A message written by Holly Bright
Jamie Black has worked with Crimson Coast Dance in many capacities, as a performer, a youth facilitator, a marketer, administrative assistant, and a fundraiser. Hers is a range of, ‘Sure, I can do that!”
I have always admired her ability to imagine her capabilities, even when the tasks at hand are new to her. Jamie is resourceful, puts two and two together in her unique way, and pulls off an extensive variety of responsibilities. She did this not only for Crimson Coast but also continues to do this for her own businesses, Wild Craft Play S’cool and Little Hummingbird.
“A hummingbird is her alter ego! She flits from here to there with the intention to assist in all the ways she knows how.”
It is safe to say that when the going is good, and when it’s tough, I have leaned on Jamie. Just before COVID-19, CCD asked Jamie to assist with the administration work and our Wee Tipple fundraiser. When lockdown ensued and a world of change and revision loomed, Jamie stood by us and provided invaluable resources for taking our programs online, beginning with our Body Talk youth program. These teens are precious in so many ways. Most live ‘in care’ and the group project is a fun and safe gathering place for each of them. They had spent the year planning for their spring break event. Jamie and I committed to each other and their facilitator, Ecko Aleck, that THIS show would definitely go on! Thus began a journey of working together again, intensely and sacrificially, to ensure the youth were able to see their project through to completion.
Through all of this, Crimson Coast faced having no revenue source. Online programming was new to us and to our audiences. The internet was rife with experimentation, trials, unknowns, and free offerings. As the Canda Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was announced, and Jamie’s heart grew 10 x bigger, we became the beneficiary of her generosity. She donated her time to us because, “I am getting paid through CERB!” I am still astonished by it! This gesture surely reflected the spirit in which CERB was given, the ‘giving back’ she speaks of.
Please continue reading Jamie’s written responses to why she chose to work with us during the shifts the pandemic presented in the year 2020.
My decision to work as a volunteer while receiving CERB was two-fold.
1. I needed to keep my spirits alive, and by igniting a spark in others, I too am ignited.
2. I was forced out of my typical work and left with nothing else to do but the garden, and as fun as that was, working with Holly and producing high-caliber dance is even more uplifting.
“I truly valued the opportunity to make a positive impact, continuing to shine a light with and on creative people. Given that so many artists were negatively impacted in the process when Holly said there was a budget for this work, I felt like this was what we needed to do.”
Almost as if we were taking the torch and lighting the way. It made sense to put my time and effort into this work because I was physically capable of doing so from home (mostly), and because I too was inspired by Holly’s inquiry, “What if??” Sure we didn’t know what we were getting into, and gosh, if I knew then what I know now about how to host online events, there are definitely some things I would do differently, but overall, given the chance, I would do it all again. It was an honor and a gift to have received the CERB, and with that privilege, I felt it an obligation to give back.
In 2020, when Covid hit, I couldn’t imagine the youth of the Body Talk Program being disconnected by the cancellation of their annual Spring Break Program. I knew that with the online learning skills I had gained through my Masters, and my personal connection with the youth and artists, I could jump in and help!
Within a week, we navigated what was traditionally an in-studio, in-person experience, by mentoring 12 youth and three artists to “on-line” their program through Zoom. While the workload doubled and invited a significant learning curve for many of the participants, audience members, and the artists, the process went by so fast.
“It was like magic, and the outcome on behalf of the teens was magic and impactful for them.”
Behind the scenes, dancing away until the grand finale, I realized how powerful dance is, and that Holly Bright’s work is a necessary force in this world. As she says, “she holds us all in highest regards,” and literally holds us, all of us, up to our potential. SHE shines a light on us in a way that ignites self-worth, self-efficacy, and a sense of true accomplishment. My experience with Crimson Coast has been one of the most life-altering experiences, both from the productions I have seen, but more so with the back-stage flow and the awe-inspiring people involved. If we were allowed to hug, I’d still be hugging each board member, Holly, and staff members throwing our hands in the air singing our new anthem, “We did the thing!”
Then came July.
The 22nd Annual InFrinGInG Dance Festival was a whirlwind of amazingness. Although it caused some headaches on the technical end (what I hope was perceived as a somewhat seamless event) I’d do it all again!
“Creativity keeps me sane! Working with extraordinary people fills my cup, and helping artists get their work ‘seen’ inspires me to want to be seen too. I can’t wait to produce my own dance piece.”
Dance IS medicine, for some more than others, no matter what culture you are from. It’s freeing, and creative, while it challenges my mind, moves my body, and engages me. I am and I will always be, connected to CCDS and the masterpieces that they present. It is always a pleasure!
“From what we get we can make a living. From what we give, we can make a life.” – Winston Churchill
Thank you, Jamie!
You have made many lives better than they were before.