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Movin’ Out, Twyla Tharp-Style

As a dancer, we know the best way to deal with things is to move; to dance. To get it out there, into the particles, into the air, and let it flow out of the body, granting us allowance to continue onto the next step – literally and figuratively.

The phrase “moving on” says it all. It’s a release of expressive energy and in this case, even more so than an art, it’s a therapeutic force. Regardless of your skill as a dancer or mood, good, bad, happy or sad – doing what you do – dancing – to solve your frustration is a bestowed gift upon us dancers and a privilege to be able to use. However you feel – you can use it in your dance.

I rediscovered this love for letting loose when I struggled through a move out of my beloved New York apartment a few days ago. Yes, I turned on Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out and flashbacked to my first trip to New York, where after my dance intensive one evening my mother took me to Movin’ Out – the Broadway musical choreographed by Twyla Tharp to Billy Joel’s legendary music. I can still see the face of the pianist, belting out Joel’s music as the stage on which his piano sat literally moved upward and outward.

That awe of a moment feels like forever ago, and I truly have loved living in the heart of it all – however gritty my piece of land was amidst this movin’ up town. Having my own second-floor beyond second-hand landing pad was hard to top, surprisingly. The thrill of the fight to live out a dream wasenough in itself for me. I truly felt I lived amidst my kind; New York was where a dancer had to be.

It’s true, this is where they are. And this is where dreams are. But dancers and dreams are everywhere, and as time went on, I realized the location may have a particular visual element of my own dream but it did not define my mission. Just like an En Pointe portable ballet barre, the Porta-Barre, dreams are portable! Missions can be accomplished any time, any place. And so as proud as I was to live in New York, I feel proud to proclaim moving out is simply moving on. And if you’re not moving onward, you’re not moving upward – and what’s the fun in that? Big city or not, dreams can come true if you work on them.

I must say, I absolutely delighted in wearing tights and leotards with my hair pulled up and slicked back as businessmen and women tiredly trucked to work. I was a dancer and my outfit said so. Those things never leave you. But the tricks do. I still have rhythm but the fear of a triple pirouette in the kitchen scares me where once it did not. Making peace with that fact is, surprise surprise, healthy; it will most likely save me from a broken leg. And so before I go, I’ll give my – now a lot like a dance studio – studio apartment one last spin; freelance it out for old times sake. Of course turning on the camera to inspire you all to groove wouldn’t hurt, I figured. Join me in letting out the emotion dancer-style, whether on stage, alone, or in front of the camera. Dance like no one’s watching and enjoy it.

click to watch

– love from J