Position: Office Manager and Director of First Impressions
How long have you been working at SRL? Why SRL?
I’m SRL’s newest employee and I’ve only been here 3 months (and even with all the 2020 challenges, it’s been great so far!) I was inspired to join the team because 1) I had previously worked for a large corporation and knew I’d rather be a part of something on a smaller, more personal scale—especially working with a young, female business owner! 2) I missed being in a dance studio so much, and 3) I was completely blown away by the community Courtney’s created here. While there’s still an emphasis on hard-work, and discipline, SRL feels so much more supportive than many other dance studios I’ve been in. (I also love getting to work on the blog and put my writing skills to good use!)
How long have you been dancing? Why Irish dance?
First off: I’m the only person on staff who’s not an Irish dancer! While my mother’s side is certainly Irish, and many of my cousins did Irish dance, I didn’t know much about it until college, where I almost double majored in dance (one class short!) and learned about the anthropological significance of different forms of cultural dance. I danced from the time I was a toddler up until my senior year of college, though I left the competitive and performance track behind when I was 17 to concentrate on new goals (also, I was tired! I think the body knows what it can handle.)
What did you want to be when you grew up when you were little? Why?
I wanted to be a writer before I could write! There’s nothing I love more than books (don’t tell my dog or fiancé—though he probably knows,) and before I could even fully read my books, I would scribble in the million notebooks lining my shelves and read my “poems” and “stories” out loud to my parents. Luckily, my unchanging life goals are easy to keep working toward no matter how I’m employed, so I can work at SRL and keep writing.
Why do you think people dance?
I think every person in the world needs to find an outlet to express themselves and dance is such an evocative, full experience. It engages the body and the mind equally, while bringing collaborative elements like music (and even other dancers and communities) to make it even more of a shared experience. It’s communal as much as it’s personal, like all good art strives to be.
What are you interested in that most people aren’t?
EVERYTHING! By that I mean: there’s no topic I don’t want to know more about. My favorite thing in the world is learning something new, to enter a new world through books. All I truly want is to keep learning every day of my life. Luckily, there’s a whole world out there so I’m never going to run out.
What advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
There’s an Einstein quote I’ve always loved: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s that I stay with problems longer.” I was never the most talented dancer in the bunch, but I always made sure to work the hardest and achieve personal goals rather than goals I formed by watching other people. Every person’s body is different, just like everyone’s mind: if you’re frustrated and want to give up, forget everybody else and stay with the problem longer. Talent is overrated, give me hard work every time.
If you were a fictional character, which one would you be? Why?
This is like asking me to pick up favorite book: how do you pick a favorite kind of magic? When I was little, I used to literally dream (my poor mom had to comfort me when I woke up—a lot) I was Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. My dog’s name is even Harry Pawter! These days I probably connect the most the characters from Carmen Maria Machado’s work or the persona in Jenny Slate’s gorgeous essays. Highly recommend both for anyone who likes a very strange story!
What’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited? (Remember travel?!)
While I haven’t been able to travel everywhere I still want to go (that cancelled trip to Greece this past April still rubs,) I was lucky enough to have a mom who prioritized making sure I was exposed to as much of the world as she could swing. So, while I’ve loved every trip I’ve ever taken, I still feel so lucky I was able to spend a year of college living in London! I still miss working in the Camden Markets, wandering the parks, and the wonder of a year of studying at University College London in Bloomsbury, where so many great scholars, scientists, and writers have spent their days.
What’s the most important quality to have in life?
Kindness. You can have all the second most important qualities: hard-working, determined, constantly learning and growing…but to me, all of that is a waste if you’re not kind. I believe our worth isn’t determined by what we do that affects only ourselves, it’s determined by how we treat others. But—don’t forget to be kind to yourself too! You deserve that kindness as much as everyone else.
How has dance affected your everyday life?
While I’ve always been someone who knows how to work hard and push myself when it comes to mental exercise, dance showed me I could be physically strong, too. I think it’s an incredible motivator, for everyone, but girls especially, to know they can accomplish things the world may have deemed too difficult for them. The average person sees dancers as willowy little things, but dance takes incredible strength. Just because people don’t recognize something as strength doesn’t mean you can’t.
This post is part of a series. Read others to meet more of our staff (Codi, Bailey, and Courtney,) with another post to come! Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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