heart is still negotiating re: the wrenching it underwent upon leaving AD. I had wanted to stop the world.


I never did cry until yesterday. I choked up taking the UAE currency out of my wallet, then tears happened when I talked with my pal Matthew about the trip and my doings. His wise words helped, reminding me that I am living life large. It’s true that I wouldn’t want it any other way, but… ouch.


It was only last Friday that our group took the bus back to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. We encountered a super-long line waiting to board. Us females got priority, and being that we were with three men, we said that we were family so as to be able to board all together. It was no stretch to say that, and in fact it’s true. Team Sugar Lump Clump has been my true north these last three plus weeks. We formed an orphan tribe of artists, expressing ourselves in such different and complimentary ways. It felt like a company and, bless me, I didn’t quite know how much I’d been missing that.


And yet when I think about it, many of the various projects I’ve been a part of since leaving James Sewell Ballet have fed me in that “company” kind of way. In some cases, like with Test Pilot, I’ve been partly responsible for creating that feeling. I guess it’s called community building; to me it’s called work, but of the meaningful sort, where I gather with colleagues and pals to do what we do.


I am up at 5am (a very frequent occurrence in AD) having put myself to bed at 5pm yesterday. The cold had its way with me, and I spent the night sweating out the slight fever that had revealed itself. Today is a big one, and then I head to my hometown in Ohio tomorrow to see the premiere of Native Copper, my new piece for Gem City Ballet. I can’t wait to see those two casts of six young dancers kick the shit out of it. I was them at their age, and I love them so much. Yup, family happens anywhere, even with strangers from my hometown.