Cleo is the dancing astronaut, and always will be to me no matter where the rest of her life takes her. I asked her why she wanted to be an astronaut and dance in space. Her answer was profound. She says the whole world would be your audience if you danced in space, and everything that separates us like battles over who owns what land, what country you live in, and what language you speak would all be eliminated. That’s pretty profound for the youngest member of the Into the Sun crew.
Cleo is 18. She’s the daughter of two engineers. She says they sometimes struggle to understand her need to dance, but they never miss a performance, and are always very supportive. She astounds me with the gratitude she has for the parents she’s been given.
Little Ms. Person didn’t always know she wanted to be a dancer. She started dancing because there was a studio that gave lessons right next door to her preschool, and everyone took lessons. Even in high school, she wasn’t certain until one summer she went to Juilliard for a class at the encouragement of her dance instructor. It captivated her, and she just knew. This summer, she tried to stop dancing. She couldn’t.
She loves to travel, and can see herself traveling, dancing, and teaching. Maybe someday she really will be an astronaut. Even then, I’m certain she’ll be dancing.
Here are Cleo’s words:
I am an 18-year-old emerging artist from San Diego, California. I have been dancing since before my walking days, and still I am increasingly thrilled for every opportunity to share art and my love of movement with communities everywhere. Dancing, the most pure manifestation and melding of all aspects of our humanity—the physical, intellectual, and spiritual— everydaybecomes a truer way to approach the core of the unity of humanity and share it with others. I believe this is the case for all art that comes out of passion, which is why my excitement at the prospect of collaborating with a group of other inspirationally dedicated artists to create a concert that brings together many individual artistic viewpoints into one shared event makes me feel a little giddy.
I simply can’t wait to share our art with communities in Kansas! It is a joy for me to share dance everywhere, both within my own community in healthcare facilities in New York, and this coming year with the island of O’ahu, Hawaii as part of DareToCreate Dance Collective and with Prince Edward Island Canada, where I’ll be traveling to perform for as wide an audience as possible. And I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut, so perhaps one day we can even put dance in space to share on a truly universal level.
The tour starts in Garden City on Tuesday, September 2, at the Garden City High School, continues in Lawrence on Thursday, September 4, and ending on Saturday, September 6, in Kansas City.
More about the project, the tour, and the performers can be found online at Arts Fusion Initiative.