Exclusive Interview with Lyndsey Arorash – Dancer
Lyndsey is a professional dancer from Bermuda. She has trained in many styles and is known to be a well-rounded dancer. At the age 14, she decided to showcase herself to prestigious schools in the states. Due to her talent and dedication, she was accepted into Joffrey Ballet School, in the Jazz and Contemporary 4 year program in New York City. During her time at Joffrey she was able to work with many established faculty and choreographers such as Rena Butler (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, winner of 2019 Princess Grace Award), and Joanna Numata (Step Up 3D and I AM LEGEND) who all helped her understand and find her strengths as a contemporary and commercial dancer. Lyndsey then also was able to study at Peridance Center under the direction of Igal Perry. Here she was able to make more connections with teachers and choreographers such as Alex Anderson (NDT 2 and 2013 award winner of both Princess Grace Foundation and Dizzy Feet Dance Foundation).
Lyndsey has been privileged to have worked with many choreographers and have roles that showcase her talent, both on film and stage. She has been featured in an award winning film Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance (featuring Debbie Allen, winner of three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe), and Choreographers Carnival (has had guest appearances from Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul and Missy Elliot). Some other important performances include Dumbo Dance Festival (recognized as New York’s most prestigious gathering of pioneering choreography and creativity), Harlem Arts Festival (also had a performance by Timothy Bloom, wrote songs for Ne-yo and Chris Brown), Queensboro Dance Festival (performed at the US Open Qualifiers),made a guest appearance with Humans Collective to perform a solo at Street Spectrum (choreographed by Lauren Cox, debuted her performance poetry at Tedx Asbury Park), and Jennifer Muller’s HATCH series. Lyndsey had the chance to assist Sekou McMiller for Ailey Voices and Visions. While assisting him, he gave her a key role in the piece and even had her run some of the rehearsals. In 2016, under the direction of Lauren Cox, Lyndsey danced in the evening length piece Symbioh which was showcased at three different locations around New York. She has also performed in Jersey in works by Nijawwon Matthews and Hana Kozuka.
Lyndsey was grateful to receive scholarships during her time at both Joffrey Ballet School and Peridance Center, showing that both schools wanted her to stay and be a part of their successful programs. In 2014 she travelled to Florida to compete in the NUVO Dance Convention, where she won a gold award. One of the world-renowned dancers and choreographers to judge her dedication and talent was Travis Wall (Emmy Award winner, MTV Video Music Awards).
Lyndsey is a gifted choreographer and has also had a chance to teach in New York and her hometown Bermuda. Some of her choreography credits include choreographing for Young Choreographers Festival, where she was one of the few chosen to present work out of hundreds of applicants. Also Uptown Rising Performance Series where her piece won audience favorite. Lyndsey is eager and thrilled to continue to grow her career in the US, and be continuously inspired as a performer and person.
NY Glam: How do you stay up to date with Dancing?
When Covid first hit it was honestly hard for me to feel motivated to dance and even watch it. I kind of fell out of love with it in a way, which is ok. We all need breaks sometimes to recharge and listen to ourselves and our bodies for what we need. But I feel like that’s when you know you truly love it, when you’re able to find your way back to it.
Recently I have been trying to watch more dance performances whether it is now in person or online. I have also been trying to take some dance classes with teachers and choreographers who I admire and look up to as well. I find it is also important to even just dance at home. Staying connected and in tune with your body, whether you are creating your own movement or improving home alone or with friends.
NY Glam: Do you have your own choreography?
Yes! In 2018 I was a part of Young Choreographer’s Festival performed at Symphony Space, produced by Emily Bufferd. My piece was named Conflicted, and it was about my own take on something personal I have experienced in my life. I also had a piece of mine named Secure* in the 2018 show Uptown Rising Series at Bridge For Dance Studios, produced by Robert Redick. This piece was based on being vulnerable and how everyone has their own insecurities, and how they can choose how they treat others based on how secure they feel within themselves. Since then I have mainly been choreographing at home on myself while I am continuing to look for projects to submit my work into.
