Dancers with Many Hats!

Updated: Oct 11

Hello, I am Mariana Parma, as a professional dancer, I’ve pursued my career throughout my life training, rehearsing, performing, teaching, choreographing, and producing, which eventually lead me to acting.  Although all those activities fall under the Arts & Entertainment category, they are still different in skill and require their own amount of experience and discipline.  Same with many other dance professionals and performers that pursue other careers simultaneously side-by-side their dance career, that are not necessarily under the same category. Having more than one profession is not that uncommon in the dance world. This is what I refer to as, "Dancers with Many Hats." And what better way to find out how professional dancers juggle with other professions, then to ask these top professional dancers who are currently pursuing multiple careers.


It is my honor to introduce to you these bright, beautiful, multi-talented professional dancers whom have simultaneously pursued other passions throughout their dance careers and are still very involved as dancers and as professionals in their other chosen fields.


meet these power house DANCERS


Let’s WELCOME Leah Barsky, Adelita Hinojosa-Martin, Karina Romero, and Teresa Anne Volgenau, and discover their "many hats “.



MEET:

LEAH BARSKY professional Dancer & certified health and wellness coach



1. How long have you been juggling 2 careers?

How & When did you decide to pursue another career?

  • I have danced my whole life (since age 5) . I trained at The Julliard School, New York State Summer School of The Arts, American Dance Festival and California Institute of the Arts. I have performed throughout the U.S, Asia, Canada, Europe, Chile, Argentina and worked with companies such as with Nai Ni Chen, Tango y Mas, Tango 1st Century, Armitage Done!, Doug Varone, Mark Morris, The Metropolitan Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera as a featured dancer. I have danced at the most prestigious tango shows and historic milongas. For the past 5 years, I have danced as one of the finalists in the Mundial Tango Championships in Buenos Aires.

  • When I was around 17, I developed a great interest and food and nutrition and started educating myself about the healing properties of food and how our bodies have the incredible ability to heal and regenerate given the proper nutrients and care.  I became pretty obsessed with that! It wasn't until I was about 27 that I decided I wanted to do something in the field of nutrition and wellness so I enrolled in the Integrated Institute of Nutrition in NYC to become a certified health and wellness coach. Since then I have continued my dance career but also integrated health coaching and wellness into my work. So I would say I have done both for about 6 years.

  • I work one on one with my clients to build a “roadmap” for their individual healh and wellness goals. For more information about Leah Barsky: FB: https://www.facebook.com/leah.barsky.1/ Instagram: @lrbarsky & @wellnessbyleah


2. How has your dance training influenced your other career or vice versa?

  • Absolutely my dance career has influenced really every aspect of my life and how I approach new challenges and certainly my work in wellness

  • First of all, of course as a dancer you need to learn how to take care of your body, from nutrition to injury prevention and recovery and EVERYTHING in between!

  • Dancing has also given me the incredible opportunity to interact and work with so many different people from all walks of life. 

  • As a result I think one naturally becomes more knowledgeable and more well rounded when you're exposed to so many different ways of living and ways of taking care of yourself and also other professionals in the wellness field. 

3. What advice or tips can you give people who have more than one passion or calling?

  • I would say in general being well rounded is an incredibly important quality just in life.  In fact, I think my true strength is my versatility, in the dance world and also in wellness. Don't get me wrong, being specialized or an expert in your field is great and necessary and in fact I think often people spread themselves too thin trying to do too much and then never really doing anything.  

  • However, If you have dedicated a large part of your life to one craft or career and now find yourself having another calling or interest, DON'T BE SCARED. 

  • Trust that all the hard work and dedication you have put into your work up until now will still be there and that just because you have a new interest, it doesn't mean it will make you less of whatever you did before (in my case a dancer). 

4. What is your favorite feel good song?

  • My favorite feel good song would be anything by Queen!

"Love of my life" & "Bohemian Rhapsody", by Queen

5. What is your favorite quote, mantra, or mediation?

One  of my favorite quotes 

  • "Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going, no feeling is final"




MEET:

ADELITA HINOJOSA- MARTINa

professional Dancer & Nurse



1. How long have you been juggling 2 careers?

How & When did you decide to pursue another career?

