MEET AMY HOLIHAN, CULTIVATOR OF THE “CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION” BLOG:

Over the past two years, many dancers, choreographers, and critics have had the chance to elaborate on experiences in their art form through the Conversations on Dance podcast. Former ballet dancers Rebecca King Ferraro and Michael Sean Breeden have led wonderful in-depth talks with some of the most influential dance artists of today and shared insights on the realities of creating new work, navigating a modern day ballet company, the individual experience of being a dancer, retiring, starting anew, and more.

Creators have a natural inclination to constantly question. They try to reason what things mean, how to explain things, and who may be interested in similar inquiries. Dancing demands this interrogation, art demands it, and life demands it. It is no secret that creating can be scary, confusing, and hard as hell, which is precisely why conversations with those who have the audacity to create through art can be so interesting.

After spending many years as a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet, I can relate to Rebecca and Michael’s own experiences as professional ballet dancers that fed a curiosity to talk about things with their peers near and far. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English shortly after finishing my career with Pennsylvania Ballet. It’s with this knowledge of my own strengths and passions that I introduce a written component to accompany the Conversations on Dance podcast. I wanted to give other dancers the chance to write about their experiences with complete freedom.

Dancing can contain and reveal a lot, tell a previously unshared story, and be an articulate language for communication. But, if you’re like me you may find that you need something else to complement dancing and in turn, you fiercely explore other mediums to find and share your voice. Through the years, and this constant search, I’ve discovered I am a ballet dancer with a great affinity for words. To some it may seem ironic that many dancers find an outlet in writing, but understanding that the work of a dancer often stifles one’s voice, you’ll see the draw of pen and paper. To play with timing, inflection, phrasing, delivery, and emotion, you could be dancing, speaking, or writing.

In the midst of the “Me Too” movement, which at its heart empowers people to speak up and tell their stories, I want to hear more from the community I’ve been part of for most of my life. This is a space to hear from dancers in a medium that holds a mirror to the soul and can be as reflective as dancing. In addition to the regular podcast content you’ve come to know and love from Conversations On Dance, here you’ll get the chance to read, see, and hear more from dancers around the world. Both beautiful and ugly, mundane and extraordinary, I look forward to sharing more humanity, more art, and more conversations with you.

Banner Photo by Michael Holden

 

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