Thoughts After My First Heels Class

So if you pay any attention to my Instagram (@dancetopiablog, follow me!), you know that Tuesday night, I finally endeavored to take my first heels class.

Here’s some video evidence:

And now for some main takeaways from my first time twirling in heels:

 

Muscle Memory is REAL And Getting the Steps Wasn’t that Hard

I have danced in heels a couple of time before. The first time was in character tap shoes for a 42nd Street production when I was 12 and 13 (they brought it back for the studio’s 10th anniversary). Another time was for a can-can piece (I even did fouettés in them), and once for a latin jazz piece. Even though I had experience, I didn’t think it would serve me in this class. I was wrong. The amount of times I kept reminding myself to keep my “weight over the big toe,” as my dance teacher would say, was enough to make your head spin.

On the whole, getting the steps in the class wasn’t difficult. I’m now at a place in my dance journey where I have enough experience and versatility to be able to manage in most classes and at least get the steps reasonably well. Everything I remembered from dancing and balancing in those heels came back full force, and it helped but…

Being fierce (and walking) is hard

I’d like to think that I’m the type of person who’s more than capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. But remembering the steps and remembering to be sexy and fierce at the same time was easier said than done. I also understand what people say when they say Beyoncé was a master at walking. Walking, is hard, being sexy without being too extra is hard, and I definitely have a lot of learning to do.

Confidence isn’t Innate

I tried not to feel ridiculous in that class. This was partly because I’ve always been of the mindset that dancing in heels is one of those things where if you feel like you look ridiculous doing it, chances are, you look ridiculous. But I’m not comfortable being sexy. I’ve arguably never been comfortable, and having to embrace sexiness and an attitude felt ridiculous coming from me. I either did too much (see above) or not enough, and my sweet spot of “fierce but subtle” was frustratingly elusive the entire hour and change that I was in class.

In general, I feel good about where I started. I didn’t do too much too soon (see the IG video above where  my work boots doubled as heels for class).  I actually felt comfortable enough to try a higher, slightly slimmer heel next time around and, most importantly, I didn’t fall.

 

None of this happened, thank goodness!

But feeling totally good about myself and taking myself seriously is another story. I’m not giving up on myself just yet,  I’ll be back in heels class next week. Right now it feels strange and a little awkward, but hopefully this will be another area of growth I’ll be able to celebrate a few months from now.

What I’ve Been Up to – Vol. 1: Teacher Teacher

One of the main things I’ve been doing dance-wise on my blogging sabbatical is teaching tap at a local dance studio. I got the job in September through what I can only call a series of fortunate events and am now in the middle of my second session teaching two adult intermediate and beginner tap classes.

This isn’t my first teaching gig, but it is my longest running one and it’s, frankly, the first one where I’ve really felt like I knew what I was doing. My first “teaching” jobs were as a camp counselor at my dance studio’s summer camp when I was 14 and 15 , teaching barre fit at a neighborhood studio and finally most recently teaching dance to K-2nd grade students at an elementary school last fall/winter. And they went, well there’s no sense in sugarcoating, pretty poorly—with the exception of the barre class…that one was okay.

^^^This it was not

It was more like this^^^

Yeah, I like to say that teaching kids just isn’t in my ministry. I have the patience of a gnat and too much energy is overwhelming for me (#introvertprobs).

So being able to work with people who are capable of higher order thinking and reasoning,  listening and following directions–and also don’t need to go to the bathroom every few minutes–has been a welcome change, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to make adjustments.

 

Relax and Take Notes….

The biggest thing I’ve learned from teaching adults is to always come prepared. I know lots of teachers come to classes not having thought about what they were going to teach and are fine but for me it just causes anxiety. This is mainly because classes with adults move much more slowly than kids’ classes. You’re not spending any time wrangling little people, so it’s easier to cycle through exercises and combinations quickly and run out of things to do earlier in the class.

Because of this I now have a notebook….

