Finding Community and Professional Success in a New State

Since high school I have lived in six cities (one overseas).  These moves have been for educational and job opportunities that have prepared me for my current position as an associate professor of dance, but it wasn’t until this move, to Providence, that I realized that finding community can be challenging.   

In my prior moves I had an easier time finding community, or the community already existed within the situation I moved for.  In hindsight, I realized that in this move the stakes were higher with my job being a tenure track professor. Most of my energy went to producing creative scholarship, teaching and service work on and off campus.  With being a tenure track professor, you have a predetermined number of years (5-7) to produce a body of creative/scholarly materials, teaching effectiveness and service work to your college or field. That material is curated into a tenure dossier (hard copy or electronically) and reviewed by your peers and administrators.  The reviewer either recommends or denies you for tenure. It is an exhausting process, from getting a tenure track position, the years of producing tenure quality research, teaching and service, creating the tenure dossier and then WAITING for the recommendation for tenure.

I did keep up my regular routine of self-care with going to the gym and yoga.  I found a boutique gym and yoga studio I that I enjoyed. Soon I started working at both businesses as a yoga instructor.  This transformed my weekly grind of only being a professor for the better. This also led to having a more robust social life with new groups of people.   

It has been a year since I received tenure and my life has made another shift.  Due to my friend yonTande (previous blog post author) we have joined the board of directors for PAISOC. This organization’s mission aligns with my desire to educate highs school students that they can study in the performing arts in college.  I also want to develop programs where high school students can learn about the audition process for college performing arts degrees. If you don’t know what to expect, it can be an intimidating process. I am looking forward to participating in the programs that PAISOC develops.  

Most recently I have returned to the dance studio as a performer in my friend’s yonTande’s piece 9Roads. An ensemble of nine and a production assistant (a former student of mine) have been in rehearsal since mid-January.  This newly found family rehearses three times a week for eleven hours. I was surprised that out of the eight other performers in the group, I had met six previously.  We are all excited for the performances at the end of March and early June.

I was once only concerned about finding a job, but that mentality has evolved into finding professional and personal fulfillment.