Warren Craft in Dorrance Dance's Myelination (photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Craft)

Tapper Warren Craft Writes a Letter—Actually, a Poem—to His Teenage Self

Hoofer Warren Craft mesmerizes audiences with his sophisticated musicality and idiosyncratic style. He started dancing at age 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY, and later took private lessons with Ayodele Casel in NYC. He went on to study at the American Tap Dance Foundation, the School of American Ballet, and The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. These days, you can see the multifaceted talent onstage with Michelle Dorrance's Dorrance Dance. In keeping with his ever-unconventional approach to his art, Craft wrote a poem to his younger self in lieu of a letter. —Courtney Bowers



Considered.

Nothing extra.

Except for this intro.

I move this way.

I like butoh.

Here's a poem.


When you have the right to.

Reap control.

Think.

(Before you move)

What do you look like?

"Surprised at how things are playing out."

That's plenty to feel.

With some space around it.

You really look lonely.

Craft at age 12 (courtesy Craft)

I made some choreography.

When I said I was an improv dancer.

And always will be.

Uncomfortable and rewarding.

Set on someone else's shoulders.

Whatever they do with it.

They had to think.

What did it all mean?

And so do I.


I want it all considered.

I bled for my choices.

My knees are swollen.

My back is not the same.


Dance has been easy.

Everyone helping me.

So I'll do my best.

I know that's endless.


When you have the right to.

Look back.

Laugh.

(At how stressful it was to write this)

When there's so much to dance about.

You have passion.

In your heart.

You have a love.

Long road ahead.

Could use a letter from the future.


A version of this story appeared in the October 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Letter to My Teenage Self: Warren Craft."

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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