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Darian Kane is in her third season as a dancer with Atlanta Ballet. Originally from Northern California, Kane has begun to explore choreography. Her first piece, Dr. Rainbow’s Infinity Mirror, was part of the company’s Silver Linings presentations earlier this year and she will expand it for an Atlanta Ballet program in February. Her All Eyes Forward is a filmed ballet for the Artists Climate Collective in support of climate action. (Photo by Jennifer Zmuda)

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It’s undeniable how horrible this pandemic has been and yet in the middle of it I received one of the biggest gifts in my life — connecting with a medium of my art [choreography] that I didn’t know I would enjoy. I was given this unheard-of opportunity, with all the backing and support I needed. At times I have felt guilty — why is my experience so different from what’s happening to other people in the world? But that’s life and I can’t change it and it would be a shame if I didn’t appreciate it. It’s an odd feeling which I think applies to life in general, that we can experience so much devastation and so much joy within the same span of time. The best thing I can do is be completely grateful.

I was the last one to sign up to choreograph for Atlanta Ballet and I was past the deadline. My friend Keaton [Leier] was at the first choreographers’ meeting. He texted me, “There are no girls here.” We talk about having more women in positions of leadership in the dance industry and here I am sitting in front of an opportunity — I realized someone has to do it, so I will. I discovered it is really fun. For the first time in my career I wasn’t being told what to do. I had autonomy and freedom. I was given a whole new world to explore. I fell in love with it. I didn’t expect it but I’m so glad it happened.

I don’t think I will ever not have doubts or struggles. When I get stuck choreographically I draw and imagine what my drawings would look like if they were in motion. I ask my dad for advice. He helps me bypass the woe-is-me ego. Claudia [Schreier, Atlanta Ballet choreographer-in-residence] has been a wonderful resource, a mentor. I scheduled a phone call with her one day because I was freaking out. I am lucky she is so closely tied to this company. The biggest thing I have to manage now is how to dial down the loudness of my critical internal monologue — as dancers we are so hard on ourselves. But now that Pandora’s box has been opened, I have to choreograph. I have to continue making things.

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