Dancer Laurie Lacour shares her inspiring story of retiring from professional dance and becoming a teacher of the art form.
We first met Laurie when she entered our Sur La Sol Contest in April, immediately striking us with the image of her dancing on the beach, silhouetted against a Hawaiian sunset. Since then, we’ve traveled to Nicaragua together, and only gotten to know Laurie better.
She’s the kind of woman every 20-something should have around to look up to. A natural mama who’s been there – traveled the world, pursued a creative path, fallen in love, and given birth to the most beautiful little girl. She’s so full of beauty, a young yet wise spirit; something that comes from deep within her, but also arguably a byproduct of a love for ballet and dance.
She spent many years dancing on the stage professionally, and now Laurie continues to dance through life. Today, she shares what dance has meant to her, and how it’s formed her personal identity…
About six years ago I found myself in a place in my life that involved leaving my career for the love of my life. Sure, I could have pushed things, and kept dancing at some capacity to keep “dancer” attached to my identity, but the honest to God truth is that I was pretty burnt out after all the years of the hustle and grind that oftentimes come along with being an artist. I took the new chapter in my life as a catalyst to retire from the life I had always known.
I missed dance for a long time after I retired. I missed the friends and rapport I had with my fellow company members. I missed being part of a creative process on a daily basis. I missed the ritual that is daily class. I missed the grit and the grace that are part of living out your dream.
It took me five years to even enter a studio again.
Over time I’ve realized is that being a “dancer” and everything else that comes along with it, would always remain a part of who I am. The punctuality, the discipline, the drive. The criticalness, the attention to detail, the work ethic. The perfectionism. Both good and bad things, but parts of me, nonetheless.
One of the main ways being a professional dancer shaped my life was by giving me the capacity to work without the approval of others. I learned to always perform a task to the best of my capabilities without promise of success or reward. Living my art gave me the ability to acknowledge that the prize is in the process, not for where it gets you, or what you get to be.
I will always be a lover of all things beautiful and ethereal. That’s the magic that draws the child in at the beginning and never really leaves. Princesses, fairies, tutus and tiaras. The idea of playing make-believe on a daily basis still exists and is only magnified now that I have a two year old daughter.
I am a believer that music is the language of the soul and a dancer is the vessel. “Movement has a way like words, you’re there before the rhyme is heard.” The rawness and realness of being in the moment, and how quickly it passes while performing were a lesson in showing me how fleeting life can be, and how magical it feels to truly embody the moment.
I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined that I would end up teaching ballet in Hawaii of all places. I now find a fulfilling role in sharing the parts of ballet that I loved. I find love in seeing the look in a student’s eyes when they land a step they have been struggling with. I find love in a warm hug from one of my tweens at the end of class. I find love in how Takashi, my accompanist, always manages to bring me to tears with the way he passionately plays his ronde de jambe music. I find love in watching one of my adult students embody the ballerina they always knew they were. I find love in sharing my passion. I find love in giving.