And in this notebook I write out everything I plan to do for class. More often than not, I don’t get to everything but I’d rather run out of time than run out of  things to do.

 

Repetition is Good. Repetition is Good.

This is something that’s been said a lot recently by a tap teacher I take class with and it’s SO TRUE! I’m still adjusting to the fact that I’m not dealing with people who get bored easily so it’s okay for me to keep exercises and repeat things (to a point). That said, I don’t want to teach the exact same class every week, so I do try to introduce at least one new element per class that we can build on for the next few weeks. Once I see everybody getting the hang of it, I can retire it and move on to something else.

So far, I’m having fun. I’m making extra money (always nice $$$$$$$$), my friends have come to take my class a few times, and I’m actually getting to know some of my students, one even invited me to have drinks on their birthday! I’m glad things fell into place so I could take this job and I can’t wait to see how my students grow and how they help me grow!

 

 

Revue: With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario by Eva Maze

Yes, I spelled revue like that on purpose, it’s a stylistic choice.

I recently had the pleasure of being asked to review Eva Maze’s memoir With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario. The book is written by Maze and starts with her early days in Bucharest, Romania, during which she survived a bout with scarlet fever, a disease that would end her classical dance training before it had a chance to begin.

Each chapter is named after a city or country Maze lived in. The memoir shows Maze’s college years, marriage to her husband of nearly 50 years Oscar Maze, and the eventual beginnings and success of her career as an impresario, during which time she produced shows for notable dance companies including Lar Lubovitch, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, José Limón Dance Company and Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. The memoir ends with Maze’s eventual retirement to Sarasota, Florida, where she currently resides.

If Forrest Gump were a dancer, this is how I imagine the movie would have played out (haven’t had the chance to read the book yet–it’s on my list). The book beautifully integrates dance and the arts as a whole with major world events. Photos and visuals appear on nearly every page showing Maze as a child, young woman and as she is today at 95 years old. Coupled with newspaper reviews of many of Maze’s shows and historical photographs,  the book is one part memoir, one part photo album and one part history archive.

Maze has a front row seat to WWII, the raising and tearing down of the Berlin wall and the tragic massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic games, among other landmarks in time. What’s interesting about With Ballet in My Soul, although it doesn’t become apparent until the very end of the book, is that because Maze spends the majority of her adult life living abroad, we aren’t given a glimpse into how dance intersects with major American events. The assassinations of  JFK, Dr. King and Robert Kennedy, the space race, and even the rise of computers and the internet are all omitted from the story save for a passing reference near the end. While it would have been interesting to see dance as a part of American history,  these elements aren’t missed.  Maze goes into amazingly descriptive detail to discuss her time in places like Berlin, Tokyo and Paris both as a producer of performances and as an observer of cultures.

While I generally enjoyed Maze’s discussion of the various environments she lived in throughout her life, there were times where I felt her assessment of other people’s cultures could veer into the territory of being a bit voyeuristic and problematic. An example of this is in the opening  lines of Maze’s chapter about India. Maze describes her life in Europe as “organized” and “middle class” but calls the Indian culture “chaotic, dirty, noisy, hot, poor and very exotic.” This othering happens in other areas as well including a section where Maze refers to a Kabuki dance theater in Tokyo as “exotic,” and it definitely took away from my enjoyment of Maze’s narrative.

It is no secret that it is a privilege to get to travel freely and experience other cultures. Maze does appear to become a student of the cultures she is able to live amongst and seems genuinely interested in learning the dance styles and history of places like New Delhi, Kathmandu and Tokyo. But her attempts, however subtle or unintentional, to differentiate her European upbringing from other non-western cultures, and even from being American (even though she lived and attended college in New York) are off-putting, and put a damper on my appreciation of what would have otherwise been an engrossing narrative.

