From lines to counts

Ever since that day at the beginning of freshman year when I auditioned for our school production of, “Macbeth”, I knew that I was meant to be on stage. Well, I didn’t get casted in the show, but I did get a callback. THAT’S how I knew that I was meant to act. Because if the director of that production saw something in me that was enough to get me a callback, then I knew that I should keep working on that something. Now, fast forward 7 years later and I am still fiercely in love with acting. I just got done performing in a show called, “Lost in Yonkers” by Neil Simon. If you haven’t seen it or read it, I advise you to go and do it as soon as possible. It was my favorite show that I have done so far. I think my favorite part was playing a 13 year old when I am actually 21 years of age. Funny, huh? Yeah. The audience thought it was pretty hilarious, too. But, I mean, it was a college production. Where were we going to get a 13 year old! HA! Anyway, I loved it and our director was phenomenal. I’ve done many shows in the last couple of years. Most of them in school of course and children’s Theatre. I did, however, perform in my first paid professional production this past summer in a play called, “Kiss the boys”, and that was pretty exciting. Guess I can call myself a professional actor now. Yeah right. I wish.

So, yeah. Theatre has been one hell of a ride for the past 7 years. But after all these shows, classes, and hard work, why do I feel like I am cheating on this art I have loved for so long?*Cue Jerry Springer Chant*  It has been a year since I started dancing. I began taking some dance lessons last year when I decided to expand my knowledge in musical theatre. You know, just for the hell of it. I thought to myself, “If I’m going to be an actor, I might as well get as close as I can to being a triple threat’. I didn’t care much about singing or dancing before last year. I liked acting and I thought that was all I ever wanted to do. I was wrong.  A year later and I find myself cheating on the one art form I knew how to do. Yes, I like singing but, I love dance. Over the last couple of months I have learned to move and express myself in ways that I didn’t know I could. I always found a freedom in acting. This freedom that helped me escape the real world and learn how to live whatever play was being performed. I have found such a different form of freedom in dance. Sure, theatre and dance are the same in some ways, but I have found that with dance I can be myself more. I remember every role I have played, I remember some of my lines from different characters, and I remember the moments I was in. They were me, but they were never me. It was great to escape and become a 13  year old for a change, but at the end of the day the character I had created was not me. I LOVE that about acting. Don’t get me wrong.  It can get frustrating sometimes, though. If you’re an actor you have to admit that theatre is VERY dramatic. In more ways than another. So, at the end of the day it can all go very smoothly, or you can walk out of rehearsal crying from both the stress of the play you are doing ( your character, lines, blocking, etc) and your personal life ( friends, relationships, etc). It never ends and as exciting the end result is, It can be a messy ride. I’m not an expert in the world of dance yet. I’m sure there is drama and crying involved. I’m sure it is messy.  I have seen some of that in my short time dancing. But, the one thing that I have noticed is that no matter what happens at the end of the day, I have walked out knowing that I — Danny Vanegas– was dancing. Not a character, but me. That’s a great feeling. I have acted for so long now that I never knew what it was like to experience something outside of that. I do feel like I am cheating. However, I think that It’s okay to love more than one Art. It’s just nice to get away from the drama sometimes. AM I RIGHT?


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