Thoughts on the New Year
By Letty Bassart
As the year comes to an end, contemplation, reflection, and future plans are
in the forefront of our minds—at least in the days between December 25 and
January 1. Have we been our best selves? What will we do differently or
better? What will we make time for? This year, as an artist and New Year’s
baby, the age old question of conformity is exponentially evoked.
The work of
choreographer Pina Bausch
At times, overwhelmed by our virtual existence, need
for classification, and careful use of words in
contracts, I often refer to “F2” on my Excel spreadsheet
as the new bell jar.
The stratospheres of categorization extend far beyond the Dewey Decimal
System, we are no longer right-brained or left-brained. Rather, we have more or
less of a specific type of intelligence, musical, kinesthetic and so on.
I come from a generation of women whose mothers insisted they not have
children until their careers are in place, the generation most informed by HIV
and its implications; safer sex crucial to life. In this funny gap, many have
everything, sort of: ambitious careers, plastic surgery, babies, etc. The
outcomes are yet to be seen.
That aside, I am thankful to David Hudak, my tenth grade English teacher for
making non-conformity an official part of my vocabulary. In his classroom, a
larger than life poster of Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome hung
on the wall and the word ‘quixotic’ was explored in great detail.
My friend, the cowboy-like Steve Wenger, refers to settlers as “40-hour ham
This year I have been fortunate enough to sit at the table with many, non-ham
and eggers; being a part of this movement continues to be exhilarating. It
takes many forms---behind the computer, at the conference table, in the dance
studio, the audience, and with friends and family. An incredible highlight was
the opportunity to see Pina Bausch’s Néfes last weekend.
As I stood in awe of this slight-figured woman, who is credited with the
transformation of dance theatre, take the stage, I understood what I have always
known, that to be a non-conformist is to not settle for anything less than the
most excellent in ourselves and in our vision. As the New Year prepares to roll
in, I hold this as the only standard and am filled with abundant gratitude for
those who surround me in my personal and professional life.
Letty Bassart can be reached through her website,