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VIMM World Tour Recap 6: ENGLAND

LONDON, ENGLAND – november 18th to 30th, 2014 

At the London Tap Jam

At the London Tap Jam

London was a whirlwind of activity right away! In the first weekend I met up with many tap dancers, filmed the Music of HumanKind dance shoot on the Thames River, and was a guest at the London Tap Jam. BAM! Just like that.

I was very grateful to be housed by a dear friend for my whole stay. Actually, there have been so many friends along my travels thus far who have opened their homes to me. This has been, without a doubt, the key thing making this tour possible. I don’t know if I’ve shared this yet, but I applied for 18 arts grants back in Seattle just before embarking on this tour. I wasn’t awarded any of them, but I had put so much work into creating a plan for this global music video idea, as well as the logistics of the world tour itself, that I couldn’t see dropping the project. And, this particular message of global unity is one in which I sincerely believe, so I told myself I would make a personal investment in this project by purchasing plane tickets to my first 6 countries – through London. (Made it!)

My friend Melody!

My friend Melody!

The Tooooob.

The Tooooooob.

After London, I had already pre-planned a longer vision, but I decided to see how my online fundraiser fared before determining whether or not I could continue my travels. As it turns out, I had raised enough funds by the time I arrived in London to purchase my remaining plane tickets through Europe and off to Brazil. Beautiful!  I had to remove two countries in Africa from my list because of my budget limitations, but nonetheless, I was very thankful for the generosity of my individual supporters in helping me get significantly further than I could have on my own.

Because I knew I would be able to continue the project, I booked my plane tickets to Brazil straightaway, and was then able to get my Brazilian visa at the consulate in London. Whew.

Okay, so now we need to talk about the London Tap Jam. I had an absolutely phenomenal time, and I SO needed that infusion of live music and collaboration. The last time I had danced with musicians on my travels was in Australia at the end of September. (Yikes!) And, hey, let me say that these musicians in London were superb. They were exquisite storytellers through their instruments, and truly skilled at the art of conversation and musical collaboration – I say that because it’s not always easy to come by musicians who really, really listen to one another and embrace the spirit of PLAY. I was delighted to get up there with them and, both times, all of us were surprised at how the music unfolded together. What fun! The musicians were: Michele Drees (drums, bandleader), John Crawford (piano), and John Michael Mckenzie (bass).

Dancers at the music video shoot on the Thames

Dancers at the music video shoot on the Thames

Music Video Shoot

A still from the music video shoot 

I was also in London on the date of America’s Thanksgiving. I know my family was sad to not have me and my sister (who recently moved to a different part of the US with her family) at the table, but we did connect that day from afar. In all honesty, I am not a big holiday person because I don’t like the commercialization and waste. I’m all for TOGETHERNESS, though. I like that the holidays encourage this aspect, however, even then I much prefer to cultivate consistent togetherness and truly deep connections on a regular basis and not only during those few obligatory times per year. I want my entire life to be one big celebratory holiday with the ones I love – the ups, downs, and every moment in between. All of that said, I spent Thanksgiving in London with my friend Annette and she made us a delicious vegetarian meal. (Which is usually what my plate looks like at family Thanksgivings anyway… Always the odd one. By choice.)

London is also the only stop on my world tour that I had been before, about two years ago. It was such a pleasure to be back, reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and see new parts of the city. I can’t wait until my next return!

Onto the Next:
SPAIN!

Thanks for reading.

Peace,
JS

 

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