Friday and Saturday (April 18 and 19), Kitty Cassetti presented her Div 111 Project: "To be Swallowed Whole: Red and the Wolf" in a small theater at Hampshire College. This project is truly a capstone project representing a year of summation, but upon seeing the work, seeing the collaboration and people, and most importantly, seeing our daughter-- it is a summation of the past four years, the growth, the learning, the change and the precipice of diving into a brand new world of the rest of her life. To put it mildly, this was nothing either Rob or I had anticipated.
First off, we had started the journey dropping an unsure girl off at a very offbeat place--to have her struggle with the change, the living situations, the new friends, the work expectations and she met it all head on and grew. Kitty became a person with opinions which were founded in reading and research. She came to love Dr.Seuss once more and embrace the Ramayana, it's color and stories, its depth and fire, it's dance and movement. She started to dance locally to become embraced by a community of dancers up and down the east coast, with friends beyond the school's walls. She has been honored to be part of YDW (Youth Dance Weekend), an invitation only weekend in New England at a camp with some smokin' good dancers as well as friends. She has burned the midnight oil dancing contradances and jazz dances at Flurry in Albany and spun the day and night away at the Brattleboro Dawn Dance each September for years now.
Kitty has learned to sew, to pin, to draw and to listen. She has been nurtured and inspired by costume designers, dance teachers, professors who speak about Victorian Bodies, and all the while pushing forward personally learning how to live with others of every shape, size, description, credo and understanding. She has lived with all sorts of people with special needs, allergies, issues, dietary requirements, in a tight living laboratory they call a Mod (modular apartment). She has become an advocate for people who are actively changing and trying to become themselves either through work and life or through the gradient of gender query and change. She has learned much from those who would teach her about her own growth and change...and has become her own advocate as well. None of this has been an easy road for her-- and as a parent and coach we have to watch and not hover--allowing her to make these changes and decisions for herself--trusting her to make the right decision for herself at the time--and she has.
I don't know why all of this change and evolution seems to poignant to me right now--but perhaps it was this presentation of her work that somehow galvanized and presented all this change all in one place. This collection of costumes being walked down a runway in a dramatic way put an image to this personal evolution that was so thrilling, so distilled and so much Kitty that it painted the moment--comprising brush strokes of every experience she has had in the last 4 years.
I walked away from seeing the work twice and having the supreme pleasure of watching the behind the scenes, the prep and dressing of the actors, the sublime production staff and the talent that was brought to the table not only from K. but from the actors who brought this cloth to life, to live, to express Kitty's intent and art. I was amazed by our girl's confidence, poise and grace. She was humbled and still learning each time she calmly put on this production-- while I watched from the sidelines--watching her and watching the audience as the lights came on.
We all were awestruck with the work, the ideas and the presentation. We were stunned, thunderstruck, and stilled. There had to be more. You could see it in each and everyone of our faces. Kitty gracefully and bashfully stood as the lights came up, bowed from the head, smiled and took it all in. What a moment it was.
I cannot wait for the next chapter.
To see my still photographs of some of the costumes, the presentation, behind the scenes, Kitty and friends, my Facebook album is accessible here>>