A Salt Lake City native, Chloe Jones graduated from Wesleyan University this past May with a double major in dance and Hispanic literatures and cultures. She currently serves as development intern at the Yard, a position which brought her to Martha’s Vineyard for the first time. In less than one month, she has fallen in love with the Island. Her other great loves include dancing, writing, traveling, cooking, and hiking. She will be reporting each week about her experience working at the Yard.
This year’s Schonberg Fellows — choreographers Chelsea and Magda, Amber Sloan, and Raphael Xavier — have come and gone. The past weekend’s performance at the Yard opened our 2015 season and closed their three-week residency. It’s difficult now to imagine this place without them and the people they brought along for the ride: six dancers, three composers, and one vocalist.
At the Yard, visiting artists become part of our daily lives. We live together — five interns in one house and visiting artists divided between two others. They frequently stop by the office — a stone’s throw away from their main kitchen — to rent bikes, grab beach passes, or simply say hello. It’s a constant stream of “hellos” on this small, homey campus of ours.
In the mornings we come together for community class. We find the rare spare moment for a stroll to Chilmark Chocolates. We spend Sundays camped out on Lucy Vincent Beach or gathered around the dining room table of the Front Yard (our name for the main house), before making our way to the Side Yard (our name for the interns’ house). This place instantly makes us into a family, albeit a transient one.
I arrived at the Yard only one week before the Schonberg Fellows did. I had not expected the Island to be so forested, and driving from the ferry in Vineyard Haven to the Yard in Chilmark, found myself delightfully surprised to be shrouded in so much green. There is something of life’s joy in the leaves here. Something of summer’s spirit in the air.
I left the Yard just two days after I arrived, due back at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., for my graduation. Emotions were running high on campus, hearts aching with the weight of so many impending goodbyes. I know my heart did, but those two days at the Yard had planted a seed of excitement.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway production In the Heights, delivered Wesleyan’s commencement address. Or rather, he performed it. Rapping lines from his newest play, Hamilton, he brought the energy of theatrical performance to the stage. His speech affirmed the power of performance, the ability of the skilled performer to make a moment billow, so that we — the audience — are held in time, present together.
Three weeks later I’m standing on Lucy Vincent Beach, ankle-deep in wet sand. Superimposed onto the blue of ocean before me float images from last night’s performance by the Schönberg Fellows. Chelsea moving from her hips, Emma falling fearlessly into Jordan’s arms, Raph’s shadow breakdancing beside him.
Perhaps it’s the feeling of my feet sinking deeper into the sand, but suddenly Mr. Miranda’s speech comes back to me. Over the sound of crashing waves I hear him say, “Sink your teeth into this life, and don’t let go.” His parting words to us.
Life at the Yard is a whirlwind, with so much happening here every day. I’m realizing that the best, and perhaps the only, way to stay standing is to sink my teeth into this place. This delicious world.