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Dancing in the Dark

January 3, 2017

I know for a fact that for so many people, saying good-bye to 2016 couldn't have come soon enough. With the topsy turvy and gut-wrenching election cycle, to a string of untimely celebrity deaths, it seemed like there was no end in sight for the calamity that was 2016. 

A new year gives us all a chance to hit the "reset" button on our lives and declare a sense of renewing and things to accomplish and aspire to do. 

Over the Christmas holiday, I got a chance to take in the documentary "A Ballerina's Tale" about the first African-American principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. After watching the film, I started reflecting on my own experience as a professional dancer. For 25 years, I was indoctrinated into a world of ice packs, swollen ankles, blistered toes, and bus and truck tours across the county. For all the pain that was endured for the passion of being able to take to the footlights and delight audiences, much like Misty's journey, there was also a grave dim light in being the only dancer of color in many of the troupes I performed in. 

From isolation, to a sense of invisibility, to being buried in the back of the chorus, it felt like many times like I was Dancing in the Dark. Being there but not really being seen.

I want to seek out other dancers and hear their stories and experiences about dancing. Why they do it? What's it like being a dancer of color? What has dance taught them (or not) about everything they know about themselves and the space they hold on this planet?

 

 

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