I spent the past five months or so rehearsing for a set of dance performances that happened this past weekend, so this week I’m dealing with a vague sense of post-performance letdown. Don’t get me wrong: the shows were GREAT. I had a blast dancing with this cast, and we rocked out onstage. The audience loved it. I couldn’t have asked for things to go better. But still, it’s hard to transition from rehearsing several times a week, every week, to…not.
It’s one of the hazards of dancing project by project, rather than working full-time with a specific company: you often finish a show with no idea when your next performance will happen. Or even if there will be a next performance. My friend and choreographer Becky Radway (learn more about her work HERE!) has applied to be part of a dance festival in summer 2014, but we won’t know for a few months whether she got in. We’ll probably also have a one-night-only short performance in April. But until then, it’s back to class.
And that’s where the other bit of dance-related upheaval that happened in October comes in: Dance New Amsterdam, which was my dance home in NYC for the past eight or so years, had to close its doors for good on October 13. It was the end of a long, drawn-out battle with the landlord over back rent and other issues, and frankly, it was probably time to let go and move on. But most of the final classes—and many of the celebrations honoring DNA and its teachers—happened when I wasn’t able to be there (due to rehearsals for this past weekend’s show, as well as being out of town and otherwise unavailable) and so I didn’t get to say the goodbye I would’ve wanted.
Luckily, my teachers have transitioned pretty seamlessly into teaching at other NYC studios, and so their classes live on. Now that I’m done rehearsing and my schedule has opened back up, I’ll be able to figure out how to shape each week around my favorite dance classes in their new homes at their new times, just like I used to shape my week around the classes I took regularly at DNA. I’ve already started going to one class in its new location—Laurie De Vito at Mark Morris Dance Center—and it’s been fun to see the mix of longtime attendees and new faces, and to feel the energy that comes from being in a different space.
2013 has been full of changes, not the least of which being my book deal and the beginning of what I hope will be a career as an author. I’ve been busier than ever juggling freelance work, book revisions, dance classes and rehearsals, and other commitments. But one thing won’t ever change: I always want those dance classes (and rehearsals!) to be there. Dance isn’t just the activity that gives me a break from sitting in front of my computer all day. It’s not just about exercise. It’s also the other way I express myself, aside from words. It’s emotional release. It’s an intellectual challenge as well as a physical challenge. It’s been a part of my life since I was three, and I want it to continue to be a part of my life as long as possible. So whether that’s onstage or not, at the studio I loved and am still sad to have lost or somewhere new and exciting and fresh, I’ll be there.
And now… I’m off to dance class!