Redefining Her Happiness & Coming out Healthy on the Other Side
Iso Interview with Lauren Seymour
Interview by Chris Duncan
This virus has affected everyone. We at DanceLife hope we can help ease some of the anxiety by sharing stories from some of your favourite dancers, choreographers and teachers on how it has personally impacted them and how they are managing to adapt to this new world we all find ourselves in.
Our first interview is with the multi-talented and lovely Lauren Seymour who has been a constant in our industry since she came runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance in 2014. Now, Lauren has ⏤ like everyone else ⏤ found herself suddenly with cancelled gigs, less work, and uncertainty, plus she also had to postpone her wedding!
Chris Duncan spoke with Lauren this week.
Q: Lauren during this tricky time, have you been able to work online gigs? What’s changed for you?
Work has definitely dropped a lot, but I’m very lucky to be still working. The studio I grew up in have gone online, they’ve done a lot of online content which has kept me busy, and that’s fantastic. Plus a lot of Zoom classes are coming through which is great. I feel very lucky to be asked to still teach… I’m obviously using all my teaching skills that I’ve developed over the years, but it’s a whole new teaching skill that you need to master to deliver online.
Q: It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like without the technology we now have in place to take classes online …
In a way, we’re very, very lucky. Everyone’s so lucky to be able to take all these classes… I’m even taking class from the Europeans that I miss so much which has been such a blessing … And all the Americans putting on classes that you’d never even be able to get into in the past because the line would have been too long.
Q: Do you think the restrictions this strange period of time has forced on us will bring in a permanent change to the way people do things in our industry?
I think parts of what we’ve learned and how we’ve adjusted will stay around when we can jump back in the studio. Things like having a staff meeting … with our ‘normal lifestyles’, we could never get a time that everyone could step into the studio office for a meeting. So I feel we’ll stay on Zoom for things like that. But I feel everyone is really craving the human connection ⏤ I know I am! I feel like I can’t teach as much as I would like online because the energy and vibe is missing from having a room full of dancers. In a normal setting, if the energy of the class is going in a completely different way, I need to follow that. And I feel like it’s a lot harder to follow that online than in a studio space.
Q: Has this ‘hibernation’ period changed your perspective on a personal level in any way?
You know it has definitely made me much more aware of my actions and it kind of makes me want to work harder. There are definitely times that I’ve struggled for a bit more motivation. I don’t know if that’s because we’ve been told to stay at home or that I feel a bit restricted, but it’s kind of just made me realise what type of teacher I am … what I like about actually teaching face to face. My focus right now is on teaching because that’s all we can do. But it will be so interesting when we can step back into the studio and see how this time has changed us.
I feel like we need to kind of keep fighting for normality and kind of resist just jumping to do what everyone else is doing right now as well, if that makes sense. I think it might just change me for the better in what I want to do as an individual … not so much being influenced by everyone around me.
I’m still moving through the stage of working out how this time is good and bad for me.
Q: Do you have any hacks that you use to cope?
If I want to stop and not do anything, I value that time and I step away from the industry and work and I watch some TV or spend time with my fiancé. It’s actually really nice just to spend some time with loved ones and exercise with them and do the things that we don’t normally have time for in the ‘real world’.
Q: Besides dance, what’s your go-to exercise regime?
I’ve actually gotten into a lot of yoga which is something I’ve wanted to start learning for so long. I do a lot of different workouts and I’m loving taking my dog for a walk.
Q: What do you think you’ll be doing once life returns to ‘normal’?
Well it’s kind of up in the air … I was meant to be married now and on my honeymoon, so I didn’t have many plans for this time! I was intending to be doing a bit of teaching and I had a few jobs lined up but they all got cancelled. So I take it day-by-day or week-by-week and see what comes my way. I feel like I naturally do that anyway. I do like to put my goals out there but they’re more about my happiness and my life rather right now rather than focusing on my career now. It’s finding happiness before relying on a job to make me happy.
In our industry, we kind of go hard working for our career, and then realise at some point that happiness is not just about that … it’s about everything around you every day. That quote: ‘Comparison is the thief of Joy’ is so true! If you continue to compare your success and your failures on others, then you never can really find what makes you happy
Q: What would be your number one tip to help dancers navigate this difficult time?
Stay healthy … stay mentally healthy and keep fit. Just keep moving your body even if you don’t want to because if you keep physically fit, then your mind will follow in that direction. Then you will be ready for when we come out of this and real life kicks back in. Remember everyone is in the same situation so just know that everyone’s got the same challenges and you’ll be okay on the other side.