One of my earliest childhood memories is dancing with my shadow projected on the wall near the proscenium of the fine arts theatre in my hometown. Although I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, the outline my shadow created let me imagine it was a sequined red and pink leotard with a matching tulle skirt. My hair could be curly and piled high upon my head, and my shoes were the coveted shiny patent-leather tap shoes I just saw on stage.
I was probably three or four years old at my older sister’s dance recital and I wanted nothing more than to join the other costumed kids.
As I got older, I finally had the opportunity to take dance lessons and once I started high school I moved on to “drama” class, which I stuck with throughout all 4 years. From there, I was on a trajectory to make acting my life by spending a rigorous 4 years earning my BFA in Theatre Performance where I also found a love for playwriting.
It was near the end of my collegiate studies that I was unsure of what to do next: go straight to Los Angeles, or build a résumé outside of university productions. I wanted to be in Hollywood movies, and like many fellow actors I would practice an Academy Awards speech. I would day dream about the kind of films I’d act in and who my co-stars would be, how my interviews on late-night television would go, or what kind of dresses I’d wear on the red carpet. Instead I moved to San Francisco and after my first year, I came across a 2 year program with The Meisner Technique Studio. During these two years, my appreciation for the craft grew tremendously and I wasn’t so interested in a dream of red carpets, acceptance speeches, and television premiers.
While some of my classmates pursued L.A., I struggled once again with what I wanted to do. I had worked on this since high school, so why not follow suit? The more I thought about L.A, the more I didn’t want to go. My dreams and goals had become much more personal. As soon as I moved to New York, I started writing more material and collaborating with friends to put on our own productions. This of course led to Hana and I starting Actor For Actor, which in itself has evolved with Hana’s move to Los Angeles.
I am now at another evolution of my dream, but this time I’m going with the flow. Like Hana, I am moving away from New York, but not all the way to the California coast. Rather I’m going back to where it all started: New Mexico. Ten years ago, I would have seen this as a failure or a compromise to something more worthy. That kind of thinking is what kills us.
If you’re at a crux in your artistic career, please remember to be kind to yourself and allow your dreams to change and evolve as you grow.