Gallery: Red Ribbon Dance

South Street Seaport, NYC
Azores, Portugal
Rockaway Beach, NYC

Three months after my mom died of a stroke, I found myself on a beach in northern Brazil. I’d gone there to cry. To scream, if need be. I hadn’t cried since I first learned she’d died. In New York, I’d been busy making arrangements and dealing with her estate, and there was no time to cry, no room to break down.

But on that beach in Brazil, I still didn’t cry. No tears came. Instead, I danced. I danced in her memory. My limbs expressed what words and tears could not. I danced to mourn her, I danced to celebrate. And I keep on dancing, in tribute and in her memory.


This is for my mother Marilyn, who loved to dance.
Who co-founded a Chinese dance troupe in 1970s New York City.

Who performed the traditional red ribbon dance
but had to stand in the back because she was tall.

This is for my mother
Who put me in ballet at the age of three
and then spent the next 12 years shuttling me to classes.

Who line danced in Memphis, Tennessee in her 50s,
when she finally made the trip to Graceland.

This is for my mother
Who both loved and feared the sea
Whose memory dances on
In and through me.