IndepenDANCE.

3 Dec

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived two totally separate lives. I am sure a lot of people feel that way who venture out of their home towns and settle in elsewhere.

I still have a core group of friends whom I have known since grade school and actually was introduced to my California born and raised husband by one of them but that is a story for another day.

My point is what many who know me now, don’t know, is I was a dancer my entire life. I started ballet when I was 4, dabbled in gymnastics and ended up at a studio at the age of 9 and stayed dancing there till I was 18. We did everything. Ballet was the foundation (as it should be) but we learned Tap, Contemporary, Modern, Broadway, Hip-Hop & Jazz. In retrospect, we were quite progressive.

(Source: Tamsin Flickr & RisaCandy.tumblr.com)

When I was 11, I made the company and traveled around the country performing and competing in various cities. We stayed in hotels and I lived with the same three girls in my room each trip for 6 years. Our company as a whole was extremely close. We were innocent, spastic, creative, supportive and built such a deep bond that it is actually hard to articulate with words. We don’t see each other as much obviously but when or if we do meet up, it is as if no time has passed.

I am so grateful to my parents who supported my passion both monetarily and emotionally. They never once were put out by the costumes, shoes, lessons, airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc etc.

I would even argue their support of my independence through dance allowed me to garner the tools necessary to branch out for college and life after graduation. It helped solidify my sense of dreaming and living big.Our company, for being from a small town in Wisconsin, was and is for that matter, kind of a big deal. Our teacher was asked to tour as a choreographer on the same circuit as Stephen Boyd, Densil Adams, Frank Hatchett and Mia Michaels who we were privileged enough to take classes from.

Some unbelievable dancers came from AOD and I am proud to say some have even gone on to open their own dance companies. Namely All About Dance in Chicago, Virtuoso Performing Arts in Glenview, IL & Bound Contemporary Dance in San Diego. One alumni is a member of the Sonya Tayeh Dance Company, has danced with Wade Robson, in Cirque du Soleil BELIEVE and is currently dancing in New York at Radio City Music Hall.

(Martha Graham dancing Satyric Festival Song in 1935. Photo by Barbara Morgan, American, 1900-1992)

When I hear certain music or watch choreography it brings me right back to all those moments spent in the dance studio. Once a dancer, always a dancer. I suppose that is true for any artisan or athlete.

If anyone with young children is looking for an outlet, enroll them in dance class. It was the best thing my parents ever did for me.

Luella says…Make it a Movie Night.

All of this was inspired by the new movie BLACK SWAN that is coming out today starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to see it.

IMDB says, “Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

(CLICK TO WATCH THE TRAILER)

If you go and see it you MUST let me know what you think.

What hobbies were you passionate about growing up?

What did you fill your spare time doing?

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3 Responses to “IndepenDANCE.”

  1. mandi easterling kirby December 3, 2010 at 7:18 PM #

    Love you Laura. Completely agree with you. Happy that we have all of the beautiful priceless memories to enjoy reflecting on. Great blog by an even better person. Proud of you old dear friend. Love you mands

    • Luella says December 6, 2010 at 10:49 AM #

      Love you too Mands. Can’t believe how fast time flies. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday. Hugs to you and all three of your boys. XO

  2. Jessica October 18, 2011 at 11:34 AM #

    Laura, I can’t believe I’m just reading this now. Your writing is amazing and I am so proud of why you’ve done. Love you and miss your spirit every day.

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