This post is an excerpt from “We are Dance”, an essay on the realistic view of dance today and how our supplemental career choices directly impact our longevity and contribution to the preservation of the dance world.
By Mitzi Adams
We, as dancers, know what Martha Graham meant by saying “Technique is Freedom.” Very true, but knowledge is also freedom. By supplementing our dance lives with either dance related, or non-related interests, we can not only support ourselves financially, but can also satisfy the creative, curious, and intellectual sides of ourselves. We can still be in dance but we need to adapt our lives accordingly to fit within the framework of our times.
While in Arizona going to graduate school for my Masters degree in dance, I worked on-and-off at a department store selling cosmetics. It was after my graduation that I remember standing for long hours in a white lab coat, wearing high heels on a concrete-tiled floor. My feet and legs always hurt. Over time I began to resent going to work. My dance spirit was dying even though I was still was dancing everyday. Expounding on the absurdities of my job, I created a dance, which, consequently, after the final performance, initiated my move back to the East coast.
Along with my continued studies in dance, I found opportunities for my choreography and people with whom I could perform. After many years of interest in the healing art of Jin Shin Jyutsu®, I finally became certified as a practitioner and continued on to get my certification in massage therapy. I returned to teaching dance and taught various aqua, stretch and yoga classes and eventually became a personal trainer as well. Utilizing all the skills I had, mostly acquired through dance, I adopted several careers, all extensions of myself.
Doing more of what I liked to do gave me a sense of self-worth and empowered me to take charge of my life. This carried over into my dancing and my choreography. I realized the struggles along the way were necessary, as well as all the various jobs I once had. The falling-down process turned out to be a good lesson, and contributed to my artistic voice.
Currently, I have a pick-up dance company and a very busy practice in Jin Shin Jyutsu®, with two offices in Connecticut and New York City. Helping dancers with their injuries has been the most rewarding, but helping to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit with all populations of people has been my mission. This is how I supplement my dance career, but it is also my passion that will span throughout my life. I integrate Jin Shin Jyutsu® into my working process in the studio; whereby, all my dancers learn the art and how to help themselves.
A quote from Martha Graham in a letter to Agnes de Mille reads, “You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” She must have known that from all that contracting, expansion was right around the corner! In short, dance when you can, and when you are not, rely on your skills, competency and heart to get you through.
Founder of Adams Company Dance