A month ago, a close friend since my time at the School of American Ballet suggested the idea that I begin to slow down my work here on Life of a Freelance Dancer. When the words left his lips, I nodded my head as I listened. But I was hardly in agreement as my nod may have suggested. My initial reaction was to internally scoff at the idea. But the seed had been planted and the timing ironic. Something is wrong with my blog and it all started about a year ago. Online bots and crawlers flooded my pages with thousands of views a day, essentially erasing all data I was using to judge what content was relevant and wanted versus personal and unhelpful. When this happened, I used a certain line of code in an attempt to interrupt these false views. It took nearly four months for my data to normalize. But in the process, I forgot that I had input that code. Then, a glaring and shocking reminder struck me about a month ago. Google stopped referring all traffic to Life of a Freelance Dancer (which is the job of a few of the crawlers that weren't spamming me), bringing viewership down to numbers I haven't seen since the first months of posting on here. Timing is everything, and with my friend's suggestion, an overwhelming summer schedule, and my first bout of crippling writer's block setting in, I began to struggle with my purpose in continuing to write beyond my vast plethora of 190 posts.
Fast forward to this week. As I have mentioned on here before, I try to see a counselor (as I think everybody, especially in this crazy dance world, should) a few times a month to help me assess, manage, and live my best life. This week's solo session seemed pretty run of the mill. I had rehearsal for my new work with CelloPointe at New York Theatre Ballet until 2 pm, dashed to the Bolt Bus, and made it home just in time to stop by the gym before my appointment. I know this sounds abnormal, but abnormal has become my new normal. I walked into my appointment prepared to discuss a few things. One being a lack of motivation, which strongly included writing content on here. We had discussed slowing down my posting here the week prior and I was struggling with the idea. As we explored my reluctance to essentially "put the pen down" for the summer, I was caught extremely off-guard when I found myself in tears.
I have been through a lot since the inception of this blog. I began writing it depressed, scared, and injured at my first gig as a full-time freelancer after suffering one of the greatest traumas of my life. I've shared my story on here, I've documented my growth, I've shown my highs and lows, and I have expressed the deepest parts of my self and career for the world to read from the privacy of their own computers. This blog has changed my life. But more than anything, living the life of a freelance dancer, this journal has been the the only reliable, constant in my life since April of 2012 (other than my husband). When I hadn't been home for more than 7 weeks in 4 years, I had this outlet. When I felt like I had lost all of my friends to be successful and work enough to pay my bills, I had this platform to comfort myself and talk my way through it. When I chose to step off the stage, instead of having a final performance, I wrote about my experience on here. As I laughed through tears in this session exclaiming, "I can't believe I'm crying over a stupid blog," it all became clear that this has become more than just a computer screen and letters assembled into words into thoughts into posts. It has been a confidante, a shoulder to lean on, and a listening ear, even while alone in hotel rooms, eating by myself at airport restaurants, and sitting in other people's homes up to 4,000 miles away from my own home.
So, here we are today, as I sit in Lincoln Center across from the Metropolitan Opera House writing to all of you. I have only felt more inspired to write on a few other occasions. Honestly, I'm afraid to do this, but I know I have to. I haven't taken an extended break from Life of a Freelance Dancer in over 5 years (which sounds insane to me). I would be lying if I told you I'm not nervous about it. But I am going to step away from posting on here throughout the rest of the summer to focus on my choreography, teaching, podcasting, seeking additional work (including the aforementioned and professional writing opportunities), and more all in preparation for our October move to New York City. I know I can continue pumping out content on here. But there is nothing more important than feeling inspired to do so. Additionally, I need to assess, at this point, if I have gained all that I can from writing on here or if it offers me more purpose. I love giving to all of you, my faithful readers. But I need to make sure that this is working for me personally, emotionally, and career-wise.
Thank you for your understanding and support. And, more than anything else, thank you for reading! And to those of you I have interacted with online or in-person, thank you for telling me that my work has helped you and for sharing your own personal stories with me. It has inspired me so very greatly! Enjoy the sunshine and I hope to see you soon! (And if you want to catch up on previous posts, click here to review the LoFD archives)
MY SUMMER TEACHING SCHEDULE (as of 6/13)
Steps on Broadway:
Advance Intermediate Ballet - Monday, Wednesday Friday - 2:30 pm - 6/12 - 7/31 (most dates)
Intermediate Contemporary - Friday - 6 pm - 7/21, 7/28, 8/4
Advance Intermediate Contemporary - Sunday - 3:30 pm - 7/23, 7/30, 8/6
Broadway Dance Center:
Advance Beginner Ballet - Friday - 6 pm - All Summer
Basic Ballet - Sunday - 6 pm - All Summer
Summer Intensive (for pre-professional students):
Greenwich Ballet Academy - 6/27 - 8/18
Contemporary Ballet - Choreography Residency:
Nickerson-Rossi Dance - Knauer Theatre - West Chester, PA - 8/7 - 8/11
Uptown Dance Company & School - Houston, TX (TBA - between 8/20 - 8/30)
(Please be sure to check open class schedules before attending, as there are a few dates that I will be out of town)