Interview with Sarah Greenbaum

Meet Sarah Greenbaum, the recipient of Harlequin Floors’ Missouri State University Scholarship in Support of Dance Science. She participated in a series of studies that focused on the effects of dance floors on the bodies of dancers. With 17 years of dance experience under her belt, she is now pursuing a degree in Dance Performance.

What style of dance are you studying?

Well, we do modern and ballet at Missouri State, but for the future, I would like to focus more on modern. That is what I am primarily interested in.

How long have you been dancing?

I’ve been in dance classes since I was three; so pretty much my whole life! But, when you’re three you’re not quite dancing. It’s more about creative movement, you know, “point your toe, flex your toe” but it was a dance class nonetheless!

Who, in the dance world, is your favorite dancer and why?

Of all time? I would have to say that I am really inspired by Merce Cunningham. He is the dancer my professor studied with when she was dancing professionally and living in New York City. He just did a ton of really fascinating and really innovative things with dance.

I also really love watching Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. They’re probably my favorite dance company at the moment.

Other than dancing, what other hobbies interest you?

I’ve always been a theater kid and have always enjoyed watching plays. I am definitely a bookworm, too. Outside of the studio, I’m usually stretching and reading a book at the same time. I’m also learning how to cook. It’s sort of necessary, as I’ve been living on my own now for two years! I need to learn to cook beyond Ramen Noodles, or at least make the Ramen a bit fancier!

Can you tell me a little bit about your participation in the physical therapy studies that were conducted at Missouri State?

Dr. Hackney’s physical therapy studies focused on the benefits of dancing on a sprung floor versus a "regular" floor. He tested dancers who had several years of technique training and who had never been seriously injured. I was one of the subjects. The research consisted of taking pictures of subjects performing various jumps on sprung and non-sprung floors. He attached special sensors on our feet, legs, and hips to help record the movement in these parts.

How do you feel floors play a part in a dancer's safety and longevity?

Working on a good dance floor is extremely important for a dancer. Rehearsing on the wrong type of floor day after day can do serious damage to a dancer's body. I'm lucky to have great floors to dance on at MSU. The sprung floors we have help to protect my joints, and having healthy joints translates into a longer dance career.

Many parents in the dance world are wary of their children majoring in dance on the college and university level. What do your parents think of you studying dance?

I am UNBELIEVABLY lucky to have parents who support my dance career. From age three, they drove me to and from class several times every week and came to every show. When I decided to study dance at MSU, they were excited for me. They talk with me about my plans for the future and encourage me when I'm frustrated. And they still make the three-hour drive to watch me perform several times a year.

Going forward, what else are you hoping to achieve as a dancer?

Well, I am really hoping to work professionally for some amount of time. That’s the dream, right – to get paid to dance! I’m also very interested in dance writing and dance criticism and academic writing about dance.

I also love kids and I’m sure I’ll be teaching at some point in my career, so I’m very excited for that. I’m also working on getting Pilates certified and I’m hoping to be a Pilates instructor by the time I graduate. It’s not like dance but it’s really great for dancers!