Like many of us, choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett cannot forget the blur of thought and emotion that swirled through her on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I was in a Manhattan rehearsal studio on East 36th Street, preparing for 'The Tin Pan Alley Rag,' " she recalls. "We were cursing our cell phones because they weren't working and we didn't know why. Then someone dragged in a television set and we saw the second plane hit. And the world as we knew it changed.
"Being naive, a group of us began walking toward the Towers, thinking we could help — that's what everyone wanted to do. By the time we got to Macy's we saw people just streaming toward us. The person I was next to turned to me and said, 'I don't think they need people like us.' It was just beyond belief."
Taylor-Corbett then translated the day that moved the country into movement. "Lost and Found" will be presented in Cleveland and Akron by Ohio Ballet Feb. 18, 19, 25 and 26.
Of all the images that dominated that day and the months that followed, Taylor-Corbett was most affected by the crowds of people swarming the streets of New York, posting photos and searching in vain for loved ones.
"You'd just stand there and stare at these pictures and say, 'I'm going to remember this face in case by any chance I see this person or hear about this person.' There would be little groups of people congregating all over the city, and you'd go over and stand with them for a while before moving on to another group."
That image of searching, and the individual passions behind it, served as Taylor-Corbett's impetus for "Lost and Found." The work begins and ends with a group of dancers standing together. Throughout the ballet, each member of the troupe acts out a range of feelings linked to 9/11: two dancers quietly cling to each other in grief, another is desperately inconsolable, one tries to boost morale by attempting to banish doom and gloom.
"The work is really about response more than anything else, and not just the reaction to 9/11," says Taylor-Corbett, whose footwork can be seen in the movies "Footloose" and "My Blue Heaven," as well as in the Broadway productions of "Chess" and "Titanic." "It's about healing and picking up the pieces. I'm a sucker for hope."
"Lost and Found," along with the romantic "Rapturous Hearts" and "Raymonda Variations," will be performed on Feb. 18 and 19 at the Ohio Theatre in Cleveland's Playhouse Square Center and Feb. 25 and 26 at the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron. For tickets, call (216) 241-6000 (Cleveland) or (330) 945-9400 (Akron).