Returning to Grant MacEwan was a little scary as I wasn’t sure about a couple relationships but I really enjoyed the Jasper Place Campus. It was like FAME. Musicians, Actors, Visual artists, art management students and dancers. Lots of natural light in b big orange space ship building full of creativity and hope.
I needed male friendship as I was the only man in my class. Guitar virtuoso, Kris Craig, and I connected and are still friends to this date. Hearing this man play the guitar has always been inspiring for me. My other friend was a neighbor, Tyler “Bankshot”, Hamilton. A visual artist enroute to a big career in Tatooing.
The pressure was on in the second year. We had many choreographic assignments as well as daily class. I felt like a machine. I lived across the street so I didn’t have to go far to get to school. It was perfect. The pressure and fear of entering the real dance world was looming. In a short time I would be looking for a paying gig as a dancer and my self confidence was shaky.
From time to time there were moments of hope as I was recruited to audition for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in Calgary. Vicki paid for my bus ticket and I got to dance with the company in rehearsal. It was fun and exciting. If you ever get a chance to see that company take it. It is a really joyful expression of dance.
I needed to finish my training so I gratefully declined. A bigger factor was that I really identified with the artistic mission of some of the modern dance companies I was exposed to. The “artsy” stuff that I was judgemental of was now in my heart and I knew what I wanted. Leading up to Christmas break was very difficult. I was pushing hard and wasn’t very disciplined with my rest or warmup. I tore my left gastrocnemius and hobbled into the break. I was nervous about recovering fast enough.
My friend Terry was studying at UBC and was going to drive down to Mexico for the break. I jumped on that idea and got a ride with another dancer, Chris Duban, to Vancouver. We then drove for 24 hours non-stop to Tijuana and then to Mulege. We slept on the beach, drank tequila and hung out with some other northerners for a few days and drove back. It was a good trip. We were very careful about water drinking and vegetable consumption for the whole trip….until Terry ate some street food in Tijuana.
He was driving north and started to suffer so we switched and I took over. The driving techniques from the fishing days were to wash a couple caffeine tabs down with a Coke…and I did. Terry started to really suffer and we had to stop on the side of the I5 a couple times. Then he called it and we pulled into a hotel. I was wired from the caffeine and couldn’t sleep so I watched low grade stand up comedy for the evening and into the morning as Terry suffered…It was memorable New Years Eve.
In the morning we headed north and I drove the entire distance home while he tried to sleep it off in the hatch. This 6 foot, 200+ pound man sleeping in the hatch of a 1980 Chevette. When he would roll over, more like flop, the car would shift.
I jumped on a flight back to Edmonton to get ready for second term.