I always ask myself: If my parents hadn't been flamenco dancers, would I have danced? I certainly don't have a calling for dancing. As a child I was no Billy Elliot—that kind of boy that would do anything to dance. In fact, I was the Anti-Billy Elliot. My parents were always forcing me to dance, and I pushed back as much as I could. I thought dancing was boring.


So why, as an adult, do I continue to dance? I know it sounds odd, but I think I dance because I don't like to dance. It's not logical, but there is something freeing in accepting that. I literally cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't dance. I've danced since I've had consciousness. It's simply in my DNA. And you can't escape what you are.

I was always going to be a dancer, but my saving grace as an adult is that I don't feel any pressure. I feel total freedom when it comes to how I choose to dance. As long as people continue asking me to perform, I will, but it has to be on my terms.

When I perform in public, it's not so much the dance that I respect as much as the venue and stage and the people who come to watch me. I find that connection very special, even more so as time passes.

I love reading and film, but I am not a writer or a filmmaker. Dance is the tool I was given, so it's the tool I use to create art. I consider myself an artist more than a dancer, because the work that I create is inspired by more than just movement. Dance is just a means of transmission, that little bit of magic that was handed down to me and that I now use to create a world of my own within a profession that I never chose for myself.

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Studio Bleu students Jaxon Keller, Samantha Halker and Alia Wiggins. Photos by Chris Stark

How Turning Boards and Practice Mats Can Revolutionize Your Dance Training

When it comes to equipment, dancers don't need much—just shoes and whatever can fit in their dance bag. But between rehearsals in the studio and performances on stage, one major piece of equipment often goes overlooked—the floor.

Dancers too often find themselves warming up on the concrete or carpet backstage, or wanting to practice in a location without a proper floor. For years, Harlequin Floors has offered a solution to this problem with its innovative turning board, offering a portable and personal floor that can be flipped between marley and wood. Now, they've revolutionized portability again with their practice mat, offering dancers the option to roll up their own personal floor and sling it over their shoulders like a yoga mat.

We spoke with experts from every corner of the dance industry to see how Harlequin's products have become their everyday essentials:

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