Privilege aside, Maze does tell an engaging story that flows nicely from the beginning of her life as an aspiring ballerina to her present situation as a woman who has lived a full, rich life and can now enjoy the fruits of her labor. I often say that the key to success as a dancer and in life is to lean into the fact that your career won’t look like the career of the person next to you, the dancer your age, or anyone else. Eva Maze’s desire and willingness to have dance and the arts in her life in any way possible led her to have a brief professional dancing career and a longer and fulfilling career as an impresario. I’d say this could be a worthwhile read for dancers and dance lovers who want to learn about dance from someone who danced briefly, and also learn about what life can be like after dance.

You can purchase to book on Amazon.

[SPONSORED] My Date with the Stickeebra

This is a sponsored blog post, from time to time as opportunities arise I will do those. You, my lovely readers, are free to ignore these posts. NOTE: I will NEVER sponsor or post about something I haven’t tried first.

I recently tried a new bra called the Stickeebra and I wanted to share my experiences with it.

Stickeebra, as the name suggests, adheres to your breasts with a medical grade adhesive. There are no straps, no clasps, and no underwire. In short, it’s the perfect “barely-there” bra. But I wanted to see for myself so I took it for a spin.

I wore the Stickeebra all day at work and one of the first things I noticed was that the bra didn’t stick to me quite the way I expected it to. It didn’t bond to my breasts and stay there, but rather, it almost hovered over my breasts holding on only at the top. However, once it was there, it was THERE. I wore the bra during one of my busiest work days thus far (I had a conference to attend downtown) and it never once slipped off or got slick even as I took the bus and walked around downtown Chicago in 80 degree weather.

“But Jorie, this is a dance blog. What does this have to do with dance,” you ask exasperatedly.

Worry not, dear reader, worry not.

If you’re like me, you’ve had at least one unfortunate experience where you’ve danced/performed in the wrong bra (hello boobs). As dancers, our lines are everything and nothing, especially not bulky undergarments, should stand in the way of that. At the same time, going braless isn’t always the best (or most attractive–I’m looking at you unintentional sideboob) option. Plus, as a choreographer I once worked with pointed out, as women it isn’t really safe to be dancing and jumping with absolutely no support.

Enter, Stickeebra.

To really test the durability of the Stickeebra, I wore it during not one, but two different tap classes. It lasted through lots of sweating, rhythm turning, double pullbacks and wings and it’s probably a pretty safe bet if you’re wearing a form fitting costume that isn’t suitable for a regular bra but need some extra support. It did slip off a little during my second time wearing it at tap but I think that was mainly because my shirt was looser and again, it was on its second wear and I was sweating.

It’s definitely little more risky the looser your top is but if you’re performing and need a bra that doesn’t have straps, show lines or imprints, and doesn’t hurt (*cough* clear straps *cough*) it has a pretty good chance of lasting. If you are able to get out of your head enough to not worry about the seeming lack of support the bra gives, it’s worth a try. If you’re looking for a bit more coverage and support, Stickeebra recommends purchasing a bra that is one size up from your normal cup size. So stop fretting about free-flying tatas before your next show and get Stickee! If you purchase for the first time today you can get 10 percent off your first order!

This post was sponsored by Stickeebra, all views and opinions are my own.

An Ode to Dance Moms

For living in your cars amidst the smell of old dance shoes;

For living room rehearsal sessions, going over movement cues;

For tuition, for costumes, for fees you didn’t disclose;

For venting about the life of a dancer and all of its many woes;

You’ve been my cheering section, my toughest critic, too;

And I can never give you the repayment that you are more than due;

So on this sunny Sunday, the 14th day of May;

To dance moms near and far, we say thank you, and Happy Mothers Day!!

Happy Mothers Day to all of the Dance Moms who lived in the studio with their budding stars. Whether you get to see it or not, the investment means more than we can ever put into words!

More Women in Ballet Must Go From Pointe to Power

Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, Jerome Robbins. What do all of these names have in common? They’re all ballet choreographers, and they’re all white males.

It’s 2017, why is this still a thing? 

