Side Notes from the Side Yard

Here, at the Yard, I can wait.


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 her short time here, she’s already fallen in love with the Island. Her other great loves include dancing, writing, traveling, cooking, and hiking. She will be reporting regularly about her experience working at the Yard.

Weekend before last, Abby Bender and Cassie Tunick’s performance of “Totally Other” concluded the Yard’s hit series, “Follies: Women Dance the Comic.” With the three-week series behind us, life at the Yard (briefly) calmed down a bit.

By now it has picked right back up again. On Monday famed choreographer Ronald K. Brown and his company of dancers moved into the Yard to begin their two-week residency. Next week there will be 20 additional artists in residence at the Yard, all of them arriving on the Island in the wake of our second annual Pride event — ”Pride, Not Prejudice 2” — happening this Saturday, August 8.

It will be the busiest week of our summer. Ronald K. Brown/Evidence performs at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, August 11, then at the Yard two days later, and Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company takes the stage that Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15 respectively.

In the middle of the week we throw our biggest benefit event of the summer: “Cuban Sunset” on Prospect Hill. It’s an opportunity to meet the artists of Evidence and Malpaso, as well as one of the world’s foremost tap dancers, Michelle Dorrance. (Tickets are still available for all events except Malpaso, which has sold out, but they are flying out the box office door fast!)

We have been preparing for this stacked week all summer, and suddenly it is right around the corner. July has come and gone.

I call my mother one day after work and tell her I cannot wait to see her. I hang up the phone and text my friend Sage the same: “can’t wait to see you.”

It’s a common expression and one I’m fond of using, but lately it’s felt inaccurate: I would not object to this summer stretching past September. Here, at the Yard, I can wait.

It’s midnight, and my fellow intern Ari is baking zucchini bread in the Side Yard kitchen. All five of us interns are home. Our minds buzz with images from the night’s performance: Abby — clad in purple polka dots — stares at a white, wrinkled bed sheet laid out on stage. “This is your life,” Cassie tells her. “Step into it.”

We spend so much of our lives looking ahead — wondering what will come next, dreaming, planning, applying, counting the days until …

Performance resists this forward gaze by pulling us into the present. Skilled performers like Abby and Cassie make time billow, and teach us that each moment contains ample space.

This summer I’ve been taking yoga every week with Mollie Doyle, director of yoga at the Yard. In class she often poses the question: “What’s enough?”

Molly wants us to think critically about the prevailing trend toward hyperactivity and overachievement. She asks us to examine the notion that more is better: more flexibility, more mobility, more time.

It’s Sunday morning. We are picking blackberries from the bushes behind the Side Yard — small, bitter candies.

Tomorrow it’s back to the office, and the planning continues. There are artists to contact, donations to secure, orders to place, tickets to sell …

I pop a blackberry in my mouth. Let’s go kayaking to Menemsha. Today is enough.