A Memory of Doyne Suite
This year I turned 40 — 23 years since I graced the stage at CCDT, leaving me feeling immensely nostalgic. I have many cherished memories of dancing with the company and COVID isolation provided me the opportunity to reach out to past friends, to connect on Zoom with classmates, and to reflect on special moments as an artist.
When Deborah and Michael reached out to me to share my experience of dancing Kim Frank's Doyne Suite, I was thrilled. My husband and I had just put our feet up after tucking our four children in their beds for the night. As we sipped our wine taking in the splendor of our Christmas decorations, I received Deborah’s text. I jumped up with excitement startling him. Unfortunately, he has never seen me dance professionally. I attempted to describe the costumes, the Klezmer music, its dramatic slow beginning, the scene of the night sky on the solstice, the pound of that first beat as our feet hit the stage and what it felt like as a performer to dance for an engaged audience. I flew around the living room and tried to get my husband to toss me through his legs while on my knees, desperately wanting to convey the dynamics of the piece.
Doyne, as well as the diverse repertoire of the company, has left a significant imprint not only on my artistic work but on me as an individual. Every Christmas season I play the enchanting music of Dancing Day or Nowell Sing We. Its exquisite choreography has sat with me all these years and I still remember every gesture. It doesn’t feel like the holiday season without these classic pieces flowing through my home or spilling out onto the street. I still remember much of the choreography. Doyne, like the pieces of WinterSong, is a thrilling dance to perform and most certainly for audiences to enjoy.
Putting my thoughts to paper made me think, “Oh to dance Doyne again!” To feel so completely out of breath, yet so full of life. It’s an exhilarating piece that makes a dancer feel completely connected to earth, to history, to ancestors, and to generations of storytelling and traditions. I closed my eyes, remembering the heat of the stage lights on my skin, the music, and the thrill of the dance. And I will probably remember those vibrant details forever.
My time at CCDT was an amazing gift. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a single moment. My most cherished memory of Doyne Suite is ALL OF IT, every single moment of that piece. The youthful exuberance and physical ability needed to go all in! Heart, body, and spirit. That is Doyne Suite for me. It’s 100 km/hour, no holds barred, excitement to the end. When it starts you’re thinking, “here we go,” and when it ends, you can hardly believe you pushed yourself to near physical exhaustion (with a smile).
Miranda Abbott (CCDT Company Dancer 1995-1998 and guest artist in the early 2000s) is a professional dancer and choreographer as well as an author, educator and workshop leader, specializing in teaching curriculum through dance, art, and literature. The creator of Dance Equations, a math dance system that helps educators teach math to all grade levels through arts integration, Miranda has provided workshops to hundreds of teachers and has taught thousands of children in Canada and Costa Rica.
Learn more at www.danceequations.com
WinterSong program photo by David Hou of Doyne Suite, choreographed by Kim Frank. Dancers, clockwise from front left: Natasha Hanna, Hanna Edwards, Justin Gionet, Miranda Abbott, Simi Rowen, and Natasha Poon Woo (2004).