|My view on the way home from Homer, AK|
As many of you probably remember, back in 2012, one of my very first posts was about freelancing with Alaska Dance Theatre. Dancing with this newly formed company was my first foray into traveling as a freelancer. I had danced in one or two gigs prior to this, but they were always in familiar places that were close to home. This was the first time that I had been offered work in a place that was foreign to me and, to be honest, I was scared shitless. It was the first time that I would reside in a smaller city. It was also winter; which meant it was going to be cold, snowy, and dark. Lastly, everybody talked about it being an extremely conservative state where Sarah Palin reigned supreme. I was pretty sure that I was going to be gay bashed or lynched by some pioneer with a huge beard and a passion for hunting.
A few weeks before I flew to Alaska for the first time, I had a nightmare where I was driving to the rehearsal studios on a snow machine. In my dream they were located up a tall, steep, and snowy mountain. In blizzard-like conditions, we got about halfway up the mountain when it became too steep to continue on the snow machine. We had to get up and ascend the mountain by foot. Before I ever found out if we successfully reached the studios or succumbed to the frightening weather, I awoke from my dream. I was clearly dealing with some internal stress about spending five weeks in the "Last Frontier."
|I dreamt the Alaska Dance Theatre studios would be here (they're not)|
While my first experience in Alaska was quite a nice surprise, my second time around was a bit different. Most of the positive light from my previous time in the state was still there, but the organization was displaying symptoms of financial instability, cultural challenges, and green leadership. By the time the three months were complete, I was ready to get back to Philadelphia. Nonetheless, I still left with a strong affinity for a place that probably would've never been on my radar had I not been working there as an independent contractor.
This past July, I received the call from Anchorage during an ideal moment in my life for this job opportunity to become a possibility. I was recovering from an injury and was working in a role that required more leadership as a choreographer for NCI. If a perfect storm of events hadn't aligned, I would've likely moved back to Philadelphia and continued working in the same capacity as I have been for the past few years.
While I knew the organization was trying to find its path when I left, I wasn't quite sure where the organization was today. In negotiations for my contract, it was mentioned that I could take the role as Interim Artistic Director to see if I would be a good fit for the organization. While I was hired as an employee, this setup mimicked the same work agreement of an independent contractor. Instead of being locked into a situation for an extended period of time, I was given a trial period to see if the organization was a good fit for me and me a good fit for them.
|Me with the pre-professional company of Alaska Dance Theatre|
While my current experience isn't technically that of a freelancing independent contractor, it is functioning in the same capacity. Most of my freelancing work has given me the opportunity to work with companies that could eventually become my full-time job and home. I have had a handful of enticing offers that just didn't work out logistically, financially, and living between two cities with my partner. But while working with companies as a freelancer, I have always had this thought in the back of my mind that each and every experience could be the one that pulls me out of this nomadic lifestyle.
|Looking forward to what's next!|