First, I danced for the Feast of Mary Magdalene as part of the early morning worship service on July 22 at Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality in St. Paul, MN. I was intrigued when I learned that the worship service would take place outdoors on a labyrinth. I have told the story many times in churches, using the altar as the tomb and going up and down the aisles to show Mary's movement to and from the tomb. If you're not familiar, a labyrinth is not a maze with right and wrong turns, but a unicursal (singular) path to the center and then back out again. So, how wonderful to represent Mary's journey to and from the tomb! This innovation represented an opportunity to expand the traveling movements, adding dance interludes to my storytelling, so I asked about a musician. Erika Schwichtenberg who is on staff at Wisdom Ways is a cellist, and the cello seemed a perfect instrument to express Mary's lament: it's so emotionally expressive. Unfortunately, she hurt her hand and couldn't play. But, a wonderfully talented violinist, Kathleen Olsen who plays with the Minnesota Philharmonic, stepped in the morning of the prayer service. She overcame our intense anti-anything-but-cello bias, putting our prejudices to shame. It was fun to work together to figure out musical sounds that would express the very different emotional tones of each of the trips back and forth to and from the tomb.
The whole adventure of going to the Network of Biblical Storytelling Festival was partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Thank you!
On another note: a not to be missed event