I recently wrote an article in The Clyde Fitch Report for The Marbury Project examining the logistical, artistic and personal reasons for the lack of female faces in the ballet world. Check it out here

Things I’ve Learned From Being in a Dance Company (Vol. 2) 6 Month Edition

Hello my wonderful Dancetopians!

First, I must apologize for my lengthy silence and spotty blog posting the last few weeks. I recently started a new job and rearranging my schedule while also learning how to, you know, job, has been a bit tricky. But I think I’m getting the hang of it and the best news is, this job allows me the flexibility to continue dancing with the company I’ve been apprenticing with since September. Yippee! It’s been six, nearly seven months now and the learning and growth haven’t stopped. I’m beyond excited to share with you what I’ve learned from being in a company half a season in.

Don’t make your first performance scarier than it needs to be

Going into our first performance of the season, I was a big ball of nerves. I was so terrified of doing poorly and squandering the beautiful opportunity I was given that I almost neglected to take a moment to appreciate where I was. I was dancing, on a stage with other professional dancers, in a show, and getting paid for the first time ever. How lucky was I? And best of all, the show went without a hitch, so all of my worrying did nothing but waste energy and make what should have been a fun and exhilarating experience kind of a drag when it shouldn’t have been. So I guess a sub-level to this overall theme is to be in the moment when you dance so that it’s just you, the stage and the steps and not a bunch of other crap.

Bad class days really suck

I currently have a blog post about a really rough class day I had sitting in my drafts queue somewhere and when I finally get around to making my thoughts sound coherent, I might post it. Again, I think this is mostly me being too in my head to understand what’s going on around me, but when I have a rough or less than stellar class day, it really really stinks. Like, to the point that it can ruin my whole day after. I put so much pressure on myself to never make mistakes and to always be on, so when I’m not, I feel as though I failed. But I guess there’s no better time than class to fail is there?

Take class at other studios!!

I’m constantly being told that the dance world is small, and I think that’s true. You could probably spend all day playing six-degrees of separation with the dance community of Chicago alone and find some way we are all interconnected. But at the same time, the dance world is huge and varied and one great way to learn that is by taking class at different studios. For the last seven months, I’d been training  at the studio I worked at because classes were free. But once I quit to start my new job and decided to go to other places because I’d have to pay no matter what, it suddenly felt like life had been breathed back into my dancing again. That’s not to say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy taking class at the studio where I worked (in fact I plan to go there for ballet tomorrow) but taking the same classes with the exact same people every week for months can be limiting and the only way to push yourself in different ways and wake yourself up every once in a while is to broaden your horizons and take class at other studios. I’ve tried classes at a few new places since starting my job and I’m having so much fun experiencing new teachers, new classmates and new energies!

Acknowledgement is nice, but shouldn’t be why you’re dancing

A ballet teacher once said during class that you have to find your endgame during class because it gives you focus. If you lose sight of why you’re dancing or begin to dance purely for approval, eventually dancing won’t be fun for you anymore. Approval, attention and affirmation–even when they are deserved–aren’t always readily available and can’t be your life force as a dancer. As I’ve said before, the only true way to be happy as a dancer is to know that you’re doing all you can to be the best dancer you can be and walk in that truth every day, for yourself and no one else.

Everyone’s Journey is Different

Your training isn’t going to look like the person’s next to you, your career pathway isn’t going to look like the person’s next to you, your a la seconde isn’t going to look like the person’s next to you. Comparing yourself to others will only cause you to not appreciate where you are as a dancer and is ultimately futile, because it is those differences that make the dance world so diverse and so beautiful. Embrace what you do because chances are, very few, or no one else can do it, too. It reminds me of one of my favorite Sex and the City quotes:

“That’s the key to having it all: Stop expecting it to look how you thought it was going to look.”

And lastly….

