Loosening Up with Angela Trimbur

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Loosening Up with Angela Trimbur

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Post-pandemic, there seemed to be a collective urge to move. After months of being cooped up amid an international crisis, all anyone wanted to do was feel the freedom of motion. This “motion” manifested itself in many different ways: some people moved across the country, some people changed careers and, well, some people just wanted to move the old-fashioned way—with their actual body.

Somehow, Angela Trimbur did all these things. A then LA-based actress and writer, she packed her bags in 2021 and threw herself into a brand new career as an NYC dance instructor, all despite a total lack of formal training. And she is a great dance instructor. Watching her demonstrate a routine at the beginning of her classes, it’s hard to imagine she hasn’t been doing this for years. 

And this could be at the heart of what makes her classes feel so unique. There is a freshness to the way she teaches; an entirely nonjudgmental celebration of the way it feels to move collectively. Many people drive all the way from upstate to take a class, many people have never danced before in their life and absolutely everyone feels like an old friend. Her classes are joyous, not too serious and completely supportive—especially if you’re someone who can barely bring themselves to dance in front of a mirror. 

With an uptick in dance classes hitting NYC the past couple of years, Angela’s class is a must-try. With so many options (her class “Thirteen” will make you feel like a 13-year-old again), there is something for everyone, experienced or not. 

When did your relationship with dance begin?

My relationship with dance started when my mom opened a children’s dance studio in 1990 called Pitter Patter. “Where everyone’s a star”, she would say when she answered the phone. My younger sister and I spent most of our time there, learning all the routines so we could assist in her classes. We were very proud. My mom, Denise, was extremely creative and liked to take on most of the work herself, taught most of the classes and planned out big dance recitals. 

Loosening Up with Angela Trimbur
Photograph by Amelia Golden

What type of dance did you initially explore?

I haven’t studied any dance since she closed down the studio when I was 12. So, my only exploration was classic kid’s basic tap ballet and jazz.

I have this thing where I like to live like I only have two years left. It’s a long story but it stemmed from my experience with breast cancer. It’s not a dark thought, really. It’s more like a realized gauge on the best way to help make decisions in life. It’s not a bucket list time crunch but it’s not a stagnant 5-year goal either. It helps me keep things moving.

After living in LA for 18 years, I asked myself what I would have wished for if I was dying in two years. Would it be to stay ‘stuck’ in my beautiful rent-controlled apartment in a place I have lived for almost 2 decades? No! I would have wished to explore being a dance teacher in New York City, the center of the universe. So my experience here started in November 2021, after I dropped my suitcases in The Big Apple. No formal training, just life training: knowing how to have fun and having dance emotions in my body.

Did you find that dance was a form of healing as you moved through your experience with breast cancer?

I feel like a very different person than I did before cancer. That plus the pandemic and the pain we all felt and the mirrors we stared into alone for so long… Self-reflection much?! I am grateful for all the life lessons learned and feel lucky to be alive to keep it going.

I spent a lot of time trying to connect with my body by dancing in the mirror. Watching my body make different shapes. Adjusting and playing around with timings against my instinct to see what happens. When I tried to listen to my body versus tell it what to do, things shifted and helped me so much. I feel like I have a purpose in sharing being free with your body and giving it permission to loosen up. A calling it seems! Grateful to be able to help others in this way.

A lot of people have negative things to say about social media and Instagram in general but, for you, it seems you’ve really been able to use it for good. How do you look at social media and are you able to always frame it in a positive light?

I am grateful for Instagram in the sense that it is a place where people can share things they are proud of, such as their growth in dance and connections with their bodies in a more positive way.

While sharing my cancer experience I realized that IG doesn’t have to be seen as a world of internet trolls and influencers and ads. It helped connect me so fast with so many who were also going through [treatment]….A mutually supportive community naturally formed.

Loosening Up with Angela Trimbur
Photograph by Amelia Golden

You’re also an actress. What role does movement play in your work as an artist?

Getting out of your overanalyzing judgemental mind is the key to most things. That energy feels more “stuck” to me. Being connected with your body in a free-spirited way loosens up the brain and allows for more flow in-between the ears! More thoughts, more pathways, more clarity.

How would you describe the type of dance you teach?

Some students have described it as rolling down a fluffy hill into a pile of your closest friends, laughing, and Romy and Michelle’s sexual awakening. But I like to say it’s like warm microwaved cornbread with Pop Rocks inside.

What do you recommend for people who have little to no dance experience?

Everyone is a dancer. Some just spend more time doing so! What’s cool is no one moves just like you: a movement fingerprint. Go into a class with the confidence that you own your natural style and that it is always evolving as you go about life. So keep on living life! And be kind to yourself. Dancing is literal scientific happiness. Why deprive yourself of that because you don’t think you are “good”? No one is watching you and thinking about your dance experience skill level. I pretty much promise.

What is on the horizon for you as an artist, as a dancer, as a person? More simply, what’s next?

I’m hunting for the perfect venue for a class recital where everyone can perform the routines we’ve been working on for so long. Taking back the recital fears and excitement as grown-ups that aren’t necessarily in the dance performance world.

My goal is to choreograph Broadway musicals. I choreographed a PAVEMENT musical last fall and never felt happier. I am also looking to expand as a New York dancer and collaborate with more trained dancers to explore new pieces. Challenge myself to see what other stories I can create and perform differently, without having to make things accessible like I do for my classes.

I’m also developing a TV show with a network. I adopted two puppies and am figuring out how to merge them with my two uncaged cockatiel birds. Impossible? I hope not!

I’m exploring sharing myself romantically again. It’s been since 2019 that I was in a relationship. I’ve been sitting with myself for so long in my new post-breast cancer body, seeking clarity in understanding my trauma responses. I feel nervous about challenging the calm secure place I am in now, as relationships are mirrors. I prefer dance studio mirrors (ha). But I also hope to feel romantic love again. If not, all good. I have many platonic loves! 

WORDS Hillary Sproul

PHOTOGRAPHY Amelia Golden

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