What’s your movement history?
Dance was a big part of my childhood. I studied ballet, tap, and jazz and dreamt of being a ballerina and dance teacher. I think I always knew dance would be my life.
I started studying modern dance when I was a teenager. I was fascinated by the flowing, free quality.
I went on to study dance at Southern Methodist University where I continued to fall in love with modern dance and performing.
In 1990, I moved to NYC to dance with the Limón Dance Company (“Hailed as one of the world’s greatest dance companies, at the vanguard of American Modern dance since its inception in 1946.”)
I vividly remember that first audition in the city. I was with a dance company in Texas and saw a postcard about an upcoming Limón audition – it basically fell into my lap. I flew to New York without a second thought, having no idea how many dancers would be at the audition (my experiences in Dallas auditions had always been with just a handful of dancers). When I found out my audition number was #285, I thought, “oh my goodness! What have I done?!” But in the end, I got the apprentice position! That was back in 1990, and I’ve been here ever since.
What does dance mean to you?
Dance is basically my life. I love the way dance makes me feel. It’s like a runner’s high – a meditative euphoria. Even though I now teach more than dance, I love sharing with my students, and therefore am still able to reach that feeling through watching them.
It’s not just euphoria however, dance also cultivates discipline and a type of tolerance. One of my favorite quotes from choreographer Martha Graham, describes it as “There is no satisfaction…only a queer, divine dissatisfaction.” As in – we’re always working toward perfection. The tolerance is in knowing there is no perfection – we will never be perfect. The process, the path, with all its ups and downs, is the rewarding part. The quest for unrealistic goals demands stamina and creates motivation and a sense of tolerance that “keeps us marching on”!
What inspires your work?
I am not focusing on a story or emotions, often I simply feel the unspoken lyrics, the soul of the song, by listening to the essence of the music.
Back in the 90s, for example, I was given music from an Israeli singer and I choreographed a movement phrase based on what I heard in the feeling of the song. I don’t understand the Hebrew language, but many of my students did, and they were so surprised that without knowing it, I created movement sequences that were almost literal to the lyrics.
How do you create choreography?
I actually prefer to collaborate. Most of the pieces my Co-Artistic Director Marijke and I have made in the last five years began with something she initiated. I enjoy building on her vision. I feel patterns, see lines and designs, help put the puzzle pieces together.
Our inspiration often comes from our dancers and/or a phrase we do in class. We encourage the dancers to play with the direction and sequence of the movement. As we observe, something sparks our interest and we pause and zoom in. It’s like co-authoring a book. Dance is a language of feelings distinct to each person, but somehow universally translated and understood.
Inspiration, however, comes from all around. One of our recent pieces came from watching sand crabs on the beach in Costa Rica; we tried to copy how they make patterns and dance together, and how they move with the waves and trust in the ebb and flow of life.
What do you love about AntiGravity® Fitness?
After taking Laura Colon’s AntiGravity® class, I instantly loved being in the hammock. I could feel myself open, lengthen and let go. I noticed immediate benefits. For example, after I do the AntiGravity® Front Belt Series I am able to go deeper into my yoga practice, particularly when it comes to hip flexibility. And it’s not just me. Many of my dancers who come to class experience relief from chronic pain as well as improve their range of motion, flexibility and core strength. On a lighter note, I also get a kick out of being upside down. It’s fun, child-like, and playful!
What’s on your class playlist?
I try to create playlists that flow with the class format. A good playlist starts at a medium level, gradually builds and drops down at the perfect time. It’s like a journey. And when the arc happens at the right place there’s a collective rhythm. I choose songs that inspire people without distracting them.
Some of my current playlist go to artists are:
Sarah McLachlan (lesser known songs)
What do you love about ANYA?
There’s a pulse to ANYA, a magnetism to the space. You can feel it in the tiny things that make the studio so beautiful and inviting. You can feel the heart of the community as soon as you walk in. ANYA is a feeling. It’s tough to describe in words but I feel it.
About the ANYA Method, I’m curious and eager to study and learn more about it.