Maybe I deserve more than I let myself believe

Like I said, I never thought I’d be a professional. And I’d venture to say that even though I was in class and rehearsal religiously and trying so hard not to miss a beat, I’ve spent at  least half of my time thinking that maybe I really don’t deserve to be with this company, maybe I’m not good enough and the AD just hasn’t taken the time to really look at me. But again, knowing your truth is essential to beating these thoughts. I’m finally starting to come to terms with the idea that maybe I do belong here. Maybe I am enough, and maybe just maybe… dance is truly MEANT to be a permanent part of my life.

But these are just my thoughts. What has being a dancer, professional or otherwise, taught you?

Terpsichorean Heroes: FKA Twigs

I’ve been completely obsessed with FKA twigs’ Nike ad campaign since it came out in January (you can read a story I wrote about it for TheCelebrityCafe.com here).  It’s truly one of the most gorgeous commercials, concept videos, visual pieces of art I have seen in a long time and I was so excited that dance and dancers were being placed at the forefront of an advertisement for activewear since, well, we make use of activewear just as frequently as anyone. It also demonstrates the beauty and athleticism of dance and as someone who had to listen to many claims that dance WASN’T athletic, this was a breath of fresh air.

 

But beyond that, the ad also inspired me to learn more about FKA twigs (and in case you’re wondering why I’m not capitalizing twigs…she stylizes it that way). I, to be honest, didn’t know very much about her before the Nike campaign (although I’m pretty sure I danced to one of her songs for a concert in college). But what I’ve found out is that she is a pretty amazing singer and she incorporates dance into quite a bit of her performances. However, the difference between twigs’ dancing and the more choreographed dancing of other pop stars (a la Britney, Janet and Rihanna), is that FKA twigs’ dancing looks like it is more governed by not just classical and contemporary technique as opposed to jazz funk or hip-hop, it also possesses an abandon that most commercial, pop-music driven dance doesn’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I adore synchronicity and musically governed ensemble pieces, but seeing someone let go and dance freely while still in the context of performance, especially pop music performance was eye-opening.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04hwsd3/player

 

The video, “It’s Good to Love,” taken from twigs’ short film Soundtrack 7 shows an artist dancing to express what is inside them, as opposed to showing the audience what they want to see. It is about her, her power, her physicality, her emotion and I feel that if more of this were incorporated into popular music, the world of commercial dance would broaden in a beautiful and fascinating way. Pitchfork described this difference in twigs’ and even other artists like Lorde’s performances  in a far more eloquent way than I ever could.

 

[T]hey don’t do a big show of trying to beguile us, nor do they honor our gaze. How their movement is at once so unpredictable and confident shows how fully they claim themselves and their bodies. It works against the idea that young women are malleable and unrealized. They’re renouncing the paradigm of “performance” that has long been sold to female artists—as well as to their audiences. The powerful assertion of a stark female stage presence like theirs is that women can just be themselves on stage, and that is enough.

I posted the Nike video to my Instagram in honor of International Women’s Day and commented that the dancing in the video shows the sensual, collaborative power of women. Really, what I think I was getting at was that the Nike ad and FKA twigs’ movement demonstrates dancing as a woman, embodying the physicality, movement and emotive-ness of the feminine physique and mentality. Too meta…yeah, maybe.

So yeah, I started out talking about FKA twigs and Nike, and ended with a commentary on commercial dance, femininity and intent. Can you tell why she’s my hero? I feel that dance, above all should make viewers think and FKA twigs has certainly made me do that. I’m so excited to see more.

Terpsichorean Heroes: Aesha Ash and Akira Armstrong

 

Dance is a visual medium that is often dominated by one aesthetic: skinny, tall and often Caucasian. These two women have been selected as this week’s Terpsichorean heroes because they have used their unique platforms to encourage the world to think past these stereotypes and to inspire people of all races, ages and body types to dance and be proud of the way they look.

