POSTCARDS- Blakeley McGuire, Dancing at The Concert of Hope for Pope Benedict XVI-April 2008
Yankee Stadium prepares for Pope Benedict XVI
Goofing off before rehearsal with fellow Graham dancers George Smallwood and David Martinez
Yankee Wall of Fame
Dancers gather around the doves to rehearse entrances
These birds were attached to a circular harness which the dancers wore
On show day security was very tight
Me as a dove
Todd and me as a giant dove
The life of a professional dancer in New York is like no other. It offers opportunity at every turn for those eager and willing to explore its’ bounty. As a dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, most of my time is dedicated to its’ purpose and vitality. However, during those periods when the company is on break, I strive to work on creative projects that “fill the well” and offer a fresh perspective on my vocation.
During one such period in April, I found myself immersed in a variety of dance experiences working with new dancing bodies and new ideas. One especially meaningful experience was the opening ceremony for Pope Benedict XVI’s mass at Yankee Stadium, held before an audience of 60,000 Catholic faithful.
The Concert of Hope for Pope Benedict XVI was choreographed by Daniel Ezralow and employed a company of twenty professional dancers from all walks of dance-life. Dancers from MOMIX, Stephen Petronio, Battleworks, the Martha Graham Dance Company, as well as freelance dancers from LA’s film world came together to realize Ezralow’s vision.
To open the show, we danced as doves symbolizing hope wearing huge wings constructed of china silk and wooden dowels. In the closing dance, we carried enormous doves - puppets created from silk and foam. The effect was magical and the crowd cheered as we danced by shouting, “ thank you” and “ we love you”.
This grand event was a huge feat of organization and creativity for the choreographer. He was responsible for staging every aspect of entrances and exits in exacting detail for the stage show as well as for the television audience. He had to be aware of who stepped where at what exact moment, camera angles, and even wind factors with props-. (Yikes!).
The final result was a magical day and I knew that the work we had contributed to the event touched the crowd with its beauty.