Dance Tribune: Setting the stage for local dance news

For the past year, a thought has continued to cross my mind: “I am going to get to a point where I need to choose which path I am going to take – dance or journalism – because eventually, I will not be able to pursue both.”

I have been dancing since I was 4 years old, and at my current age of 21, I am a dance minor, a member of my university’s dance team and a teacher at a local dance studio in Johnson City, Tennessee. Dance has always been a huge part of my life, and I cannot imagine that ending when I graduate from college in less than a year.

Writing has also been an important part of my life. I have said I wanted to be a journalist since taking Ms. Kinder’s journalism and creative writing class in seventh grade, but I do not think I truly realized why until this year.

Through writing and reporting experience I have gained from publications like the East Tennessean and Overlooked in Appalachia, I have realized how much I love listening to and learning about people, and how much I love telling their stories.

I keep thinking these two areas of my life are so different that it would be difficult to continue both in a capacity in which I would not have to sacrifice one of them in some way to fully commit to the other. However, I do not know why I keep telling myself that because I know I have the capability to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, as cheesy as it sounds.

While thinking about ways I could continue to balance both dance and journalism, it occurred to me that I have never attempted to connect the two. I have never written about or reported on dance, specifically. I think my knowledge of and experience with dance provides me with insight to write about the subject with more understanding than a normal person. There are several well-known dance publications in the U.S., and many of their writers have backgrounds in both dance and journalism. I also will not know whether writing about dance is something I am interested in unless I try it. So why not start now?

Though it may seem trivial, I spent a lot of time picking out the name for this publication. I went back and forth for a while, but the word “tribune” kept sticking out to me. Tribune has several meanings, one being a Roman official chosen to be a champion of the people and protect their interests, and the other being a stage or raised platform.

Dance, in the public eye, tends to revolve around big-name dancers and companies in bigger cities like New York City or Los Angeles, while smaller dance communities are rarely discussed. I want this publication to be a stage that shines light on local dancers, studios, schools and companies, and I want to give a voice to local dance communities.

I currently live in East Tennessee, but I plan to write about local dance-related news in Tennessee and surrounding areas, like North Carolina and Virginia.

I hope that through this publication, I not only learn more about my goals moving forward as both a journalist and a dancer, but I also hope to shed light on the prevalence of dance in local communities and inform more people about the artform.

Hopefully these two paths I have in front of me do not have to be taken separately, but rather they can come together as one road that leads me to life’s next destination.

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