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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Trouble with Trampolines March 22, 2017

Once upon a time when I was a bright-eyed youth, I worked for a summer stock theatre that performed all their shows in the round. For non-theatre folks, that means that the audience is on all four sides of the stage. We did somewhere around seven shows in twelve weeks or something crazy like that, and one of the shows was the musical Swing!

I love Swing! It’s a great show. Just a bunch of happy, dancing frivolity. I will say it’s an ambitious endeavor for a summer stock. That many dance numbers to put together in a two-week rehearsal process with the entire cast currently performing another show? Not really the ideal situation.

But it was fine. Nobody died. (A few close calls, but we all survived.) And in all this super intense work, they even decided to do a trampoline number.

It was a normal swing number, except we were bouncing off our trampolines and throwing ourselves at our dance partners. It was pretty terrifying. (more…)

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The Weight of the Legend April 15, 2015

And now for the grand conclusion of the sad tale of the department encouraged body dysmorphia!

For parts one, two, and three, please click the appropriate number.

As though it wasn’t bad enough to teach students who are going to owe student loans for the next ten years that their worth is based on their weight, the department also liked to ignore the problems it encouraged. Now, I understand that weight is important in dance. You have to be small to be lifted, and a certain look is generally more desirable to producers. But if you tell a dancer that weight equals worth in an extremely competitive atmosphere, you’re going to end up with eating disorders.

There was one girl who was an amazing tap dancer. She was truly gifted, but the department wanted to weigh her like she was a ballerina. She lost more and more weight, and eventually became truly anorexic. (more…)

 

The WP in Permanent Ink April 11, 2015

The Dance Major scale phobia saga continues…

Part One

Part Two

And now, Part Three:

After the first shock of seeing everyone being weighed my freshman year, I almost got used to the concept. Three times a semester, we’d all line up and hop onto the scale, hoping that the number wasn’t high enough to get our ballet grade docked or get kicked out of company.

I was fine with my weigh-ins during freshman year. I didn’t gain any weight and didn’t give enough of a shit to try and lose any weight to please the department.

Then when I was gone doing summer stock the summer after my freshman year, I got a letter in the mail. (more…)

 

Weighing the Scale April 8, 2015

After being accepted into the dance program of my dreams, I was thrilled! I had won the university lottery! I mean sure, I was a little concerned about the fact that they had put my weight on my acceptance letter (for part one of this blog series where that is explained please click here), but it was a great school.

When it finally came time to move into the freshman girls’ dorm, I was so excited! Yay college! I mean sure, the place had strict rules about male visitors. Only during business hours. Must be accompanied by the person who signed them in at all times. Had to leave ID at the desk and so on. Our dorm mother Mary was a scary trucker-esque lady with the ability to broadcast her voice into your room at two in the morning. And the windows couldn’t open. But hey, it was great!

Then classes started, and the first thing they did was line up the entire dance department and weigh each of us. (more…)