cynthia carter died wednesday morning, february 1, 2006, after a prolonged illness. this is a place for those seeking to share their memories of cynthia. the collected memories may eventually be distilled into a eulogy for publication in the contact quarterly
if you wish to add something, use the comment form at the bottom of the page, making sure to identify yourself.
dc-ci, referred to often below, is a mailing list for people who are or have been a part of the dc contact improvisation jam.
keith winston, feb 2 2006, from a notice about cynthia's death, on dc-ci
I won't attempt a eulogy right now. I will say that Cynthia was a deeply sensitive and thoughtful person, a very loving mother, a playful wordsmith, and a person who loved and felt attuned to nature. She also loved to sing. Many people in the dance community had close, connected discussions, dances and relationships with her.
ken manheimer, feb 2 2006, from a notice about funeral arrangements, on dc-ci:
i do want to say, for those of you that don't know, that cynthia has been a central part of the dc jam, actually maintaining the space with alex before any of the rest of us were in the picture (though roger may have been involved before that point, not sure) she also was centrally responsible for the existence of the east coast jam - one of the group of people who initiated it, and in fact she made some of the original connections that seeded the effort. she also was a dear friend of mine - brilliant and sharp and surprising, incredibly devoted to the practice of ci and, perhaps even more, to the community of practitioners. i will miss her, and though i will miss our physical and conversational dances terribly, they are a part of me.
connie mcvey, feb 3 2006, on dc-ci:
... Cynthia, praying for her , Amber and Alex all day and beyond. Cynthia was a dear friend of mine while I lived in DC --I have many years of fond memories of doing Authentic movement with her. I remember writing a poem about Cynthia after I was her witness one time at Joes -- writing about her as a "dragon in heat." Im going to see if I can find that... She was a deeply spiritual, thoughtful, powerful and generous woman -- constantly amazing me about how real and true her words and actions were. She was a model for us all in so many respects.
keith again, feb 3 2006, on dc-ci:
Hey folks: there is an offer to submit a BRIEF notice of Cynthia's passing in CQ, though the deadline for this issue is passed. Perhaps a longer something will occur in the next issue.
If anyone had a thought, sentence, or complete notice they wanted to float out onto the list, with the possibility of ending up in THE notice, that would be great. It would make it a bit of a group improv. If anyone felt like gathering the bits into a finished short notice (probably lots of winnowing), that would be great, too. If you want to notice that there may be some more extensive opportunity in the future, then that's another thing to do now.
I don't know EXACTLY how soon this is due, but soon. I'm finding out more now.
robin gilmore, feb 3 2006, on dc-ci:
I'm reading through all these emails in a slow motion haze. I first met and danced with Cynthia and Alex (and Roger!) in 1980 or '81 when the DC jam had about 8 people and met in some walk up studio downtown. 7th Street? Can't recall, and the building is no longer there. As I moved around over the years, always circling back to the DC area, the jam was always happening, and Cynthia was always there. Her commitment to the jam and to maintaining a true community never wavered.
Language and writing were so important to Cynthia. The idea of a group word jam for a future issue of CQ seems perfect. For the current deadline, Ken's brief
roger neece, feb 3 2006, on dc-ci:
I too am in a haze after the news of Cynthia's passing and reading everyone's emails. Robin's helps me remember those early days, 1981 it was, Cynthia [and Alex] part of the small group of DC contactors, in our studio at 407 7th st, NW., 7th floor. The building is still there! David Appel, myself, Cynthia, Alex, Caroline Quandt, and others formed a performing group, called "Talus" that gigged around DC, Dance Place on 18th Street, etc. Then we moved down the street, to Liz Lerman's old space in the then converting Lansburgh's department store, now the Shakesapere Theatre and condo's. Cynthia continued to be our Earth Mother, and I seem to remenber some sort of dance notebook that she kept even then.
susan singer, feb 3 2006, on dc-ci:
I can't help but think of the Maui games at Claymont with Amber and Cynthia. Those were VERY interesting evenings with SO MANY laughs!
tom gallahan, feb 6 2006, on dc-ci
I am truly sad. I am cherishing my memories of Cynthia - her smile, her pioneering spirit and her ability to mix it up at times by speaking difficult truths. I love you Alex and Amber. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Peace be with you. I love all of you. I am grateful for this loving community that can hold tragic moments like these with such care and attention. How beautifully ironic that my digest of dc-ci emails (my internet connection to my soul dancing home) also included the announcement for the spring jam. What a reminder of how Cynthia will continue to touch us and bless us. It is also a good reminder to me to make getting to an east coast jam a priority.
testing commenting (ken manheimer) -- Fri, 03 Feb 2006 18:13:04 -0500
from ken manheimer: i'm posting this without logging in, to test the commenting mechanism. i'm trying to set a good example, though, by clearly identifying myself: commenters, please include your name in the subject and/or at the beginning of your comment, unless you specifically want to be anonymous .
plus, a reminder for later. a number of us mobilized, during cynthia's illness, to see what we could do to help her and her family through. though we ultimately were able to do less than we hoped, and she did not agree with some of our methods, we noticed that we were mobilizing for something that she held so highly - engaging with one another as best we could, across our different communities (family, neighbors, waldorf school folks, contacters), for the sake of someone important in those communities. as we ironically observed, she was once again, in this case inadvertantly, being an organizer.
return to ground (Robin Gilmore) -- Sun, 05 Feb 2006 10:46:47 -0500
from Robin Gilmore: on a drizzly but unseasonably warm Saturday, a group of about 30 friends and family members gathered at Claymont for what Alex called "Cynthia's final ritual." Alex and Keith built a beautiful wooden coffin which contained not only Cynthia but a number of items which held meaning for her. Cynthia was lowered into the ground near the orchard. Time was allowed for anyone who wished to speak or read a poem and shovel dirt into the grave. Amber was truly amazing in her clarity and strength as she spoke about her mother. To close this part of the ritual (it may be Cynthia's last, but this one's going to continue for a long while to come!), we held hands in a circle and sang. As we began to walk back down to the barn, the rain, which had held off during the actual burial, began again.
The Small Dance -- Sun, 05 Feb 2006 19:16:32 -0500
Cynthia taught me of all the richness and fullnes the small dance has to offer, sharing with me with a vast ocean of wealth that I could not even begin to contain in words. I am the less....We are the less without Her but all the more for having known Her. Thank You Cynthia for all you gave...
lynda fleet perry -- Tue, 07 Feb 2006 06:05:58 -0500
I loved Cynthia's earth mother-ness. I still remember the wonderful salad she made for a Claymont work weekend and the grace with which she poured off oil, vinegar, soy sauce to dress it. I have a wonderful photograph of her holding the bowl, pure joy on her face.
amber's burial comments (ken manheimer) --klm, Wed, 08 Feb 2006 12:03:01 -0500
part of the burial ceremony included shovelling some dirt into the grave and, with an opportunity to speak. i was touched by everything that people said, and most deeply by things that amber and alex said. i can't even paraphrase alex's words, right now, but do want to take a stab at amber's. it was extremely striking and encouraging.
she mentioned that she had a connection with her mom that was more amazing than any other she had ever known, and that she and her mom would go adventuring together. there had been many adventures. amber recognizes now that adventures in her life are going to be divided into three parts, including ones before cynthia's illness, during the illness, and the next part that's coming up, after her mom's death. she has trusted in her mom in their adventuring up to now, amber said, and she sees this one as another one that her mom has prepared her for - and amber feels that she was so well prepared, her confidence in her mom is such that she is going into this one feeling ready for it.
i am almost certainly mangling that, throwing separate things together and whatnot, but i think that's the gist. from what she was saying, and the grace and heart with which she said it, i felt more confident about how amber was coping, and about what her mom would have wanted for amber.
thanks to cynthia (stu phillips) --klm, Fri, 07 Jul 2006 18:26:56 -0400
My name is Stu Phillips, back when I used to attend East Coast Jam, one afternoon was attending Theatre of Oppressed workshop that was grandly being presented, wonderful afternoon, very inspiring for all who attended, I was involved in a No. 1 position of Dominance, as a role, as well as one other beautiful man, who was bigger and taller than I, I think he's a Grief Counselor, or was then, back in the early nineties, and we were in a head on role playing "adventure" of one on one two way both supremely Dominant surrogates, and we got into a face to face no back down No. 1 utterly dominant two way male unending struggle, very intense, and afterwards Cynthia just expressed to me her thanks and experience of what happened for her:
She was utterly frightened, scared, almost terrified, being in the audience, seeing two men in fixed battle, together, not backing down, and she just stayed there and felt her terror throughout our battle, it was not physical mostly, just energetic and mental, over some role play, fantastic, and Cynthia just sat there, in the front row, terrified, and moved all her energy over that experience, readily, and it just blew her away, she couldn't leave the situation, in her fear, so just felt it and stayed, and was blown away by her reaction and that two men could just face each other without backing down both in supreme dominance, and just have it out, unmoving, in total connection and perfection, and she couldn't leave, it terrified her, and she felt it, and when the entire jam was over, that one, she announced in the closing circle her lesson and blown away nature of that experience and thankfulness of that experience, that she just stayed there and witnessed her fear so much and really moved through it and was really quite incredibly satisfied in that resolve, happy. Thankyou Cynthia and to that workshop, the leaders, the other man, to myself, and to the witnesses, it was a whole table of varying roles, and we were just in a locked dominance versus dominant male position, played it out, and Cynthia just sat there, moving inside her fear, how satisfying that was for her, without leaving, she was happy and satisfied for that. Thankyou. Stu Phillips,