Author, dancer Maggie Kast featured at library

Maggie Kast

On Friday, May 14, the Rappahannock Association for Arts and the Community (RAAC) welcomes author Maggie Kast as the featured program for its “Friday at the Library” series. Kast’s sister is Rappahannock resident Sally Nash. Given that connection, the author is well known here in the county and was a featured artist at a previous “Soup and Soul” event.

Kast’s recently released memoir, “The Crack Between the Worlds: A Dancer’s Memoir of Loss, Faith and Family,” reveals that a parent can find life after the most devastating loss he or she can suffer.

Named one of its Top Ten of 2009 choices by Image Journal and called “a consolation and a resource for many” by Ron Hansen (author of “Mariette in Ecstasy”), Kast’s book tells of the accidental death of her three-year-old daughter.

At the peak of a career in modern dance, Kast is shattered by the death. Raised without religion and now mired in grief, she senses a persistent connection to the little girl, a love somehow more powerful than the brute fact of death. Struggling to continue her work and care for the rest of her children, she slowly discovers a world of spirit wider and deeper than the secular and artistic one in which she was raised.

After the accident, Kast’s marriage is greatly stressed by the entrance of religion into married life; a constant, if heated, dialogue keeps it intimate and vital. Kast goes on to tour and teach sacred dance nationally and internationally, exploring the arts as a spiritual path.

The book moves forward and looks backward at once, as Kast discovers early hints of spiritual experience in childhood celebrations, encounters with art, and marriage.

After her husband dies, leaving her as single parent of a 10-year-old and a developmentally disabled teenager as well as college-aged sons, she continues her search. “Spare, lucid and elegiac,” says Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image, of Kast’s prose.

RAAC invites the community to the Rappahannock County Library at 8 p.m. Friday, May 14, to meet the author and hear more about “The Crack Between the Worlds.”

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