Columbus dance company proves age is just a number

Oyo Dance Company

2020年欧预赛赛程COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rachel Maynard spent part of Saturday evening warming up on the stage of the Columbus Performing Arts Center.

It was a place at once both immensely familiar but also a bit strange. She was preparing for just her second performance on stage in quite a few years.

"I was told I would never dance again," she said.

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2020年欧预赛赛程Years ago, Maynard was involved in two car crashes that took her off the stage. It was difficult to even get back to regular, everyday movements.

"I really couldn’t stand very long, I couldn’t lift my arms above my head," she said. "It was a lot of work."

2020年欧预赛赛程And it was heartbreaking, too, especially for someone who had been dancing for the vast majority of her life.

2020年欧预赛赛程"As a toddler, I always walked on my toes, and I jumped the floor out of my playpen, and then I jumped the playpen around the room, so (my mother) felt that I need to dance, so I was put into dance," she said.

She joined a youth ballet at age 7, later moving to Philadelphia to dance professionally. And, after recovering from her car crashes, she took up ballroom dancing, moved to Ohio, found a partner, and won some national titles.

2020年欧预赛赛程After again stepping away to care for her two children, she's now back to performing with the .

2020年欧预赛赛程"It has been a lot of work and really challenging but really fun to find new ways of expressing things that don’t feel the same as they did when I was in my 20s and early 30s but can feel different and better, so it’s pretty fun," she said.

Oyo was founded back in 2015 as a dance company open to performers of all ages, sizes and backgrounds.

At Saturday night's performance, every dancer was older than 36.

2020年欧预赛赛程"I love the mission that we have, and I just felt like there needed to be a space for people that don’t fit what you would think of as a traditional aesthetic," said Elizabeth Weiss, president of the board of directors. "When people think about dancers, they tend to think, like the first thing that pops into their mind is classical ballet, and they think of tall, willowy people in tutus, and I really wanted to get it out there that it’s so much more than that."

The company's performances are designed to make people think and to feel. Saturday night's performance was called Journeys, exploring life cycles from birth to death. The company also tackles social justice issues and is planning a special performance about LGBTQ equality in June. There also is an upcoming Pinocchio show geared toward children.

2020年欧预赛赛程"We want to make a difference in our community," Weiss said. "We want people to be thinking, we want people to be feeling, we want them to have a way to consider difficult topics that’s accessible and that feels productive and good for them."