The Grapefruit that got away.
By Krista Lin
In my last year of contemporary dance studies at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre my class was engaged in a work by Tedd Robinson. He does a lot of contemporary dance work that is absurd yet stunningly beautiful. He has a series of works called “Fruit Studies”. This particular year her was commissioned by five contemporary dance training institutions across Canada to create a large work on all graduating classes. He did this by creating individual works at each school, that culminated at Canada Dance Festival. In this enormous endeavour, he went back to a familiar choreographic phase and brought in “fruit studies”.
So, all 5 classes worked with grapefruits.
Prior to the culmination at Canada Dance Festival, each class would perform their version of the piece in their own year end production. This piece was a big deal and there always seemed a lot at stake when we performed it.
There was a slow moment in our class’s piece where I was to roll my grapefruit from the back of the stage to the front, so my colleague, who had already placed her grapefruit down elsewhere, would pick mine up, and I’d exchange mine for hers just a minute later. However, in the middle of one performance, as I rolled my citrus, I realized I had offered my unusually round fruit too much force. Instead of stopping in the desired area I usually rolled it to, it just...kept...going.
Under the risers of the audience. AND, out of sight.
I watched in internal horror, yet the whole time maintaining my neutral contemporary dance composure, while my friend danced her way to the front of the stage to pick up my grapefruit, only to discover that it was NOT THERE. My body went numb momentarily, sweat leaked quickly out of every pore in my body as I watched her confusion and frustration.
I effort to not disrupt equilibrium, I chose not to pick up her grapefruit. Somewhere in there, she recovered her grapefruit and I continued the piece without one. This was not so bad, as the rest of the piece afterwards didn’t really involve the grapefruits.
Until the very end.
Where we had been instructed not to finish the piece WITHOUT a grapefruit as the last picture frame was a clump of us all offering our grapefruit outwards on our hands. One empty hand would look strange and offer a different image in the context of the piece.
In knowing I needed a grapefruit I took a moment to slide off stage, when I wasn’t supposed to, grab a spare grapefruit from the bucket of spare grapefruits backstage, and attempt to make my way back across from stage right to stage left, before the end of the piece.
I did not.
I made it on to the stage -- just was everyone was exiting -- from stage left to stage right.
I walked on 5 steps, saw the mass of my class coming towards me with their grapefruits in hands, I whipped around on my heels and walked off the way I’d just come.
I was mortified.
My friend was enraged.
I figured I had truly ruined the piece for the audience and my class.
However, when all had settled and I had stopped crying, my friend understood about the very round rolling fruit debacle. The rehearsal director reassured me that all my choices had been right, that no one had probably noticed except herself and a few others, AND, that my “new ending” stayed in the realm of the piece and the choreographer’s vision, even if it wasn’t what had been planned.
So, remember, when your grapefruit rolls away, you just keep going like nothing else has happened. Do your very best and stay inside the dance.
Keep dancing. Keep being you. And remember what the dance is about.
I never rolled my grapefruit under the risers afterwards and all other performances went as planned. But every performance was electric for me, as I was so aware of the possibilities of what could happen if I didn’t truly pay attention to what I needed to do in executing my movement.
And I never again choose a very round grapefruit - odd shaped citrus makes for the best placement.