Ep283: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary with Artist Choreographer Susan Slotnick
August 2, 2021
We dream of living in the limelight of life, chasing after complex goals and looking for some semblance of a grand purpose for our existence. Oftentimes we get lost in the process of doing something amazing that we forget the joy of simplistic pursuits. For the visual artist and renowned dancer and choreographer, Susan Slotnick, finding her purpose started with a humble love for dancing, and a passion for healing and reformation.
“And I can’t remember a time, even as a child when I didn’t have this strong desire to do something; to heal the world.”
Whether it be her daily walks or eating the same breakfast for the past 50 years, Susan has found sacredness in the most common activities. She makes it a point to appreciate mundane life as there is an art to be found in simple living.
“Some of the most extraordinary things about the direction our lives take has to do with inherited proclivities…” Susan gleams. “… Most of life is ordinary, most of the way we spend our time is on ordinary activities. And if we don’t find those activities extraordinary, we’re going to feel that our lives are a little bit dull or a little bit boring.”
Susan has even managed to transpose her simple love for dance and the freedom it provides into something meaningful.
“Dance is a birthright,” she emphasizes, “it belongs to the world.”
Today, even at the tender age of 76, she still conducts dance classes at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility and DFY (Division For Youth prison) every Friday and Sunday to bring the joy of modern dance to incarcerated men and boys under the auspices of RTA Rehabilitation through the Arts.
Through her passion for the arts and her desire to bring healing to the world, she has helped countless men and women live reformed lives with their newfound freedom through dance.
She claims it as the apex of her long career. She has volunteered for 15 years in boy’s and men’s prisons as well as with AIDS and cancer survivors, the homeless, and the indigenous poor of the Caribbean, All have been the recipient of her love, talent and attention
“What I’m the most proud of,” reminiscing, she says, “in terms of taking the road less travelled, is the direction that I put all my talents to.”
In addition to her work in dance, Slotnick continues her career as a painter. For ten years her painting, Compassionate Baby was on display in the Sloan-Kettering Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology Waiting Room. Currently, Susan Slotnick is a member of Roost Art Gallery where she has exhibited in a one-woman show.