Friday, May 3, 2013

My First Dance: Jessica Ransom

1. What was your first experience with dance?

I am told that when I was three years old I attended my cousin's dance recital (in 1991). Since she's two years older than me, I always looked up to her. And so, if she danced, I wanted to as well. I was never in the same class as her, but I kept it up.

2. Is there an early dance experience that stands out in your memory?

It's not very early but when I was eighteen, I was cast as the Fairy Godmother in Huronia Dance Centre's Cinderella. I had a one-minute solo that felt like my first solo, even though my first one was earlier that year. Cinderella and the Cat were both on stage, so for some reason I didn't feel like all eyes would be on me. The lights were dim – it was night time in the scene, and the lighting felt magical. As I danced, I felt the world go completely still, like time didn't exist. There wasn't a peep from the audience – they went with me on this journey. I had never felt more serene dancing. Sometimes you dance for yourself, especially if the audience is distracted, but that time I danced for and with the audience. I never felt more relaxed being on stage. It was probably the first time I didn't care as much about the steps as I did about performing for the people in the sea of seats.

3. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger dancing self?Thank you for sharing, Jessica!Thank you for sharing, Jessica!

I would tell myself that technique is important for your safety, but it's more important to dance your heart out. I definitely became a technician of sorts, always being concerned about the lines and the proper way of doing things. I always thought I had to work on my technical skill to get better, but now I realize it was the obsession with technique that was holding me back. We all have our own journey and I suppose it's okay; I bloomed artistically later on in life.

4. How have you evolved as a dancer since that first experience with dance?

I can't begin to contemplate how much I've evolved since the age of three. But even in the past five years or so, even in the past 3 months! I've grown a lot as an artist and am putting the art, motivation and drive behind all of the movement at the top priority, rather than just doing it 'right'. I suppose I don't care as much for what I always thought 'technique' was. There are other forms of technique to help me get to where I'm going. People aren't going to pay to see how long you can hold your leg in second, they want to see you dance.

5. Off the top of your head, what are five words that describe dance to you?

Eternal, forgiving, love, evolving, journey. 

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