  • I have been juggling careers since 2005. My mother introduced me to dance as a child. She shares with me her intention in signing me up for dance class was to focus my attention away from the crumbling marriage with my biological father, which was appropriately unfolding. It was also a fun and challenging environment. I don't recall "falling in love" with dance right away but I enjoyed it very much and had a mild to moderate level of natural ability, mostly due to my mother, a singer. She started as a teenager in the church and as an adult sang with Mariachis as well. She had a natural ability to catch the eye and attention of people; and a natural movement to her performance. I don't know if I am able to do it quite like she did, but I did learn a lot from her. My dad ( an amazing man who became my dad by choice when he married my mother) a musician himself, guitar player with a voice and a rhythm that expresses itself in the intricacies of the Spanish guitar. With time I grew to love dance, the science intertwined with dance, the movement, the music, the rhythm, the colors, the costumes, the lights, the exploration, the vulnerability, the training, the artistry. And then there was no going back, it became a part of my healing, my joy...a part of me.

  • My mother and her siblings were the first of many generations in our family to pursue college. My mother has a Doctorate Degree in Education and my Dad double majored in computer science and biology. #Mexican-Americans in South Texas and West Texas, respectively, my parents were born right after desegregation in US schools. The importance of education was always number one in our household, it was understood we would earn a degree in college. So after changing majors 5 times, I became a nurse because I loved helping others and science was always fascinating to me. I graduated nursing school, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, cum laude from Texas Woman's University in May 2005 and moved to NYC August 2005. I started working at the oldest private oncology hospital in the world, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in neurosurgery, inpatient bedside nursing. It's an incredibly inspiring and eye opening environment to be in. The most brilliant minds and caring hearts dedicate their time and lives to helping others in their time of need. I have come to appreciate my life, those in it and my choices, more than ever. I still work here, currently in outpatient neurosurgery.

  • When I moved to NYC in 2005, I also began my NYC dance training with Max Stone, Cecilia Marta, Jana Hicks, Karen Gayle, Maija Garcia and many more training and finding my performing voice and more importantly, comfort in my artistic voice. I've had the privilege to teach at some of the most well known dance studios in NYC including Steps on Broadway, Peridance Capezio Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center, performing with several dance companies including Cecilia Marta Dance Company, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, Nathan Trice/RITUALS, Cirque De Soleil and more.  My third job became my first in 2012, being a mother. WOW! This is non-stop & forever, like my heart. Becoming a mother has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life! So grateful to experience it with my husband Edward Martin (an amazing musician, martial artist, father and my BFF!).

  • For more information about Adelita, visit: www.AdelitaDance.com


2. How has your dance training influenced your other career or vice versa?

  • Working in oncology has given me a unique perspective on life. I am here to love my life...I want to live loving my life.

  • I wasn't successful in making a liveable income as a performing artist or teacher...but this allowed me an opportunity to choose who I worked with. I never feel obligated to take a gig because I need the money. Instead, I choose who I work with based on how well we work together and the integrity of the work. 

  • Caring for patients, their families and playing an integral role in my team is an honor but it can be draining. Performing arts literally feeds my life/soul/heart, a true gift which diffuses into all areas of my life.  

3. What advice or tips can you give people who have more than one passion or calling?

  • It's not perfect. Don't look for it to be.

  • It may feel incredibly strange but embrace the life experiences.

  • Life is meant to be lived and loved. Go for it.  

4. What is your favorite feel good song?

  • Oh my goodness...there are so many from Selena, Marc Anthony, 2PAC, Snoop Dogg, Los Tigres del Norte, Luther Vandross, Michael Salgado, Max Richter, Anderson Paac, Meshell Ndegeocello, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Boyz II Men and so many more. But right now....Nadia Como Ella by Marc Anthony. And always, Aguanile (all versions) and A House is Not a Home by Luther Vandross.

"Nadia Como Ella" by Marc Anthony



"Aguanile" (all versions)



"A House is Not a Home", by Luther Vandross



5. What is your favorite quote, mantra, or mediation? My own mantras:  

  • Life is meant to be lived, love your life.

  • I appreciate you.  

