I couldn’t sleep last night, because I made the mistake of reading a web news stream.
Senseless murders happen every day, to the point where inexplicable violence has become routine, and unless you’re a family member or friend, you become numb to it. But this one hit with particular ferocity, because the victim was a young girl, and a budding ballet dancer, and I felt a connection. I don’t quite know why, and am not sure it's appropriate, but I felt I had to memorialize her in the context of a dance publication, and in the same manner as would have been the case with a deceased ballet legend. Who knows what might have been.
I did not know Haruka Weiser, the murdered 18 year old from Portland, OR, described in reports as a ballet dancer, and a theater and dance student at the University of Texas at Austin. I do not know anyone in her family, or any of her friends, and know no one who does. But if the eyes are a mirror to the soul, the eyes of Haruka Weiser in the few photos of her that have surfaced tell me something, in the same way, to me, that a dancer’s stage persona can provide a measure of insight into his or her character. Maybe that’s just my construction, or justification, but I believe it to be true, and it’s why I couldn’t sleep. In a very small way, I feel that I know a little about the person she was.
Surely there are many works of art that depict violence in all its forms, including the taking of an innocent life. But Antony Tudor created a ballet about the death of a child, “Dark Elegies,” which seems particularly apt. A child has died – the cause is unknown – and the child’s parents and other villagers grieve in anger, despair, and resignation. I’m sure anyone reading this knows the ballet. In this case, Haruka Weiser’s family and friends should know that the village grieving her death is a very large one.