'Share Your Story' Campaign & My 12 Favorite Experiences of 2015

I can't believe that we are halfway through the holiday season. Thanksgiving has feasted, Chanukkah has lit, and it is 70 degrees outside. Well, since things are really starting to warm up, it is time that I announce Core-ography's SHARE YOUR STORY interactive fundraising campaign.

Starting today and continuing through January 15th, Core-ography wants to hear your story! To take part in this campaign, we are asking our audience to make an array of donations to share a short, personal memoir. Watch the video above or read below to see how you can become a part of Core-ography! Donations can be made by clicking here and are tax-deductible. After you make a donation ;-) read below to see my favorite 12 experiences of 2015 in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.


Donation Options

$25 Donation - Offer your "One Sentence Memoir" to be shared on "Life of a Freelance Dancer" blog
$50 Donation - Offer your "One Sentence Memoir" to be shared on Core-ography Channel Youtube video (plus lower donation level perks)
$100 Donation - Offer your "One Sentence Memoir" for 10 second video of choreography expressing your story (plus lower donation level perks)
$500 Donation - Offer your "Five Sentence Memoir" for 30 second video of choreography expressing your story (plus donation perks at $25 & $50 level)
$2000 Donation - "Core-Donor" level includes Signed Pointe Shoe from Core-Artist, Skype session with Choreographer and Core-Artist, and all of the perks at $25, $50, and $500 donation levels.


My 12 Favorite Experiences of 2015

One of my shots of the Liberty Bell
1. While not necessarily exciting, one of my most important experiences of 2015 was to stay home for 5 months. Okay, maybe I visited New York City a few times. But it is so close to Philly and I have so many friends in the city, that it really never feels like traveling. I seriously needed some downtime to rest, recenter, and reinvent. My years of freelancing burnt me out, left me exhausted, and gave no central place to ground myself and call home. I learned a lot about myself during these few months at home and regained a healthy outlook on moving forward in my career and life.

2. Many of my New York City visits had me traveling to guest teach at Peridance Capezio Center. Ever since I first visited the center of the dance world at the age of 15, I dreamt of instructing at one of the city's great institutions. It was not only a huge accomplishment, but a great honor!

My kids at Youth America Grand Prix
3. Building and protecting a ballet career is often a selfish act. This past January, I brought 4 students from Alaska to compete at Youth America Grand Prix as their teacher, choreographer, and coach. While we went into the competition with no expectations, 3 of my students placed in the top 12 of their divisions and I was awarded the Outstanding Choreographer award (by Wendy Perron, no less). For the first time since I was two, I wasn't working towards improving my performance career. Yet, it was equally, if not more gratifying to be a support system to help the future of dance succeed.

4. Speaking of Alaska, I developed my own summer intensive in Anchorage this past June. Isn't that insane? I developed my own summer intensive. In Alaska! One doesn't enter a dance career thinking they would say such words. But, it's true! And it was glorious. Beyond the endless light, non-stop dance, and glorious natural beauty, I finally got to enjoy Alaska on my own terms. Glacier tours, Bear tours, visiting Homer, and more. This was definitely a trip that goes down in both the career and personal history books.

The birthday boy at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
5. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Danya and my trip to Miami definitely sits atop this list of experiences. While we have both tagged vacations on to our travels for work, we have not taken a legitimate vacation for the sake of vacationing since moving to Philadelphia in 2011. Well, celebrating Danya's progression into his 40's was more than enough reason to make this happen. During our time in Miami, we enjoyed South Beach's beach culture, traditional Cuban food in Little havana, and the palatial Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. But walking through the slowly gentrifying Wynwood Arts District's somewhat seedy streets to view hundreds of murals by street artists proved to be our most worthwhile adventure.

6. I know many balletomanes won't understand this one. But the fact that I am only performing in one weekend (three shows) of Nutcracker is definitely a highlight of my year. Having at least 300 performances of this holiday classic under my belt, I feel no sadness for the loss. In fact, I turned down a handful of offers. I am still determining where my career is going and letting my body/mind continue to heal from my severe case of burn out.

7. Getting to show my work onstage at the McCallum Theatre's 18th Annual Choreography Festival was definitely a highlight of my year. For years, I have watched colleagues and choreographers I admire win selection into this prestigious choreography competition. I applied for the first time this year thinking that I wouldn't get it. To my surprise, I was selected as 1 of 10 out of 115 applications. My work was performed beside the likes of many choreographers that I share great respect for. While I didn't win one of the 3 prizes given, as somebody who has only recently started to focus on my choreography, I was more than elated to add this to my resume and life experiences.

8. While I have been patiently sending out choreography packages and hoping to gain commissions that allow me to continue creating dance on a large scale, I decided to start my own project (that you've been reading about in this blog). Little could I have imagined that Core-ography would take off as it has. With over 3,000 views, nearly 100 subscribers, and notice from Pointe Magazine and Dance Spirit, I couldn't be more proud of our 3 Core-artists for achieving what we have. I can't wait to see where the new year brings things!

9. This may sound sappy, but it has been really nice to see my cats on a regular basis. It really caught me off guard last year when I didn't see their meowing little faces for nearly 8 months. By the time I settled into my directorship in Alaska last fall, I found myself depressed. At a certain point, I was trying to teach them how to look at a computer screen to Skype with me. This was never very effective.

10. As you all know, I love to travel. Beyond this, I love to add new places to my life experience. While I did spend a nice chunk of time home this year, I also worked in or visited New York City, Anchorage, Homer, Chestertown, Little Rock, Richmond, Los Angeles, Palm Desert, and Miami. I will be spending the holidays back in Alaska for a winter intensive I developed and to create choreography for a handful of students to compete with at Youth America Grand Prix. While most of our time will be spent in Anchorage, Danya, a friend, and I will celebrate the new year in Fairbanks seeking the Aurora Borealis.

Danya working w/interior designer Taniya Nayak on an HGTV pilot
11. It has been greatly satisfying to watch my Danya's business explode over this past year. Months after moving to Philadelphia, he took a risky chance and started his own professional organizing business, Spaces Transformed. Over the years, I have nervously watched his business grow steadily from infant to maturing young adult. This year that all changed as his business grew into a full-fledged, mature adult. I have been very proud of all of his hard work and determination. To experience the realization of his vision has been so satisfying to watch!

12. While focusing on my performance career and freelancing around the nation, I missed out on a handful of common life experiences. Spending time at home has given me a chance to plug back into normalcy (at times) and to remember what it is that connects people to one another. This year I celebrated my second Thanksgiving with my family since I was 18 years old. I watched my close friend (and former School of American Ballet roommate) marry his husband. I lit fireworks with friends and family on the Fourth of July, was with my love for both his and my birthdays, and much more. While the life of a freelance dancer can be filled with excitement and sensational experiences, feeling like a normal person is necessary to keep one centered in their life and art.

4th of July with my family


  1. merry christmas and a happy new year Barry

  2. Why thank you Ranjana! The same to you!