There is a statue in the middle of Central Park of a Polish king, called the King Jagiello Monument. It was first presented at the 1939 World’s Fair, which was held in Flushing, Queens. Intended to be returned following the end of the Fair, the Nazi invasion of Poland prevented any transfer of the monument back to its homeland. Instead, the statue moved from Queens to Central Park, now sitting just east of Turtle Pond, in the shadow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been in this location since 1945, guarding the center of the park for the past 70 years. I learned all of this from Allison, a maintenance worker with the Central Park Conservancy who was my third stop on my trek around the park that ties all of Manhattan together. Continue reading A (Somewhat) Self-Guided Tour Through Central Park
On Saturday, November 14th, I witnessed French ballet legend Sylvie Guillem’s final performance in the United States. The three evening engagement, from November 12th through the 14th at New York City Center, was part of Guillem’s world retirement tour, entitled “Life in Progress.” The program consisted of works by Akram Khan, William Forsythe, Russell Maliphant, and Mats Ek, contemporary choreographers with whom Guillem has worked with throughout her career.
For years I have regarded Sylvie Guillem’s incredible physical facility with a combination of admiration and envy, as has the rest of the dance world. This night was no different; Guillem’s physicality was front and center. Even at the age of 50, the arch of her feet, the hyperextension of her knees, and the mobility of her hips are unparalleled. During “Bye,” the final piece of the program, a near collision between Guillem’s leg and her nose elicited a quiet, involuntary gasp from the audience. One would imagine that we had grown accustomed to her superhuman abilities by that point. However, Guillem, along with choreographer Mats Ek, still managed to surprise us. The primary source of this surprise was in the unaffected, yet staccato, nature of this particular gasp-evoking battement. With neither warning nor reaction from her serene torso, Guillem’s leg accelerated to from floor to nose, and back again. While the movement was relatively simple, the juxtaposition of rapid motion and stillness made it indelible. Continue reading A Ballerina’s Last Steps
This is a speech I wrote upon leaving the only home I’d ever known, the American International School in Israel (AIS). The equation of home and high school may seem a bizarre, if not pitiable analogy to some. But as the Montana-born product of two international school teachers, I desperately, unconsciously needed a headquarters. The transplantation of our stateside family abroad occurred in second grade. First came Berlin, then Israel two years later. Though I am profoundly grateful to my parents for all the opportunities a childhood abroad beckoned, there were a few drawbacks for my sister and I. No city or countryside fits just right. The winding streets become familiar enough to politely remark, “You don’t really belong here.” Not so at AIS. The hallways, the people, the occasional feral cat, welcomed all the wanderlust. So I gradually adopted AIS. Or rather, she claimed me.
One of the most revered yet humble goddesses of Grecian antiquity is Hestia, daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Unlike her siblings, Hestia rejected lusty antics and moronic power plays, choosing to tend the sacrificial fire on Mount Olympus. The maiden nurtured the godly estate and warmed visitors by the heavenly hearth. Because of her devotion to the home, Hestia was believed to have stood sentry at every house in Ancient Greece, protecting those within from harm. Continue reading The Uprooted
I wrote this poem with two goals in mind, first to express the anxiety of writing for an audience. Merited or not, I have always felt the need to invent a style to impress, rather than writing with a purpose in mind. Second, from my childhood, I remember my mother lamenting the loss of meaning when Korean literature was translated into English. I have written to express that disconnect between languages in the hope that the audience will be left wanting, as isolating the English translation results in a disjointed, distant poem.