Bare It All
Molly Lieber in luciana achugar’s An Epilogue for OTRO TEATRO: True Love. Photo by Scott Shaw, Courtesy achugar.
Dance is a naked career. Not just because you have to spend your days practically (and sometimes literally) nude. But it’s a dancer’s job to expose the deepest layers of yourself, sharing those experiences and emotions that can’t be put into words.
That level of vulnerability rarely comes easily. At our cover shoot, freelancer Molly Lieber said something I haven’t been able to forget: When asked for advice for aspiring dancers, she started to say, “Don’t be afraid.” But then she clarified, “If you’re afraid, put that into what you do.” As one of the gutsiest performers I’ve ever seen, Lieber’s quiet shyness offstage surprised me when we met. Hearing her say this made so much sense: Her extreme confidence in performance doesn’t come out of fearlessness, but out of a commitment to not hiding anything—not even her fear or insecurities. It’s one of the reasons she’s become so in-demand among New York’s experimental choreographers, and why we chose her as one of our “Freelance Stars,” along with Stuart Singer and Omagbitse Omagbemi. All three have an uncanny ability to open themselves up to multiple artistic visions, tackling whatever challenge is asked of them.
Their stories felt like the perfect companion to this issue’s jobs guide. It seems like today, more than ever, so many dance artists cobble together a variety of jobs, juggling styles and schedules. These three offer advice on everything from networking to side gigs, explaining how they’ve built successful project-to-project careers.
Even Johan Kobborg assumed he’d pursue a freelance life of staging, choreographing and dancing when he left The Royal Ballet in 2013. But then the directorship of the National Ballet of Romania fell in his lap, as he explains in “A Dancer’s Director.” He’s transformed that company by continually questioning the status quo—and by being completely candid. It’s rare to find a director who has the guts to ask his dancers, “Am I doing something wrong?” But that openness, Kobborg believes, is what it takes to create a place where dancers can thrive.
Editor in Chief