“What do we do, Devon?”

I had a layover in Chicago on my way home from working in Michigan last weekend. (Side note- I’m currently laid-over in NYC from working in Iowa THIS weekend… #jetset #eyeroll) (And NOW, I’m finishing this post in Kansas City)

I got off the plane (in Chicago) and sprinted to the bathroom. (You know how that goes…) In the bathroom, while I tried to patiently wait in the exceptionally long line, I saw a little girl struggling to reach the automatic paper-towel dispenser. Her mom stood behind her and watched her struggle.

At first, I thought “a parent not jumping straight to the plate to alleviate her child’s obstacle, how strange?”

BUT THEN- The mother said “What do we do, Devon?”

Her daughter mumbled something under her breath that I could not understand.

The mother responded “That’s right. We IMPROVISE. And what does improvise mean?”

The daughter responded, as she placed her hands on the sinks on either side of her and pushed herself high enough to cue the dispenser, “It means you make it work for yourself.”

The mother responded, “that’s right- so now, make it work for yourself, Devon.”

I was in awe. My jaw just about hit the floor and I almost kneeled down to hail the amazing mother. (Until I remembered I was in an airport bathroom. Ew.) I mean, Wow! What an amazing lesson to learn.

Imagine if all young children had mothers like this one. Imagine if we were all raised to improvise through an obstacle rather than be given the answer immediately (through a parent, through technology, through whatever!)

I can’t remember the last time I sat and thought about a question for even five minutes before I got on my phone to google the question and receive the answer within seconds. All along, reaching my destination without asking my brain to rev up, even a little.

Improvising is a skill. What an amazing lesson to learn at ANY age, but imagine being taught that lesson as an adolescent.

Because (other than the vicious cycle of buying groceries only to get home and want pizza) isn’t that what transitioning into adulthood is- a whole bunch of IMPROVISING!? A whole bunch of trial and error?!

We shouldn’t be ashamed of constantly improvising our way through situations, we should be proud that as human beings we have the ability to make a decision, experience whatever consequences that decision may result in, and then learn from that decision – learn whether or not we would make the SAME decision the next time we are put in a similar situation.

Being able to improvise is truly a gift! It’s a treat! Let’s celebrate this privilege and enjoy the FUN it adds to each of our journeys.

The next time we are stuck at a fork in the road, let’s think about this mother’s amazing lesson and take her advice! Just, improvise. Just make it work for yourself. Everything else will fall into place, one way or another.

AYYYYY FREAKIN MEN- I love that mom.


Every Square is a Rectangle

Maybe difficult is not so bad. Maybe easy is not so desirable.

Easy makes you soft, complacent, vulnerable. Difficult makes you strong, decisive, capable.

Easy puts you in danger of being arrogant, disrespectful and bored. Difficult fills you with a wealth of gratitude that connects you to life’s richest abundance.

The more you must work for something, the more you must invest yourself, the more it means to you, the more value it has. A difficult journey makes the destination all the more appealing.

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop worrying whether the day, the job, the encounter will be difficult? Wouldn’t it be great to just stride right up to the moment and meet it with confidence and joy?

Look back at what you’ve learned from life, and you’ll realize you’ve learned this. What is difficult is nothing to fear.

I believe this to be true, in many things in life. Most things, actually. However, I do not believe this to be true in love.

I am extremely young when it comes to life (and love), but I have also experienced a lot for a person my age when it comes to love.

Not only was I cultivated on the negative aspects of love, at a young age, while I witnessed my parent’s marriage shatter violently at my feet, but I also experienced personal, bittersweet experiences of my own as a teen and young college student.

Every relationship I’ve experienced has had its own pros and cons. Whether it be romantic or not. And I do not regret any of them. They each taught me something unique, and I have wonderful memories from them all. BUT The romantic relationships I had in the past can all be bundled-up in the same old duffel bag (no matter how many great memories they may consist of), whereas my current relationship, no matter where it ends up going in the future, will always sit in its own, shiny display case.

One difference between my current relationship and the three serious relationships that I had prior to it, is the fact that this time, I’m not with a boy- I’m with a Man. While the bulk of that fact has to do with age, there’s still a bit that comes truly because of the human-being that Matthew was raised to be. I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Matt before he was 23, but I am certain that he has been more a “man” than a “boy” for the majority of his life.

