In continuing with our interviews with interesting and exciting “dance” people we think you’d like to know, we are pleased to to present Mindy Krasner to our readers. We were very taken by Mindy on many levels. Mindy is a professional ballet dancer who hails from New York City. She has also toured the world as a ballerina for major ballet companies like American Ballet Theatre II, Dutch National Ballet, Basel Ballet and Le Grand Ballet Canadian and has danced for over a decade in famous productions like “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.” Mindy also adds teaching dance and acting to her long list of credits. We were fortunate to catch up with Mindy in a telephone interview, as she is rehearsing and working very had to perform in “Heart Song,” a brand new play opening at The Fountain Theatre here in Los Angeles from May 25 to July 14. There is a stunning article in this Sunday’s, May 19, L.A. Times about “Heart Song,” its cast and the renowned Flamenco dancer Maria Bermudez, who not only teaches Flamenco dancing to the cast but also performs in “Heart Song” as an actor.
I hope that you will see, as we did, that Mindy is an artist devoted to dance and a true inspiration. Mindy has the divine gift of being able to “give” in new and original ways. On behalf of Fordney Foundation, we want to “thank” Mindy for speaking to us and wish her continued success in her career as well as a successful run in “Heart Song.”
FB: How did you get the role in “Heart Song?” How did you apply for it? Tell us the dates and times you are performing.
MK: I submitted my profile on Actors Access which is a website for actors. I did not receive a response at first. Then I received a second email to submit for the role. Usually you can’t submit more than once for the same role, the website won’t allow it, but it allowed me to submit again. This time I got called for an audition. This was an unusual circumstance and I felt it was meant to be. There is Flamenco dancing in the play. The world famous Flamenco dancer, Maria Bermudez is the choreographer for “Heart Song” and she will also be playing the role of the Flamenco teacher for the first three weeks.
“Heart Song” is at The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles from May 25 to July 14. For information and tickets go to http://fountaintheatre.com/boxoffice.html
FB: Can you tell us about your experience with the great Maria Bermudez learning Flamenco from her and how your rehearsing is going?
MK: The experience with Maria Bermudez is absolutely extraordinary. I feel so blessed and honored to have met her and learn from her. She is a powerful and humble artist with so much depth and beauty inside and out. Every moment I had with her in rehearsal I treasured. I have been blessed to have great teachers and mentors in my life. I never learned Flamenco before, so this is new for me. Rehearsals are going great. It has been a wonderful, transforming experience.
FB: How did you become a dancer, teacher and actor?
MK: When I was 5 years old, my mother took me to a dance recital of a neighbor who lived down the block. When the performance started, I jumped out of my seat and stood the entire performance. I was mesmerized. When I came home, I ran upstairs and went behind my mother’s bedroom door where there was a long mirror. I danced in front of it instinctively. I begged my mother to let me take ballet. She called a local school but they said I was too young and had to wait until I was 7 1/2 or 8. I kept dancing around the house begging my mother to take me to ballet class. Finally, when I was 7 1/2 she took me to the neighborhood school. The teacher said I was talented and graceful. I stayed there for two years and then my parents realized it wasn’t a very good school. I was lucky that my parents were cultured and supportive. They moved me to a better school and they continued to do that throughout my dance training. I went to ballet camps and to summer programs. At age 13, I made the decision to be a professional dancer. I eventually took 12 classes a week in ballet, point work and variations. In high school I had permission from the principal to leave school early to go into New York City to take my dance classes; since I knew this was my career path. I danced with the Eglevsky Ballet as a child. Then I did my first corps de ballet work with that company when I was 17. I graduated from high school and went straight to Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice.
While dancing in a company, I used to help my friends and give them corrections and that’s when I realized that I was good at teaching. I had a good eye and I could express and communicate very well and I enjoyed that. It came natural to me. Now I teach Ballet, Creative Dance, Yoga and Dance/Fitness.
