Letter to My Teenage Self: Marguerite Derricks

Few choreographers have worked on as many TV shows, movies and musicals as Marguerite Derricks. The Buffalo, NY, native’s recent credits include the TV shows “Bunheads” and “The Mindy Proejct,” the off-Broadway musical Heathers, Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” video and a bonus featurette for Disney’s Frozen.

Photo courtesy Marguerite Derricks

Growing up, Derricks attended summer programs at Canada’s National Ballet School and the School of American Ballet, and later performed in the TV series “Fame.” Her big break, however, came in the mid-1990s when she choreographed the first Austin Powers movie. She now has more than 30 credits—in film alone—on her resumé, and she’s the recipient of five MTV Movie Awards, three Emmy Awards and multiple American Choreography Awards.  —Jenny Dalzell

 

 

 

 

Dear Marguerite,

All the dreams you desire are yours as long as you believe in yourself. There will be people along the way who will tell you that you can’t. Don’t listen! You’ve been blessed with everything you need to make it. Sometimes your dreams will turn out differently than you imagined—better, actually. But keep in mind that hard work and sacrifice will never go unnoticed.

Learn to give back early in life. There’s a joy that comes from giving that no one should be without.

Try not to compare your career to other people’s. Everyone has her own path and timeline. You’ll learn that everything happens for a reason, and when you hear a “no,” don’t let it bring you down. Give yourself 24 hours to get over a disappointment, and then move on. You can’t please everyone, so learn to please yourself.

As your career takes off, try to stay in the moment and enjoy the ride. Be kind and collaborate—you can always learn from someone else. You’ll receive many rewards along the way, but always remember that the greatest reward is the work itself.

Love you,

Marguerite

Photo courtesy Derricks

Latest Posts


Alex Wong (Collette Mruk, courtesy Alex Wong)

6 AAPI Dancers Share Their Stories

Last year, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 150 percent in many of America's largest cities. And last month, a mass shooting in the Atlanta area took the lives of eight people, six of them Asian women. Since then, the attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have continued, sparking a national movement to stop AAPI hate.

In light of this, Dance Spirit wanted to help amplify the voices of AAPI dancers. We asked six to share their thoughts about anti-Asian racism and how it appears in the dance world. Here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
William Zinser works with a dancer at The Joyce Theater (Kristin Stevens, courtesy William Zinser)

How to Beat 5 Common Cheats Dancers Commit

Y'all, we get it. Dance is really, really hard. So what's the harm in taking the easy way out on a technical correction? Answer: an increased chance of injury, and a whole slew of new technique problems that could take a loooooooong time to fix.

Lucky for you, Dance Spirit has enlisted the expert help of Dale Lam, artistic director of CCJ Conservatory in South Carolina, and William Zinser, certified athletic trainer at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in NYC, so you can start leveling up your technique the honest way.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
What happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? (Getty Images/kf4851)

What to Do When Your Dance Teacher Says You're Not Pointe Ready

Since the day you pulled on your first leotard, you have no doubt been dreaming of the day you would attend your first pointe shoe fitting. Going on pointe is a rite of passage as a ballet dancer, and the result of years of hard work.

But what happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? It's totally understandable to be disappointed and frustrated if your teacher doesn't move you on pointe, but don't lose faith in yourself. "I've seen a lot of dancers go on pointe over the years," says Josephine Lee, professional pointe shoe fitter and founder of The Pointe Shop. "I don't think I have ever seen a dancer who was held back from pointework feel like they were behind in the long run."

Ideally, your teacher has laid out clear guidelines for what makes a dancer pointe-ready. But if they haven't, there are some milestones that ballet professionals are looking for to give the green light for your first pair of shoes. Factors like your age, technique level, range of motion and strength all come into play. And the good news is that if going on pointe is a goal for you, there are proactive ways that you can get there.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search