Who am I?
My name is Sarah Elizabeth Frangenberg. I have been dancing and performing, singing, acting, and walking on my toes for as long as I can remember, and even before that, according to my parents. I grew up in Wichita, KS and danced at Kansas Dance Academy under Diane Gans for 15 years. I started attending summer ballet programs during high school, and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography.
While in college, I began dancing with some local companies, and was fortunate to continue on after graduating. I still dance with Wylliams-Henry seasonally. A few months after graduating, I decided to leave the Midwest and move to New York City. I lived there for a year, and learned more about dance, myself, and life than I can adequately explain; however, I will try.
In New York, I lived a busy life, working to survive there, but trying to still be a dancer. I babysat, worked at a tiny retail shop called Lee Lee's Forest, auditioned for just about everything you can imagine, walked A LOT, knelt in an abundance of Catholic churches, and took as many dance classes as I could afford. I made this a priority though, because I wanted to keep learning and growing. In addition to ballet, I started taking Gaga regularly. Wow. What a change in my body, in my movement. I fell in love with Gaga, and came to understand how my body moves much better than I had previously. It changed the way I understood movement. Within this new found language, I was hungry to learn everything I could. I applied, and was accepted to the first ever (and probably only ever) Jacob's Pillow Gaga Program, which just HAPPENED to be occurring the year I started to know Gaga. That was the grace of God.
Being at Jacob's Pillow, moving with beautiful people, surrounded by wilderness, surrounded by dance history, was one of my favorite dance experiences ever. I learned so much. It was extremely challenging, new, and exciting, and frustrating at times when I didn't feel I was grasping a new concept. Apart from Gaga; however, the Festival itself and the performances it brought was incredibly inspiring, particularly that of an Australian performance artist by the name of Nicola Gunn. Seeing Nicola Gunn's one woman show sparked a flame in me with a new desire for my own art. I wanted to do that, too, not exactly what she does, of course, but in my own way. I wanted to build my own work, produce my own shows, one woman shows, travel, perform, collaborate, and just be art.
I went back to New York; however, and did not initially put this idea into action. For a long time, I had the idea in my head that I needed to go off and do other things, big things, gain credibility by being on Broadway, or in a major company, or something "successful." So I went back and I kept auditioning. An audition for the National Tour of "Cats" came around, and I made it through to the very end, something that had not previously happened. I was so close. By the end of the audition process, they had narrowed down the pool they were choosing from to hundreds less than initially auditioned, and they told us, "We will let you know."
So I waited. I was either going to get it, or I wasn't. I'd either be offered a contract, or not. In that waiting, I actually allowed myself to fully hope, to fully believe that I got it. I was sure this was God's plan. I had spent almost a year at this point auditioning for stuff like this, and finally, I was going to be successful. Nope. I didn't get it. I failed again, and I was heartbroken. When I got the news, I was in Kansas City on contract with Wylliams-Henry, and I'm so grateful I was dancing and performing during that time. After our season, I went back to New York, and I tried, desperately to jump back in and keep pursuing. But what was I pursuing? Was I really pursuing what my heart wanted? Was this whole experience a huge lesson from God, telling me that this isn't really what I'm made for? Maybe. I started questioning...what is it that I really want to do? How can I be an artist and truly be happy, truly glorify God?
I think I'm meant to be more hidden. I'm a small artist, not a famous someone doing big, impressive things. I just want to make art, and make art that is beautiful, shining Jesus and offering things for people to share. And I remembered Nicola Gunn. I remembered how inspired I was by her, by her art, her story, her unapologetic way of saying, 'this is my art, do with it what you wish.' (She didn't actually say this, this is just how I imagine how she presents her art). So I decided, that's what I'll do. I left New York, moved back to Wichita, KS, and I'm building my life here, putting down roots, really pursuing my craft, though in a much different way than I thought I was going to.
When I first came back, I didn't really know what this would look like. This way of life, as a free-lance solo artist looks extremely abstract. But I'm learning, I'm pursuing, I'm understanding what this looks like, and you know what? I love it. Being home, surrounded by the community and people that I love most, sharing what I love and cherish with them and anyone who wants to be a witness, is such a gift. I have been led here by God. He has a purpose and a place for me here. I know He is here, in my heart, showing me His way. That's all I really want: to be tucked in His heart and glorify Him with my art. (I'm a poet too, ya know?)
So, in conclusion, I'm open for business! If you have any advice, questions, ideas, think I'm a fool and want to let me know, want me to teach, choreograph, or perform for you, or help me with funding and grants, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you. I will try to use this website as a source to help me achieve whatever I'm currently working on, whether it be a small project, a collaboration with other artists, or a huge show. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me.
All my love,