NY Glam: What are your goals as a Dancer?
My biggest goal currently is to be able to stay in the states and continue to pursue this career path, and do what I love. That is the main thing right now, but of course I would just want to be happy in this industry. It can be so easy to get into your head and allow perfectionism to change the way you feel about yourself. As a dancer it is my ultimate goal to be happy with who I am so I can genuinely be able to connect to those who support and watch me. Other goals include inspiring others while I continue to be inspired, and working with people who make me feel comfortable in a space but push me to become a better version of myself. As well as making new connections and being able to perform and help people in any way I can.
NY Glam: What does Dancing mean to you?
Dancing is a form of expression and communication. It is a relationship with yourself, the other dancers and the audience. It is a way to inspire and be inspired. I find dancing to be healing and it can save people. Knowing dance is an outlet for myself and others just shows it’s something that is always there for you to come back to. Dance is a constant in life. You don’t have to be a professional dancer to dance and that is something I find to be beautiful about it. Dance can help anyone connect because even just walking could be considered a dance, or even waving. Dancing to me is showing appreciation for your body and yourself. We dance to feel good and to get into a better mindset. Knowing this, when we dance, we are helping ourselves heal.
NY Glam: How would you describe your Dancing style?
“Fluid like water” is what comes to mind when I think of my dancing. Focusing on the seamlessness of the movements while being subtle and internal. Like water, I find my emotions to come as waves. It’s constant and some are harsher than others. I find myself to be technical while also trying to find off-balance suspension.
When choreographing, I see steps in my mind, and then I try to create or write down what I see. I lean towards relatable struggles or stories mainly between people. Specifically, something I have experienced myself. This is to draw the audience in and have them remember a similar time or create their own.
NY Glam: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
I would say the biggest accomplishment is being told that I inspire someone. Being a performer who tries to connect to the audience trying to make a genuine impact and connection, hearing something like that is what keeps me going. Hearing I am an inspiration to someone inspires me to keep going knowing that I can make a difference and that I made them feel something.
Also the moment I found out my piece was accepted into Young Choreographer’s Festival is a moment I won’t forget. Those were times where I doubted myself often and I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of me submitting my piece for the show. I remember clearly, my morning ballet class was ending and I looked at my email and saw it saying my piece was accepted. I couldn’t wipe my smile off my face for the whole day. Also my whole experience being a part of the film ‘Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance,’ directed by Khadifa Wong. That film is so beautifully put together and it is so important to watch. To anyone who hasn’t seen it, I would definitely say you should, you won’t regret it!
NY Glam: What skills are important for a successful career in choreography or Dancing?
One of the most important things in my opinion would be mindset and understanding. Meaning you are aware of your body and your strengths. Also one of my biggest things is being sure of yourself. This will allow you to know and remind yourself that you are worthy of being in the room with so many people we can often think are so much better than we are (personally have experienced this). Knowing your worth and who you are as a person allows you to grow and believe you are worthy of being in the room or studio because you are there for a reason.
Being able to communicate is also important. It is something I’m also still actively working on. It can be hard because as a dancer we often prefer to communicate through our movement. Being able to communicate verbally can allow us to continue to grow our connections and verbalize what we want. Especially trying to choreograph on other people. Everyone understands different things better for themselves. So being able to communicate differently to people can not only help you, but can also help others connect with you and understand what you are wanting from them. This can also help allow you to understand someone else’s struggles and what they need.
If you have passion for what you love to do, nothing can stop you. So many people are going to try to drag you down and tell you anything that isn’t true, just to mess with you. Having passion will help you strive to look past that and keep working hard at what you look forward to doing every day. Even if you get tired of it at some point because of how mentally, physically and emotionally demanding it can be, the passion for it will always help you find your way back to it. Which I think is such a beautiful thing because no one can take that away from you. Especially if you are determined, because that shows you that you have the power to push past anything to truly get to where you want to be.
NY Glam: What are your favorite stores for inspiration?
