by Joseph Kudra
Transition in Latin, “tansire” translates to “go across,” and that is just what I did. On June 7th, 2015 the morning after the farewell performance of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and my final bow with the company I boarded a plane at JFK headed across the United States to LAX. Reflecting back on that moment, as I sat on the plane and felt it lift off I knew I was about to embark on a new beginning. As with anything new, I was brimming with anticipation and anxiously awaiting the changes in store for me.
I was fortunate to join BODYTRAFFIC immediately after my previous company closed its doors; eliminating the grueling process of job hunting. Having seen BODYTRAFFIC at the Joyce in January 2015, my interest in the company was sparked for many reasons. Not only did they showcase world-class repertoire, but the question and answer following the performance really stuck with me. Seeing the genuine interactions between the dancers and directors as they joyfully bantered amongst themselves and with the public, I saw a supportive, warm, and inviting community – the family that they had created. Having been with BODYTRAFFIC for nearly ten months now, which has been filled with rehearsals, performances, a six week tour of the Middle East, early morning calls, many bus rides, thousands of hours spent together, and much more, I am thrilled and honestly a bit taken aback by how much of a family the company truly is. For me, my art is all about interactions and creating intimate moments with people. When you genuinely enjoy the people around you, that becomes easy. It has been refreshing for me to reconnect with that joy of dance. I often become consumed by the physical discipline and execution of the work so much, that I sometimes forget there is also space to just enjoy being here in this moment. BODYTRAFFIC has allowed me that space to be confident in my work and enjoy being on stage again.
Moving from the east to the west coast has been a major change. Leaving New York was rather unexpected. In many ways, I was building a life there and planning to be there for much longer. Having grown up in Chicago, I was overwhelmed by New York when I initially moved there. I could not understand how people survived or had the energy to keep up in a city like that. Slowly, I began to understand why and I was sucked into the bustling energy. The actual move to Los Angeles was easy…Give me eternal sunshine, the beach, and mountains, and I am happy. The biggest adjustment has been settling d own from New York’s high octane lifestyle. The pace and accessibility of things in L.A. is much different with sprawling distances and much slower speed. There aren’t 24-hour bodegas or streets filled with yellow cabs. Instead, I feel a sense of comfort here; an ease and security that has me relaxed and enjoying life. Having been certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, I have also been able to connect with the health and wellness lifestyle here in L.A. and continue to cultivate that passion.
As I write this and reflect on the past ten months of transition, I have been presented with change and embraced it. Our lives are always in flux. We all know this. Our moods change as do our relationships or feelings for others. Our environments change. The more I see myself letting go of things, the more I am able to adapt, accept, and enjoy life.