A lovely lady who loved the dance died yesterday. Jacqueline Zinn became associated in my mind with the American Dance Festival years before I ever made her acquaintance–and that’s all we were, acquaintances. When I began attending the ADF regularly in 1983, I noticed a particularly handsome couple always in attendance. Some years later, I met Doug Zinn through his foundation work, and he introduced me to Jackie. Over the years we had many brief conversations fueled by the electricity of the dances, but the image I hold of her is that of her face before a performance, open and lit with eager anticipation.
Over the years while she worked as research scientist and administrator, and became the mother of four, she appeared in the audience at ADF regularly, and frequently at Duke Performances and Carolina Performing Arts. In an inexplicable way, she became a kind of talisman for me. At the 2012 ADF Gala, we sat together and enjoyed a long desultory conversation as the crowd flowed by and her menfolk came and went. I complimented her on her chic pink cloche, noting how beautifully it suited her face; she said, thanks, her hair was growing in, but it wasn’t that far along yet. Suddenly it dawned on me that her husband and sons were not just sporting their sartorial splendor, but were in pink for a reason.
I looked for her at every performance of the CPA Rite of Spring at 100 season, but saw her once only. She was obviously frail. But she was sitting down front, her face just the same: What will happen? It will probably be marvelous.
Jacqueline Zinn was an ADF student the first year the Festival came to Durham, 1978, and an ardent supporter of the ADF ever since. I want to light a candle to her memory–in the form of a check to the ADF. But first, I need to see what ADF is bringing us tonight. It will probably be marvelous.