The biggest thing that separates my past from my present is the simple fact of my present’s ease. Of course, not-so-fun stuff like stress, tears, frustrations etc. all still exist, but overall- life and love are just … simple.

If there’s one thing that I wish my friends (or anyone else) struggling with love/relationships could understand is that – Every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square.

What I mean by that is: While some loving relationships can be passionate, not every passionate relationship is love.

Passion is sometimes difficult, whereas love, when it stands alone, is always easy.

I used to be obsessed with passion. It fueled me. I didn’t understand that I could work hard or do things worthy of my time without all the unnecessary drama and added bullshit. I truly believed that a piece of paper without glitter was as valuable as chewed gum under a restaurant table.

My brain believed that a relationship without arguments meant a relationship unworthy of my time- A relationship without dramatic, overbearing passion meant a relationship without love.

This is not at all the truth.

It took me 22 years to understand this- 11 years witnessing as an adolescent, and another 11 years experiencing it, firsthand, as a member of 4 different relationships. The crazy part is that learning this in 22 years, is relatively quick. Extremely quick, actually! And if I learned all this in only 22 years, then what in the hell am I going to learn in the NEXT 22 years?

So maybe, I said it wrong- maybe the opening quote IS true, even when it comes to love. Maybe all the angst and drama from my past made it possible for me to appreciate the calmness and beauty of my present.

“A difficult journey makes the destination all the more appealing.” –

Maybe if my parents had a perfect marriage, or if I hadn’t undergone so much turmoil in my own, childish relationships, then I wouldn’t have understood how lucky I was to have met Matthew when I did….

Maybe it has less to do with Matthew being a “man”, and less to do with any of my previous counterparts being young “boys”, but instead, EVERYTHING to do with who I was ready to become when Matthew and I met?

At that time, I had learned enough to swallow my pride, and allow Matthew to (unintentionally) teach me the difference between passion and love. Because prior to knowing him, I didn’t realize there was any difference at all. Not in relationships, not in dance, not in any part of my life.

I didn’t realize that simple, easy and gentle could also mean happy, healthy and content.

Simple isn’t less, it’s just not excessively more. Simple is oftentimes- exactly what you need… simple is just right.

“Newsflash: You will never become the person you want to be by continuing to be the person you currently are. Growth’s only request is that you step out of your comfort zone.

And unless you are willing to take that risk, to take that uncomfortable leap into the unknown, you will forever stay exactly where you are.

Humans are not meant to stop growing.

In fact, no living thing on earth is meant to stop growing. We are all alive, reaching for the sun.

Progress in life is all about reinvention.

Reinvention is what allows you endless opportunities to continue exploring new parts of yourself. Whenever you find something about yourself you want to change, you need to look for a way to reinvent it.”

happy monday! peace 🙂

two years later..

1002203_10152184614354233_1344997121_nTwo years ago today was my last day of school-

And this is what I wrote..

“Think, but don’t let your thoughts about the situation distance you from the situation. Experience where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing without overanalyzing it into triviality. Your life in this universe is not just some abstract concept. It is a real, living, unique adventure, so treat it as such. Release the temptation to outthink the moment, and find richness in living the moment. Take in that richness not by mentally outlining its benefits, but by participating in its substance. Sunshine warms your back and a rain-cooled breeze cools your face. Treasure life as you live it because it feels so good. Thinking is a powerful, useful pursuit. Yet there is more to life than just thinking your way through. Feel each moment and experience its rich sensations. Be where you are in person as well as in thought.” (Sent to me, by my awesome mamma)

Cheers to my last week of structured education.
& CHEERS to a lifetime full of never-ending learning/exploring!


Sometimes, I do miss the structure and the privilege of waking up each morning with a free roof over my head, free food in the fridge, and free dance classes 6-10 hours a day. BUT dayuhm, where I am TODAY feels so good!! If you would’ve told me, two years ago, that I’d still be living in Pittsburgh, with a lovely boyfriend, in a beautiful home with a perfect puppy, AND that my bestest friend would STILL be by my side in this city, I would’ve called you crazy! But here we are!
Humbled to have learned that “plans” DO change. You CAN make your career, your love, and your success all happen at the same time and in the same place. There is no right or wrong way to do life. Everyone has their own story and we’re all on different pages of different chapters- that’s what makes life so damn interesting.

