Sunday, January 14, 2018
Honoring a Mentor
Last night, I had the honor of attending a memorial service for my teacher, mentor and friend: Jimmy LaVita. Jimmy was instrumental in getting me out of the basement and into active artwork as a co-director of the 3rd Law Dance Theater; with Katie Elliott, the company was as innovative and artistic a group as I have ever seen, and I was immensely proud that they chose me to work with them. He passed on October 25, 2017, and a memorial was held for him at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder.
My memories of working with Jimmy on the development of the massive Botanical Gardens performance, creation of the Authentic Reproduction show, planning the surprise visit in North Carolina or talking about DU - it makes me realize how influential he has been throughout my late-in-life development. He also pushed for the best, but was also always thoughtful about what was possible and what would be interesting to the audience.
One of the most interesting remembrances of the evening was by Deborah Malden, a board member with 3rd Law and supporter of Boulder Arts organizations. She was able to extend our understanding of Jimmy's work beyond the dance company by helping us to understand his full-throated advocacy for arts in Boulder, his calls for high-quality and lasting work and his desire to take on authority when he thought it was getting in the way of artistic expression.
I will miss Jimmy - maybe more than makes sense. We spent time together, but the differences in our life circumstances meant we could spend as much time together as I would have liked. Still, we kept in touch, visited when we could, and had enjoyable monthly calls. Now that he is gone, I realize that he has been one of the two or three most influential people in my life - not by demanding attention, but by modeling a way of thinking and focus on excellence that gives me something to strive for.
Thank you Jimmy.