From Cecile Oreste of danceDC. You can follower her on Twitter @dance_DC or email her at cecile[AT]borderstan.com.
Sarah Halzack graduated from The George Washington University with degrees in Journalism and Dance. After graduation, she left her college hood of Foggy Bottom behind and moved to Dupont Circle where she has lived ever since (with the exception of a one year detour to Columbia Heights). In addition to working at The Washington Post as a web producer for business and economic news, Halzack also writes the occasional book review in The Post’s Sunday Outlook section and dances with non-profit modern dance company Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company.
The goal of the company, which is directed by choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess, is to bridge cultures and reduce ethnic barriers through a focus on historic events and personal stories. DTSB&Co was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for Artistic Excellence in 2005, has received three Mayoral Proclamations, and has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. On April 5 and 6, the company will celebrate its 20th anniversary with two performances at George Washington University’s Dorothy Betts Marvin Center. Tickets start at $15.
Borderstan: In regards to the upcoming performance, which piece are you most excited to perform and why? What draws you to being part of DTSB&Co?
Halzack: I’m most excited about performing “Fractures,” which is a short trio that depicts the emotional wreckage of a complicated love triangle. This piece is particularly special to me because I first saw it back in 2002 when I first moved to the District. I was a college freshman at the time, and I knew nothing about DTSB&Co and had no idea that I would one day be asked to join the company. As an audience member, the dance hit me like a ton of bricks.
I had tears in my eyes watching each character try to make sense of a tangle of anger, attraction, hope, jealousy and rejection. I loved that the dance was spare and short, a distillation of only utterly essential moments. And perhaps most importantly, I fell in love with the idea that virtually anyone could see a piece of themselves in this dance, because at one time or another, we’ve all been one of these characters.
Given how strongly I reacted to the dance the first time I saw it, it was a great honor for me to be cast in it. I’m excited to bring this complex character to life, and I hope to play her with the same nuance and intensity that once kept me rapt as an audience member.
There are many things that draw me to working with DTSB&Co. First, Dana’s movement style has felt very natural and intuitive to me since the first time I set foot in his class. There’s something about his use of gesture, his floor work, and his propensity for slow, almost dream-like pacing that has always felt like home to me.
I also love working with this company because of the terrific peer group of dancers it has provided me with. Dana has stacked our company with dancers of enormous talent. I am so inspired by the way my fellow dancers move, and watching them week after week in rehearsal pushes me to dance better and dance smarter.
And perhaps most important of all, we all have quite a bit of fun together. It’s a supportive, easy-going and caring group, and that makes everything from rehearsing to touring to performing all the more enjoyable!
Borderstan: What do you enjoy doing? Interests, hobbies other than dance? Favorite places to go in the Borderstan area?
Halzack: I regularly take yoga classes at a couple of studios in the neighborhood, most frequently at Tranquil Space on 17th Street NW. It’s a great way to turn my mind off after a stressful day and I’ve found practicing yoga has helped make me a better dancer. And even when I’m off the clock at The Post, I’m a little bit of a news junkie, so I spend quite a bit of time reading. Cooking is most certainly not one of my hobbies, so I’m a frequent customer of some of Borderstan’s delivery and carry-out joints.
My favorites are Sacrificial Lamb on R Street NW, Thaitanic on 14th Street NW and Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street. Shopping for clothes is one of my guilty pleasures, and Borderstan has no shortage of great boutiques for that. My favorite is Muleh. Their merchandise is gorgeous but it’s usually pretty far out of my price range. But that doesn’t stop me from just wandering around in there and getting outfit ideas! And of course, I enjoy a good glass of wine and a delicious dinner and there are no shortage of places to get that in our neighborhood.
Disclosure: Oreste is on the Board of Directors of Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company.
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