Dale's Mother, Father, and her two sisters, Virginia and Doris.
Some young audience members after the performance
We arrive in Nanjing and are taken to our hotel. It's very nice and the first place we've been with internet connections in the rooms. I've gotten very behind working for several clients due to lack of a connection, and haven't had much communication with anybody at home either. Hooking up the computer is the first thing I do.
The very first email title my eye picks out fills me with such sorrow that that I'm unable to speak. Dale's Father has passed away back home in Augusta, Georgia two days earlier.
We borrow a cell phone that will connect to the States and Dale calls her home. She's very torn. She feels she needs to fly home immediately to be with her family, but she also feels a responsibility to the dancers here in China and knows the group will probably not be able to continue the tour without her. Dale is the first person in her family to be in China since her parents left to come to the United States back in the early 1940s. Her father was extremely proud of her when she told him about the initial invitation to come, and had been telling everyone about her trip here. The family believes he would have wanted her to stay and finish the tour. In keeping with the wishes of her father and family, Dale decides to stay. The performance in the evening will be dedicated to him.
Dale has a solo or two that we have inserted into the show to allow everybody else time to change costumes. Against my advice, Dale has brought her mother's wedding jacket with her to wear while performing one of them. It's completely handmade with exquisite embroidery using real gold thread and is rather heavy. Items such as this are not made anymore and I don't even want to know what the value of it is. I was very worried about it getting damaged during the tour. Now, while I watch Dale perform her solo along with the rest of the company, it seems so very appropriate that she has it on. Though her heart is breaking, she is dancing for her father and we know that he is watching and he is smiling.
We had some time before the performance starts for Dale to do a basic warmup and clean a few pieces. During this time she sits out in the audience with a microphone to give instructions to the dancers. By mistake, when the rehearsal is over, Dale leaves her purse with her passport and money in the seat along with her jacket. The house opens, the theatre fills, the performance takes place, and only when we're packing up to leave the theatre does Dale notice that her purse is missing. She begins to panic. Losing your passport and visa is a big deal and will be a lot of trouble to fix. I walk out into the auditorium where Dale was sitting during the show. Her purse and jacket are there in the seat, exactly as she left them and completely untouched. Her father is definitely watching.