From 32’000 feet above, returning to St. Louis totally elated about the experience. Not so much with the expectations that what the hand-full of dance lovers were able to accomplish with the legislators, but excited about the knowledge that great people are taking care of dance.
Dance/USA’s leadership is strongly promoting the development of new alliances and encouraging the development of a generation of artists, but the getting to know of Michael, Pamela, Patti and Susie, advocates of dance was thrilling. And seeing that Dance/USA is the most capable hands of Amy, Vicky and Brandon, should encourage all of us.
Upon arrival we gathered for a beautiful dinner where getting to know one another was fun and the conversation was stimulating. A sleepless night gave way to a busy day where at a working breakfast we were briefed on the ramifications that doing away or reducing the present Charitable Deduction Provision would have on not only our field but the country in general. Consensus is that some modification might happen but that it should remain in place allowing us the confidence to still partner with our generous contributors.
We then proceeded to visit the Library of Congress and saw part of their Dance Collection graciously guided by retiring Elizabeth Aldrich, a passionate woman with an encyclopedic knowledge, who happens to live part time in Chile, my home country.. From there we spent the day talking to staff members of Senators and Congressmen of the states represented by the small group of “lobbyists”. Missouri, Illinois and Texas. Lucia at Senator McCaskill’s office was gracious and attentive and hopefully our message will be delivered to the Senator. The process says great things about the marvelous way the government operates. it also shows the frustrating aspect of how government moves. I believe our plea for continued retaining the Charitable Deduction Exception will be favorably considered.. Their response to the NEA was cooler which is frightening. Here is an agency, that for less than it cost to build on F1Bomber reaches millions of, people inspires more millions, enlightens half the population and by the nature of its giving enhances and gives the Good-housekeeping seal of approval to the generous support that comes from individuals, foundations and corporations. It employs millions of people and generates billions of dollars in tax revenue. I am sure it gives back ten fold the pittance $144,000,000 it allocates yearly. So much better to create than to slain.
A marvelous second dinner was enjoyed by all and it prepared us for an exciting second day where the Kennedy Center was a highlight.. I was surprised to learn, after all this years, that it is really the Kennedy Memorial. A marvelous national treasure that houses many a gifts from all over the world and showcases fantastic performances form all corners of our precious earth. We then taxied to the old Post Office, the Nancy Hanks building to meet with the NEA and State Department. The building is being bought by Donald Trump to be converted into a hotel, with some stores and they even talk casino. The joke in town is that since he could not buy the White House, he will build next to it.
Oops, the voice and bells in the plane tell me we are about to land in Memphis (Seems ridiculous that you cannot find direct flights to Washington from St. Louis. I think there is maybe one). We care coming in late having left DC 50 minutes late and my flight in Memphis was taking off 40 minutes after landing. So, we were more than likely going to miss it and i would have to go to Elvis Mansion to find a room. Well, we had made time in the air and after some nice passengers remained in their seats to allow those of us with “tight’ connections to exit the plane a mad rush was made by about 8 of us to catch that plane. Of course it was parked at the very end of another terminal. We looked like odd seagull running on the beach with a piece of garbage as our carry-ons made the “running” (If that is what I was doing at my age) look awkward and funny. Luck would have it that I managed to get to the plane as the doors where about to close. Huffing and puffing and not feeling myself and slumped in my seat and called Flor, my fiancé, to let he know I had made the connection. She must have sense my lack of breath and expressed concerned. I explained that if I died at that moment I was going to instruct the lady seated next to me to sue Delta. We hang up and as I found a comfortable way to seat for the rest of the flight, the lady next door, who had been obviously hearing the conversation I had just had turns to me and in perfect Spanish says “Do not worry, I am a nurse and i will make sure you survive”. After that the flight was made short and delightful as I learned that she was coming to a wedding of a friend who had design gaudy bridesmaids dresses therefore she refused to be part of the party. She was also three months pregnant, had lived in St. Louis and was going to settle in Portland. Thank heaven I did not die and was able to smile into Lambert Field.