  • Other mantra: “I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside.” -Rumi




MEET:

karina romero professional Dancer & Wedding officiant





1. How long have you been juggling 2 careers?

How & When did you decide to pursue another career?

  • I dance since I was a child, my mother sent me to ballet class at 6 years old. Today, at 48 years old, I teach Argentine Tango. For the past 20 years, I have been living in NYC teaching adults and children, I coordinate and produce Tango Events with great outstanding Tango Personalities. I am a Tango dancer & I dance with my life partner Jorge Carmona.

  • In 2019 thanks to Tango, I met a great worker Veronica with her Wedding Planning Company in New York City and she invited me to work with her. And made my dream come true, of being able to marry people.

  • I am a Wedding Officer legally in NY and I can celebrate Weddings and marry couples. And currently during the Pandemic online using zoom .

  • For more information about Karina Romero Tango classes & Wedding ceremonies: https://www.karinaromerotango.com & www.weddingpackagesnyc.com


2. How has your dance training influenced your other career or vice versa?

  • Well I feel that being an officiant is a way to make a little Show and thus celebrate with the couple and guests or the public.

  • Everything works in La Vida (in life)!

  • You know, you must be ready for life's changes. And everything is a lesson and an endless road to follow.

3. What advice or tips can you give people who have more than one passion or calling?

  • May all people seek and always follow their dreams!

  • Dreams exist and you have to work hard to achieve it with love and respect.

  • And that always, always one can learn something new!

4. What is your favorite feel good song?


"Carmen de Bizet": La Habanera


5. What is your favorite quote, mantra, or mediation?

  • "Let nothing bother you, let nothing scare you. Everything passes by, God does not change."




Meet:

Teresa Anne Volgenau professional Dancer & painter




1.How long have you been juggling 2 careers?

How & When did you decide to pursue another career? 

  • I have been juggling...always. Too many passions and never enough hours in the day. However, from a very young age, dance and the art of movement became my primary focus. There are arenas in my life that I commit to because my soul demands it, and there are those that I commit to for survival. Thankfully what is necessary and what I yearn for often intermingle beautifully and play off one another in a fulfilling way. 

  • In my early 20s I departed from my all consuming career ambitions with classical ballet and I launched into studying the craft of acting. With gratitude I financed much of my education and living expenses by setting choreography for theatre productions and coaching ballerinas at local dance studios. After college, a career of acting and choreography became my main pursuit, however the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles required more from me financially so I also launched TAVLifestyle, a fitness training business that I successfully ran for 13 years. This was a solid fit because of my love of movement and the human body with all its potential. In the fitness realm I eagerly soaked up studies of anatomy, health and nutrition, and cutting-edge training techniques for individuals to physically excel, as well as rehabilitate.  All of which translated nicely for dancers, as well.

  • Would I have experienced more commercial success in the performing arts had I not split my time coaching athletes and weekend warriors for so many years? Perhaps. But who is to say?  I did come to recognize that my experience as a fitness coach was significantly heightened by my background as a dancer, and my work as a performing artist flourished from expanding myself, connecting with clients, and understanding movement from a different direction.

  • By my early 30’s I was obsessed with Argentine Tango and this passion became my main gig as a performer. I lived on both coasts and abroad as a tanguera, however, the acting career and my coaching of dancers continued to be my main bread n’ butter. 

  • Now well into my 40’s I am grateful to still be able to mold and refine dancers, yet I have finally retired myself from the stage. My latest love affair is with the work I create in my art studio as a painter. And of course my passion and rich history in the dance world and with the human body help feed my creations upon the canvas.

For more information about Teresa follow her links below:


2. How has your dance training influenced your other career or vice versa? 

  • My dance training has strongly influenced all aspects of my life in regard to discipline, technique, and a high tolerance for discomfort. 

  • Decades committed to my craft as a performing artist, particularly with classical ballet, had thickly conditioned a dedication to myself, body and soul to my artistic-self. 

  • One of my obsessions as a young dancer was simply ‘the constant pursuit of unattainable perfection’. Perfection is elusive and teasing, yet many artists keep chasing and hunting it down like our lives depend on it. Therefore, it is not hard for me to spend a 10-14 hour stretch in front of a canvas. I am trained to devote any necessary amount of time and energy, and to never be quite satisfied.  The pursuit of something beyond myself is what quickens my pulse. There is always room for more refinement, and I know my vision and execution are constantly growing and expanding because of this restlessness. 

