A Dose of Inspiration
Thank you for the amazing letter in your June issue from Tara Gardner, who found the magazine helped her with autism. Like her, dancing has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I have severe asthma that frequently flares. I’ve been unable to exercise or even attempt a plié for more than a month because I cannot breath well enough to walk, let alone dance. This happens at least once a year. Tara said she cut out pictures from the magazine and put them on her wall. Well, I cut out her letter and put it on my wall.
I’m moved to write this after reading Paloma McGregor’s June “Why I Dance.” It has always seemed to me that there is only one answer: I dance because I have to. But Ms. McGregor has said that in a better way—less desperate and more joyful. What she knows is that “Your greatest love will never let you go.”
By profession I am no longer a dancer, but an attorney. There are few opportunities in Indianapolis for an adult jazz dancer. So I return to NYC a couple times a year to take class at Steps, where, years ago, I was on scholarship.
Nearly 20 years later, I find I am a better dancer because I know so much more. I know that perfect happiness can be found in jazz class. For me it happened once in L.A., in Doug Caldwell’s class, with the music so loud that I couldn’t hear myself speak and the sun streaming in through the open doors and windows. And it’s happened several times at Steps, where I could look out the window and see Broadway snaking downtown towards the theater district. At these times, miraculously, what I wanted my body to do merged with what it actually did, and I felt free and strong!
Joy in Judson
It was great to read about Barbara Dilley (“Teacher’s Wisdom,” May). She made me feel I could be a dancer when she subbed for my modern dance teacher Claire Mallardi at the Radcliffe Gym, circa 1970. Claire was going off to teach at Bennington and hired both Steve Paxton and Barbara to cover for her. We did all kinds of fun things outside and I remember she didn’t wear leotards and tights, but loose sweatpants—a whole new look. It was Barbara and the Judson Dance Theater people she talked about that gave me hope that I didn’t have to conform to a dancer’s body and audition for Martha Graham. Lots changed—I went on to tap. But it was Barbara Dilley who turned my head (and torso and feet) around with her wonderful ideas, personality, and commitment to dance as an everyday thing.
Director, Changing Times Tap Co.
Higher Ed Help
I want to double major in chemistry and dance, and I hope to pursue a career in ballet upon graduation. Can you tell me what colleges are strong academically and heavy on ballet?
: Ballet dancers shouldn’t have to sacrifice their education for a career. The Dance Magazine College Guide is our comprehensive resource of all higher education dance programs. Beyond a helpful breakdown of each program, it has articles that are tailored to help you find your perfect fit. The new 2009–2010 edition is out this month. Visit www.dancemagazine.com/
thecollegeguide/intro for more information.
EQUALITY FOR ALL
Surely you have seen the online controversy over the discriminatory remarks on So You Think You Can Dance. As a gay male dancer, I want to ask for your help in standing up for dance as a non-discriminatory art. I don’t want anyone to feel scared, or like they can’t dance in the way that best expresses themselves. We should dance freely.
Los Angeles, CA
: We too noticed the insensitive remarks made on So You Think You Can Dance regarding the same-sex ballroom couple. Dance Magazine has always welcomed our LGBT dancers and allies. Please see “Grab Your Partner” in this month’s “Vital Signs” about West Hollywood’s Balliamos, which welcomes dance artists of all orientations to cha-cha together. And read what dancers and choreographers have said about how gender and dance intersect in our 2005 Gender Issue at dancemagazine.com/issues/