" 'Excellence is a habit' is written on a star shaped paper weight I was given at our senior dinner the year I graduated from NJDTE. I aimed to live by this mantra when I started my studies at GMU!" - Lauren Stucko
It feels like a dream. Or as my GMU director, Susan Shields, who has also performed the role of pink girl with Lar, would call it "Sublime". I am very grateful for being a part of such a legendary work. Not a week goes by that I don't think of my experiences that have led me to this point in my life. This experience has inspired and motivated me each day to step into the studio and reach towards excellence.
We have been working on Brahms since the audition in October. Ginger Thatcher has worked closely with us ever since selecting the group of dancers. The process happened within 3 residencies; the first involved learning the full 24-minute work, the second was in preparation for GMU's gala, in which Lar Lubovitch himself accompanied Ms. Thatcher.
Ms. Thatcher will now return to work with us in preparation for The Joyce Theater performances in New York City.
To be privately coached by Lar for hours was and will always be the most memorable, extraordinary moment in my dance career so far. His intuition, choreographic intelligence and appreciation for the dancers in space is unlike any other artist I have had the pleasure to be in the presence of. During the rehearsal process, since October, the piece really evolved, and when Lar Lubovitch visited our GMU studios, the movement and everything changed. It was magical.
While at NJDTE, I was able to learn from some wonderful artists, and two of those individuals included Elisa Clark and Kate Skarpetowska, who both happen to be former dancers and assistants to Lar Lubovitch. I remember taking their classes and intuitively feeling so in love with Lar's movement. It was a pivotal moment in my training when I thought I want to dance this type of movement. At that time, I was young and a high school student who had plenty of aspirations and dreams for myself in the dance world. I believe 100% that all of the artistic opportunities I have had the chance to experience at NJDTE and elsewhere prepared me and organically led me to successfully audition and achieve such an amazing role as Pink Girl in "A Brahms Symphony."
I wanted to be a dancer ever since I began taking classes at a young age. However, it was not always easy. I was typically an understudy, and did not have a lot of confidence in myself, but felt determined to persevere, and work hard. NJDTE alum success stories inspired me so much. I knew I wanted the performance life, to travel the world and so much more but knew it would take work. I had many goals and determination was a driving force. I signed myself up for classes, intensives, workshops, and anything that could further my progression and become the dancer I aspired to be. Four years ago, I would never imagine performing the lead in Lar Lubovitch's work at the Joyce Theater.
So dancers, excellence is a habit. Persevere even if you don't think you are the best, make connections, dance your hardest in class, be attentive in rehearsals, stay open and who knows, maybe you will be getting interviewed one day for the role you landed! Thank you Ms. Turano for instilling so many skills in me that I carry with me day to day and for encouraging high standards that can absolutely be lived up to if you try your best.