|Danya & My Wedding Day (Photo: Emily Yamamoto)|
Reclaiming my Life and Sanity:
It may sound funny, but ever since I started writing here on Life of a Freelance Dancer and saw my freelance work explode (in all of the best ways), I felt like most things that were happening in my life were out of control. My work was flying me all over the country and I was barely home for any length of time. It started to take its toll on me and, at times, I felt like I was losing all sense of self. This year that all changed. I was proactive in making major changes in my life and career that allowed me to stay home more and regain a sense of balance that had been missing in my life for nearly 5 years. I think I slept in my own bed at least half of 2016, which is a record for me at this point. Beyond that, I got to see my husband a bunch, connect with friends on a regular basis, and see my family more than I have seen them since I moved away from home in 2001. While ambition and success are important, sometimes you just need to hit the brakes and remind yourself of who you are, how you got where you are, and breathe a bit before you figure out where you are going next.
Seeing the Aurora Borealis:
|Aurora Borealis swirling above Fox, Alaska (near Fairbanks)|
Being Featured in Dance Magazine:
It was a complete and total honor to be featured in the print issue of Dance Magazine this past February. I was featured alongside New York City Ballet Principal Megan Fairchild in a piece that discussed our social media work and how we artists are finding unique ways to break the fourth wall with audiences. Thanks to this feature, I was asked to host my podcast and was later featured in April by Dance Magazine on their social media.
I've always been kind of a weirdo when it comes to following any cultural expectation, especially when it comes to babies, dogs, and weddings. It took about a year and a half of gay marriage being legalized for me to finally agree to wed my love of 11 years. We celebrated our wonderful wedding day at a historic theatre a few miles from where I was raised and were surrounded by family and friends from all over the country. And by the time the wedding day came, I finally got it! I understood why the day was so special!
Click Here to Watch the Solo I Choreographed and Danced Telling the Story of Danya and Me Getting Together
Being Hired to Teach at Steps on Broadway & Broadway Dance Center:
|The screen at the front desk - Steps on Broadway|
My Pas de Chát: Talking Dance Podcast on the Premier Dance Network:
As I stated above, after being featured in February's Dance Magazine, I was contacted by the CEO of the Premier Dance Network to produce and host a podcast on the largest dance podcasting network in the world. In April, I began recording Pas de Chát: Talking Dance. Getting the chance to share my voice on such a major platform has brought me an array of new opportunities. From guest interviews on the This Show is So Gay and Barretender podcasts, to teaching, speaking for the Dancers Resource|Actors Fund about Managing the Freelance Life, and more things that I can't yet discuss, I have been so grateful to have a growing number of avenues to share my art. I have never particularly wanted to be famous. But I have always wanted to be respected in my field and to feel like my knowledge and work is important and respected. Getting this nod and platform has definitely been a great push in the right direction to achieve my goals.
Getting to Sleep in My Own Bed Often:
Taking Nancy Bielski's Class on the Regular:
One of my biggest challenges since I stopped having the option to take company class regularly was finding a ballet class that inspired me to show up every day. While I haven't necessarily been able to make it up to New York City every day this year, I have been sure to drop into Nancy Bielski's class at Steps on Broadway 1-5 times a week. A major part of my burn out was feeling like I had to go to ballet class every day, even if I felt uninspired. Well, Nancy definitely inspires me to show up, work hard, and not take myself so seriously that I cut myself down all the time. Beyond that, what is more inspiring than plie-ing and tendu-ing beside the likes of dancers like Alessandra Ferri, Misty Copeland, Diana Vishneva, professional ballet dancers, Broadway dancers, and beyond.
|View on the train from Machu Picchu|
I think a great way to end this post and ring in the new year is to discuss my coming to terms with the end of my performance career. While I hadn't really performed publicly that much since my injury with Oakland Ballet in May of 2014, I still didn't consider myself retired for quite some time. After giving myself the time to reclaim my life and sanity, I finally found the strength to announce that I have concluded the majority of my performance career. While this was difficult to vocalize publicly, it was, perhaps, the most important moment of my year. It allowed me to give my mind and body a break, while also allowing me to fully focus on the next stages of my career. Since I posted about this back in August, I have had more opportunities to teach and speak. As I head forward into 2017, I look forward to taking greater advantage of this and building my choreographic portfolio immensely.
|Closing the Chapter to 2016 (Photo: JRo)|