Dancer Diary: What It’s Like to Write for Dance Magazine
When health issues pushed me from the world of dance performance into the world of arts journalism, I found new layers of my identity. I realized that I could celebrate dance through a variety of media, and that writing is something I love—and hope to keep doing for the rest of my life. (Keep an eye out for Dance Magazine’s February 2084 cover story, where I feature New York City Ballet’s latest performance on the moon!)
Whenever I mention to other dancers that I’m a writer for Dance Magazine, I’m greeted with curiosity: People want to know what my stories typically feature and what my day-to-day looks like. So, this month I figured I’d take you behind the scenes of a story for DM.
The types of pieces I write for the magazine range from features to columns (like Dancer Diary) to cover stories. Today I’ll zoom in on “Sole Stories,” a feature I wrote for the February print edition of the magazine. In it, I chat with tap dancer and Dorrance Dance artistic director Michelle Dorrance about her tap shoes, New York City Ballet corps de ballet dancer Olivia Boisson about her pointe shoes, and heels dancer, teacher, and choreographer Hector Invictus Lopez about his heels.
Once my editor assigned the story, I brainstormed dancers who might have meaningful things to say on the topic. I pitched some options and we landed on these three stellar artists—chosen not just because they’re wildly talented but because their relationships with their shoes speak to larger discussions about identity, movement quality, and sound. I won’t spoil too much about my interviews with the dancers—you’ll have to order the magazine or follow this link—but I will say that they all had particularly interesting things to say. Then, we got the dancers into the studio with the extraordinary photographer Quinn Wharton and created some magic. (But for real, check out the images!)
Dorrance’s feet moved like lightning in her Lower East Side rehearsal space. She was even generous enough to teach me a tap step or two. Boisson’s endless lines lit up the School of American Ballet studios. She touched on the value of having pointe shoes that match her skin tone, and graciously filled us in on where to find the best paper towels for makeshift toe pads. (Where else but in the David H. Koch Theater bathrooms?) And Hector Invictus Lopez brought unmatched vibes to his photo shoot at Broadway Dance Center. Despite hardly sleeping the night before—he’d been performing until the wee hours of the morning)—he was kicking to the gods, serving face, and blasting Beyoncé at 8 am.
Once all of the interviews and photo shoots were done, I sat down in a quiet space and wrote the piece. I submitted it to my editor and she responded with thoughtful edits. After some revisions, she sent the piece to Dance Magazine’s fact-checking and proofreading teams to get it squeaky clean. Then the story and photos went off to the printer along with the rest of the fabulous February issue.
Even after six years, when I open my mailbox and find the magazine inside, my heart does a little leap. This month was no exception!
For a look at each of these dancers in action, head on over to Dance Magazine’s YouTube channel for my latest vlog.