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Robert Abrams
Teacher Profiles
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Teacher Profile: Anya

by Robert Abrams
December 1, 2001
New York, NY

Teacher Profile: Anya

Robert Abrams: How did you start dancing?

Anya: When I was about 5 years old, I used to dance around the house. My mom saw this and decided to enroll me in a ballet class. The ballet school was a few blocks from my house in Berkeley, California. I continued to study there until I was about 17. I went to a regular grammar school and high school. After school I would run to the ballet school. When I was younger I took classes two or three times per week. When I was 14-17 years old, I took classes everyday. On weekends I would rehearse for productions.

At 17 I left ballet school to go to college. In college I explored other styles of dancing, including lots of social dancing. I kept trying to get away from dance, but kept coming back to it. I toured Europe, and the Caribbean as a dancer. I was offered experiences I wouldn't have had otherwise. This was how I made the transition from ballet to ballroom. Recently I have been involved in the competitive arena and will start competing in 2001.

RA: What inspires you to keep dancing?

A: Dance is a part of my life, like sleeping. Even when I try to get away from it, in college, a period of time when I stepped away - I always came back. I went out social dancing. Dance is my time to get away and lose myself. It is therapeutic. If I have problems, I take a dance class or go out dancing. I find joy again, find a reason to keep going. I am inspired by dance, but it is also something that I have to do.

When I see really incredible dancers or performances, I think "This is why I am living." I want to be like that: to inspire others like that person just inspired me.

Dance is the one place where I find my own freedom, to be myself. A feeling of freedom that is difficult to compare to anything else. It is like flying.

RA: What do you teach?

A: What ever is necessary. Ballet, Jazz, Latin, Swing, Salsa, Brazilian. I have more experience in the Latin dances, and in Ballet and Jazz. I teach both group classes and private lessons.

RA: What else would you like students to know about you?

A: One reason why I do what I do: it is fun for me, of all of the careers one can have. Also I hope I can offer people the same gift of dancing that I have been given. To offer what other people have offered to me in the past. Especially in this country, we don’t always take the time out to enjoy ourselves, and move our own bodies and get in touch with moving our own bodies. In partner dancing, there is a different kind of experience that you can't find in other sports or dance styles.

I feel like I am creating a project or a child with my own dancing. I want to be able to help other people create that for themselves, whatever that means to them. Often times we communicate with words in our pastimes. Communication with movement is often forgotten, unlike in other countries: during special occasions there is always lots of dancing. We have somehow lost track of that.

Anya and Robert Frank dance

at the 2001 Empire State Dancesport Championships

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