Alright, so 2014 is winding down and like everyone it’s a good time to reflect. I can say with all sincerity that 2014 has been the most powerful, transformative and exciting year of my life – thus far. In 2013 I embraced risk, I quit my job, I moved halfway around the world and I chose to walk away from projects that brought we tremendous joy but all with an eye to focusing on my personal skills, well being and art. 2014 has ended up a pastiche of unimaginable accomplishments. Things I never dreamed for myself…that’s something. I spent many mornings, many moments thinking “I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing”. I recognize how precious that is.
In 2014, I taught more than 120+ hours of lindy hop and burlesque. I met a record number of people and struck many deep rooted and meaningful friendships. I debuted in two international burlesque festivals, I performed in five countries and was sought out for the first time in my cabaret and lindy hop career. I graced the pages of a national UK magazine, the iconic stage of Madame Jojo’s in Soho, ate late night Punjabi deli with a Carnby Preacher in New York, rode in a Fiat Convertible in Northern Ontario with a cabaret showgirl, made cobbler with old time newly engaged friends, ate brunch with occasion-inducing lindy hop instructors, watched my best friend get married by Sable Beach and celebrated with many bottles of bubbles.
After years of struggling to get into a masters program, I not only completed my Masters but graduated with distinction. I had the opportunity to live in San Francisco and align with so many old and new friends, for which I am so grateful.
London is my new home and cannot replace Toronto, or those people, but it definitely feels like exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. I feel like I’m becoming my best self here. My long time dance ambitions have life, vibrancy and voice here! In a way that I never imagined. I’m so inspired, excited and ready for what will come next.
There have been so many quiet moments of fear, uncertainty, longing, heartache and unsureness. I have felt overwhelmed. I have missed hugs, or kind words from good friends. I have felt far and sickness in the pit of my stomach. I have friends going through incredible challenge and I feel powerless and all I can do is be present as best I can through Facebook, Twitter, text, Skype and Facetime. But these feelings are normal, expected, necessary. My friend Nikola always says that when your heart grows it’s bound to ache a bit. In these moments, I always try to slow down, be grateful, be kind and be indulgent with myself.
This weekend, I attended a day’s worth of workshops for my new job in Harrow and at St. Joseph’s Hospice. Seeing 120 six year old kids totally mesmerized by an orchestra concert with Dame Felicity Lott and it reminded me why we create art – to broker music experience and the process of bringing people together. To create magic and community. In many ways lindy hop feels the same way. It has the same impact on my heart. On Sunday, in front of many of my dance students I won the solo charleston contest at our Christmas Ball (a personal first). I still remember in 2009 going in for back surgery and thinking….will I be able to dance again and that fear. What a triumph! It felt like an affirmation that I am on the right path and that 2015 will bring challenge and previously unattainable chance.
Things I learned in 2014:
People are home.
If I focus on my own personal vision, magic happens.
Others believe in my artistic gifts – am I ready to pursue them with drive, focus and fervour?
If I listen to my gut and it will steer me well.
Worrying less is often better.
Kindness is mandatory.
I make no excuses or apologies for loving you all boldly, with my whole heart.
Gratitude trumps shitty days always.
Alignment makes more sense then chance.
For 2015 I wish you:
Walks in the woods.
A favourite new dress or pair of shoes.
And many moments with those who bring out the best in you.
I’m ready to fall in love with 2015 and for 2015 to fall in love with me. After my graduation, I remember looking at my parents and saying, “this doesn’t feel like an end, it feels like a beginning.” I’m so excited friends to see where this adventure goes and to connect with you along the way.
To my friends, family, fellow students, dance students, teaching partners, dancing partners, work colleagues, peers and worldwide community…for what has been the most insightful year in my life to date, thank you. My heart is open and I’m ready. Happy new year to you.