Dance Kaleidoscope collaborates with WARM to share stories of hope, second chances
In June of last year, drugs and prison stole Lacey Douglas’ opportunity to say goodbye at her father’s funeral.
Not even a week later, she stood in front of a judge who sent her to Henderson for a recovery program at the Women’s Addiction Recovery Manor, where she began her journey toward sobriety and healing.
A now sober Douglas says she can hardly recognize herself nine months later as she stands in front of a crowd and shares her story of addiction — but what is just as striking as Douglas’ transformation is what happens after she walks away from the podium: a young woman dressed in black twirls and leaps in front of her, illustrating Douglas’ journey through dance and music.
Performers from Dance Kaleidoscope, a dance company out of Indianapolis collaborated with Douglas and nine other women to help them share their stories in the form of art — and the performance was part of Dance Kaleidoscope’s week-long residency in Henderson. Fourteen dancers met with the 10 women on Wednesday and paired up with who they felt they best connected with.
“I needed a place to go where I could rebuild myself,” Douglas said right before her performance. “And I think this is going to illustrate what I did to get to where I am. I know my dad would have wanted that for me.”
The two-day program is what organizers with Dance Kaleidoscope call “Turning Points,” where dancers collaborate with others to share their stories through art. Dance Kaleidoscope also visited Henderson in 2012 and did a similar program then.
“This is about taking pain and difficulties and making something beautiful from it,” said Liberty Harris, education coordinator with Dance Kaleidoscope.
Each of the women’s stories varied — with many of them addressed losing loved ones to addiction, broken homes, relapses, violence and trying to fill a void.
But they all shared something in common, too — and that was the promise of hope and new beginnings.
Brittany Hall, 32, from Louisville, shared how she lost her husband to a heroin overdose in 2015. Her story focused on how losing her husband changed her life and his final messages to her, followed by two Dance Kaleidoscope performers who choreographed a dance to Hall’s wedding song.
Hall said Thursday night’s performance also showcased an upcoming silver lining in her life. She’ll be moving into the sober living apartments next week with her three children.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned the void I tried to fill with drugs was because I didn’t have God in my life,” Hall said before her performance. “I learned that who I was doesn’t have to be who I am in the future. I enrolled in college today, I never thought I could say that. When you start living right and doing the right thing, everything else starts falling into place.”
The process of choreographing a dance to each of these women’s stories wasn’t easy — and the dancers had about 24 hours to work with. But many of the dancers said this part of Dance Kaleidoscope is one of the most meaningful parts.
“I am not worthy to be here,” said dancer Jillian Godwin. “These women have overcome tremendous obstacles to even be sitting here telling their stories at all and to be able to interpret their words through my movement is an honor. It is probably one of the highest honors that I have ever had the pleasure of doing.”
To best interpret the women’s stories, the dancers tried to focus on specific words the women used in their stories. For example, words like “spiral,” “dark,” and “hope” were common words that the performers then translated with movement, and all of the dances were accompanied with a song chosen by one of the 10 women.
One of the women, Krista Riggs, from Rockport, Indiana, sang a version of “Amazing Grace” as the dancers performed.
“I lived most of my life searching for something bigger than myself,” Riggs said. “My addiction tricked me into thinking I had found it, but coming here helped me find myself and my search for faith.”
Douglas said her late father had an affection for the performing arts, and turning her story into dance was something she knew he would be proud of.
As the dancer got up to perform, a Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” started playing through the speakers.
It was a song that was played at her father’s funeral — the funeral she couldn’t attend.
“This is my chance to say goodbye to him,” Douglas said. “I know he’d be proud of how far I’ve come. And he knew better than anyone that you really can’t always get what you want, but you can get what you need. And this is what I needed.”