It’s funny to look back and reflect on the way a city shapes you, often in the most unexpected ways simply by virtue of what you did and who you met there. People and places: always providing that potent combo of relationships and experience that mold us and widen our eyes to possibilities previously unknown.

Who would have thought that of all things, I would discover dance in San Diego?  Here, in this charming and awkward Southern California enclave that can’t quite decide whether it’s a major metropolitan city or a sleepy beach town, a constantly evolving and complex municipality sitting on a major international border with an eye to the world yet still a traditional military base with a more inwardly focused sense of pride and patriotism.

Dance was not part of my life before I moved to San Diego. But I found it.  Or it found me. And I strongly believe that it’s precisely because we found each other in San Diego that dance remains such a central part of my life. The dance community in San Diego is a warm and welcoming one, where newcomers are invited to share and participate, attributes that I suspect may not be so available in larger or more established dance centers.  In San Diego, I was allowed to explore and learn and contribute in the ways that were most fulfilling for me.

Now after ten years of living and learning, I leave with roots firmly planted in the nourishment I found here. And I offer this little love letter of thanks and gratitude to those who came before and those yet to come and to all who have contributed to this vibrant community.

Love for the Pioneers, the Trailblazers, the ones who laid the foundation, without whom we wouldn’t have the fertile soil in which to plant roots.

Love for the Transplants, the ones who made San Diego home, who arrived with that vital infusion of fresh energy and ideas and worldly influence, who had faith in San Diego’s rich potential.

Love for the Teachers, the ones who share the secrets, who shape the body and the mind, who maintain proper alignment in the classroom but unleash a world of possibility on stage and in the studio.

Love for the Students, the ones who carry the torch, without whom the chain would break, who hand over their bodies and social lives and ask nothing in return other than the opportunity to move and the chance to perform.

Love for the Presenters, the ones who bring us the world, without whom our view would be narrow, our community isolated.  Like the transplants who bring new blood, so too do the presenters in San Diego give us the chance to visit Israel, Vietnam, Brazil, and Europe and give us the chance to be shocked and inspired by the unknown.

Love for the Writers, the ones who tell us what we didn’t know and couldn’t see, without whom our work would be less visible, less talked about, less easily shared.

It has been an honor to write about dance in San Diego, to stimulate conversation, document fantastic work, and give dance a seat at the table of cultural dialogue that helps us understand ourselves, our society, and our world.

Love for the Lovers, the ones who keep showing up.  Thanks for showing up.

Of course, when one loves something, one also wishes for its success and growth.  And for San Diego Dance, I do wish these things.

I wish also CURIOSITY – that San Diego dancers and choreographers travel more, see more work (not just dance!), and collaborate outside of genres.

I wish also RISK – that artists experiment and challenge clichés and reject expectations and question how dance can change and evolve and still speak powerfully.

I wish also SUPPORT, both from the community and to the community – that dancers of all styles come together to strengthen the voice of dance in San Diego and together build a thriving future for this oh-so-special and very peculiar art form that has so unexpectedly captured my heart and sent me on this extraordinary journey.

To the San Diego Dance Community – I look forward to seeing you prosper.