Reflections from Sinterklaas 2016

Celebrating 6 Years of Into the Light at Sinterklaas.

The Caravan had a great time performing Into the Light at the Sinterklaas festival in Rhinebeck this weekend. Thank you to all of our beautiful performers!

If you missed this weekend's performances, or want to see the full production in action, come see Into the Light at the Ellenville High School Theater, 28 Maple Avenue, Ellenville, NY. Dec 17 at 3pm.  Click below for more details and scroll down to read reflections from this weekend. 

 Reflections from Juliet:

Bright eyed and wide awake, we ventured out to Sinterklaas. It’s been years since Izzy and I performed with our Caravan family for their holiday spectacular, but we’ve created our own tradition of Sinterklaas. Every year we look forward to the first Saturday of December because we know what awaits us. After our morning routine of grabbing coffees, we got into my car and started our journey towards Rhinebeck. Anticipation flowed between us as we became more and more thrilled at the idea of seeing our family perform the dances we grew up on.

We arrived at the Church and greeted dancers, new and old. Though we weren’t dancing, we were there to help in anyway we could. Adjusting costumes, helping with masks, making small changes to the script, we were still a part of the family. Circling up before the show, Livia announced that this would be the last Sinterklaas for Alena, Morgane, Kaya, and Neve (some of our Youth Company dancers) who will be graduating high school in June. I looked over to Alena, smiled and whispered “or you can be like me and Izzy and come anyways…” Because Izzy and I will always, always try our hardest to be present at Sinterklaas for it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

We watched the performance, seeing dancers transform into forest creatures and adapt their movements to become more and more like the puppets they danced within. I saw my students from years ago now taking on the roles I used to play. It brought tears to my eyes to see everyone growing up. It brought tears to my eyes to watch with awe at the beautiful pieces coming together in such a colorful pageantry.

Izzy and I heard all the familiar music from the balcony-- we felt it in our bones. We felt our muscles flex as all the repertoire flooded back into our system, and our vocal chords opened up as we started to sing along with the whole company. We may not be actively dancing at the moment, but it is very clear that the Caravan taught us that we will never forget how to dance. We will never forget the thrill and excitement of giving the gift of dance to an audience and to each other.

Words from Livia:

When the Dalai Lama was asked “what can help the world at this time?” He replied, "more festivals!"

Being part of the Sinteklaas festivities in Rhinebeck annually held on the first Saturday of December is a ritual to which we at The Vanaver Caravan all look forward!  Many of us feel that this is indeed the start of our holiday season.  This is the 6th year that we have collaborated with Arm-of-the-Sea Theater filling the Church of the Messiah with giant puppets, 30 performers and 3 packed houses.   The full sound of our musicians, Toby, Evan, Bill, Steve and Apple & Carrie of Barely Lace, playing way up high in the back balcony lifted everyone's spirits.  What I love every year is watching the youngest children in CaravanKids Project experience this event for the first time; how serious and focused they are… and what troupers withstanding 6 hours of rehearsing and performing.  When we circle up backstage before each show, it's a time to feel the deep presence and warmth of our Vanaver Caravan community.  Youngest to oldest we are ages 6-73.  We talked about how the 4 oldest Youth Company girls were once the Village Children, and now they are playing the lead roles before going off to college next year...  This was Alena's last performance as  Lucia and she was indeed 'radiant with the light of the sun'.  We speak about how performing Into the Light is a privilege and how we must give our dancing as a gift to the audience and to each other. We strengthen one another through celebration, lift our spirits and generate joy. I feel deeply grateful for all the dancers and their families, musicians, collaborators who come into my life and the life of the Caravan and who make these performances possible. And special thanks to Jeanne Fleming who organizes Sinterklaas and is indeed the Queen of Festivals. I agree with the Dalai Lama wholeheartedly...More Festivals!!!