Tales from Dance Fest

Follow along with Megan Bridge, Artistic Director of <fidget> as she performs live with Dance Fest Skopje in North Macedonia.

Tech Rehearsal for Dance Fest Skopje

September 2–the journey to Skopje, North Macedonia for Dance Fest Skopje

Leaving my family was enormously difficult, harder than ever. Makes sense…who leaves their family and flies halfway around the world in the middle of a global pandemic? 

I was teary-eyed in the car. Just get on the train to Newark, Meg, I kept telling myself. You can think about it on the train ride and all afternoon before the flight at the airport. You can turn around and come right home if you really want to. 

As soon as I walked into 30th street station, everything shifted and started to settle. It was business as usual. Diminished numbers, yes. Everyone wearing masks, yes, but that’s starting to look and feel a lot more normal. I realized—all these people are doing their jobs. And between Philly and Skopje, a 30 hour journey from my door to my hotel, I would be crossing paths with many people who are doing their jobs, and that for a lot of them, their job is to help me get where I’m going. Or feed me. Keep me safe. Or clean the bathrooms for me and my fellow travelers. 

And me, well, I’m doing my job too. My job is to make dances, to perform and travel and share and engage with new people in new communities and contexts. Art and culture is how humans process their life experience. That work is not going to be paused while humanity grapples with its issues. On the contrary—the arts are a necessary read out of what is going on socio-politically in our culture. Continued artistic exchange, whether it is in the virtual sphere or in person, is a crucial part of the meaning-making of our time. 

Movies on the plane. 

13 hrs in Vienna…empty airport. Empty and eerie. Slept on various benches. Wearing a mask continuously for a day and a half is uncomfortable, but more tolerable than I imagined. 

I arrive in Skopje just before midnight. It’s a tiny airport and it only takes 10 minutes from the gate to walking through customs with my claimed luggage. A driver from the festival meets me. 

My hosts, Risima Risimkin and Aleksandra Dimitrovska, are waiting for me at the hotel (it’s 1am!) with warm welcomes, hand sanitizer, and extra masks. 

The highlight of my hotel room is a huge balcony, wrapping around the entire suite. 

I shower and gratefully sink into sleep. 

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