Sunday, May 3, 2015

Man on a Mission

I don't remember when I decided I wanted to be a dancer, in fact I don't even know if I ever decided.  I know that I loved dancing from an early age, but I also enjoyed and participated in a lot of activities (except for basketball, I really stunk at basketball).  Saturday mornings were spent playing only the first half of the soccer match so that I could make it to tap at 9:45, Summers were spent with my hair permanently dyed green because there was no time to shower after swimming as I had to get to ballet.  I suppose from all these activities dance was the one I loved the best, and was probably the one I was best at, because as I neared high-school my focus narrowed and the intensity of my dance training increased.

Thinking back, the impetus for this shift, was likely a trip to London with my father at the age of 13.  Upon arrival at Heathrow we saw a poster for the Kirov Ballet which was performing at Covent Garden that night.  Although severely jet-lagged and unaccustomed to Europe's 30 minute intermissions (of which there were three) we made it through the performance and both our lives were changed forever.  Three of our 5 nights in London were spent at the ballet, and when I returned to San Luis Obispo, my future vision and immediate educational track had sharply shifted

At the time, San Luis Obispo was only about half as big as it is now and the surrounding communities seemed, at least at my pre-drivers licensed age, more isolated from the county center.  This isolation was and still is what makes the Central Coast great for being a kid, but for being a male dancer with professional aspirations it was just too limiting.  At 14 I left to study with one of New England's preeminent male dance teachers and this decision, though hard, brought me the opportunities which shaped my life  (namely to meet my beautiful Dutch wife, Maartje).

While becoming a dancer may or may not have been a conscious decision, the choice to give back to community, to share the knowledge I've gained through my education, and to bring, to the best of my ability, the experiences I've had to the dancers of San Luis Obispo most certainly is.

Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.  - Alvin Ailey

Our mission at the Movement Arts Center is to provide professional level dance training supported by the ABT® National Training Curriculum.  We also believe that movement is a basic human right and as such have classes in diverse styles of dance including adaptive dance for children and adults who have movement disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's.  Both of these  movement programs aim to enrich the lives of the participants, their families, and our community much in the way that those fateful performances in London one summer enriched and shaped mine.

Dream to dance and dance to dream.


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