Notes from Nina: Birthdays and Celebrations

Hi TADA! Friends and Family,

My birthday is next week and I’m turning 60. I don’t really feel 60 years OLD. However, my body does: my knees ache, I need my reading glasses all the time now when looking at things close up, once or twice I wake up at night (when I do sleep) to go to the bathroom, and then there’s my neck (enough said). I seem to be grappling or searching for words more but is that 60? Is that exhaustion? Is that doing too much? Or is it d) all of the above? Emotionally and in my soul – I still feel 16.
Birthdays make me think about beginnings, about change, and about celebrating.
Celebrating still being alive (as a four-time cancer survivor) is important to me. This year, I had wanted a big celebration with lots of people because 60 is major. However, I won’t be doing that because of the Pandemic and I’m not big on Zoom gatherings or parties and I’m Zoomed out from work. So, I’m planning to go to a spa (with Ceanna) and immerse myself in hot water and relax. If you want a way to celebrate me, click here.
Thinking about change is something I do everyday. TADA! is going through a lot of changes; the way we live and work has changed; and, I am personally working on change in myself. January is also Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and we celebrate each year and remember his hope for the future and the changes that we are still waiting to see in this country that he spoke of more than 50 years ago.
It is easy to think about new beginnings right now with our new President and Vice President’s Inauguration. I didn’t realize how much watching Kamala D. Harris being sworn in as the First Woman Vice President would affect me. I was crying at this historical moment.It is so important that this actually happened. She is the first African American, first South Asian American and first Woman to become Vice President of the United States of America. This happened! 16-year-old me is so thrilled, but also can’t believe it took this long.
I liked listening to President Joe Biden’s words about unity and working together and being there for each other. I believe along with our President that “to overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity. ..With unity we can do great things. Important things. We can right wrongs.”  He also said, “And so today, at this time and in this place, let us start afresh. All of us. Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another.”
One of the highlights for me today was seeing Ms. Amanda Gorman perform her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” So powerful. I could quote it but that wouldn’t be enough. In 2017 at age 16, she was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate. In 2021, she became the youngest poet to read at an inauguration. Wonder what she will be doing when she turns 60?
I love hearing, listening and seeing the TADA! Ensemble Members. I respect them so much. This last year working with the teen Ensemble Members and listening to them speak and lead Forums about the world we all live in and what they want has been truly inspiring. I also love working with our younger Ensemble Members who also have so much to say and offer.
Yesterday, I was able to watch Things We Can Change, a program between Limitless Health Institute’s Platform of Peace and the Resident Youth Ensemble of TADA!. Eight Ensemble Members created their own work (videos, poems, slide shows, art) that spoke to what changes they want to see in the world and how we can all be a part of making changes happen. Watching this was the second time I teared up yesterday. It was a celebration of creativity and unity.
The arts really do help young people to grow, explore, develop and inspire. TADA!’s Online Winter Semester Classes begin next week and there’s still places available, so if you know any young people who want to participate click here. This semester focuses on play-building. Maybe the next Amanda Gorman will find their voice! 
I am breathing better and feel hopeful after yesterday. I am still learning, growing, changing and celebrating and almost 60!


Janine Nina Trevens
Executive & Producing Artistic Director