Last night I learned the news that a beloved dance professor I had while at Bard is gravely ill and now would be a good time to send a card, while she is still lucid. And suddenly simply choosing a card feels like an insurmountable task. What type of card should I send? Funny? What would she find funny at this point? She had a wonderful dry sense of humor. What would make her laugh? Is that wildly inappropriate to send a funny card to someone on her deathbed? Serious? Beautiful? Plain? None of the cards I have in my desk drawers seem appropriate or just right. Where should I go to get the card that will be just right? I will probably just be overwhelmed in a card shop and waste valuable time freaking out over what card to buy instead of actually writing the damn thing. Oh yeah, and then we get to that part…writing inside of the card.
This will be the last she hears from me. How do I let her know how influential she was on my life? Her class was the very first class I ever took at Bard College. She also made me cry in that class. It was 8:30AM on a Tuesday morning, the very first day of the fall semester in 1999. I did something wrong, she got off her chair, shuffled to the center of the room, demonstrated the movement with my flaw, then turned to face me and ask, “Is that pretty?” A friend of mine ran into her on the bus a few years ago, for whatever reasons, within their conversation this story about our first encounter came up. When I asked my friend what her response had been she said, “She laughed.” That’s Lenore.
Her brutal honesty that got me that first class is what pushed me to become a better dancer and choreographer. She loved dance so much and she wanted her students to honor the art form she was passing down. Beneath her gruff exterior was a heart of gold. She genuinely loved her students and wanted them to reach their fullest potentials as dancers. Somehow thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Are there words to adequately tell someone how much she meant to you? The combinations she taught still reside in my muscle memory. Her voice still rings in my ears. She will be remembered, fondly, and by many.