Todd Rosenlieb Dance

TRD Company: Life as a Dancer – On Performing & Teaching

  • November 9, 2015

Life as a Dancer at TRD – Performing and Teaching

by Cheyenne Collins

I love when people ask me what I do; it is always interesting trying to explain.  For me, it is truly a dream come true to be able to perform and make a living doing what I love and have loved since I was very young.

When I get the common question, my response is: I am a professional dancer and I also teach dance.  It is usually answered by an inquisitive look and maybe an eyebrow raise.  I will then go into more detail, explaining that I take a ballet or modern technique class Monday through Friday 9:00- 10:30am, then rehearse for the shows that we put on, from 10:45-1:00pm.  Most days, after that I have a couple of hours free to meet up with friends for lunch and do all my errands before teaching commences in the afternoon.  Most professional dancers supplement their earnings by teaching dance, to students ranging in age from youth to adults at local studios.  It is a great way to give back to not only the community, but to the dance world by molding and shaping the minds of young dancers.

If you asked me which I preferred, performing versus teaching, I would not know how to answer.  I have a passion for both, so incredibly much.  For me, the biggest gift of performing is in its extreme demand of presence.  You HAVE to be in the moment because usually time spent on stage is insignificantly less than the endless hours spent preparing in the studio.  There is also the excitement – and a little stress – of getting everything correct when it really counts.  My favorite part, though, is the moment when I come onstage to take my final bow.  I know that whether the show was seamless or flawed, it was the best I could do then and there.

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Teaching dance also stokes a fire within my soul.  I have always loved helping people whenever I can.  If there is a way to do something that I know and feel would help someone else accomplish the same task, I cannot help but share it.  I love the rewarding feeling of witnessing a student make a connection I had been talking about for weeks and maybe months.  To see their brain flicker on and understand a concept in order to execute a certain movement is remarkable.  They feel it too, which is the best part; they know they accomplished the task and now can build on that.  I take many corrections from my favorite teachers over the years and try my best to implement the ideas I felt most helpful.  My approach is to teach students to be clear and concise with their thought processes, which will then translate to their body movement.

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It’s a great balance between my time in the teacher role and as the student.  I love that I am able to be a dancer and to take what I learn (about technique or performance) when I’m in the studio in the morning to my students in the evenings.

I am so grateful for all that dance has brought me to this point and will never take it for granted.