You can create art ANYWHERE! You can be happy ANYWHERE!

I know I have so much more to learn and so much further to go, but that’s nothing but exciting! Thankful, happy, eager and ohhh so lucky to be where I am!

Last thought-

I recently found this quote and placed it on my mantel in my new (unfinished) living room. It resonated deeply with me and where my life has gone since graduating from school. Since moving in, 3 different people have read this quote and expressed to me how much they enjoy it as well. It makes my new home feel warm and cozy like I’ve lived there for years.

“For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cheers to life! Cheers to the unknown 🙂

GIVEAWAY!! – #OverExposed

Hey Y’all!

If you read my last post, you saw that I have been working on a side dance project with Lindsay Fisher and Matt Pardo. Well, our show is NEXT WEEK, and I cannot explain my excitement!

I thought it’d be a great idea to get the word out, AND send two lucky winners to see the show FOR FREE, by posting a little something about the brains behind it all – LINDSAY FISHER !

At first glance, Lindsay is absolutely stunning – A (surprisingly) 37 year old, beaut!! BUT once you get to know Lindsay on a deeper/more personal level, her inside beauty just busts through her lean, muscular seams. She is the epitome of beauty from the inside, out!

I have had the privilege of working with Lindsay for the past 6 months. During this short time, she has shown her true colors and confidently exposed some of her deepest vulnerabilities. Not only has she been a dance mentor, as I travel down this strange road, but also a personal mentor. She’s taken the time to explain her values in the studio, as a daughter, and as a wife. She is freaking AWESOME, and I feel immensely lucky to have been chosen to assist in expressing her journey with an audience.

We have gotten together and decided to do a GIVEAWAY for two lucky dancers (or non-dancers) !!


One lucky winner will be given TWO free tickets (for themselves and a friend) to our show at the New Hazlett Theater on April 6th at 8pm!

All you have to do is follow these three EASY steps –

  1. Follow @montifresh and @datfitdancerchic on instagram!
  2. Post a dance (or non-dance) photo beautifully/confidently exposing a vulnerability or insecurity that you wish to embrace
  3. HASHTAG #OverExposed

Winners will be chosen THIS Saturday (April 1)

Here are some Lindsay Fisher insights – Explaining her life from a small child up until today. She so bravely expresses her honest and raw experience of dancing for the past 33 years.

Check her out and make sure to check out our show at the New Hazlett Theater on April 6th at 8pm! Click on link below for tickets!!

Over Exposed – April 6th @ 8pm

(Link to purchase tickets is also available at the bottom of the post!)


1. Start by telling us a little about yourself and your career. Where are you from? When did you start dancing? And what has your career been like up until this point?

I am from Butler, PA which is 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. I was 4 years old when my mom signed me up for dance lessons…I hated them. In truth, I hated them because they were on Saturday mornings, which was exactly when the best cartoons were on, and therefore, I hated going to my dance classes because I genuinely loved the Smurfs. Up to this point, my career has been fulfilling. I spent the bulk of my performing career in NYC dancing for a number of different companies. I would consider myself a freelance dancer since I really enjoyed doing multiple choreographers’ work. I joined the professional dance world at a time when the the good old days of the big companies were beginning to dwindle, and more dancers/choreographers were doing “pick up” work. But, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have danced with some incredible dancers and choreographers. I’v done everything from classical and contemporary ballet, to musical theatre and commercial work, to post-modern dance and performance art…I love it all! Luckily, my first dance teacher stressed the importance of being well rounded and versatile which has definitely paid off in continual work.

2. Tell us about “Over Exposed” – Where did the initial inspiration come from? How has your original idea morphed into what will be shown on the stage on April 6th?

