Dance Break!

So, a few weeks into this blog, it's definitely time to talk about what I do with my days besides sit at my computer and write. Here's a hint: Photo by Julie Lemberger

I've been a dancer since I was three. I put it that way (rather than just saying "I started dancing at three") because I knew almost immediately that dance was going to be a big part of my life. I was hooked pretty much from the first lace-up of tap shoes, the first sequin-covered tutu, the first squint out into a full house through stage lights. I studied it all growing up: ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. (Okay, not quite "it all." No hip hop or ballroom. Only so many hours in a busy kid's week.) I was in a regional ballet company in high school. In college, I shifted my focus to modern/contemporary dance, and I haven't looked back since.

When I first moved to New York, grown-up rent-paying desk job acquired, I thought dance would probably be downgraded to a hobby. I wouldn't give up taking classes, but I wasn't going to make a career out of it either. What I didn't realize is that in NYC, there are SO MANY opportunities to perform, if you're willing to look for them and put in some time networking. I've been lucky to perform with friends from college who now choreograph, with teachers whose dance classes I take on a weekly basis, and with dancers I've met through various shows. It's all on a pickup, project-by-project basis—I don't dance full time with one company or choreographer—but that's actually how I like it. It gives me stretches of time where I'm rehearsing and really focused on dance, and then stretches of time where I can focus on writing.

Photo by Diane Tomasi

Of course, I don't just jump onstage after not dancing for months. I take three or four dance classes a week, as well as a yoga class or two. I have teachers whose classes I love because they're so comfortable they're like home, and teachers whose classes I enjoy because the movement style challenges me to get outside of that comfort zone. I tend to dance in the afternoons, and it's become the perfect way for me to break up all the sitting and writing. I'm able to find new energy while also giving my writing brain a break. There are never enough hours in the week to dance as much as I'd like to, write as much as I want to, earn money, and spend time with the people I want to spend time with, but I do my best.

Here's one more photo, from a performance I did this past October. The piece was choreographed by my friend Stéphanie Landouer, and it was lovely to dance—and the opportunity came along exactly when I needed my stage fix, after a few months off.

Photo by Susan Quinn

I don't have any shows slated for 2013 yet...but as with everything else this year, my plan is to work hard, be patient, and see what opportunities arise! (Sound familiar?) In the meantime, I'll still be dancing.