I've had so many great ones this year. Aileen Lawlor (photo above), imported from California for the Wildfire fire performer training camp, is a gorgeous fire staff artist. She taught staff as an acting class rather then a trick class, and had us visualizing relationships and moving in ways that exploded my conceptions. I finally felt myself begin to progress from staff spinner to staff dancer, the teaching I've been seeking for years. Here she is doing a poi duo at Wildfire with Noel Yee.

Then I got to drive the most awesome performer, mime, hand model, actor, director, etc Andrew Dawson around New Haven for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. His piece for the Festival, Space Panorama was hilarious, breathtaking, suspenseful, and everything a show should be with just his hands, a table, and 30 minutes. I saw it 3 times and could watch it a hundred more. I got to take his workshop on hands and mime and his experience with Feldendkrais which addresses physical injury and is all about subtlety and awareness, something I struggle to remember. Frankenfinger had a hard time keeping up. It was mind-bending and brain-turning and hand-waking.

During that class I remembered when a mime named Tony Montanaro came and taught for a day at my rural Maine elementary school, and then I went to his mime camp for the summer, which was a nest of progressive art right down the street from me in the middle of Nowhere Podunk Farmville, and in that camp we danced, mimed and made big puppets, and I realize now what a huge influence that was.

Beacause this week I've gotten to know and teach several dozen young campers how to dance, make art, and puppeteer giant puppets, and generally enjoy themselves, and life, and the world, and I am humbled by the weight of the task of potentially being a life long influence like that, and here is hope upon hope that I do a good job of it.

Andrew Dawson and his elegant and subtle hands: