Lyndsey Arorash has been making waves in the world of professional dance since the very start of her career. Relocating to New York from her home country of Bermuda at the age of 14, Arorash quickly settled into an elite community of dancers, teachers, and choreographers.
She has worked alongside the likes of Igal Perry, Alex Anderson, Debbie Allen, Tracie Stanfield, Rena Butler, Joanna Numata, and Lauren Cox, all of whom have made their mark on professional dance.
In addition to performing in numerous high-profile shows and festivals in New York and beyond, Arorash is also a choreographer, selected from hundreds of applicants to choreograph work for the Young Choreographers Festival.
Arorash has made it abundantly clear that she has something special to share with dance industry professionals and audiences, and it’s our pleasure to have Arorash as our guest today.
If you read on, you’ll get to see what Arorash has to say about the nature of dance, going pro, and so much more.
In your opinion, what is dance all about?
Arorash: Dance is the freedom to be your true self. You’re given the opportunity to move your body and allow the movements to release any negative emotions or feelings you’re experiencing, or carrying around with you. Dance allows you to dig deep and become one with music and the others around you.
It also helps connect you with yourself, helping you understand yourself better. Dance lets you tell your own story without words, letting audiences follow along, letting them relate to the story you’re trying to tell. It also has the power to heal.
Of your many professional performances, which of them felt like a turning point for your career?
Arorash: The turning point for my career would have to be what started it all for me: having my choreography chosen for the Young Choreographers Festival. This showcase presents the work of the country’s up-and-coming young choreographers in all genres of dance.
This performance process was inspiring. They put us directly in contact with established professionals. They provided us with a mentor to help us throughout the process, private workshop classes, a Talk Back Panel, and rehearsal space. My mentor was Tracie Stanfield who is an award-winning choreographer, educator, creative consultant, and the Founder/Artistic Director of SynthesisDANCE in New York City.
What has it been like to work with so many notable choreographers?
Arorash: Working with so many notable choreographers has been phenomenal. Some of these choreographers include Nijawwon Matthews, Lauren Cox, and Sekou McMiller. These choreographers, and many more, have the kind of approach where you can see they genuinely care about you.
They have so much knowledge to share that it’s hard to not want to just sit down with them and listen to them speak about dance and their experiences. They give you a challenge because they can see your potential, even if you can’t. These are the kind of classes that you know you will take a lot from and leave feeling fulfilled. It has truly been a life-changing experience being taught by and dancing with all the notable choreographers I have come in contact with.
You’re a dance teacher as well. Have your teaching experiences changed your view of your own performances in any way?
Arorash: I would say being a dance teacher myself, my experiences in my own performances have changed. I am definitely able to sympathize with my choreographers and teachers more. The patience and skill they have are inspiring. The teachers and choreographers I have had the pleasure to work with are examples of what I constantly work towards. I believe everyone is a student, and I am constantly observing and learning how to better myself, my dancing, my teaching styles, and my methods.
Working across various dance styles, do you ever have to put yourself in a different state of mind when switching, such as when switching from contemporary to jazz or vice versa?
Arorash: I wouldn’t necessarily say I have to put myself in a different state of mind to switch styles, unless I was working on two performances and one piece was somber and the other was the complete opposite. In that case, I would just take a moment to myself, close my eyes, and take a couple of deep breaths. This would help me calm down and allow me to focus and have a different mindset. However, if it’s just different styles in a class setting, I feel like my body and movement tend to naturally switch.
What’s something unique that you’re contributing to the contemporary dance scene?
Arorash: I believe everyone has something to bring to the table. My movement style is water-like, almost seamless. I have a raw and genuine approach to my movement and to people in the dance scene. I’m a very observant person and dancer. This allows me to pick up choreography fast and it helps me execute the style and movement quality choreographers are looking for.
I strive to help others in the dance community, helping them feel comfortable with who they are as people and ensuring that they don’t allow others’ opinions to affect how they grow as dancers and as people.
Is watching other dancers, whether in-person or online/TV, an important part of your process?
Arorash: I would say watching other dancers, whether it be in-person or online is definitely beneficial. Not only does it help inspire you, but it can also inform you about what is going on in the dance world.
At a certain point, watching other dancers can tend to make you compare yourself, but at the end of the day, we watch dance to support, feel a sense of freedom, and ultimately become happier and feel inspired by what we see. Watching other dancers also helps me be more creative. Seeing movements I’ve never seen before helps me visualize dance phrases that I have yet to witness.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with young, aspiring dancers just getting started?
Arorash: Keep your individuality. In this industry, it can be hard at times, due to how we can often be compared to others. Our individuality is what helps us stand out and it also helps us stay true to who we are as people and artists.
As long as you are willing to consistently learn and grow, then there’s no stopping you. Of course, there will be people you come across who might not have the best intentions, but it’s up to you how you let them affect you.
Remember you’re not alone. Your teachers and choreographers want the best for you. You’d be surprised how much easier things can get once you let them in. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people who inspire you.