Thank you, Mr. Munger

May 2, 2013

In college I had many talented professors that I hugely admired-- maybe even idolized a bit! But it wasn't until after college that I found Permission Givers: people who gave me permission to be an artist by exhibiting a really huge confidence in me and my work. I first heard this term used by Kathleen. Basically, Permission Givers are the people who make us brave. They validate and encourage us to action. Permission Givers have a confidence in the overall direction we're heading-- whether we fail or succeed.

I have been truly blessed to have four major Permission Givers in my life over the past decade-- all accomplished artists themselves. These people have believed in my work, even when I put confusing half-baked shit on stage. These people have had every confidence in my abilities and my vision, and have pushed me to take bigger and bigger risks, to continue to act. I'm so grateful. I would have stopped creating long ago without them.

So I'm grieving a lot this week, because one of these very important people passed away on Tuesday. John Munger was my mentor and friend, and one of the first people to notice my enthusiastic attempts at dance making when I first moved to the Twin Cities fresh out of college. He gave me opportunities, he gave me enthusiastic greetings at arts events, and he welcomed me into the Twin Cities dance community completely. In the past week, as I've come to terms with his impending death, I've realized just how gigantic of an impact he left on me-- just how much braver he made me. His attitude was one of continual- we're artists, and this is what we do-- we make things! And this attitude filled my shoulders with confidence, even when I actually had no real certainty.

Thank you, John. I will miss your humor, your creative voice, and your warm encouragement. You truly took delight in the dance, and I will be continually inspired to let my work feed me in a similar way. I only hope that I can pass on the gifts given to me-- that I can say a resounded YES to someone else and their creative voice when they need it most. I am so very grateful.

[Photos by the remarkable Scott Pakudaitis. Thank you for capturing John so beautifully.]


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