Ive been on tour for a little over two weeks and ive already learned/grown so much. i find it ironic that im going around teaching yet im the one learning. each time i teach a class i learn more about myself. through interacting and empathizing with so many i am discovering myself new and new again. each soul is a mirror unto my own. i am forever grateful to be able to have these experiences, to see myself reflected through so many eyes. i am excited to become the rachel of tomorrow because i know she will be so different than the rachel of today. i want to remind you that people are good. people are good. PEOPLE ARE GOOD! i am more in love with life than ever before and it’s seeping out of my skin and spilling all over the floor ✨🧚🏻♀️✨
Her project, Dances with Circles, started off a lot like it looks now, her dancing improvised as well as choreographed with hoops in her Little Village, Chicago apartment. I met Rachel at Chicago friend’s apartment, we immediately clicked. Her, at the time, Koolaide purple hair and her unchanging big eyes were animated.
Today, I’ve known Rachel for a bit over a year, but she feels old world to me—I often mistake that I’ve known her for a lifetime, or that, she is a childhood friend. She is easily one of he most uninhibited people I’ve ever met, however, many would never guess she was raised conservatively as an Orthodox Jew.
What was it like leaving your religious and social life as a child?
It was a journey of the self. I could not turn to my community or family so I had to rely solely on myself for affirmation and guidance throughout the process. It was really scary, but looking back I see how it built immense trust in my intuition. I felt very alone for a long time and I am still working on that. When the community noticed I was leaving, they did not try to take me back in, instead they ostracized me and kicked me out of all their institutions.
I made many mistakes along the way and I am still working on forgiving myself. I think that is my final frontier. I would like to honor the strong and courageous child willing to challenge religion by forgiving her.
What do you think things would be like if you had remained part of that community?
I knew when I was 12 years old that I would rather die than live as an orthodox jewish woman. After realizing that I knew I had nothing to lose, I no longer feared death because death was staying in that place.
You speak of reclaiming child-like rituals within your dance practice. Is movement a child-like instinct?
I think movement is a child-like instinct because that is how it appeared to me. Ever since I can remember I not only loved to dance, but rhythm, flow, and movement all felt natural. When I was told by my elders that it was forbidden to dance it got me thinking maybe they are wrong, instead of thinking maybe I am wrong. I trusted my instinct.
here is a picture of my face to get your attention ✨ On June 30th I am departing Chicago and traveling across the US and Canada to teach my magic in over 30 cities!! —>click the link in my bio and select “Farewell Tour” to get your tickets 🌈🧚🏻♀️I worked really hard planning this tour and I am equal parts nervous and excited to be teaching + traveling so much! BIG thank you to everyone who has supported my journey and to those who reached out to get me to their cities 🌜IT’S HAPPENING 🌛
What keeps your anxiety at bay? What heals you?
Movement keeps my anxiety at bay. When I dance I become the present and all is good in the present when I am dancing. Anxiety has no voice when I dance.
You’re currently leaving Chicago for a world tour. Where will you visit and what do you plan to do with your time?
I will be travelling all across the US and Canada for two months. Then I will be heading to Europe and Australia. I plan to teach my philosophy as well as my technical dance skill. I see [the two] as existing hand in hand. It gives me great pleasure and excitement to be able to teach others what I know.
courtesy of RACHEL SULLIVAN
interview ALEX ASSIL
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