At the end of December 2017, just one day before the year came to a close, I sat across the breakfast table from a friend and colleague at a cafe near Greenlake in Seattle. As we caught up on life events from the past year, the one thing that continued to come up in conversation was our frustrations about the theater and dance industry.
She sighed as she picked at her scrambled eggs and I looked at her through the rising steam of my coffee.
"I'm tired." She said.
"I know. So am I."
It turned out that we had a lot of the same (probably unpopular) opinions...and, coincidentally, so did the theater producer from L.A. who happened to be sitting at the next table.
It wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. In fact, I'd been collecting these ideas for a couple of years and researching and writing about them for most the summer. For the first time in my life, I spent more time writing than dancing.
In the seven years that I’ve been choreographing, I’ve seen countless friends, colleagues, and crazy talented artists drop like flies because of injuries, lack of funding, or simply not being prepared for how hard it really is.
I don’t believe that ANY of those things should be an obstacle to a fulfilling and sustainable career in the performing arts. But overcoming them means making a change in the way we do things. I’m not convinced that “this is the way we’ve always done it” is an acceptable reason to continue beating our heads against a wall. (No, really- I saw a guy beat his head against a wall in a performance once and called it “progressive.”)
Dance and choreography is not for the faint of heart. It’s not a career you choose- it chooses you. It’s hard work and no, you won’t always love it. But I’m on a personal mission to make it sustainable- and if you’re still reading this, you probably want that, too. I created The Mighty Dancer, not because I have all the answers, but because I want to find them and share what I learn along the way.