Over Exposed started as a way for me unearth all of the crazy things that have made my life what it is. I don’t think I’m special, I just don’t think many people like to share some of their insecurities and failures. Originally, I had planned on creating an evening length work with three dancers: Matt Pardo, myself and the beautiful Montana Michniak. However, my plans took a drastic shift when my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in December. Since both of my parents are currently battling cancer (my father continues chemotherapy and hormone therapy for prostate cancer) I knew I didn’t have the mental capacity to continue to create during this trying time. Luckily, my dancers are incredible human beings and willing to roll with the punches, so I changed the structure of my evening to include 5 works. I have restaged some duets as well as reworked some larger group pieces that include some of the dancers I work with at Slippery Rock University. The funny thing is, pretty much everything I make is directly related to my experiences, so the feeling of exposing my dirty laundry is still felt when the evening is finally put together.

3. Of all of the crazy stories that you have from throughout your years of dancing – Which story seems to still sit heaviest in your heart, today.

I could literally write a book of all of the crazy things that I’ve either done, or experienced. I mean, I lived with a 76 year old Irish nun in the East Village of Manhattan (with 3 other dancers…who were Swedish) simply because the rent was $300/month. But what sits heavy on my heart are the things that have shaped the way that I see myself. When I was younger, I had a teacher who made comments about my legs. In truth, I was a string bean and when I see photos of my 15 year old self, I can’t believe anyone would have commented on the size of my legs. But that stuck with me for over 3 decades. It’s funny how a nonchalant comment to a teenager can change the way she views herself and her worth. From that day on, I identified as the girl with the huge legs. I would make jokes about my over developed thighs every chance I got so that other people would know that I understood I had flaws. I became so comfortable identifying as overly muscular that I couldn’t see myself in any other way. In Over Exposed, there is some footage of me covered in plastic wrap. After I heard this comment about my legs I spent months wrapping my legs in plastic wrap thinking I could sweat them smaller. When I created this “nest” solo, I cried. I felt so deeply for that 15 year old girl. I hated that she went thought such self-hate when in reality, she was just fine as she was.

4. Do you have a Life Mantra that you like to live by? Is there a phrase that you constantly repeat in your mind, write down, or use to help you keep your head up through all the nonsense that dancers have to put up with?

My dad had this wonderful phrase that I found poignant: “Be careful of the toes you step on, on your way up the ladder…they just might be connected to the ass you’re kissing on your way back down.” My parents always raised my sister and I to be kind and helpful to everyone. I think that’s why “dancer intimidation” is strange. You know, when you go to a class or audition and someone is trying to intimidate you by stretching or executing some insane pirouette sequence? I genuinely think that a lot of that stems from insecurity. When I would go to auditions, I would warm up, but chat with the other dancers who seemed friendly. The way I saw it, we may be coworkers, or living on the road together; what would I gain from being an asshole to them? So I guess my mantra is, “Don’t be an asshole!” Sorry for the language, I’m not known for my ladylike vocabulary.

5. As far as the show is concerned- What are you most excited for and what are you most nervous about?

I’m excited to perform in Pittsburgh! I grew up here, but I’ve only performed here twice. This will be the first time I’ve presented my work here. I’m nervous to be vulnerable. I think dancers can be fairly critical ( I know I’m guilty of this, at times) and so I’m nervous that my work won’t be seen as valuable. But, I think anytime you put yourself out there, you’re bound to be nervous. The same could be said for dating.

6. As a professional that’s traveled the world, spent many years in NYC, and heard all the bullshit there is to hear (but still been able to come out beautifully on top) What is one piece of advice that you’d give to a dancer graduating from college and entering into the professional world?

Take advantage of all opportunities and don’t be afraid to network! I used to think networking was cheating. Then I realized that all of the other dancers who were “calling in a favor” were actually just freaking smart. I’ll give you an example: my senior year of college, Kevin McKenzie (Artistic Director of ABT) invited me to take company class whenever I was in NYC. Now, My naive self literally thought he was just being nice because I had worked with him and the ABT Studio company while in North Carolina. So, one day I finally got the courage to take class. There I am, feeling like an utter fool standing in a room full of dancers who intimidated the hell out of me. I felt out of my league and insecure. A smarter dancer would have come back to take class again….I never went back. I let my own insecurities get in my way. Could I have potentially been hired at ABT…hell no….but I’m sure the artistic director of one of the most elite ballet companies in the world might just have some pretty impressive connections. Don’t let insecurities or fear determine your future. Those opportunities don’t come along every day.

