On June 2 I was invited to speak about my life and my job at the South Loop School, and I was very excited to do so. Turns out, it was a very fun morning for me. I was so happy to talk about my journey, from how it started for me back in Paris as a very young boy to now being at the Joffrey dancing lead roles. It was so great to see how many young faces were actually very aware and educated about dance, a form that gets no support whatsoever from the government (maybe a little, but nothing what it should be). I know that South Loop School is a fine arts school and absolutely has incredible teachers, but it was still an enjoyable surprise for me.
Rahm Emanuel arrived around 9AM at South Loop to make an announcement on the city budget and upcoming cuts in Chicago. Tension was high, but both Mr. Emanuel and Chicago School CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard, spoke eloquently, and gave time for one another to speak and think about accurate answers to targeted questions.
More and more I am realizing how fortunate our city is to have a Mr. Emanuel as our mayor. The fact is that we are in debt and there is no such thing as being able to completely avoid sacrifices. No one wants to be in the group that has to sacrifice the most, and believe me, I understand that. The arts have been on that list ever since that list was created. As artists, we know sacrifice! We know there is no such thing as debt free without paying for it. As much as we may dislike cuts to programs we love (for some of us, programs that we devote our lives to), the truth remains that sometimes those in power don't want to do what they have to for the benefit of us all. Every time Mr. Emanuel announces cuts or how difficult it will be, so far in his speeches he has been legit, so I think we should give him a chance to prove himself rather than immediately write him off.
Sure, people say to keep away from discussing polarizing topics like religion and politics on a big scale, and maybe I just broke the rule by blogging about this, but I am proud of Chicago, proud of my city, good and bad. The politicians? I care for what they do for our country, for our cities, for Chicago. When honest, they can save people and make a path for our future, making younger generations smarter by giving them better resources. Maybe it's naive, and maybe I will learn later on that I was wrong, but for now, I truly believe in Rahm Emanuel and his potential for turning our city around. Give the man some time to make a difference!
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And more pics here
And just for a little fun, "Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance." ~Mr. Miyagi, The Next Karate Kid, 1994 :)