Hello and welcome to Stretch Dance Co.’s blog! While you’re waiting for this week’s amazing video, I’ll be satisfying your curiosity about the latest Stretch Dance Co. news, the dancers, the rehearsal process, and even a little bit of history.
Who am I? I’m Laura Rensing, one of the dancers in I Have Lived a Thousand Years. This is my first Stretch production, but I’ve been dancing since I was three years old! These days I perform a lot of musical theater, but I am thrilled to, ahem, stretch my boundaries. You can probably spot me in some of Matt’s photos of the rehearsal process (I’m usually the one with flowers in my hair!).
You may be wondering why I’m writing this blog in place of our fearless leader, Lyndell Higgins, Executive Artistic Director of Stretch Dance Co. Lyndell has been developing this production for the past three years and can probably recite the book backwards, to say nothing of her knowledge of the history surrounding it.
For me, like many of us, the Holocaust dredges up memories of dusty textbooks and black-and-white photos of skeletal prisoners, a frozen image of history, an event relegated to the past tense.
But the reality is that the ripples of the Holocaust touch the tragedies of today’s society. History books would say that genocide ended the day Auschwitz was liberated; reality proves otherwise.
When we look at the Holocaust as history, we leave it there. In the concentration camps, Jews dehumanized and tattooed with serial numbers. We have given them new numbers in place of their names: statistics, casualties, facts, but we forget that over 11 million people lived and breathed, as well as died in the Holocaust.
Lyndell, of course, knows this already. Her vision for I Have Lived a Thousand Years is not a judgment about what happened, but a timeless lesson about the incredible strength of human compassion that arises even in the midst of unimaginable cruelty.
She has lived and breathed these lives working on this project, but I come with a new set of eyes, discovering new lessons even as you do.
I hope that by sharing my discoveries with you, we can give these countless victims a legacy beyond the grim chambers of the concentration camps, and a brighter future for future generations.