For many dancers, dance may have been their first true love. It’s been with them through thick and thin; it’s given so much to them, and they’ve given back; and they just simply can’t live without it. This Valentine’s Day, we celebrate our love affair with dance and speak to several dance artists and Capezio Athletes about why they fell in love with dance. Tiffany Hedman of English National Ballet. Photo by Gene Schiavone.
When did you fall in love with dance?
Tiffany Hedman, dancer, English National Ballet
“I have an older sister who started taking ballet at age three, and when I became old enough to understand what I was watching her do, I fell in love with it and wanted to be just like her.”
Elizabeth Burke, rehearsal director and principal dancer, Dorrance Dance
“I saw the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble in concert at age five. That’s when I knew. Gene Medler, if you’re reading this, I love you.”
Willie Gomez, dancer/performer and model
“I fell in love with dancing when I was 15 years old, the first time I ever stepped into a dance class.”
DeWitt Fleming, Jr., tap dancer
“I fell in love with tap dancing when I was a senior acting major at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. We learned tap dancing for musical theater, and I instantly fell in love.”
Why are you in love with dance?
“Dancing is probably my favorite form of escapism. For better or worse (probably for worse), I love to avoid my !2 problems. Dancing is great for that, in an obvious way, but I think it also allows me to subconsciously – or consciously – ruminate on my problems as well, and helps me make my way toward conclusions and solutions. Dance is incredibly illuminating.”
“I’m in love with dancing because it allows me to show myself in many different ways and to let out the performer that I am.”
“I am in love with tap dance because it is always there for me, and it has never let me down. There is no time of day that I don’t feel like dancing. Even when I’m dead tired, and I say to myself I need to relax, I still end up dancing. I love tap dancing because you don’t need anything to do it. I’m actually tapping in my seat right now. When I’m nervous I tap, when I’m anxious I tap, when I’m excited I tap, when I’m angry I tap, when I’m sad I tap. I can go on and on about how no matter how I’m feeling, whenever or wherever, always turns into me tap dancing. I don’t need tap shoes or shoes at all. I can’t remember how many times I end up running late because I, as we call it, catch the spirit in my kitchen right before I walk out of the door.”
“It’s another way I can express myself, it’s where I feel most comfortable in life. I can be whoever I want in that moment. You have to be present and fully committed to the art form, and it’s when I feel most alive.”
Why is dance a perfect ‘partner’?
“Because nothing can go wrong with it. If you feel it from within, it is something very special. My biggest passion!”
“Dance won’t walk away from you; it gives you back what you put into it. All you have to do is show up, and it’ll be there waiting for you come rain or shine.”
“Tap dancing is a perfect partner because it can go with you wherever you go. It knows you, and you know it. It is with you no matter what. No situation is too big, too small or too complicated. Sometimes when you don’t have the words to express yourself, the dance does it for you. Through the dance, people are able to see a part of you they probably would never ever see. Tap dancing allows you to be free in ways that you sometimes don’t even see. The dance is your biggest fan and your biggest advocate.”
“It almost always agrees with you, or at least can empathize and sympathize. It teaches you about yourself both subtly and with profundity, although you can’t always expect when those moments are going to occur. It can be at once spontaneous and comfortably predictable and dependable.”
How are you going to show your love for dance this Valentine’s Day?
“I’m going to show my love for tap dancing by giving all of my shoes a good ol’ polish, and of course I’m going to dance. My first dance of the day probably will take place in my kitchen, then my hallway, which has a pretty nice !4 wooden floor, and then wherever else the day takes me.”
“Buy it loads of chocolate and presents obviously. No, but actually, I’ll probably watch a little footage and work on some choreography – just make music with my body that feels good.”
“I will be on stage performing in Las Vegas with Britney Spears. What a better way to do it, hey? Dancing on my dream job.”
“By giving 100 percent of who I am each moment I have left getting to do this incredible job.”