When Life Shuts Doors, Theatre opens Windows

Liz Chirico 

OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

I love the line in “The Sound of Music” where Maria says, “When the Lord closes a door somewhere He opens a window.” (I’m sure that line is from somewhere else but I know it from The Sound of Music.) A door closed recently but I think I found the window. 

As an adult dancer, with little to no background previously in dance it was difficult to find somewhere to go. I googled and called and visited and tried out dozens of dance studios in the Worcester/Metro-West area over the past four years. Some places flat out don’t offer adult classes, others do but they never garnered enough attendees to actually run the class. Then there’s the studios offering what I refer to as the “happy hour” class. This is a dance class full of folks there to simply socialize for an hour, or maybe pick up dance as a hobby, a throwback to their high school days but they aren’t there to really learn. Once I developed my dance skills a bit, the issue became finding a studio that offered not just an adult class, but an adult intermediate/advanced class. 

Last year I found a place and all was good. I was challenged in class, I met new people, hell I even had the opportunity to audition for and perform with a dance company further stretching my comfort zone. Life, my dance life anyway, was good. Then stuff happened and I had to choose to ignore it and continue to dance or be true to myself and leave. I chose the latter leaving me without a dance home. Fortunately I found a place to continue tapping fairly quickly. But the other stuff, the dance company, the ability to challenge myself as an adult dancer through different styles, to have a community of dancers around me- that was going to be more difficult if not impossible to replicate. Door- closed, window- nowhere to be seen.

Everyone has that one friend, right? The one who thinks nothing is impossible? Fortunately for me, I have such a friend, she also dances, and she also found herself without a dance home. Not much more than a month ago she said “let’s form a dance troupe.” A place for dedicated, serious, adult dancers who want a place to dance. I’d have to scroll back through about 3,000 messages to find my exact answer but it was probably something along the lines of “you’re insane” with undercurrents of, wait- that could work. Here we are, 6ish weeks later and that completely insane idea might actually happen. Not in the way we initially envisioned and there’s still a long ways to go but it’s there. 

It’s there because my wonderful, crazy, passionate friend refused to accept that she could no longer dance the way she wanted. And because a part of me decided she was right. That it sucked to have something I loved, something I found joy in doing, taken away. So we found a window. We may have used a crowbar to pry it open, but the window was there. So if your door is shut and dead bolted trust me. There’s always a window. 

Photo: Pinedale Community Theatre