Los Angeles

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dancing Through Life ~ Lauren

Lauren, today's featured dancer, is a wonderful dancer, mother, wife and friend.  We trained together at the same dance studio when we were teenagers and have managed to stay in touch over the years, even though we haven't danced together in over a decade!  She is a very inspiring and strong woman with a rich and full life.  I am so happy to share how she dances through life....
 1. When did you start dancing?

I started dancing around 4 years old.  I switched to a much more professional studio in Van Nuys around 15 years old.

2. What styles did you train in and which is your favorite?

I trained in them all (and was required to as part of the training program I was part of): ballet, tap, jazz, modern, I even took locking, plus voice and acting.

My favorite is/was ballet.  Oh, how I wanted to be a ballerina.  But, alas, my body type did not lend itself to ballet and by the time I started really training the way I should have, it was probably too late.  My body type fit jazz better, and I love jazz, and thought I was pretty good at it. 

3. Did you dance professionally or in college? If so, where, what schools, companies and/or shows?

In college I was a theater major and did local musicals in at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center.  I continued to take class randomly at the Van Nuys studio.

4. When did you decide to pursue a career other than that of a dancer?

Probably all along – I never really auditioned or went outside of the comfort zone of the studio, and how could I get jobs if I didn't audition?  I have always been interested in, and had, several things going at once; several plates spinning at the same time.  It was once suggested that I would make a good producer because then I could have my finger in several pies.

5. What do you do now?

Everything!  I have a degree in theater with a minor in economics, but I work full-time as a legal secretary, I am a full-time mommy, and I have just started a non-profit foundation, Slice of Lime Foundation, as a result of losing my dad to lymphoma recently.

6. How has dance affected your life? How does it inspire you?

I recently went through a really rough time personally when my dad was taken ill with lymphoma (a blood cancer).  One day I was so emotionally wrought that I just wanted to dance.  There is something so freeing in being able to express emotion without words, just movement.

The devoted dancer has a certain ethic.  There is a commitment to the craft and to the other dancers.  That has been instilled in me from a very young age.  In junior high and high school, when my peers were hanging out all afternoon, going out late on Fridays, I was at the studio.  When fellow high schoolers were getting into trouble, I'd go from school to the studio until 9:30 at night then come home to do homework to get up and do it all again.  Especially being in the trainee program, I had to be committed.  And that is something that has carried through.

7. Do you feel like your dance background helped you in other aspects of your life? Did it contribute to your other successes?

Yes!  I think the commitment aspect, the ethic, like I mentioned above has made a huge impact and is a contributing factor for any success.  There were also teachings, or lectures, from class that apply to other aspects of life that I think of often.  And of course, there is a certain awareness of your body and the space around it, the choice to move certain ways, and the grace that accompanies the training of a dancer that certainly carries into the rest of the world and adds an air of confidence or control, or grace that others may not have.

8. How do you keep a hand in the dance world? How do you support it?

My daughter just started taking dance class (she is 4) so I am getting re-involved in a dance community now.  I like to try to keep up with my friends who are still dancing and I try to make sure I know of any performances happening.  My girls are just getting to the age where I think they'd appreciate a dance show.  And of course we love watching So You Think You Can Dance.

Lauren's girls--so precious!
9. Do you have a favorite dance film, book or dancer?

Film: The Turning Point.  I LOVE this movie.  Mostly for the dance sequences (sometimes I skip all the acting and just go straight to the dances parts).  But I also really like the story.  I have always identified with Deedee (Shirley MacLaine's character).  Something about the jealousy of making a different life choice, or just not wanting it enough, or whatever.  I first saw this movie as a pre-teen and identified then, but still do as an adult.  And I can see how difficult yet exciting it would be if my daughter, like Deedee's, took the dream that extra step.

10. Do you plan to keep dancing throughout your life? 

YES.  In fact there are times I'll bust out a little ballet right in my kitchen.  I still remember a few of the dances from the classes I took – my first jazz performance number at the Van Nuys studio and several others.  I have always had in the back of my mind the desire to do some sort of a dance show.  One day I hope to.  In the meantime, I miss taking class.  I miss it all.  I watch the teen classes at my daughter's dance studio and just want to get in there and see what I can still do.  I want to give notes and corrections.  One day, I'll be back…

Thanks Lauren!  I am so glad we're friends!  Be sure to check out the Slice of Lime Foundation and remember that a portion of all sales at my shop, Red Ribbon Fox, are donated to this meaningful and important cause.  And if you are interested in being a featured dancer on this here blog, let me know! 

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