Saturday, April 27, 2013
Leah Apple once sat in my memoir classroom at Penn beguiling us (beguiling me) with beloved New Yorker excerpts and her own languid, slyly self-revealing sentences: But a childhood of moving across the country from day school to day school had disillusioned me: the concept of a best girl friend was something that transcended my realm of possibility, and that I feared would always elude me. She was a world traveler, a hip hop dancer, a young woman who, in so many ways, transcended, a sophomore who that summer would go to teach in Santa Fe, and when Leah won the Fulbright earlier this year I got that happy feeling teachers get when one of their own is recognized for who they are.
In addition to all Leah has achieved academically, she co-executive directs CityStep, a student-run program designed to bring dance, mentorship, and opportunity to the young of West Philadelphia. Recently, over Kiwi yogurt, I had a chance to talk to Leah and her co executive director, Philene, about this program that has, in Leah's words, "saved her life at Penn." A few days later, after my own memoir class had ended for the year, I joined some of the students as they rehearsed for this weekend's show.
These are the photographs.
This is the story.
This is my privilege at Penn.
"CityStep Presents: Intramural" performs Sunday at 3 PM at the Iron Gate Theater, 3700 Chestnut Street. If you see Leah while you are there, give her a hug for me. Tell her how proud I am.