Q & A with Phillip Crawshaw
May 17, 2016
Why do you dance?
Dance is not only physically demanding, but incorporating the emotion and spirit of the dance is challenging, yet so rewarding. Although I love to talk, words never come easy to me. Dance allows me to communicate through my body. I have tried stepping away from dance a few times, but I have always returned to dance. Sometimes being away from something, you realize how much love and passion you have for it.
If you hadn't been a dancer, what would you be doing?
I was getting my Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling before I gave that all up to dance. So a part of me would say I would have continued down that road. But I also would have loved to do something with architecture design.
What other exercise/physical training do you spend time with besides dance classes? How does that help?
I go to gym and do the usual light cardio and weight lifting. When the weather is nice, I love to walk along the canal through Butler. Doing this helps with stamina and strength for partnering.
What types of costumes are easiest to dance in? Describe your favorite costume you've ever danced in. Describe the most challenging/why.
I love a simple dance short and a non-restrictive shirt or tank-top. My favorite costume would be all of the Carmina Burana costumes. I love the look and how they feel, but also the history of all of the previous dancers who wore the same pieces. The most challenging would actually be one of the Indian costumes that I have danced in, as it had so many details and layers to every single piece.
What inspires you when you're creating choreography? What is the biggest challenge for you in that process?
The music and even the dancers I am setting choreography on inspire me. The biggest challenge is actually picking out music. I spent close to four hours once, selecting just one song for my students.
What is your favorite part of teaching dance? What's the biggest challenge? Where do you teach?
I love passing on the knowledge and passion of dance. Since I did not start my training until college, I am always learning and I love to pass that on to the next generation of dancers. My favorite part of teaching is seeing the “lightbulb” moment when something finally clicks with a student. The biggest challenge is not nit-picking when there are many things to correct. There will always be things to fix, but fixing the major problems first is always necessary. I push my students to do a self-evaluation periodically in my class as to learn how to correct themselves without me going to every single student. I teach at Wishes Dance Studio in Fishers and choreograph show choirs in Indiana and Ohio.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
I love sweets and I love bread—combine those two in any way . . . yum!
What one piece of advice would you give a student who wants to dance professionally?
Never give up and never stop learning. Try new things and soak in as much knowledge from as many people as you can.