Akira Armstrong Doesn’t take “No” For an Answer

“I want to be the pioneer of plus-sized women…When they see us perform, I want them to feel inspired. I want them to be blown away. I want the little girl who’s watching to be like, ‘Look mom, I can do that too. Look at those big girls up there with afros on,'”-Akira Armstrong, The Scene

After being featured in Beyoncé Knowles’ music videos for her songs “Get Me Bodied” and “Greenlight,” Akira Armstrong found herself unable to find an L.A. agent to represent her because of her size. Having dealt with body shaming throughout her entire dance career, this wasn’t unfamiliar territory for the dancer who has also attended the Ailey School and danced with the Bernice Johnson Dance Company.  “I couldn’t fit [into] costumes, and my costume was always different from everyone else’s…Family members used to make fun of me…It was frustrating,” she said in an interview for The Scene.

 

Undeterred, Armstrong founded Pretty Big Movement, a plus-sized dance company that is based out of New York. The company’s style ranges from hip-hop, to jazz, to ethnic and they have already made quite a bit of noise. The company competed on season 10 of America’s Got Talent, have performed with Salt ‘N Pepa and also paid tribute to Black Lives Matter with their concept video “Personally.” The company also gives classes and workshops all around New York. After years of being told “no,” Armstrong hopes to use her company to affirm women. “It’s about uplifting and empowering women to feel like they can become and do anything, not just dance.”

 

Aesha Ash and the Power of Imagery

” I want to help change the demoralized, objectified and caricatured images of African-American women by showing the world that beauty is not reserved for any particular race or socio-economic background. I wish for this message to infuse the ballet world and project to the entire world.”-Aesha Ash, The Swan Dreams Project

In a recent profile for Dance Magazine, Aesha Ash, a former New York City Ballet Dancer, recounted how she used to be judged for her appearance as a young Black girl growing up in Rochester, NY. “They’d never know that I was dreaming of becoming a professional ballet dancer. No one would think, Some day she’s going to make it into New York City Ballet,” she says.

Now, the mother of two uses her career as a dancer to change the image of Black women and  motivate others with her campaign called The Swan Dreams Project. The Swan Dreams project seeks to debunk and counter the caricatures and stereotypes that often plague Black women by broadening the definition of beauty. It also seeks to increase awareness and support of the dance world. The original idea was for Ash to post images of herself in a tutu all over her hometown. However after realizing how expensive larger scale ads could be, Ash created an Etsy store and began selling her images there. Ash will also often give away images free of charge to schools and students. Ash also plans to start teaching free after school ballet classes at her daughter’s school in San Jose, Calif. “I want to show it’s okay to embrace our softer side, and let the world know we’re multidimensional.”

NEW! Terpsichorean Heroes

*TH posts will typically go up on Fridays, this one is coming late, again because cold. This means that there will be two TH posts this week!

And now without further ado, the inaugural edition of DanceTopia’s Terpsichorean Heroes will feature….

Mariah Carey’s back-up dancers. 

Throughout your life as a dancer,  you’ll learn to push through a lot of things that can go wrong during a performance, whether it is through direct experience or by watching others.  Personally, I’ve learned how to keep going when you make an onstage mistake, how to recover from a fall (helpful hint: it often feels worse than it looks), and how to salvage your performance when your music malfunctions or shuts off.  This New Year’s Eve I think we all learned something else–how to persevere when the star of the show has given up.

By now I’m sure everyone has had their fill of Mariah Carey news, but one of the best parts of her NYE performance was the part that got the least coverage. As you watch Mariah Carey meander around the stage and “lip sync” (I use that term VERY loosely),  you’ll also notice that her dancers never stopped giving their all even when it became obvious that Mimi wasn’t even going to try.

I guess the choreo’s not going to do itself, right?

At certain points the dancers even HELPED Mariah get to her marks on stage so that she could do the choreography. For all the things that went haywire during this show, the dancers weren’t it.

Idk about you Mariah but these guys had bills to pay.

Whoever trained these guys trained them well, and I’m sure when it was all said and done they felt that they’d more than earned their checks.  So while 2016 may have claimed one last victim in Mariah Carey’s career, it also gave us one last glimmer of hope in her dancers. These guys were six true models of professionalism and endurance, even as they danced behind someone who would be dragged in the news for weeks to come and became a part of meme/gif history.