I only started acting two years ago. I woke up one morning and had an intense desire to take an acting class. I didn’t know where this came from. Even though I was acting when I danced, it was different to act and speak. I started taking acting classes and I loved it so much and felt excited that I found another passion. I am now pursuing acting and dance. They are very much connected.
FB: Where did you grow up? Who are your early influences in dance?
MK: I grew up in Hicksville (Long Island) New York. My first real influence in dance was a great ballerina by the name of Nora Kovach – a Hungarian ballerina who escaped from Russia with Istvan Rabovksy. A film was made about them entitled “Leap Through The Iron Curtain.” I studied with Nora and then I went to the Rabovsky Ballet Camp. I then studied with Andre Eglevsky from New York City Ballet and Melissa Hayden. I also studied at the Joffrey School. Cynthia Gregory from American Ballet Theatre and Karen Kane from the National Ballet of Canada were two of my favorite ballerinas. New York City Ballet was my favorite company and where most of my influence came from.
FB: How long did you dance professional ballet and is there anything you would like to share with us about ballet and your experience as a ballerina?
MK: I danced in professional ballet companies for 10 years. I became professional at 17 and danced in major ballet companies until I was 27. Ballet was the love of my life and my passion. It is very hard work. Ballet is a very disciplined art form and very unnatural for the body. You must train your body every day just to maintain your technique. To keep getting better, I had to work very hard. BALLET trained me for life! Nothing came easy for me. I had to work very hard for everything. I had a lot of hard knocks – I didn’t always get what I wanted. It built my character. I love nothing more than dancing on stage. That is when I feel the most alive and connected with life. Dancing expresses the essence and joy of who I am and I love to share that with others when I’m on stage. The passion to dance is something you’re born with. It’s a gift from God. I also love to teach and share my knowledge and experience with others. I have been teaching ballet and creative dance for all ages including seniors. I received a grant for a Creative Aging project for seniors. I also had a dance company called Freedom Dance Company to bring dance to people who were facing life-threatening illnesses. This was a nonprofit organization and I did this for about 3 years. That was inspired by my own journey with cancer and how dance helped heal me.
FB: What and who inspires you?
MK: Ben Vereen has been one artist who inspires me. When I see him perform, I’m amazed at how talented he is and how much he gives in his performance. I’ve never seen anyone like him. I am also inspired by people who break their fears in order to live their truth, their dreams and express who they are. I have had to break through my fears to live the truth of who I am. It is an ongoing journey. You need courage to face your fears.
FB: What is important to you? What makes you content?
MK: Being happy – that’s why we’re here. I am content when I know I’m enough just being me. I remind myself every day “I’m enough.”
FB: What is your favorite dance to perform?
MK: In ballet, my favorite dance to perform was Concerto Barroco. This is a Balanchine ballet. I love the music. It was so inspiring.
FB: I read in your biography that you were the first person to bring “BeMoved Dance Fitness” to the Los Angeles Area. Would you explain what that is?
MK: “BeMoved Dance Fitness” is a low impact dance fitness class for all ages of any skill level; even those who have never danced before. It started in Chicago. I became a certified instructor in Chicago. I am the only BeMoved instructor in all of California. I teach on Wednesday nights at the Dance Conservatory of Pasadena and will be starting a new class in West L.A. after I finish “Heart Song.” BeMoved has elements of Yoga, Ballet, Modern dance and Jazz. There are 15 different genres, such as Disco, Salsa and Bollywood. There is a nice warm up, then a combination and a short cool down. You get a great full body workout without hurting your body and you’re dancing real artistic dance choreography, having fun and feeling successful at it! To get more information about my classes you can go to: www.MoveWithMindyNow.com
FB: What message do you have for young dancers today in dance sport!
MK: Be happy and enjoy dancing. Remember to have a good time and have fun. That’s what it’s all about!
FB: If you could leave one message for the world, what would that be?
MK: ENJOY NOW! BE HAPPY NOW! That’s all we have is the moment. Live it to the fullest with Joy!