First Things to Do When Returning to America After Living in Egypt 1. hug parents 2. engulf the fresh air 3. switch into shorts 4. feed transatlantic-travelled cat 5.raise voice I have not written here in a significant chunk of time. I was spending my last days in Egypt consumed with work and transition. I was… Read More


I will start off by admitting that I am a very white dancer. My dance aesthetic grew out of white, lower middle-class, mid-Michigan, 1980’s rural-Suburbia. I mastered the Roger Rabbit, Running Man, and MC Hammer but my Hip-Hop was oblivious appropriation at best. My tap dancing had a very high center of gravity, far closer… Read More


My name is Shawn and I am a bad ex-pat/foreign resident in Egypt. I do not play the part well. I enjoy long walks alone on urban streets. I do not heed security warnings without some critical thought first on my end. I question things. I question the use of Blackface on stage. I question… Read More


Have you been a friend of mine since (at least) 2008? Do you remember a child named Donna? Do you remember her dancing? Did you know she was my greatest teacher? Do you remember when I was on both the Young Associates Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago) and Donna’s… Read More


Transitions are the perfect combination of possibility and anxiety. When you are age 3, they can be terrifying. When you are 13, they can be bitter. When you are 30, they can be cringe-worthy. I know I will face incredible transitions as I age. Transitions are when the world, the day, or a trajectory, is becoming… Read More


There might not be curtains or a backstage. The floor may not be exactly right. The audience will probably be in their pajamas. The music might come from a laptop/portable speaker and there may be playback problems with your intro. The dressing room might be a hospital bathroom. There may be a small crowd with no… Read More


There should be more dancing in childhood cancer. If you know any dance educators or teaching artists, encourage them to volunteer at their local children’s hospital. If they are nervous at all, or not knowing where to start, share this post with them. In June 2013, I wrote about my advice for leading dance experiences… Read More


I went back into the mouth of Ignorant America, and rather than ignore it which was one strategy I could have taken, I addressed some of the hated ignorance head on. I got 3 people who posted anti-Islamic hate speech to realize their closed-mindedness enough to engage in a healthy dialogue, thanking me for the new understanding… Read More


[Warning this is a long post. More of a comprehensive look at something. If you want to skip to the bottom, I will explain about the cat.] For me, it was a simple and understandable request. Stop it. End the blackface. Why hasn’t anyone in this city addressed this before? Turns out it can be… Read More


Dear Cairo Opera Company and Cairo Opera Ballet, I first became a fan and patron in 2011. While a proud advocate for the arts in the region, especially dance, I have been deeply troubled by a number of things in your productions, ethnocentrically offensive choreography and blackface. I have very close friends in the company… Read More