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From Jp – Beautiful, Radiant Things

August 23, 2017

JPunch-50
Holy Moly, I can’t believe we are a few short weeks away from our first show of the new season! I feel like I never got to say good-bye to last season properly, and here it is, this awesome new season already here. If you haven’t received your brochures in the mail yet, they are certainly on the way, and the Touchstone website has been updated, so you can check out this incredibly rich season, featuring two debut guest artists to the Valley as well as a brand new production penned by Touchstone Ensemble Member Christopher Shorr.Cirque-It 7.15.2017-6876

This past season has been an incredibly rewarding one, as we presented some amazing artists and debuted new work created right here on the Southside of Bethlehem. I’d like to take this chance to thank you, the audience and supporters of Touchstone, along with the artists and extended Touchstone family, for all they did to make it possible. I’m truly grateful to all of you.

Working on The Jakopa’s Punch Processional this last season was an especially meaningful process for me. A year or so back, I read a story about Russian-American anarchist Emma Goldman, wherein she rebukes the condemnation of a younger peer who has issue with Goldman’s enthusiasm for dancing, while there is a “revolution” taking place. Goldman writes in her biography:

I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy.  I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister.  If it meant that, I did not want it.  ‘I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.’

— E. Goldman, Living My Life

JPunch-33This story became somewhat of a guiding light for me. Why do we strive, why do we dedicate our hearts? It’s because we all want our own personal joy, our own ‘beautiful, radiant things’. Our embracing that which is joyous allows us to transcend the struggle itself, to a level where we touch something deep inside of ourselves and understand what we keep fighting for. We sing, we dance, we celebrate… because we can and should.  It’s life-affirming. I entered into the Processional project with the belief that these same forces are those that can and do bring communities closer together, and I believe we saw that happen over a brief weekend of performances in July.

As a way of saying a final goodbye to last season and ushering the next, I submit for your enjoyment (and perhaps first time viewing!) a complete video of the show. We had an overwhelming turnout for the show, and I’ll be doing a future edit to take out some of the air from the traveling, but here it is in all of its revelatory glory. Enjoy!

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