I just learned of the death of my dear friend and inspiration, the artist Gillian Jagger. I first met Gillian nearly 20 years ago when I had just finished choreographing RIDE. I had seen her work “Absence of Faith” in New York, and was so moved that I reached out to speak with her and interview her for my book. That first conversation lasted more than two hours, and was followed by many, many more.
Gillian was an artist of fierce passion, deeply generous in her vision, ever curious about others’ work and ideas. The world feels at once dimmer for her absence, and more brilliant for her having lived so fully among us.
Please watch these videos. They will give you a beautiful sense of the woman, the artist, the visionary.
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I have just returned from teaching a wonderful workshop in Bulgaria with a herd of 17 Balkan horses and a human herd of lovely, curious Bulgarian women.
Despite the challenges of language (helped by the heroic efforts of Millena, our translator) we were able to ground our communications in the shared language of the body, and find meaning in the always perfect teaching of the horses.
I am so grateful to Teodora, our organizer, for her vision and persistence. For now, as my jet lag fades, I will let the photographs speak.