A perspective by Mary Cae Asay
Co-owner, Saratoga Downtowner Motel
I was honored to participate in Saratoga Arts Fest this past weekend. For those of you who missed the experience, Center Stage was a ‘happenin’ place’ with marvelous productions that happened Fri. and Sat. in the hub of downtown Saratoga. I was asked to offer up my parking lot at the Saratoga Downtowner for this element of this event. However, the broad representation of so many art forms throughout our wonderful, fair city was far more in number than what happened at my location.
Arts Fest is an absolutely rich combination of talent and heart brought
together in one dynamic, extended weekend, a collective of creative
expression. An opportunity to tap into our culture like no other venue
anywhere! Often we only get to taste a morsel of such talent when we
purchase tickets to a performance or an exhibit from time to time. The
price for Saratoga Arts Fest with its local and world renowned talent
cannot be underscored enough! This event, however, gave all those who
partook the opportunity to truly soak in the interpretations of our
culture from many angles in one fully engaging extended weekend!
I could offer up kudos to all who created this event for they are wise,
creative and ambitious and I could offer up accolades to all the
sponsors who so generously contributed with financial largess because
without such giving this event would not be what it was. I could give
thanks and hugs in words to the volunteers who understand the value of
volunteerism and I could so give respect to every artist who expresses
their vision and ideas of what it is they communicate through their art.
My experience is what I really want to share because I believe the
reason to go to Arts Fest is what is most important. I want others to be
encouraged to join in next year! One of the events I attended was the
Gallim Dance production at Skidmore’s Dance Theater. When it was over
and the lights came on, the gracious, elderly woman sitting next to me
turned and questioningly said, “I’m not sure how I feel about that
(performance)!” It began our conversation about our shared experience.
She was trained in classical ballet and modern dance and in our brief
conversation she explained that modern dance began the era of dance in
bare feet, the shoes (slippers) had come off! It was a transition in the
dance world. Not being a dancer myself, she broadened my awareness of
what I see when I see a dance performance.
The energy of this particular performance was eclectic and frenetic. The
dance emoted feelings of intensity of relationship both intimate and
rejecting, angst and confusion, playfulness and light-heartedness
bringing laughter and feelings of sternness and uncontrollability all
rapidly wrapped together grabbing one’s attention to stay on the journey
of the dance. I questioned why this woman did not like this as much as
I. Then it dawned on me that the world has changed drastically from her
performance days. I suggested that “maybe it is more a representation of
today’s frenetic pace in the emotional and lifestyle realm in which we
all live now compared to the familiar pace of life when she danced”. Our
conversation had become a verbal dance!
Our culture is expressed through the arts. It is the exposure to the
arts where we grow in interpreting our circumstances collectively as
well as individually. Isn’t it in the interpretive experience that we
come to know and understand more? My experience with my new, gracious
friend brought about a dialog that never would have happened and it
encouraged both of us to question what the experience offered us. We
were both educated by one another. And in the simplest of ways, we were
entertained by the dance!
Through art, in all forms, we are educated, we question, we converse and
we are entertained. To each and every one of you, I hope that you
choose to immerse yourself in next year’s Saratoga Arts Fest. It is a
one and only opportunity that, hopefully, will do the same for you
because it is worth it on so many levels!