Rainbows In The Calm, Disco Balls In The Storm. The Backstage Blog with Lauren Ritchie

I’m a HUGE fan of today’s Backstage Blog guest, and I’m guessing a lot of your dancers, dance educators, and SOs (Studio Owners) are as well, because this guest brings us amazing interviews and insights on her podcast, The Dance Podcast.

Today I get to chat with Lauren Ritchie, the voice behind many candid, honest, and inspiring conversations in The Dance Podcast. I think Lauren’s mission with her podcast is so, so great, and fell in love with her a little more when hearing her response to my question of her preference of disco balls or rainbows (hence the title for today’s blog).

Ready for an open and honest heart to heart about the joys and frustrations of dance?! Let’s Go!

KC: What's your earliest memory of dance?

LR: I have been in the studio since I was a baby. My older sister danced and I couldn’t get enough of the music, energy and movement. I remember, at about 4 years old, being allowed to stretch with the Sr Jazz class and I LOVED it! I was convinced I was doing exactly what they were doing and I was only a year away from dancing with them! I also remember having my mind blown when they got to wear dangling earrings with their “Groove is in the Heart” Jazz costume.

KC: What's your background with dance?

LR: I have trained and examined in RAD ballet, and been a lifelong competitive dancer in jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theatre and modern.

KC: Was it love at first plie?

LR: Love at first tune.

KC: How did you get into dance?

LR: My sister loved it and my parents (thankfully) were in a position to support and encourage us.

KC: What's your favorite thing about it?

LR: I love the blending dichotomies of dance - the sport and art, soft and strong, emotional and technical. We get to explore every emotion, shape, story and breath that exists in us.

KC: Who are your dance heroes, and why?

LR: They range though disciplines, ages, and stages. I love Stacey Tookey - she was a Sr when I was a Jr - and her heart and work ethic still inspire me. I have MAD respect for the giants like Fosse and Graham who have influenced all of us.

KC: Tell us about your blog, The Dance Podcast

LR: The Dance Podcast is a weekly podcast dedicated to sharing big dreams, big let downs and authentic conversations with some of North America's most successful dancers.

I had a rough transition into the professional world of dance . I was SO confused about where to start and what my options were. I desperately wanted help and mentorship. I flailed and failed many times over as I tried to "figure out my life". My journey came with physical, emotional and mental bruises.

As I navigated my way through the emotional traumas and physical changes, I started to identify all of the missed educational and “truth talk” opportunities that didn’t happen with mentors, teachers and parents.

And, now that I work with younger dancers, I noticed that their confusion and craving  for mentorship was the same as mine. There are so many options and so many paths to consider that it can be paralyzing when considering dance as a career.

Through stories, advice, and REAL, candid conversations - the DANCE PODCAST interviews dancers, choreographers, agents, performing arts executives, sport psychologists and industry professionals to help empower the next generation of dancers!

KC: What's one of your goals in your work?

LR: To remind dancers of their strengths & uniqueness as we pursue areas and abilities that shatter their current reality. I see the possibilities and potential in every dancer - so I encourage all of us to show up in with clarity, conviction and love in class, on stage and in their life. When we do - it’s pure magic!!!

KC: What's one of your favorite funny or heart-warming stories about dance, or your podcast?

LR: My biggest podcast learning is that EVERY SINGLE dancer has a story full of trials, rejection, love and optimism. Carlo Atienza sharing his coming out story, Taylor Jacobs sharing his anxiety and depression through a massive commercial career, Jo-Artis inspiring us about the culture of Krump, Kathryn McCormick speaking to the truth about our brilliant souls beyond dance, Mickela Mallozzi creating the career of her travelling and dancing dreams - literally too many…..

KC: Are there any cliches or preconceptions about dance you try to correct in your work?

LR: So many!

We don’t have to be starving artists, but we do have to lean the new skill set of business.

Nobody has the same path - mentorship is incredibly valuable but you will not follow anyone’s exact career choices. Your options, choices and timing will be different and only you can do the work.

Social media popularity is the ultimate of success (a myth held by most of our younger dancers).

KC: Is there one thing you think the dance community needs more of, less of, or to get better at?

LR: More: Support for each other’s work - with no expectations for a return. Cheer load, champion on and show up for each other.

Less: Comparison. Focus on your lane, your body, your artistry.

Better at: Sharing best business practices and financial requirements that are required in our show business

KC: What's next for you and your business? Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?

LR: Big things are happening over the next few years!

I am finishing my Masters program (specializing in mental skills training) to offer teachers and dancers a resource that encourages mental health and fitness as much as physical. I offer workshops, nationally and internationally, that help dancers and teachers tap into the brain, use what we know about optimizing our physical and mental potential, and use better communications to help us in and out of the studio.

The Dance Teacher reTREAT continues to grow and be an amazing weekend for teachers and The Dance Podcast will continue to be a resource of inspiration, authenticity and diversity within our dance community.

And now, just for funsies…

KC: Burritos or tacos?

LR: Fajitas!

KC: Legwarmers or ballet skirts?

LR: Legwarmers

KC: Disco balls or rainbows?

LR: Rainbows in calm, Disco balls in the storm

KC: Center Stage or Flashdance?

LR: Centre Stage…. I mean… red point shoes never looked the same

KC: One word to describe yourself?

LR: Animated

BIG thank you to Lauren for sharing her insight and time with us, and if you haven’t already, go check out her podcast now! It’s full of amazingness, and I don’t want you to miss out on it!

Now, Lauren and I want to hear from YOU! Are you a rainbow, or disco ball kinda dancer? Let us know in the comments below!