Today we have part one of two from Contributor Lucy Vurusic Riner–tune in on Wednesday to read the rest–
I didn’t really begin my dance training until high school. My mom signed me up for ballet and tap as a little girl and I hated it. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I decided I wanted to take another stab at it.
I had my share of disappointments but I worked twice as hard to make up for lost time in training. And although I have come across my fair share of nay-sayers, the people that had the biggest influences on my life were my dance teachers. I had some bad ones, we all do, but the ones that I attribute to getting me to where I am today always had my best interests at heart. Those teachers never told me I had the wrong body, never told me I started too late in life, and never made me feel like I didn’t have choices.
The good teachers recognized my strengths and gave me options on where those strengths might lead me. The good teachers never tell you that you won’t make it. Simply put, they can’t know that.
Over the last 20 odd years I have found myself in every position a dancer might have to take on to make ends meet. I started humbly, by moving to New York over a summer and trying to find “gigs.” These were most notably at conventions, conferences, even a bar mitzah. When New York quickly lost it’s luster (for me) I came back to Chicago, finished school by getting a teaching certificate and began teaching high school dance.
I danced with several companies, produced my own shows, and soon learned that in most small to mid-level companies I would serve dual roles as a dancer and (in my case) benefit coordinator, board member, dancer liaison, etc. Last year I decided to start my dance company so that I could focus on choreography and arts administration a bit more. I’m sharing this information because through all of these experiences I have met dancers from every walk of life who share their “training experiences” with me. The stories that always get to me are of the teacher that might have told them to throw in the towel; or that thought that by knocking them down, they would stand up stronger. And it is because of those experiences that I compiled a new list (my last one went over pretty well) on “Giving Back to Your Students”… [Read more…]