Happy Thanksgiving 2018 / by Nicole Baker


Thanksgiving may mean many different things depending on who you ask, but for me it serves as an opportunity to do exactly what the title requests -- give thanks for who and what is in your life, knowing that an attitude of gratitude is the only way to ensure such blessings will continue. It also comes at an interestingly appropriate time of the year, November, when the seasons have changed but it’s not quite the end of the year, where one reflects on what has transpired over the past year, or the beginning of the new year where goals and intentions are set. It is a time for an assessment before all of that and what better way to examine your life at present state than by crediting who and what you’re grateful for?

I have a long list which could be added to infinitely (I would definitely be one of the people they have to play the music for as a cue to exit the stage at an awards ceremony) but here are some standouts (old and new) that have carved an eternal place in my heart: 

First and foremost I'm grateful for my higher power, for without that connection nothing is possible and to FIRE -- the passion that motivates all great actions; I'm grateful to AA and ACIM for promoting LOVE, forgiveness, acceptance, and healing; to Marianne Williamson for keeping me in tune with my daily spiritual journey which helps keep my fear and ego in check continually reminding me to come from a place of love and forgiveness as best I can, one day at a time; for my magnificent husband -- the greatest gift of this year was solidifying our bond through marriage -- I could write a zillion things but you know what’s in my heart; to my mother who has been my biggest fan, constant cheerleader and the greatest support in my life; for my twin brother who I recently rekindled a friendship/kinship/brotherhood bond with for the first time in 40 years when together we recently brought horrible darkness into the light; for Roxy and Zak who brought so much joy to our lives; for all of my fabulous friends and for best friend since childhood, the terrifically talented Beth Hart. 

I am supremely grateful for every single member of Eryc Taylor Dance -- past, present, and future including all of our dancers, collaborators, costume designers, composers and photographers we have worked with. Some of these special souls include all of my ETD dancers from years gone by and our current crew: Nicole Baker, Chris Bell, AJ Guevara, Taylor Ennen, Alex Tenreiro Theis, along with the three new choreographers (Kanon Sapp, Melanie Ramos and Jordan Ryder) who were the 2018 recipients of the ETD New Choreographer Grant, as well as their performers and all of their fellow recipients since the award was launched in 2013 -- I have watched you blossom and have learned so much from all of you as a dancer, choreographer and as a human being. 

Gratitude is due to the outstanding composers I have worked with such as Gerald Busby, Daniel Tobias, and Salomon Lerner,  -- your music gives wings to my movement and allows the dancers to soar to new heights; to the costume creators who adorned the dancers with garments both fantastic and functional like the brilliant Scooter LaForge, and a special thanks to Patricia Field for her support and inspiration over the years. 

A huge thank you goes out to the many phenomenal photographers I have been honored to work with, who capture such exquisite expressions of explosive movement in a single frame: Lois Greenfield, Nikola Bradonjic, Maria Panina, Steven Menendez, Kristina Zaidner and Rachel Neville.

Everyday I cherish and feel thankful for our important and meaningful programs: Eryc Taylor Dance, Eryc Taylor Dance Outreach and ETD/New Choreographer Grant and the organizations who make it ALL possible including: Postgraduate Center For Mental, Health, The Acacia Network, Jacob Barak, Lorraine Coleman, The Marta Heflin Foundation, Douglas Sills of The Sills Foundation, CWT, MAC, and in the recent past thank you to The International Festival Avant Garde, New York Live Arts, The Harkness Dance Center at the 92nd Street Y, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, among others.

Sincere appreciation goes to those who have shaped and sculpted my career and my self -- my instructors from LA County High School for the Arts, London Contemporary School of Dance, Le Centre de Marais, Group Motion Dance Company, Second Avenue Dance Company, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and Ruth Andrien who recommended me for a full scholarship to Jacob’s Pillow which transformed the way I choreograph.

Much love and gratitude to my devoted and tireless team: my PR rep Adria Rolnick, ETD board members Marsena Farris, Diane Rosenstein and Gerald Busby, Andrew Tran, IVY Social Media, Nicole Baker, Michelle Cole, Cindy Sibilsky and to Broadway World, Fran Kirmser, The Dance Enthusiast, Dance Magazine, Ruth Walker of W42ND Magazine and to all of the fans, patrons, supporters, press, and organizations that makes ETD and all of its programs successful and my life richer and more wondrous each day. 


From the bottom of my heart -- THANK YOU ALL!!!