© 2011 Christopher Charles McDaniel

. . . and that’s what I learned while I was away…

Tears come to my eyes when I look back on the journey I’ve made to get to this point in my career. I grow emotional thinking about how much I fought and struggled to finally get to a place where, being me makes me smile. Joining the Los Angeles Ballet was a daunting decision for a while. I was afraid of the challenge, I was afraid of going into a new place where no one knew me, I was terrified of the idea of having to prove myself to new directors. The idea of ’starting over’ and RE-presenting myself was frightening!

However, I’ve found that I am most successful when I am myself. I have found that I am miserable, uncomfortable, and depressedwhen I’m trying to adjust myself to fit the likes of others. Moving to LA has taught me a valuable lesson is self pride, and confidence. I have made friends that I will never forget. I’ve worked with some beautiful artists who have an artistic generosity that is beyond admirable. The commitment  made to each piece they dance is completely heart wrenching. The level of professionalism that they exude is both touching and inspiring.

These have been a rough few months. I’ve lost a lot, I’ve gained a lot, I opened myself up and embraced people, I’ve been embraced by new people, I had my heart broken and played with, BUT through it all, I’ve had piece of mind. When I thought I was gonna break I was reminded that, every experience in life, be it good or bad, comes to teach us a lesson.

I’m returning to New York, with a more objective perspective on many things. I’m returning, a stronger man, a stronger dancer, a maturer artist. I am more open minded, but also very certain of who I am. I am ready to take all that I’ve learned and impart it into others. I’ve always wanted to give of myself and inspire others. But, coming to LA taught me that I need to stop and be replenished, before I can give anymore.

… and that’s what I learned while I was away…

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