Dance Magazine ENews Exclusive

Mindy Upin Takes Manhattan One Gig At A Time


photo by Jaqi Medlock

Hubbard Street’s expressive, jazzy repertory may not seem likely to turn an 8 year-old into a passionate dancer on the spot, but that’s what happened to Mindy Upin. One day when Upin’s mother took her to a Hubbard Street performance, a mission was born. “I wanted to be an athletic, physical, versatile dancer like the ones onstage,” says Upin. “It gave me something to work towards.” Today Upin, 26, acts as rehearsal director for the Steps on Broadway Ensemble while picking up freelance dance gigs and working at Starbucks. She moved to New York after graduating from U.of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and finds the city’s dance scene filled with opportunities, albeit some on the quirky side. “I’m always willing to try something that make me feel vulnerable,” she says. She even ended up in the ensemble of State Fair, with no prior musical theater training, and found it gave her new confidence. “I’d never danced in heels,” she recalls. “The whole experience made my performances more full. Now movement and expression seems to flow naturally from my body.” Upin dreams of dancing for Mark Morris-“I love his musicality,” she says-and has taken three summer intensives with his company. But she’s not one to put all her eggs in one basket. She’s currently performing with Trainor Dance, and hopes to also land commercial work. “I’m thinking of getting an agent. High kicks and jazz hands can be very refreshing,” she says. Her dream is to dance full-time, and nothing deters her.  “Anytime the road looks bleak, I forge ahead,” she says, “because this is what I’m meant to do.”

Written by Hanna Rubin

Dance Magazine E-Newsletter October 20, 2009


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