As dance majors, we go about our college career, put more pride, passion, and effort into our school work than any other person from any other major, but that nagging question still resides in the back of our head. Will we be good enough in four years to make a career of this, or will we be creative energies stuffed into a box and forced to conform? Our freshman seminar professor, Sofie Clemmensen, decided for our final project to assign something that would ease our minds, hearts and conscience. We were divided into pairs and assigned a professional in the field to interview. Myself and my fellow classmate and fellow New Jersian, the lovely Taylor Hurd, had the pleasure of interviewing the incredible Laura Johnston, a dance development officer
in the United Kingdom.
As we spoke with her, she told us all about her best accomplishments and things she found rewarding in her career. We learned that she started outreach when her and her friends wanted to create a more accessible but equally high caliber dance festival on the outskirts of London to parallel London’s “Move It!” festival. We learned that she got into teaching because she found it more rewarding than performing because she could touch more people. She emphatically told us about her current work in outreach while simultaneously teaching and working at the Eden Court Theater. I marveled at her career travelling to remote areas of the United Kingdom to touch people who cannot access dance typically.
While I was fascinated in everything she was doing, I found it difficult to relate because my career aspirations are not necessarily equated with hers. However, when I really began to process the information she was giving me, I realized how I feel about dance boils down to being similar to her views. She struggled to find a university that encompassed what she wanted and didn’t try to turn her into a cookie cutter mold of a dancer, and I too found that to be a struggle in my university hunting process. I also find it more rewarding to educate people and share my knowledge than I do to perform (though I find it most rewarding to make my own work). Overall, no matter what the path, any dancer shares common traits. All dancers share the aforementioned passion and pride in their work. No wonder during our conversation I felt so connected to her though she was thousands of miles away doing work I never imagined myself doing. As dancers we can all relate to one another, and most importantly, we can all find futures with out creative energy. The dance community is not one of artistic workers, it is of passionate creators who connect on an intimate level, whether they’re best friends or strangers on opposite continents.