I’m thrilled to introduce our newest DIYdancer Contributor Keenan McLaren! As a colleague of mine at Ballet Montana, Keenan’s innate passion for food, health, and well-being has inspired me endlessly. Every time she dives into dialogue about these items, her zeal and drive reminds me of the Dd community. It didn’t take much convincing to get her to bring her ideas and inspiration on over to Dd. Keenan has danced professionally with Ballet Austin II, Dayton Ballet, BalletFleming, Ballet Montana, and will be joining the Nashville Ballet this fall. Let’s all give her a warm welcome.
1. ART: Performance or visual? What place does art have in your life?
Performance AND visual! Obviously, as a professional dancer, I consider myself a performance artist, physically and emotionally. I absolutley love expressing myself through my body and acting. It is so magical and a huge part of my life, which I will always have. Additionally, I love visual art, though. Photography is a hobby of mine and I am also very interested in art history – particularly the works of the great Renaissance painters and sculptors.
2. CRAFT: Knit or Crochet or Other? What is your craftiest project to date?
I would say my craft is yoga and photography. I have been teaching yoga privates and yoga for dancers for almost a year now, and I am thrilled that this summer I will get to teach a benefit yoga class for Ballet Montana. I am also applying to be an ambassador for Africa Yoga Project and hope to go to Kenya next summer and teach in the slums.
As a side hobby, I photograph as much as possible, especially back stage! I even submitted a few of my photos to the PR manager for Dayton Ballet when I was there and they used them in the programs and on the website!
3. DESIGN: Classical or modern? What designer or architect inspires you the most?
In terms of design, I love a mix of classical and modern. The baroque period of the French court with all the luxurious textures, paintings, and grand architecture really speaks to me. As well as the ruins of ancient Rome and Greece- they just hold a certain mystique and romance. But I also really love a clean, smooth line and, in life, tend to surround myself with a more calming design. I love to follow fashion; good quality classics with chic lines can’t be beat. Right now, designers and lines such as Phillip Lim, Marchessa, and The Row really inspire me. And, always Parisian women! They totally get it….
4. FOOD: Salty or sweet? Do you know how to make your favorite dish?
Salty and sweet- how could I choose?! Plus, I like both together the best! I have so many favorite dishes, as well, but I can make them all! I would love to share the recipes in a blog, especially for raw mint chocolate cookies, raw home made ice cream, Thai coconut curry stir fry, steak frites with cognac sauce… the list is too long… (SW: You should try her rhubarb and strawberry crisp! Delish!)
5. THOUGHT: Fiction or Nonfiction? What form does the bulk of your own reading and/or writing take?
I am a total sucker for Historical novels. (SW: ME TOO!) I love being transported to another time and imagining what it might have been like to live then. Reading is an escape for me, so I tend to lean more towards epic novels of fiction. However, when writing, I tend to discuss more fact based ideas as I really want to open peoples minds to what is around them.
6. FUN: Where in the world do you want to go or be stranded? What five things would be in your bag?
If I could go anywhere in the world right now I would have to say Thailand. I have never been to Asia and I have heard Thailand is so beautiful, cultural, and interesting. In my (hopefully Mary Poppins sized) bag I would have 1) a camera! 2) lots of money to eat out and get thai massage, haha 3) a water filter for drinking whereever I might be 4) hiking boots to hike the mountains 5) A Thai/English dictionary so I could talk to the locals