I find inspiration through people who have been through so much in their lives and are still choosing to live life with love and generosity. Even those random people walking on the street who just smile at you just because. It shows that giving love and happiness can make you feel like you received it as well. Even if you have no clue how much that other person needs it. Little things like that can inspire me to do better and want to do better.
Also friends, family and teachers inspire me to be my best self. Without their support and love I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Family for being there since the beginning of my journey, and being there to show love and support. Friends who have watched me grow into a different, more healthy and happy person. Always there for me and willing to listen with no judgment and only love. All the teachers that watched me grow as a dancer from when I first moved to New York to now, and still being there for me and willing to lend a helping hand. Incredibly thankful for them.
I also find inspiration through nature. Nature is in constant motion, reminding me that things are never-ending. Specifically the moon. The moon goes through phases, reminding me that everything is a cycle and having patience is a gift. Being able to acknowledge your changes and allowing yourself to shed and release things that no longer serve you, in order to move onto the next phase in your life.
NY Glam: What are you currently working on?
Currently in the process of applying for a visa so I can stay and continue dancing in New York.
I also have performances coming up on September 10th, on the Restart Stages at Lincoln Center. The performance is called IMPERFECT, featuring Drew Dollaz and Steve Connell. It is inspired by a social media campaign to address the effects of bullying and trauma. Ensemble work with Drew Dollaz, original works by spoken word artist Steve Connell and creative direction by Chisa Yamaguchi (Sozo Artists Inc.).
Some links to find out more about the performance:
NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
I used to try to watercolor paint a lot. I also had fun with face painting on my friends (if they allowed me to). Other than that and dancing I mainly just try to sit by a pier to find different ways to be creative. When I am in that setting that is when I would usually try to choreograph, by watching other people and how they interact and the calmness of the water. I would also listen to music and find ways with how what I’m listening to can complement what is going on around me.
NY Glam: How has your work evolved since you began Dancing?
Since I began dancing my sense of self has evolved in so many ways that I never imagined possible. I am so much more confident in who I am as a person and as a dancer, and that has allowed me to dive into my work with a different mindset and perspective. I feel like if you compared my work to when I first started to now, you could see how much my movements have matured. After spending years trying to understand myself and my body (and continuing to do so), I am able to find new shapes, dynamics and stories to show through movement.
NY Glam: Your motto in life?
Everything is happening for me, not to me.
I used to be so caught up in everything that was going “wrong” in life and just anything that wouldn’t make me happy or fulfilled. It got to the point where I would feel depressed and didn’t think anything was actually going right. Especially being in the dance industry, it can be so easy to compare yourself and wonder why some things aren’t happening for you like they are for others.
Once I started thinking about everything is happening for me, not to me, things started to click. I started feeling more grateful for things and was able to focus my energy on all the good that was already in my life. I found thinking like this also helped with my overthinking and anxiety. Since I have started thinking this way, my mental health has changed drastically for the better, even though it took a while to change my mindset. But the work and effort I put into it and myself was definitely worth it. Also with the help of meditation and mindfulness.
NY Glam: What is your advice for aspiring young Dancer?
So many people say this but it is so important, STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF. The world needs individuals who aren’t afraid to authentically be themselves. We often see performers and are in awe with what we see and of course we let them inspire us and our movement. Which is great! But once we try to change ourselves to please other people, whether it be physically or just the way we dance, we lose who we are not only as dancers but also as people. Staying true to who you are will not only inspire others around you to do the same, but it will help you grow to understand who you are and what you want in life. We are all different for a reason, because we all have something great to bring to the table and into the studio. Live this life for you.
Also don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from people/teachers. They are there to help you. Whether it be in class or outside of class. Learning to speak up for yourself will not only help you be able to grow your craft, but it can also help you build lifelong connections and friendships.
NY Glam: What’s next for the 2021-2022?
I am in the works of applying for my artist visa for next year and the years to follow. After that it will be full force on looking for dance jobs and submitting work for performance opportunities. Continuing to work on myself so I can continue to do what I love and what I want to do in life, while being healthy and having a healthy mindset.
NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website
A website is currently in the works but you can find me at @lyndseyaa on Instagram.