What’s Your Dance Good Luck Charm?
Dancers often have some kind of pre-performance ritual, be it a specific warm-up, a getting-ready routine, a playlist. And, sometimes, a good luck charm. Maybe it’s a pendant that’s been passed down, a photo of a loved one, a first pair of pointe shoes, or even a song that must be played before going onstage. Whatever it may be, dancers’ good luck charms bring dancers comfort and ease, putting them in a mindset for a great performance.
Here, we ask many top dancers and choreographers, “What is your good luck charm?”
Alexis Juliano, dancer/actor/choreographer, So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 “My good luck charm is a ring that I got from the Farmers Market in New Orleans about four years ago. At the time of purchasing the ring, I didn’t think of it as a good luck charm. A year later, though, I auditioned for the show So You Think You Can Dance, and the ring was on my finger. Ever since that moment, the ring has not disappointed. The wardrobe department on the show asked me once if I could take it off for the performances when we were on tour. I had to tell them that the ring has been with me through the entire experience and it couldn’t leave now. It has since been with me through every job, tour and performance that I’ve done. I don’t think I will ever be able to take it off!”
Nia Sioux, from Dance Moms “Rose is my special good luck charm. Rose is a constant companion and has been there with me for the highs and the lows. Traveling the world has not been complete without Rose. I wake up each morning with Rose by my side, and before I go to sleep and say my prayers each night Rose is the last thing I see. You would never know that this tattered and worn stuffed pug would be so important to a teenager, but no adventure would be complete without her by my side.
Rose may look like a regular stuffed animal to anyone else, but to me Rose is my rock. Rose came in to my life when I was hospitalized and first diagnosed with RND (reflex neurovascular dystrophy). My family gave me Rose when I faced the greatest adversity – Rose was there after each physical therapy lesson when I learned to walk again. She brought me good luck then, and she has not failed me for the last seven years. Rose gave me courage when I had to learn how to walk and dance again. Rose gave me inspiration, and that is why she is so well loved and worn.”
Harrison Lee, Australian dancer, 2015 Prix de Lausanne prize winner “I don’t actually have a good luck charm, although I have a certain way that I prepare myself before performing. I can normally be found in a quiet corner, playing Candy Crush of all things. It’s a way I find helps me to calm my nerves and clear my mind, and in a way it’s kind of my good luck charm.”
Rachelle di Stasio, apprentice with American Ballet Theatre “My wonderful good luck charm is a gold chain pearl necklace passed down to me from my grandma and mom when I was 14 years old. This necklace is good luck to me because it represents love, elegance, beauty and strength – all qualities that my grandma and mom have and qualities of how I feel and desire to fully express through the art form of dance.”
Kayla Mak, award winning dancer, Westchester Dance Academy “I would say my good luck charm is my family. My family has always been there for me no matter what. They are the reason I am who I am today. Their support throughout the ups and downs have given me the strength to accomplish my goals. I love them from the bottom of my heart."
Christina Lynch Markham, dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company “I have a purple sweatsuit that is called ‘Barney’. I started wearing it in Taylor 2 to keep me warm in cold theaters. It has become my security blanket, and I have to wear it before every show no matter the temperature. This sweatsuit holds all the hard work that I have put into dancing. I like to hold off on washing it, much to the other dancers’ dismay. About a year ago, I had to replace the original Barney, and I cried during the throwing-away ceremony for it.”
Napoleon D’umo, Emmy Award-winning choreographer with wife Tabitha “My wife!!”
Abigail Mentzer, corps de ballet on the first national U.S. tour of The Phantom of the Opera, and former soloist with The Pennsylvania Ballet “My good luck charm is a Saint Genesius charm that my grandmother gave to me when I was about 12. St Genesius is the patron saint of actors. I began acting, singing and dancing at a very young age Off-Broadway and then at Lincoln Center with New York City Opera and New York City Ballet. My grandmother has always been my biggest supporter. She dabbled in theatre throughout her life and offered me this charm for good luck. As a kid, I pinned St. Genesius to my tights or leotard underneath my costumes. As an adult professional, I left him in my pin box in the dressing room where he couldn't accidentally stab my dance partners. When I left Pennsylvania Ballet two years ago to join The Phantom of the Opera tour, I packed up my dressing room and left it at my mom and dad's house for safekeeping. I'm realizing now, doing this interview, the importance and precious meaning of the charm my grandmother gave me. The charm isn't a religious symbol for me but rather a reminder of how supported I am as an artist by my family and especially my grandmother. I look forward to recovering it when I'm back home on vacation and giving it a new home in my Phantom pin box so we can travel the country together.”
Glenn Edgerton, artistic director, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago “When I was dancing, I had a thing about whichever wing I would use to make my entrance for a performance. I wouldn’t walk through it or go near it until that moment in the show came. Instead, I would use the other wings to walk onto and off of the stage — even if that took me out of my way, or didn’t make any sense. I suppose I wanted to leave the energy of my entrance wing undisturbed so that, when I did pass through, it would be free and clear or something. I’ll also confess that I would notice if another dancer was hanging out in ‘my wing’ while we were warming up, although I never said anything to them about it. If I would have a partner with me for my first entrance, I think I’d try to keep us both from using our wing before the stage manager’s call for places. That of course seems silly to me now, but, as dancers, we all have little superstitions like that, I think. This ‘ritual’ of mine particularly comes to mind when I remember dancing John Cranko’s version of Romeo and Juliet, which we did at the Joffrey Ballet in New York.”
Adrienne Canterna, dancer/choreographer/girlBOSS “My good luck charm is a tiny silver medal from my grandma that I pin or sew inside my costumes. It's a religious medal and has an accompanied prayer. It comforts me and inspires me to have faith in myself and my talent. She gave it to me when I was seven years old, and I still use it today!”
Guest Contributor: Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa