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!

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