Susan Melee Balshor
Each that we lose takes a part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which, like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
It is with great sadness that I write to tell you all that Susan Balshor died last night, apparently from complications of the norovirus. She fell ill on Monday. Her sudden passing is a dreadful shock and an unfathomable loss.
Because she would have insisted on it, we will proceed with the Masquerade Waltz on Friday night, as scheduled.
Susan was a performance artist, a sculptor, and a mixed-media artist, and her art is in numerous Pacific Northwest collections. At Pratt Fine Arts Center, she was Instructor of the Year in 2007.
Susan was not only my best friend and artistic co-conspiritor, she was also my favorite life-long dance partner. She was devoted to helping people dance with grace and joy. I can say quite honestly that, for me, she was the most talented human being I ever met. She was also the smartest (at least much smarter that I). She read everything from Sue Grafton to Plato -- and understood the philosophers inside out. She was an opera aficionado who also could build a three-story house from the foundation up. Among many other accomplishments, she co-founded the clothing company Eileen Fisher with (of course) Eileen Fisher.
Susan co-founded the Valse Cafe Orchestra 14 years ago. Over the years, whenever we would introduce something fresh and fun to dance to, people had the habit of complimenting me for the innovation as well as their enjoyment. Finally, I got in the habit of explaining that, almost always, that moment they enjoyed so much came from Susan. She truly was the Artistic Director for this little ensemble. The Masquerade, of course, was Susan's idea, and she created much of this year's show as well.
She taught me more about life, about art, and about possibility than than anyone or anything else I've known. I will miss her terribly. There will be a memorial service, and we'll be in touch with details soon.
Moving forward with the Masquerade so soon after Susan has passed away is the most beautiful thing we can do in her honor. And so, we are dedicating this year's Masquerade to Susan, with the intent of dancing her into the next world. Any of you who don't yet have a ticket and want to attend this celebration of dance and beauty, please feel free to be in touch.