THERE SHE IS!! Ugh. #Beautiful !!

Over Exposed Tickets – April 6th @ 8pm



Hope to see y’all there !

Over n’ Out –

Monti 😉

Do endings exist? Or instead, a plethora of overlapping beginnings?

It’s here. My last week of school. Ever. And quite frankly, I’m dealing with an extreme case of CES. I just made that up – Conflicting Emotions Syndrome.

Excited and scared. Nervous and ready. Ecstatic and devastated. Confident and confused. I mean, you name an emotion, and there’s a 88% chance that I’m feeling it, to some extent. Although, the majority of the time, the positive and fun emotions definitely overpower the negative and shitty ones. So that’s good!

This post is going to be a bit different than my previous posts – less information regarding outside research/sources and more information regarding raw and honest words deep within myself.

Oh, woah! Let’s get personal 😉

This entire semester was a roller coaster ride full of juggling focused energy with many distractions. As well as toying with the conflicting thoughts that included; preparing myself for the real world, auditions, budgeting, etc vs. truly allowing myself to experience and enjoy my last couple of months obligation-free. Whether the distractions involved partying, over-sleeping, Netflix, junk-food cravings, love, relationships and/or boys – they were present, and there is no denying it. Honestly, I feel as though I did a pretty damn good job of balancing each of these distractions and phases. I can sit at this point and be happy and grateful for where I currently stand. The future is obviously unknown, but I am coming to terms with the fact that, that’s never going to change – so my best bet is to embrace it head-on with every bit of confidence and determination. Which seriously excites me!

If I said my last day of dance classes at Point Park were extraordinary, I’d be lying. Because the truth is – they felt JUST as energetic, positive, exciting, challenging, tiring and straight up sweaty as every other class I took over the past three years. That’s what made it so special, I think. No matter what was happening behind the scenes, regardless of the petty drama that inevitably shows up in any sort of institutional or group setting, as soon as PJ and/or Gordon started playing that undeniably beautiful music- the bullshit faded and we just danced. We danced! Every single day! Therefore, I will cherish every single one of my classes JUST as much as I cherished those last 4 grande plies in second with Jason, and that insane race across the floor with Garfield. Thank you. To EVERY SINGLE person that I was privileged enough to cross paths with throughout college. Let the journey/excitement continue !!

I want to share with you a couple of things I will take away from my experience in school, as a young adult, in Pittsburgh, PA. I hope you enjoy –

I have learned:

That I don’t know myself quite as well as I thought I did. That I have a hard time sensing boundaries: personal and impersonal. That every emotion is a good emotion as long as you’re aware of its existence and you respond accordingly. That I really enjoy the city, any city, a lot! I love to explore new cities. I love to explore in general, but especially with a compainion alongside. I learned to laugh at things when they annoy me, and just how hard it is to laugh at things when I’m annoyed. What sexy really means. And the differences between loving a relationship and loving a lifestyle.

How to wake up after a late night – of rehearsing, traveling and/or even partying. That mirrors shouldn’t be magnets, even when they’re in front of you 12 hours every day. That Pittsburgh fans are the BEST fans. Go Buccos! What it feels like to care about both relevant and irrelevant topics. That my mom just keeps getting smarter, or maybe it’s that I keep finding ways to trust her guidance more and more. That bumps in the road, mistakes, and uphill battles are inevitable and necessary.That no matter who you are and/or how you act, there will always be people who don’t speak your truth, but there will also be people who give you too much credit – so I’ve learned to not think too deeply into either of those opinions. Only you truly know you.

I learned that life is a constant progression, and as long as I live by my “Two-P Mantra,” practice and patience, then my journey will continue to lead me in the right direction. I have learned whom I love. I learned that, that is all anyone ever needs: love. That love isn’t that complicated, but at the same rate, it happens to be the most complicated feeling to ever exist. I have fallen in and out of love – with friends, music genres, a boy… you name it. But I’m beginning to realize that love never really fades; instead, life just goes on. And that, that’s OK!

