Last night the Hub and I were discussing why I would make a good traveling companion for The Doctor.

(Each summer we “theme” our television/film viewings. So fun!! This summer is Dr. Who, about which we are both now obsessed. Previous summers include Charles Dickens, “W.A”- Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple, I think there were others…..)

And I have decided that most of the reasons we came up with and the others that I have arrived at as I continue the conversation in my head, relate to my life in dance.

Here’s why:

1. Need to be able to adapt to any new environment.
Dance culture depends on observational learning. It is true socially and artistically. When entering a new class, studio space, dance environment- we know to watch and do. There are certain things that are always true regardless of space and environment. Having that center of understanding, we are able to roll with the punches in terms of the finer details. We observe others to prep for class or rehearsal in anticipation of the instructor or choreographer’s preferences (where to put our stuff, whether to be standing when they enter or not, are warmers permitted, which wall is front,…).

It is true in movement as well. We are a kinesthetic art form depending on visual learning to provide the majority of the information. Questions are tolerated but only after sound observations are made. Question before that time and you are “outed” as a newbie, judgements are made, and your fate written. You are not to be trusted.

2. Know when to follow and when to lead.
When there is a clear leader, I am happy to let them lead. But if they are asking for contributions to the creative process, I am ready to help problem-solve, try anything they ask (within reason), generate new material. If they aren’t around, I will readily step in. I understand my skills, my strengths, and limitations, and my place.

It is one of the intrinsic values that studying the arts, seriously and over time, can provide.

3. Laughing at my myself.
Mistakes happen. We may as well embrace them. Mistakes in dance look funny, feel funny, even sometimes sound funny. Oh well. The entire process of creating can stop if we can’t laugh and keep moving.

4. Taking risks.
Choreographers have challenged my body and my mind. Invaluable teachers have pushed my thinking, my writing, my dance-making, my teaching, my ways of being. My career has demanded I take risks.

After college, I moved to Chicago with $100 and a credit card (don’t tell my Dad). After Chicago came New York and then Los Angeles. Then grad school, a series of teaching jobs that fluctuate in stability, and now I am here.

A friend recently suggested that was gutsy. I suggested it was stupid. We agreed on one point- it was necessary. That is absolute truth. I lived to talk about it. And it changed my view of life. I am ever so thankful.

5. Communication and Translation
Dance has taught me how and when to communicate, how to translate ideas into movement and/or written word. It has taught me how to collaborate, look for opportunity, and trust the process even when I have difficulty trusting people.

And last but not least, it involves TIME and SPACE. The EFFORT comes in how articulately we navigate through our journey.

Oh, Doctor. Maybe I am already on a great trip. But my front door is now TARDIS blue if ever you need to find me.

12 thoughts on “For the Love of The TARDIS

  1. Love this! Retweeted and FB’d.

    And also, dance, like other arts, teaches an appreciation of history and other cultures. We are constantly building on the foundations of the greats, even if we do our own thing. We can appreciate the beauty and skills required in arts from other countries. Very important for a traveling companion!

    So fun, and so true. I keep waiting for him!

    1. Yes! I thought of the other cultures note right after I posted. I may have to do a follow up post with the additional thoughts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the post!! I am happy to know we share a love of dance and the Doctor!

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Hi Heather,

    Sounds to me like you just wrote why dance education is IMPORTANT, and not just “fun”. All of the points you listed above, which make you a well-rounded person who has the life skills to function capably (and excel) in any situation, came from your dance training. So much more than just learning steps or choreography. 🙂 I might just quote you in materials I give to my students’ parents, when they are questioning what their kids are going to do with “all of these dance classes” in the future. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks, Corey! Yes, I think this creates the argument also for scope and sequence of training over time and not just in the incidental ways arts integration suggests. This is another raging battle, particularly in public education. Glad you found this useful and maybe a little fun, too. 🙂

      As always thanks for reading and sharing!! Hope life is treating you well. Heather

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. This is so apropos for me right now. And not just because I too am on a Doctor Who summer viewing kick (and you would totally make a great companion for the Doctor BTW). I am working today (like at this very moment) on a new assignment/section of the First Year Performance class I teach. I wanted to talk to them about “transferable skills” that come with an education in dance. This would lead into a section I already have on Careers in Dance and a group project. Would you mind if I include this blog post in my course pack? With full credit and reference to you of course! I think it is important to get our freshmen thinking early about the kinds of skills they acquire through their experiences in dance (oh yeah, I really am talented and marketable and not just because of my pirouettes and extension!) – it is also important for them to go home over Thanksgiving Break and talk to their parents about how valuable these skills are not only in dance, but in related professions and beyond!

      1. Maybe we could start with a co-presentation at NDEO? I’m working on a text book in dance production right now and I don’t know that I’ll be ready to take on another project like that for a while! 🙂

  4. I found my way to this blog via your “Hub’s” blog. Lots of talent and creativity between the two of you . . . #4 on your list made me think you should see the indie film “Frances Ha” if you have not already seen it. It’s about a young dancer scraping by in NYC until she recognizes her true strength as a choreographer. Maybe you can make a case for it fitting into the Dr. Who theme via its connection with #4.

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