New Challenges

•April 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

As we start a new season, I am facing the fresh challenge of developing new show concepts, creating movement that tells a story with the themes I’m considering, and working with my husband as composer and visual effects designer (we add a new title for him every day) to get the right music and visuals to go along with all of it. It’s overwhelming as we start into things. So much to do in time that is ever-dwindling. My mind is constantly obsessing on the work.

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There is a definite pressure I feel (whether real or not) to know what I’m doing, to know what I want, and to have it all set to just drop on the stage for everyone to learn and execute. But, I don’t work like that. I work from an intuitive base allowing the story to tell itself through me. While I often love the end result of that, it’s terribly scary to not know the who/what/when/where of it all from the beginning and to trust myself in the creative process. How can I expect dancers to trust me if I don’t trust myself?

When I am scared of my music (that I won’t do it justice), I feel like a failure trying a variety of different things that don’t fit – no doubt frustrating those working with me. But, in the end, those challenging moments usually bring out some of my best work that I never imagined was possible.

May we all come to know “Ava Bendo” – Since I can’t drag myself away from that title/character, I suspect that we’ll be seeing her soon.



2013 – Alchemy In Review

•December 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

As this year comes to a close, I’m flooded with emotions, ideas, and inspirations. It’s been both a long year and a quick year with the first half being more satisfying than the latter half. I remind myself that there is a tidal ebb and flow to life and work – busy times and slow times – and I must appreciate those times that allow me to reflect.

This year, Alchemy presented our most emotional piece to date with “I Am We”, and I am so proud of that piece and the dancers who performed it.  What an amazing journey that was. We received grant funding and sponsor support for our home season shows as well as our first standing ovation (thanks audiences!). We created several new works, hosted multiple performances, performed in the Dance/USA conference and Come Together Festival among other shows, and were offered another touring opportunity. We found new fundraising opportunities and shot new videos that will be online soon. All in all, it’s been a good year.

2014 promises to be more challenging and rewarding as we expand our plans for a new performance project that has me very excited and ready to get back in the studio already. With auditions coming on 1/26 (http://www.alchemydancecompany/audition.html), I’m looking forward to new energies, ideas, and opportunities.

Happy Holidays and Blessings for the New Year.



Giving Tuesday

•December 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It’s Giving Tuesday and Alchemy says – Don’t give to us. What?!?!? Really – don’t give to us (unless you want to and we’ll of course always accept any and all generosity humbly with many thanks). We’d like you to partner with us instead by doing something super simple that will have an impact on our company, but actually cost you NOTHING – ZERO – ZILCH – NADA.

You can make a difference for us FOR FREE just by signing up at, selecting Alchemy Dance Company as your preferred non-profit, and registering your grocery cards or phone number and/or your most frequently used credit/debit cards. When you shop at participating retailers or go out for your holiday meals, those businesses will donate a percentage of your purchases to Alchemy and the best part is that it costs you nothing and once you’ve registered, you don’t have to do anything else but live, breathe, shop, and eat like you always do.

Be a hero for Alchemy on Giving Tuesday without giving a thing. How terrific is that?

See instructions for registering at


Healing Through Passion

•November 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I find that most artists share the opinion that escaping into their work is the best remedy for grappling with the kaleidoscope of emotions and experiences they face everyday. Whether it’s dealing with anger stemming from an argument at work, deep sadness and grief from the loss of a loved one, or simply the frustration that comes with an overall crappy day – I take comfort in knowing that as soon as I show up to a class or rehearsal, I will soon get swept up in my first love called dance, and everything else just falls away. It’s something that I hold so very precious and am grateful everyday for it.


Coming and Going

•November 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Dancers come and go – even in larger companies I think there is that need for evolution from a dancer’s perspective. Always reaching for something more, wanting to grow, wanting to achieve more for the self whether real or imagined, and just a need for occasional change. And, then there are also circumstances which prevent dancers from all of the commitments in their overwrought schedules. How many other professions train from the age of 3 and then insist on continued classes as both student and teacher in addition to the work of rehearsing and performing and most likely having at least one side job? There are a few that come close, but usually those are actually jobs that generally pay well and provide some level of security in life. I don’t know what dancer feels secure in their future these days.

With each month and year, a dancer grows more valuable to a company in learning repertoire, in understanding a choreographer’s movement style, in developing new work and being a member of the family that is a dance company. In Alchemy, I feel very much that we become family members and some dancers I still feel protective of and connected to even though they are no longer in the company. I have learned from all of the dancers I’ve worked with, and I hope that I have also provided them with valuable experience to move forward in their lives. There are times when it is appropriate to part ways with dancers/directors, and then there are times when it is ….. like a relationship breakup where you still love each other, but cannot be together due to whatever reason.

Being a part of a small company when a dancer leaves that family is sometimes difficult. I think there is definitely a sense of loss. And, then the family unit moves on to continually expand and contract as dancers come and go, but it cannot be taken personally as it is business in the end. However, as dancers who are passionate about what we do, putting everything into what we love and demanding the impossible from ourselves at times, we become emotionally entangled with the business and it is sometimes difficult to tell where the person ends and the company begins. We are one and many all at once, so that separation of one of the parts of the whole is felt reverberating throughout. It can be replaced, but there is only one you, one me, one we. Now, there will be a new “we” and I will miss the old we while I get used to the new we – again and again.


seasoned through age?

•November 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I notice as I get older that I have a much better grasp of my body as it moves through space. I value grounding and feeling the floor under my feet, and I just have a greater general perception of how to move my body for me. I realize I’m not perfect in this understanding or execution(far from it), just better than I once was. However, while age gains that experience and personal knowledge, it also comes with wear on the body. I believe that I am definitely a better dancer than I was at 22, but I don’t have a switch leap anymore, I’m not as flexible or as strong, and my recovery time from injuries has increased ten-fold.

I was a late-start to dancing in a studio environment, so perhaps my delayed grasp of these things is relative to that. However, I still notice young professionals jumping, turning, kicking their hearts out, but not being able to just walk with command and presence or move from one place to another with ease and grace. The transitions tell the story of your artistry I think – not the tricks.


Back in the swing of things

•November 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’m happy to announce I finally had a normal dance week this past week! As I’m getting older it’s become very apparent all of the stress I’ve put my body through over the years. In the last 4 months I think I’ve had 3 injuries that have put me out of dance for a few rehearsals. My most recent was a partnering injury where I displaced 5 ribs. Ugh! But I’m feeling better now, I partnered in rehearsal again on Wednesday and I was able to go take class!! I’m on my way to rehearsal now and can’t wait to dance.

moving forward I have a lot of extra work to do to make sure I can get as many years out of this old body as possible!! Send me positive energy!!!


-Leslie Ann