Conversation with a Storyteller
By Mary Beth Beckman
Early in January, I had the pleasure of meeting one of our contributers, Christine Trask, for coffee. Chris and I have had a productive working relationship for years, as she often submitted content to me when I was editor of the Minnesota Dancing Times, but this was the first time we had a chance to speak in person.
Chris is a lovely, warm person with intense red hair and a welcoming smile. She braved the cold and snow to sit with me for a couple hours and chat about dancing. It was a joy to learn about her history in the dance community, what effect it's had on her life, and what inspires her to get out to so many events.
What's so wonderful about Chris is her adventurous spirit and her desire to understand every new thing she encounters, especially people. She seeks out unique dance events--small gems that are often overlooked by many dancers--and talks to the people she meets there, finding a story everywhere she goes, the trademark of a writer.
My lasting impression of Chris is that she's very brave. Tragedy brought her to ballroom dance when her husband was killed in a car crash, and the same bravery that brought her to dances seeking a supportive social network can be seen in the topics she chooses to write about. She doesn't shy away from anything--she goes alone to out-of-town dances where she doesn't know anyone, and she explores the tragedies others have experienced.
When reading Chris' articles, I often come away with the impression that bad things happen, often to good people, but that community lifts us up. For every untimely death, for every disability, injury, or loss, there is a legacy of goodness that the community carries on--a legacy that Chris, through her storytelling, ensures won't be forgotten. Of course, she also writes about joyous events, impressive accomplishments, and the triumphs of the local dance community.
At the center of every article is Chris's interest in other people. So if a kind, red-haired woman approaches you at a dance, consider telling her your story. She may just craft it into something the whole dance community can enjoy. We at Sheer Dance are certainly grateful for all of her hard work and enthusiasm.