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Apr 28, 2020

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Terence Marling, Artistic Director at COMMON conservatory. A Chicago native, Terence trained at the Ruth Page School under the direction of Larry Long. Upon leaving, Marling danced and choreographed at a wide variety of both domestic and international dance companies, including serving as Rehearsal Director at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Director at Hubbard Street 2. In September of this past year, Terence became Founder and Artistic Director of COMMON conservatory, which hopes to serve as a launching pad for the future dancers of tomorrow.

Terence is a seasoned dancer and choreographer, who brings a wise perspective to the dance industry. His goal is to see young dancers succeed professionally in an industry that grows more exclusive by the day, and he has established his conservatory to achieve that end. On the podcast, Terence discusses the origins of his company and why he feels that a conservatory like COMMON is vital in today’s dance landscape. Along the way, he also shares some invaluable wisdom around the importance of networking, having a willingness to learn and evolve, and so much more.


Moving Quotes:

“I’m 44 years old, and I’m still a student of dance. I’ve been dancing since I was 6, and I’ve been dancing the whole time. And there’s so much to learn."

“We have to have dancers nowadays who are willing to advocate for themselves — who are willing to build their own networks. And the more people you have reach to, the more opportunities you’re going to have. It’s just that simple."

“It’s a difficult thing for some young choreographers to take ahold of — that your success is measured by how well you communicate in front of a room and the energy that you create. If you come in unsure, you’re only going to make an unsure piece."

“[When people leave my performances,] I want them to feel that they’ve been able to detach from the every day."

“Every single contact that you make in a dance situation is important to keep. In order to maintain those relationships, it’s a good idea to just reach out and check in."

“The people that end up being really successful are those people that communicate well."

“Thinking while watching dance is great, but unfortunately, I think a lot of the dance that is created today asks almost too much thinking of the audience."

“What I’m finding is that, while training for dancers has become better and better over the years, unfortunately, the jobs have become fewer and fewer."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

2:54: Terence discusses the origins of COMMON conservatory and his vision for the conservatory.

4:52: Marling explains the importance of choosing a space near central Chicago.

7:05: Marling explains why he believes a conservatory like COMMON is crucial for dance professionals in the modern dance landscape.

11:58: Terence shares some incredible words around the importance of networking within the dance industry.

13:54: Marling discusses some of his past and present choreographed works.

16:39: Terence describes his typical process (or lack thereof) when mapping out a piece of choreography and retells the story around his first ever choreographed work.

19:25: Terence describes how he wants his audience to feel after leaving one of his performances and discusses the danger of overcomplicating choreographed pieces.

21:58: Marling shares some sound advice for aspiring choreographers around gaining experience and being bold.

26:35: Terence gives some tips for dancers who are looking to break into today’s dance scene.

31:31: Terence rounds out the discussion by sharing his hopes and dreams for COMMON conservatory and why he believes it will be a success.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Terence Marling


COMMON conservatory