Q & A with Mandy Milligan
April 12, 2016
Why do you dance?
I dance because I love the architecture of the body, and I love telling stories that are too complex for words. I also like the idea that an emotion can take over your body so completely that it makes you move in a different way. Only dance can show that.
If you hadn't been a dancer, what would you be doing?
I think I would still be involved in theater somehow. In high school I stage managed a little and watched my mom light most of my shows. I always thought lighting was so interesting, so maybe that.
What other exercise/physical training do you spend time with besides dance classes? How does that help?
I'm an instructor at Reforming Indy Pilates, and when I'm not dancing I take as many classes as I can. Pilates is always my go-to cross training and warm up routine. I love learning about the body in a way that I think informs me as a dancer and an artist even when I'm not dancing.
What types of costumes are easiest to dance in? Describe your favorite costume you've ever danced in. Describe the most challenging/why.
Simplicity is best, although I love a good dress! I actually really like the COLE! costumes for act two, it's comfortable and cute. Tutus and bodices are probably the hardest costumes to wear.
What inspires you when you're creating choreography? What is the biggest challenge for you in that process?
Music is always the biggest inspiration, second only to the dancers I work with. I often stew over ideas for a long time before I start work on a piece - sometimes feeling ready to share an idea can be challenging.
What is your favorite part of teaching dance? What's the biggest challenge? Where do you teach?
I love feeling like I can use all my different experiences as a dancer and my knowledge from Pilates to give my students as many different tips and tricks as I can. A big challenge though is navigating my way around all the emotions and drama you find working with teenagers. Trying to keep everyone focused and keeping up a positive body image can be hard. I teach at the Danville Children's Ballet once a week right now.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Food! Beer! I love to cook, and I've been known to brew my own beer and I love trying new foods! My favorite foods are sushi, Chinese hot pot, and chocolate ganache.
What one piece of advice would you give a student who wants to dance professionally?
Keep showing up. If you don't like the way you just did something, do it again. And always think of yourself as an artist first.