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Week 5: Following a morning flight from Berlin, the company arrived at Swissotel, Zurich at 3:30 p.m. My wife Linda and I had to meet artistic director Robert Battle, rehearsal director Matthew Rushing, and company manager Dacquiri T. Smittick in the lobby of the hotel by 5 p.m. to attend a welcome reception at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador of Switzerland in Bern. With no time to unwind, we ironed our clothes, showered, got dressed, and headed downstairs to the lobby. Talk about non-stop. Whew!
The drive to Bern ended up being close to two hours. Finally, we arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Donald S. Beyer and mingled with some of the loveliest individuals I have ever encountered at a reception. Needless to say, it was a long travel/work day, so upon returning to our hotel, we hit the bed like a ton of bricks.
Linda Celeste and Glenn Allen Sims being greeted by U.S. Ambassador & Mrs. Donald S. Beyer. Photo by U.S. State Department, Courtesy Ailey.
This tour consists of two programs: Love Stories/Takedeme, The Hunt/Revelations and Night Creature, In/side/Anointed/Revelations. Having such set programs can be challenging to an artist, and you're compelled to find ways to be fresh for each performance. Thankfully, most of the dancers are going into new roles. I've been preparing to dance In/Side, Robert Battle’s impassioned, heartrending solo set to Nina Simone's “Wild Is the Wind.” I had another rehearsal with Mr. Battle and Masazumi Chaya (Ailey’s associate artistic director), this time onstage at Theater 11 in Zurich. The experience you have when you rehearse in a theater vs. the studio is different due to the prodigious space you inhabit onstage. It's a feeling that really can't be put into words, but once you taste it, you can never get it out of your system.
On a weightier subject, I must send out my condolences and prayers to the families affected by the tragedy in Oslo, Norway. It was only five weeks ago that the Company was there.
Week 6: I have been preparing myself for weeks for this moment, and it's here. Finally, my debut of In/side. I am experiencing so many emotions: nervousness, excitement, and joy. I put on my costume (just a pair of briefs) and make my way to the stage. I say to myself, “Let your light shine, show another side of yourself, and dance like no one is watching you.” I take a breath, let go and fly. Afterwards, I'm exhausted, not physically, but emotionally. I am pleased with what I had to offer; it was my experience and my voice.