- Claudia Rigsby
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Memories of Claudia Rigsby
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Claudia was born on December 01, 1974 and sadly passed away on September 19, 1997. Claudia is missed greatly by family and friends and will be remembered forever.
Claudia Kay Rigsby was born and raised in Moses Lake, WA. She graduated in 1993 from Moses Lake High School and during her senior year she was a contestant in the Miss Moses Lake pageant. Her love and passion for dance were evident in her lyrical ballet talent performance. Her personal experiences with the disease and treatment of anorexia became the foundation for her platform. She won Miss Congeniality and was thrilled and grateful for the award and her positive experiences with the Miss Moses Lake pageant and the committee. She used this experience to further pursue her goals to perform and teach. In 1994 she performed during the Miss Moses Lake pageant as part of the entertainment. She taught dance at the Hirz Dance Studio in Moses Lake and later in Spokane at Ballet Arts Academy. She was just beginning to fulfill many of her dreams when she was diagnosed in 1996 with Hodgkin’s-lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. She fought a valiant battle for sixteen months but it finally claimed her young life September 19, 1997 just a few months before her 23rd birthday. She is deeply missed by those who knew and loved her. She continues to help young dancers pursue further training with ballet scholarship awards, through the Claudia Kay Rigsby Memorial Foundation, a part of the Columbia Basin Foundation
Claudia believed very strongly that in order for her life to have meaning, she had to be willing to take risks. She found this poem, and shared it with us before her death:
“To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd,
is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risk must be taken,
because the greatest hazard in life is to
risk nothing, do nothing, have nothing, be nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves,
they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.” —Author Unknown
Richard Lancaster, a Korean war veteran and published author, who was in the University of Washington hospital at the same time as Claudia, wrote and dedicated this poem to Claudia:
A Dancer’s Denouement
There must be denouement in each ballet -
Before the grand finale and the cheers
When all the dancers bow, then back away,
Allowing curtain fall to mask the tears.
Yes, tears ,as well as curtains, would descend,
Were this the grand finale of my show;
But this is denouement - no, not the end! -
And I have wondrous dances yet to do.
Then do not grieve, nor need your tears assuage
Life’s choreography (for me so brief);
For I have passed to the eternal stage,
And leap my grand-jetes with magic feet.
And Oh! My dancing shoes are laced with light,
And every foot lamp is a perfect star…
(And if you can’t be there for opening night,
Your place will be reserved for when you are.)
And when you’re here to take your place again -
When once again your smile and mine have met -
Then I shall make for you, my faithful friend,
A graceful renverse and pirouette.
Then, near the ending, you will see me pause
And send a kiss - just as I used to do…
And when I’ve bowed unto your sweet applause,
I’ll deeper bow my deepest love of you.
Composed by Richard Lancaster
©2008 Larry and Katie Rigsby
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