Dancing with No End in Sight



This past year that I’ve been in grad school, my dance practice has greatly shifted. I manage to take class at least once a week and stretch regularly, but sometimes I am reduced to sneaking into an empty room, putting on music, and just moving in the space with my eyes closed.

When people ask me what I do, I still say I’m a dancer. Though I haven’t performed since last summer, I don’t consider myself any less of a dancer than I was then. If anything, this time off (so to speak) has taught me much more about my body and my relationship with dance than my dogged regular pursuit.

Dance is not something you do, it’s something you embody. It’s nice to perform regularly and make money doing it, but the gig doesn’t make the dancer.

I’m waxing philosophic about this because I’ve recently had the privilege of interviewing another group of dancers over 50 in collaboration with photographer Gregory Bartning, this time in Los Angeles. Each of the six dancers I interviewed has had a different trajectory in dance, and this has reinforced for me that there is no right or wrong way to be a dancer. Dance is more of a calling or a life-long love affair than a job.

Meet Karen McDonald, Heidi Duckler, Bill Brown, Laurence Blake, Deborah Cohen and Carla Luna. Each represent a different facet of dance in Los Angeles and a different way to be a dancer. Whether that is running a studio, building site-specific work, dancing for Tibetan lamas, or sharing the love of dance with the next generation, they are all practicing the art of dance with no end in sight.

I am a dancer. I fell in love with dance when I was five years old and I will dance my way off this planet. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be in a studio or on a stage the whole time, but rhythm, soul, expanse, and a desire to move and groove will forever be a piece of me. It’s more than what I do; it’s who I am, and this older dancer interview project continues to illuminate this truth for me.

Over the next month the interviews and photographs of Carla Luna, Deborah Cohen, Laurence Blake, Bill Brown, Karen McDonald and Heidi Duckler will be posted on Stance on Dance, so be sure to come back and visit soon!


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