Most lawyers and judges who I know are strong supporters of the arts in some fashion. My lawyer spouse will be first online with Ticketmaster for most concerts by entertainers he likes who are playing in Calgary or Edmonton or anywhere he travels (same for sports) and he attends most live events in the City. With my two, now adult, daughters being competitive dancers and performers from the age of three, we covered many concerts but many other performances including dance and live theatre. Nutcracker Ballet at the Red Deer Polytechnic (College as it then was) was a must see and we all (yes even me) performed in it one year, unforgettable.
During the Pandemic closures, the artists suffered significantly, especially if they depended on live venues. These artists included those in the dance world. My youngest daughter was not only in her last year of high school but also in her last year of competitive dance with YYC Dance Project (in partnership with Alberta Ballet School). Training on Zoom in the living room was a challenge. Many young dancers ended up abandoning their routines. Not getting the exercise and social situation you are used to can be depressing.
In July of 2020, with the collaboration of Alberta lawyers and judiciary and the entertainment community, we created a virtual fundraiser. It was titled “Lawyers vs Talent – A2J: Virtual Edition” (“A2J” means access to justice).
It was a virtual showcase of legal talent, special guests and special features, with the assistance of the United Way. It was to establish awareness around issues relating to access to justice for vulnerable populations during COVID-19 and raise funds for pro bono law groups to support, for instance, obtaining technology needed to provide services.
A hip hop dancer named Stephen “tWitch” Boss provided a cameo announcement in the pre-show all the way from California.
He had won second place on So You Think You Can Dance one year and worked on the Ellen show as a DJ, then executive producer. I had had the good fortune to see him perform and teach at various competitions. Pound It Hip Hop Studios, where I dance as an adult, made the arrangements with tWitch and participated in the event.
I had the opportunity to dance in the mountains (the great outdoors) with my daughters (I am just a cameo in this amazing number, like Hitchcock or Tarantino, as I was the executive producer). Even during the Nutcracker Ballet I was not in the same scenes as my daughters so another silver lining of the Pandemic. I will never forget the kindness of all involved in struggling through their new reality but not forgetting those worse off. That is the world I want to live in (without a Pandemic though).
tWitch was always so pleasant and kind. His wife is a dancer and he had three beautiful children. Earlier this week, he wandered from his house, ended up at a motel and committed suicide.
Three days earlier, he posted a cheerful dance video. We are all in shock. You never know when someone is having their last dance so dance with abandon. Mental health affects us all, and you NEVER know a person’s personal struggles. This holiday season, be kind. Get help when you need it.
It is important to talk about suicide. Call 1.833.456.4566 toll free 24/7/365 (Talk Suicide Canada) or seek out other mental health support. We are all in this together.
Donna Purcell, K.C., (aka Lady Justice) is a Central Alberta lawyer and Chief Innovation Officer with Donna Purcell QC Law. If you have legal questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.