I started dancing when I was 3 years old, but ended up quitting because I didn’t want to wear a tutu. I started again when I was 5. For some reason, at that age little dancers weren’t required to wear one. Thank heavens, because I wouldn’t have discovered my passion. As I grew older, I was always in dance recitals and school performances, but when I was 10 years old, I knew in my heart I was meant to be on stage. My family are season subscribers to the Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ) and during every show I was always watching the dancers and just wanted to be on stage with them. My mom would tell me I could be up there.
I keep dancing because I can my express myself more as an actor by telling the story through my body. Dancers are the most powerful actors because we don’t have words to tell our story. We need to give everything to our performance or the audience won’t be on the journey with us. The best part about dancing is how happy it makes me to tell stories through dance with my body and emotions, stories that you wouldn't get to tell otherwise. But, the truly best part is taking the audience on that journey with you. You allow them to release themselves into your story and come along for the ride. There’s a moment on stage in which you are so invested that you almost blackout in a sense, then you finally come off stage.
I auditioned for Mosaic for the role of Pandora because I was so excited to have a piece where I could combine my dance, acting, and storytelling. Pandora goes through a journey where she is young, naïve, and mischievous, and later learns her lesson and needs to mature. While I was not chosen for Pandora, I was fortunate to have been selected for many different pieces that I love. I am learning new styles of dance, as well as learning how to understudy and partner.
I think what surprised me the most about Middle Eastern dance is the need to be very released. This dance is sensual, light, and beautiful, and if there is tension, or the movements are too sharp, it ruins the art in the choreography, and the story gets cut off. Also, counting/timing in the music can be difficult.
Challenges for me as a performer are not “getting in my head” or questioning my worth/talent. There was a period of time where every audition defeated me, until I changed my outlook. Now, I look at every audition as a chance to perform and have fun. It’s also remembering that if you aren’t selected it doesn’t necessarily have to do with your talent, but it could be your height, hair color, etc. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not get picked, and I made the conscious decision to stop wasting my mental energy on trying to figure them out.
My time with Mosaic Dance Theater Company has been wonderful. It has allowed me to grow and expand as a dancer/performer. I would have never learned these multiple styles of dance if it weren't for this company, and I appreciate them along with the culture/history that is embedded in them. I was also never an understudy before, and understudying all 4 Troubles in The Paradise of Children is definitely a difficult task. It is also very nice to work in a more ensemble setting. Our ideas are always welcomed if something isn’t working, or we will have conversations and work together when working on a piece.