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What our writers are grateful for this Thanksgiving

Rachel Levitt and Nicole Decsey on what dance related things they are grateful for this Thanksgiving season.

Dance is the most important ingredient in my life. Without it, every day would lack something essential and I’d feel empty. So, as Thanksgiving rolls around, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of the flavours dance brings into both mine and Nicole's lives...

Rachel – Being able to dance, create and share throughout a pandemic

It is crazy to think that in a time where hope feels pressed down and fear is high that anyone is able to get off their couch (let alone dance), create new work, and put it out there to share with the world.

But we do and we are.

I am grateful to have had the opportunities to take Zoom, Instagram and YouTube classes with some of the top artists in the dance industry. I am grateful to have been able to launch two online shows, been commissioned to make a short dance film, participated in a new collective and produced new works I never would have done otherwise. My boundaries as a choreographer have never been so pushed.

Nicole – Dance Films

I never took as much interest in dance films as I did in live performances. But with quarantine and social distancing requirements, dance films have allowed me to continue practising my craft. Watching all of the beautiful and thought-provoking films being released has allowed me to be immersed in the art form I love so much and has made this time feel a little more normal and a little less isolating.

Watch Nicole in Dancing in a Time of Quarantine, choreographed by Rachel for Dance : Corps.

Also check out the bonus features below for some of Nicole's fave dance films!

R – The Global Dance Community

Without all the individuals coming together to create and share as a global community, the dance world would be an awfully lonely place. No matter where I go in life, I always know that I will never be lonely as long as I have a place to dance and people to dance with.

And that has carried over into quarantine.

There are dancers and teachers and choreographers who I’ve never met in person, but have now worked with or taken class with in this digital dance space. And the bonds you create in this peculiar time are oh so valuable in so many ways. If we can survive a pandemic together, what can’t we do?

N – Yoga Mat

Connecting with your breath, finding stability and strength, and learning to be okay with where you are at are only a few reasons why yoga is such a good practise for dancers.

It may be a funny thing to be thankful for, but I just got my first yoga mat recently and it is a game changer. No more doing yoga on a hardwood floor or the rug in my bedroom or a beach towel that I have to adjust every five seconds. I now have a beautiful purple yoga mat (my favourite colour) that makes me feel more confident as I take classes and use my breath to calm my senses. Namaste!

R – My Students

Above all, I am grateful to my students.

If I had to go through life without getting to see you grow and without getting to push you to be the best you can be and without getting to help you become the artist you were meant to be, my life would have a permanent void.

You are the reason I wake up in the morning, the reason I never give up working my hardest, the reason I learned new skills in a pandemic just so I would have more to share with you, the reason I accepted a Zoom summer teaching contract, the reason I teach with a mask in studio and sanitize my hands like crazy, the reason I stay in a country longer than a year just to be with you the next.

Everything I do is for you, and I am grateful to have a love so strong that it makes that decision worth it.

N – My Framed Pointe Shoes

I am a bit of a ballet nerd, and when I say a bit, I mean a lot.

When I was given my first set of pointe shoes, which were a gift from by grandmother’s best friend in Hungary, I cried. These shoes may not have fit just right, but to me they were even better than Cinderella’s slipper.

Since then, I have had many pointe shoes, one pair in particular are signed by Greta Hodgkinson, my ballet idol. But this first pair hold meaning for me that can never be overlooked. They signify my love for ballet and dance in general, my desire from a young age to be a professional dancer even if I didn’t know it yet and my deep roots in dance that my grandmother passed on to me. These ballet shoes are hanging on my wall in a beautiful frame that my grandfather made just for me, and every time I look at them I can’t help but smile.

Don’t worry, I plan to get the shoes signed by Greta Hodgkinson framed and on my wall soon too!



Nicole's Fave Dance Films...



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