Autumn ended a dreamlike summer residency in Pocantico for Pontus & Co, and we agreed to meet again in October to continue preparation for our scheduled performances at the International Ballet Festival in Havana, Cuba. This was an impossible promise to keep, as time with artists from many different companies—countries, even—in one New York studio (correction! Two, as we continued to commute between Gibneys) proved almost nonexistent. The group’s rehearsals quickly shrank from two weeks to a mere few hours of scattered and sparsely attended review sessions.
I was back in the business of making myself a particularly difficult freelancer to herd. Days after sending Pontus a virtual (emailed) love letter re: our Pocantico residency, I’d settled back into the comfortably uncommitted hectic of my usual extracurriculars: running quickly between school and “work” (instructing SAB’s youngest), and showing up tardy for scheduled rehearsals with mismatched socks, a poorly pinned bun, dying electronics plugged into any available outlet, and an alarm set for my early departure. This behavior does not bother Pontus. He is usually as unruffled as I am frantic. “When you have to leave you’ll leave,” he nods, “and until then, we’ll work.”
I landed in Cuba a day behind the other dancers, carrying at Pontus’s behest a box of several large antlers that had arrived in Brooklyn via Amazon(.com). The antlers made it through customs while my Columbia Spanish failed an Ebola-related entrance interview, during which the company’s presenter eventually came to my aid in assuring my interrogator I was neither Texan nor feverish. At last I was reunited with Pontus Lidberg Dance, but our allotted free time had dwindled. I brought my rusty Balanchine technique to a very Russian ballet class, played entitled tourist in Old Havana (peering invasively into small living spaces) and spent regrettably long hours connected to