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Gabrielle Gambino is a member of Zoetic Dance Ensemble and a freelance artist. Her choreography was most recently featured in Zoetic’s MIXTAPE 2021. She was also in MIXTAPE 2019 and Dance Canvas 2019. She is a dance educator with Rhythm Dance Center and Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance. (Photo by Daley Kappenman/Courtesy Zoetic Dance Ensemble)

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During the pandemic, watching what was happening was heartbreaking. I think I cried almost every day for a year. Being an empath, I felt a sense of guilt because I hadn’t lost anyone, I hadn’t lost a job, I was able to stay in my condo, I was able to teach virtually and Zoetic kept us going artistically. How could I possibly feel sorry for myself? I didn’t allow myself to process what was happening because I wasn’t dealing with the worst of it. That’s what my new work Rue & Reside is about.

I adopted an 80-pound German shepherd during quarantine. But before I got her, I was sitting on the couch by myself, eating a TV dinner, drinking wine and watching the news. I called my best friend and said, “I’m going to die alone on this couch, eating a TV dinner and no one will know.” She talked me off the ledge and said, “You’re going to be OK.” I’m lucky I had a great support system. I think women in general are resilient and adaptable. We did blogs and video blogs for Zoetic, which was a great release and very healing for me. 

Now I am back in the studio teaching. I am able to create. My boyfriend just moved here from Wyoming. I have a very large dog. Life is good. I would love to be on a stage again because I’m not getting any younger. I hope live performances come back and I hope we can see live music again, but if those things can’t return we will figure it out. We will keep adapting. And travel. Please, let’s travel again.

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