Dear Dancers, Artistic Directors, Choreographers, long lost Dreamers and Friends,
For those of you who don't know me I tend to start stories, letters, even jokes in the middle as though we have already had a long history of a tale untold. My name is Jennifer Drake Feltner or as my AGMA name goes Jennifer Drake, or as my everyday name goes... Jen Drake. On occasion just 'Jen' but somehow with artistic directors alike and fellow dancers are concerned that has been my label... Jen Drake.
I am a dancer, dabbler of choreography (coined phrase... ok maybe not) , ballet teacher, dance lover, country music singing (the steering wheel is my mic.), vintage truck driving, tattoo gearing (horrifying my mother), animal friend, horse riding, behind the camera lense, dreaming, artist.
I rarely take no for an answer but have become wiser in years gone past and pick my battles better.
I am in search of questions, answers, and hope that my dreams that have been a'churning will better enrich the lives of many through the beauty of dance and philanthropy.
I have an idea that I am simply calling "The Dancer Project".
Over the years with several companies under my belt, along side many a let downs, weight gain and lost, tears cried, injuries (one in which had me out for 13 mo... not recommended if I do say so myself), and seeing dancers not rehired for this reason or that reason I have become a teeny tiny bit jaded... for lack of a better term. I was that girl that just knew I was to dance with ABT... I had done everything I was supposed to, went to a prestegious school, graduated with high honors and awards, and low and behold I was told I was too young and inexperienced and to "come back in a couple years". So dreams crushed I went to a midsized company and after that the idea that the beauty of dance could withstand even some ugly occurances seemed far more a dream than my own dream... confusion set in.
I have had the rare opportunity to learn the art of volunteer and the joy of working for a humane society. And even now with the start up professional ballet company I am with, we performed a free showing at a homeless shelter.
I would like to have a project that enriched the lives of dancers by outreach, volunteer, communty love, doing "what we love" for places such as senior homes, children's hospitals, special educational schools, homeless shelter.... literally dancing outside the box...
I believe we in the dance community owe it to each community we reside in to not just do the norm as dance is anything but the norm.
I'd also like to take it a step furhter and dancers in different walks of life from the young ones that "are too young", to the ones that are in their third year apprenticing unpaid, to the ones that were droppped from corps for political reasons, to the ones coming back bravely from injury to provide physical therapists, to the dancers that never got their final bow, to the dancers that are in transition and need a place to choreograph, or stage managing opportunity... I'd like the project to stand for something more than the machine in which the dance world has made itself...
If you have been reading this far and anything strikes you even as interesting I'd like any feed back... and offers to ideas/suggestions, criticism, help, questions, willingness to be apart of a blog of mine that will be honest tales that the "real world" would need to know about the dance world or even just a Q and A.... anything at all... please respond to the message...
Til the next post, you can follow me and stories on my blog at
I hope this at least challenges you to realize you can be the change you wish to see in the world... Happy New Year everyone!