We all have our crosses to bear
And our little dresses to wear
Heaven lasts always
But no man has ever seen
There is a strength to song, a through-line, a songline. Working on Anarcha in Montgomery, Alabama, it took us a long time to come together, and to begin to reach across differences of race, North/South origins, class, age and authority. But we finally shared, in song, shared something, at least.
Tabitha showed us what had been missing, wether the liked the implications or not: gospel songs, old church songs. We found the sing-song, the half-remembered tune, the exhalation that shapes bodies and connects them. Tabitha and Anita and Carrie and Petra, and Tiye, and Jon, and Thandi, and Khadijah, and Zhang Jinmei, and Robin, and Aimee.
That's how the old call goes: In Jesus's Name. Who are we? What is resurrected, what survives? In our performance journey we finally learnt what some of us had forgotten: the redeemer Christ would have been in that shack, too, in some form. Another Lord in the House. In Old Town Alabama, in the so called servant quarter, Tabitha showed us what there was to see: Christian symbols, crosses, prayer leaflets, memories of faith and devotion. Help in any form, patience, truth, honesty, stitched into samplers that honor the spirit. There is a quilting frame on the wall, too. Who is embarrassed by Christian song, 'Jesus sitting next to me'? What names does Jesus hide? Sit next to me, dance next to me in the circle. Who else is dancing, what foremothers, what gods and goddesses, what spirits and presences hover near?
Our breath keeps us all together, even if we have forgotten.
----- Petra Kuppers