 

Don’t believe me, just watch!

 

New Year’s Eve  Reflections and Resolutions 

New Year’s Eve is tomorrow and I’m currently on vacation so I probably will be too busy celebrating to make this post tomorrow.  I’m currently in a hotel with limited access to internet so I’ll be making this post from my phoneI’ll try to make as few spelling errors as possible but in the event that there are some, I apologize in advance.



In less than 48-hours we’ll be kissing 2016 goodbye and welcoming 2017 with open arms. If I had to sum up the year I’ve had as a dancer with one word it would be awareness. I was made aware of quite a few aspects of my life as a dancer, some good and some bad. I think the biggest thing I learned this year is that dancing is much more subjective and internal than I had ever thought. What I mean by that is that for so long I thought that objectively, I wasn’t good enough to have any professional success, I wasn’t always cast in shows and I had a couple of choreographers and teachers treat me (for one reason or another) as though I was the weak link when I was in pieces. But this year I signed an apprentice contract with a company and got to perform in a piece. This taught me primarily  that dance isn’t cut and dried and that what works for one person may not work for another person and vice versa. As an addendum to that, I’ve also learned that because no matter where you go you may or may not be accepted as a dancer and because you might be one choreographer/director’s cup of tea and not another’s,  your feelings of whether or not you are good enough need to come from you. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t still audition to see where you are or if you’re at a school/studio/conservatory take criticisms, notes and juries seriously. But in addition to applying those notes as necessary,  you truly have to own and walk in whatever place you are in your journey and know that you’re doing all that is in your power to be the best dancer you can. This includes taking classes, applying corrections, and taking care of your body. If I had to say anything, I’d say this year has tested and increased my maturity as a dancer.
But I’m still not perfect….
I still have some issues to work out regarding my approach to training,  and there are some areas I’d like to improve in both technically and professionally. So my goals(resolutions) for 2017 are…

  • Be on time to class consistently ( I was getting better at this near the end of this year so I’d like to keep the momentum going). Because…professionalism.
  • Start taking yoga. Shortly before I graduated from college, one of my teachers told me that yoga would help with my feet, my flexibility and inversions. I’d like to see if he’s right–plus it would be a nice way to decompress between classes and rehearsals.
  • Get back to taking tap and hip hop. Fun fact–for most of the first half of my dance career I only did tap and hip hop. Tap is still undeniably my strength but other commitments have gotten in the way of me taking it.  I  don’t want to lose my technique so this is definitely a priority. When it comes to hip hop, I always thought it was fun but lost my confidence when I didn’t get the affirmations I was looking for from my teachers. Since college, my hip hop training has been pretty spotty but I think it taps (haha) into a part of me that I don’t necessarily get to express in other genres so I want to try to get it back on my body.
  • Be more intentional. This is a goal for me in other areas not  limited to dance. But in terms of dance I want to be more intentional in my training and my movement. This means having a set class schedule and body care regime and being more precise in my execution of movements. Basically making sure that I am always “on” in my work as a dancer. This might actually be a subset of one of my larger goals for next year which is to be more organized.
  • Be more present and connect more with the people I dance with. This is hard because I never really had a group of “dance friends” and I learned to navigate the dance world largely on my own. But interacting and building connections with your fellow dancers has its benefits and it makes being in a company a thousand times more fun. It will take some time to knock down the walls I’ve built around myself, but there’s no time like the present to try!
  • Take better care of my body. Working three jobs and dancing for a company undeniably takes a huge amount of energy. I’m positive that I would have more energy if I ate a bit better, got more sleep and pampered myself a little more. I’m already planning a sugar cleanse and to start meatless mondays again. I’ll keep you posted on any more dietary changes I want to try. That plus more sleep, yoga and continuing my weekly salt baths should keep me in decent shape.

What are your dance resolutions?