I have learned that timing is seriously KEY – and that being in the wrong place at the right time is a common thread throughout my life thus far. I enjoy that about my life, a lot. I learned what it feels like to become homesick. And how devastating it makes my stomach ache when my mom is in Texas or Michigan, but the only thing I want is for her to hold me and tell me that everything’s going to be all right. (Although this realization has also shown me that there’s nothing better than my Mom arriving to Pittsburgh (or wherever I am) – my heart immediately feels so much fuller.)

I learned that beginning fresh isn’t always easy for me, but at the same time, I crave change. I learned that it’s essential to have a friend who reminds you just how beautiful and talented you are. And how gratifying it feels to see her take an effortless breath of appreciation, and smile, when you remind her of the beauty and talent that she exudes herself. (Whether that’s through sharing poetry or horoscope threads)

That I enjoy walking, regardless of the weather. That writing is mandatory, and without it, I go mad. That a simple Facebook message can lead you to the most honest, caring, bold and spontaneous roommate anyone could ever ask for. (NO ONE could have handled us the way we handled each other. YOU selflessly remind me to stand my ground, and to truly believe that I deserve the best, no matter what. Thank you. I love you.)

I learned how happy and sad it makes me feel when I change my eating habits. I learned that there’s no sense in holding grudges or creating false accusations. Instead, you should genuinely want what is best for every single person – no matter who they are, or what they have/havent don’t for you. That YOU CHOOSE to be happy, just as, YOU CHOOSE to be sad – and that sometimes, you need to choose the not-so-fun one.

I learned that it’s pretty difficult to keep a surprise 21st birthday party a secret if you start planning 2 months in advance. But surprise 21st birthday parties are the BEST, especially when you have the opportunity to plan one for your best friend.

I learned how to voluntarily engage my hamstrings, and that it’s a lot harder to voluntarily engage my psoas. That I enjoy being held. That I swear/sweat a lot more than the average person. And that I don’t think I’ll ever try to fix or change those things about myself. I learned how to cook, how quickly bananas and avocados have to be thrown out, and that every time you prepare meat in a small apartment, the smoke detectors WILL alarm… every. single. time.

I learned that when someone spontaneously offers you a concert ticket, no matter how tired you are – take it! The people you spend hours dancing with, will end up being some of the most interesting and genuine humans you have yet to meet. I learned how happy music makes my body. (I learned that one two decades ago, I just enjoy the frequent reminders.)

I learned how tired I can become, and how quickly it can hit. I learned how important trusting your future is. And that it is absolutely pointless attempting to plan or predict it. You’ll get nowhere. I’ve learned that you WILL fail, and that failing always ends up being the best part – it opens new roads and leads you to new epiphanies. I learned that even when you’re naive, there will still be people who admire your innocent traits. I learned there are some things I may never be able to let go of. I learned the good, the bad, and the indifferent. I learned … that I have a lot to learn – and THAT makes me absolutely THRILLED for whatever is to come.


I want to thank every individual who assisted in making my college experience absolutely unforgettable. Specifically, My Mom, Ron, Landon, Aunt Jill and Uncle Gary, Dad, Cheryl, Dustin and Camran, Sasha, Garfield Lemonius, Jason McDole, Peter Merz, Ruben Graciani, Jennifer Edwards, all of the choreographers that I had the privilege of working with, all of the Parsons dancers and administrators, Katie, Vicki, Liz and Zoe, and Emilio. Each of you know why you hold a special place in my heart – thank you for the memories made and for the lessons learned.


On a final note – I do not know what’s going to happen, none of us really do. But what I can say is this – I am an example of following and pursing my dreams, regardless of ALL of the risk factors that undoubtedly go along with making that decision. I stand as that example, and quite frankly, the majority of my dearest friends do as well. (The majority of my readers also, I’m sure! ) And that gives me a sense of comfort, while diving head-first into the sea of unknown. Therefore – I can confidently say that no matter what happens – I will be happy. I will be excited. I will be working. And most importantly – I will be living!


Cheers to real life, y’all – Cheers to adulthood!


Good luck wishes are greatly appreciated 🙂