Joy on Film

I was just taking a trip down Memory Lane, and I felt like sharing the photos that made me smile. I have some other ones I want to write about later and all kinds of things to say about body image and “the dance world,” but tonight I really just want to share some photos that I love and the stories behind them.


This is me in my dorm room at Barnard College in 1998. I was 17. This is possibly the happiest moment of the two months I spent there. To say that Barnard was a poor fit for me would be a monumental understatement. I didn’t even make it one semester.

But that’s not why this photo makes me smile, obviously. It makes me smile because I remember the hours I spent choreographing in that room (as a First-Year I was informed that I was “not encouraged to use the studios for my own work”…that STILL pisses me off). The work I did in that room never made it onto any stage, but it has a special place in my heart. Plus, HOW AWESOME ARE MY POSTERS?! (my roommate HATED me)


After I left Barnard, I went to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY (when I write it like that it sounds like I went directly there, but no, this was the following school year). Unfortunately, I had lost sight of my love for dance after 10 months at my old dance studio, so I wasn’t taking any formal dance classes…but that didn’t stop me from trying the ballroom dance team! My tango partner and I placed 2nd in the Newcomer Division at the University of Connecticut competition…but it’s this photo of me and my friend Katrina dancing swing that I love the best. We didn’t come NEAR to placing, but we had SUCH a blast dancing together 🙂


Ah, this one. I adore this one.

This photo was taken in 2004 in a bus. I had broken off my first engagement just over a month earlier, and I sent myself over to the UK to take a Contiki Bus Tour for 3 weeks. On our final night in Ireland, our guide took us to a pub to see a dance show, and on the way home there was a dance party on the bus. By which I mean that they played music VERY LOUDLY, and people got up and danced solos. I can’t remember why they were solos, but whatever. A tour-mate of mine snapped this shot, bless him.

I love this shot because it perfectly captures the me that blossomed during that trip. I started out the tour so shy and reserved and “please don’t look at me”…it wasn’t until we went out dancing in Glasgow that I came out of my shell and shocked the pants off of everyone. No photographic evidence exists of the Glasgow dancing, but at least I have this to remind me!


Finally, a photo from 2007. In the middle of my DansKinetics classes, I was contacted by a journalist who wanted to do an article on me for the local paper. She asked for dance photos, so I got Matthew (my resident photographic genius) to take some. This is hands-down my favourite. Whenever I look at it, I can feel the swing and momentum of the movement. It reminds me of modern classes I took in Grade 12, the classes I taught on vacations from university and afterward, and of the beautiful freedom and groundedness you feel when you let go in the dance.

And those are my absolute favourite dancing photos.

Thanks for walking down Memory Lane with me!



0 thoughts on “Joy on Film”

  1. OK, I LOVE the last one, because YES, you can totally SEE the flow running through your body. I also love it because you’re dancing in your living room (?), completely surrounded by books and furniture and all the accessories of daily life, somewhat symbolic, like “Hey, this is the dance of LIFE. You can dance anywhere, not just an empty and mirrored dance studio.” Dance is EVERYWHERE!

    Your dorm room photo reminds me of my college days too. However, my dance instructors actually encouraged use the studio and scolded us for choreographing what they called “dorm room dances.” That’s what they called my first piece, because it was confined to a 10 x 10 space! Still, isn’t it amazing how much we can devise with such little space?!

  2. Hehe! Thank you! Yeah, that was our living room. It had a HUGE space for dancing in, and I wish I’d taken advantage of it more often! Our current one is still pretty big, but it just doesn’t compare. I do love that photo 🙂

    I was SO upset when they told me not to use the studios at Barnard. I was actually in an empty studio doing my choreographic thing (because at Walnut Hill, where I went for Grade 12, we were ENCOURAGED to do that), and a teacher came in and was like, “what are you doing? you can’t be in here.” It was complete crap. Had I known about the policy, I would probably have chosen to study somewhere else in the first place. But yes, it really is amazing what you can do in a dorm room.

    Where did you go to school?

    1. I’m sorry for the delay in all these responses. I forget to hit the “e-mail me comments” box when I posted!

      I went to a small state school in New Jersey called Rowan University. Years ago they offered a dance major but by the time I got there it was reduced to a minor. It worked out OK, though, because I think I would find myself very limited now had I just studied dance. My degree is in communications/writing.

  3. All good! 🙂

    I gotcha! Yeah, that’s the awesome part about liberal arts schools…OPTIONS! That’s most of the reason why I ruled out dance conservatory programs. Just doing straight-up dance gives you a pretty narrow focus (plus, I actually LIKE academics).

    I’m a big fan of double-majors myself. At Barnard I was going to do a double major in French and Dance, which is what I was also planning at Skidmore…but then I transferred home to Dalhousie University, and they don’t offer dance AT ALL, so I ended up with a combined honours degree in English and French with an emphasis in Canadian Studies for fun 😛

    Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing now if I had started out and stayed at Skidmore instead of going to Barnard first…but that kind of thinking DRIVES YOU CRAZY.

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