I was still dancing, choreographing, and producing theater.
I had an agent to help me get commercial work, to support my free lance career. I was studying acting with the Sara Baker Actors Workshop classes.
I was still teaching ballet at influential post secondary institutions.
I didn’t get much commercial work. I was hopeless at Nivea cream and beer advertisements.
Oh – and here’s a true story!
I did an audition for a commercial in Toronto, didn’t get the job, moved to Los Angeles, and there, saw that commercial on television.
In the American version, the actress was not my competitor. I would have done a different shoot if I had won the job.
And a few days later this actress walked into a business I was working in!
Her name was Amanda Banks. The funny thing was, she looked down the rows of desks, to where I sat at the back. And she smiled and waved at me. Funny, huh?
And we talked and I told her how I knew her. She was friendly and said keep in touch.
All of this came to mind today while I was watching a British drama. Noticing a supporting actress. She has a small chin, and large teeth. I have seen her in a few series.
This lady would never get a job in North America, specifically, Hollywood.
When I was 32 years old and got an agent for film or television, she told me I should go to Paris. I just didn’t look like The Girl Next Door, which is how you won a role in US movies being produced in Canada. Yeah, I should go to Paris.
Not on the agenda. Work permits, etc., not easy to do. Unless you’re famous already.
I didn’t have a receding chin and big teeth, and I should have gone to London.
Now I’m a writer (so I say!) co-writing a series of novels about a young dancer who doesn’t have the perfect body, or the perfect connections, even though she is so close to Los Angeles.
And whose family has the money to send her to NYC, NBS, or other amazing ballet summer intensives, to excel, and make connections.
But Sedona doesn’t. Life is what happens when you’re making plans, right?
Her shocking detour is almost a year long. And after the “life is what happens when you’re making plans” ends, she resumes a time line that, at first, barely makes sense.
Going to London in 1982 is something that never happened for me. Yet, some days it seems like I am still trying to pick up from the that-didn’t-happen-timeline and make sense of things as they are now.
Have you ever had a moment when you thought or felt something akin to that?
...”Broadway went dark, opera houses across the country were forced to shutter and dance studios started closing down.”…
…”Dance artists are resilient. We show up for work sick. We dance through pain. We rehearse when cities shut down for holidays and weather. We survive on meager wages. When one job falls through, we use creative immediacy to develop new opportunities. I have always been extremely proud of the resilient attributes of those who work in the dance field, until last Friday.”…
…”Dancers are taught from a young age to push through physical challenges. And we also develop a thick skin to help us deal with the emotional hurdles presented to us throughout our careers. But the challenge with the resilient dancer mindset is that we don’t always think through our expression of toughness beyond the world of dance. We urgently push through situations that others wouldn’t even consider, perhaps due to the urgency of our shorter careers.”…
I remember when I and another dancer Cindy Fisher, many years ago, performed with pneumonia and bronchitis, over a two week period.
Backstage, we placed cough drops in designated spots, so we could pop them in our mouths as soon as we ran off stage. We bought different colors so we wouldn’t get them mixed up.
Because, no coughing like that backstage, right?
This week I go into the grocery store with a cough drop in my mouth. I have seasonal allergies and the pollen count is high.
I can just imagine the few folks in there scattering, if I were to break into a fit of coughing. I might be asked to leave!
We must shop, and some of us shop for others. We try to limit our outings.
I wear gloves. I wipe down everything I take off the shelves. I have sprayed the shopping cart with rubbing alcohol. I tell the bag girl “don’t touch my stuff!” and bag the produce myself.
She looks offended. Sorry.
I’m taking this food to someone who is always confined at home. We live in a town that doesn’t have a hospital – just a glorified ER unit.
My health insurance company emailed me to stay home, with no offer of a test for this Covid 19 virus. They have mailed me other lab tests, unsolicited, which I view as great marketing, and ignore them.
So where is my Covid 19 self-test? The lag in testing in the US, which I read described recently as “the first rich failed state”, is incomprehensible. The “we can do it better” attitude deplorably misplaced.
But that’s another topic. I wanted to share my thoughts about the resilience of dancers, and shared Barry Kerollis’ instead.
Jeannie lived and worked Before subsidized day care Before women were paid the 100 cent dollar (we’re still at 69 cents) Before we knew about pesticides and childhood leukemia She seemed a little stiff, a disciplined one She couldn’t wait to clean up
She made it WORK.
She ran for office in her own way.
She made a not-lived- in model home
She spot-checked and ironed
Her daughter died -even tho’ she learned
To clean EVERYTHING
why wouldn’t She want a perfect world – No fuss no muss. The thing is SHE DID IT. So whatever world we want LET’S DO IT. Maybe she’ll be on our team.
Jeannie Deporter Deceased 04-16-2009
Do you have material in a box somewhere too?
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