  • When I say that dance builds up a high tolerance for discomfort I’m not just describing the physical pain (of which there is much), but also the tolerance (if not the needy desire) to be critiqued.  Dancers are relentlessly analyzing the most minute aspects of their physicality, the execution of their work, and the depth of their emotional expression. The training and refining is never ending, because dancers are by nature the very product that they sell. No other art form is quite so vulnerable and all-encompassing, and yet a dancer must also be thickly suited with a smart, flexible, and enduring armour. 

3. What advice or tips can you give people who have more than one passion or calling? 

My best nugget of advice is still something I’m working on myself.

  • Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. It is important to forgive yourself for getting injured, older, not being superhuman, or for simply needing a break. Nurture yourself and respect when your body/mind/spirit are signaling a need for change or rest. 

  • Forgiving ourselves also means getting out of our own way.  Take time to breathe, meditate, connect to Source.  Listen to the small voice within. Be sure to channel, express, and fully carry out what the Universe is directly flowing through you. This is your Number One responsibility as an artist. Artists in every genre have very important jobs to do for the wellbeing of the planet and the ascension of the human race.  Take your sense of purpose and your artistic work very seriously.

  • Rewarding ourselves is also vital. Reward yourself for all your pursuits of perfection, innovation and creativity.  I fear we never celebrate our individual selves enough. For most of my stage career I had a terrible habit of booking a production, undergoing the rehearsal or filming process, and then on opening or premiere night I would have a mild panic attack about when the current opportunity would end and how I would manage to book yet another gig. I now see how silly it was to not fully celebrate my present moment and successes.  The path of any artistic pursuit is relentless. Therefore, we must shoot fireworks and sip champagne for one another, and especially for ourselves.

  • Trust that divine timing will provide the ideal scenarios for you to indulge in, and to share all the visions and yearnings that you are drawn to bring forth into the world. Yes, be sure to fulfill your purpose as an artistic-beast-of-magic and intently focus, focus, focus...but then rest, and play. We can only do so much within each 24 hr day, and a big chunk of that time requires loving ourselves back into a mental and physical state of balance in order to tackle our artistic and survival demands around the corner. 



4.What is your favorite feel good song? 


Classic tunes by Bill Withers are forever making me smile. Who can listen to “Lovely day” without wanting to sway and shimmy? Certainly not this gal.


“Lovely day”, Bill Withers



5.What is your favorite quote, mantra, or mediation?


I absolutely love ‘Notes from the Universe’ available through TUT.com. Go sign up. It's free and blissful.  I have been receiving these generous bursts of kindness, smart-wit, and mind-expansion for the past 15+ years. The daily arrival of ‘Notes from the Universe’ into my inbox ceaselessly raises my vibrations and makes me giggle with gratitude.  I particularly love and often use the phrase,

  • “Be the Spark, Especially When It's Dark.”  


Wow, I am always amazed after writing a post at the generosity and insight shared by these talented artists. These tips and advice come from first hand lived experiences that can help anyone who is in pursuit of their passions, no matter how far fetched or changing it might be in your lives. These professional dancers are living proof of commitment, discipline, and resilience. I hope this has gifted you with lots of motivation and inspiration, to live your lives doing and seeking what you love to do. Especially during these times.


A few takeaways for me from each artist:

  • If you have dedicated a large part of your life to one craft or career and now find yourself having another calling or interest, DON'T BE SCARED.  Leah Barsky


  • Life is meant to be lived and loved. Go for it.  Adelita Hinjosa- Martin


  • Dreams exist and you have to work hard to achieve it with love and respect. Karina Romero


  • Trust that divine timing will provide the ideal scenarios for you to indulge in, and to share all the visions and yearnings that you are drawn to bring forth into the world. Teresa Anne Volgenau

Thank You!

*Leah Barsky, *Adelita Hinjosa-Martin, *Karina Romero, & *Teresa Anne Volgenau, for your insights on pursuing more than one passion. All there advice and tips are priceless. Be Safe, don't forget to sign up, and in the meantime..Shine on!!