Category Archives: Travel

Going the Distance

How far would I go to find a dance partner? Pretty far – geographically that is. Would I travel across the globe for the chance to find a great partner? At this point in my career, absolutely. What have I got to lose? Nothing – I have a partner to gain. Putting myself out there internationally to find a partner opens a new level of opportunities. These opportunities are not only for partnering, but company & commercial work. I’m excited!

Being known in a community for a while can open doors for work, but it can close doors as well.  There may be preconceived ideas about me. I may be pigeon-holed into a category. I may be threatening to others in the community. I am not as classifiable as people would like which can work to my advantage as it can be intriguing, but it can be threatening as well because of that lack of definition.  People like to be able to categorize because it allows them to relate a person to a concept they already understand.  This has been an issue throughout my life. I crossed the boundaries of academics, arts, and athletics as a kid and haven’t stopped. This is just who I am and I have to be me.  I have to be okay with people not being okay with me.

Being a cross-over makes me a desirable and hirable performer.  I bring depth to works that choreographers can use.  It also allows me to be a chameleon as well and get work that maybe I am less qualified for than others because my performance charisma can win over producers.  As a soloist or partner dancer, this brings a unique dimension that is marketable and relatable.  I can play the everyday person, the vamp, the emotional, or anything I am asked to. This is something life and dance experience brings.  I didn’t know this in my earlier career days.

In auditions with partners, my depth comes in handy.  I can portray lust, sensuality, and betrayal. I can take on what the music says. I can be whatever a partner needs.  This isn’t to say I am about to lay down and be a doormat. I respect myself far to much for that anymore. It seemed like a good idea in my younger days, but I know that if I am going to work with someone, it has to truly be a partnership. I don’t want to be dictated to, nor do I want to be a dictator. Partnerships are harder than company and commercial work because I have to be able to work day in and day out with one person.  I have to be able to learn with one person in various situations and feel comfortable enough to do so – I also have to make it comfortable enough for him to be vulnerable to learn.

Professional partnerships can take more work than romantic relationships. I say this because we have to work, learn, perform, and sometimes teach together while still maintaining professionalism between ourselves.  Also, we have to get to know each other, become friends, but maintain boundaries if we are not romantically interacting so we can find romantic partners who can trust our relationship.  Add traveling for training, performing, or teaching to that mix, and it adds another dimension of complication. Finding the right partner that this professionalism can be maintained is difficult. After intimate performances when both partners are on their game can present temptation for blurring lines because of the connection between us. That’s where setting boundaries before that happens comes imperative. Wish me luck!

Beluga Whale in a Tea Cup

Breaking out of a plateau is an ongoing challenge for dancers, especially those who are established. It can be more so when you live and work in a community where you are already known and respected. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, why would I learn that?  This is a self-limiting hurdle many have to get over on an ongoing basis.  It’s not so much about ego and thinking highly of one’s self.  It’s more about the energy required to push out of the soft and cozy comfort zone.

The best way for me to eliminate that seemingly elitist attitude is to remove myself from my community and be plunked in a different one with a  grander population of people in my field.  I remember the first time I travelled for dance training outside of my city.  I was so intimidated, thinking that I would be a minnow in an ocean of talent. However, once I took my self-limiting thinking away, I noticed that the talent in each class fit that bell-shaped curve of talent I had noticed in my home town.  15% are outstanding, 15% are not, 70% are average.  Because of the larger populous, there were more people in the outstanding category and thus were providing me with inspiration to better myself.

Traveling for dance is transformative and is one luxury of being part of a company or freelance dancer as you can be paid to travel to work on international projects or be able to stop off somewhere while on tour.  Travel in combination with dance opens up so many doors forcing growth to the open-hearted person.  One thing I love about dance is that it transcends cultural & verbal barriers. The exchange of information between bodies while dancing goes beyond the exchange of information through words.  The benefits last a life time in your dancing and personal life because the adventures bend your reality.

Over the years, my experiences on and off the stage have shaped me. Yes, there have been classes, teachers, and colleagues who have contributed hugely to my style, technique, and ability and I am so grateful for their contributions to my life. I believe that much of my depth as a performer comes from traveling to experience different cultures and the misadventures that came with those travels.  It allows for me to see new methods of expression through cultural mannerisms, folkloric dances, and even religious rituals that have been maintained through thousands of years.  Also, seeing the roots of where my dancing came from, gets me back to the basics, allowing me to rebuild my style with an enriched history.