In thinking about what Grace + Steel should be and do, I am reminded of a quote by Theodore Roosevelt made popular in recent years by the reigning queen of vulnerability, Brene Brown:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. -Theodore Roosevelt
This is not a place for arts criticism. There are other places for that. This is a place where we honor those who step into an arena of dusty curtains, bloody feet, hot lights, and (sometimes) tights. It’s a place where, instead of pointing to what we wish we had seen or what we wish had been done, we remain humble so that we can see what is there.
We acknowledge the risk of injury, embarrassment, and, often, stability that dancers make to testify with their vulnerable and powerful bodies – bodies that sometimes fly and sometimes fail, but in their effort to be seen, remind us of what it means to be in pursuit of a fleeting glory only achieved in the wake of great struggle.