What Dancers Are Capable Of

April 13, 2016

Photo by Jayme Thornton

Dance Magazine

is the magazine I grew up reading. It influenced me to be the dancer I am today. So being asked not only to be on the cover a second time, but also to be the guest editor of this issue, feels so incredibly surreal.

When I considered what stories I was going to put inside, I wanted to use this opportunity to emphasize what it is to be a strong, confident and powerful woman. I don’t think we as dancers get enough credit when it comes to all that it takes as a woman in this field. Not many women in dance are given opportunities to have a voice, to be leaders, directors and choreographers. So it was important for me to tell some of their stories.

For instance, Rachel S. Moore, the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Music Center and former CEO of American Ballet Theatre, is a great example of a woman who used the skills that we gain as dancers to become a leader. To go from being a ballerina to a strong female boss, she’s someone I just had to shine a spotlight on. With her book, The Artist’s Compass: The Complete Guide to Building a Life and a Living in the Performing Arts, coming out this month, I suggested a feature interviewing her on how dancers can treat their careers more like a business.

For me, mentorships with trailblazers such as retired ballerina Raven Wilkinson have been a huge part of my life as a dancer. Listening to her journey as a black woman in ballet in the 1950s, as well as her invaluable advice and the life lessons she’s shared, I’ve been inspired to help pave the way for the next generation of dancers. It’s empowering to see the organic and built-in infrastructure of mentoring in the dance community. For this issue’s “Your Career” column, I thought it would be helpful, especially for young dancers aspiring to be professionals, to know that mentors can be the dancer next to you. Support is all around you if you are open to receiving it.

From female empowerment to understanding your healthiest body to working with inner-city kids, and everything in between, I hope that you’ll find a wealth of inspiration and information within these pages, the way I have with Dance Magazine throughout my career. It represents who we are and what we are capable of as dancers.