We had the good fortune of connecting with Autumn Eckman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Autumn, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My thoughts on work-life balance are directly related to how life has been altered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to it, it wasn’t out of the question to work nonstop and never stop to question whether or not what I was doing was entirely productive. I love my work and am blessed to be able to engage with what I am passionate about. Fortunately, my work is my passion, so as long as I was ‘doing’, I felt ‘complete’, if that makes sense. But what was all this busyness leaving out? Lately, I have been paying attention to my relationship with downtime. Having to pivot to working from home in an instant really taught some valuable lessons about the benefits of taking the eye off the clock a little every now and then. This sudden disruption to the daily work routine equates to long hours of unfulfilled work time; especially since the semester ended. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the hustle and bustle because I most certainly do; but now I’d like to try to build stamina back up again with the intention to remember that stillness is a part of all that motion.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am proud to teach for a triple-track dance program where I get share and utilize my experience in ballet, modern and jazz dance. The School of Dance (University of Arizona) is unique in this way; and I believe that the diverse technical foundations offered builds well-rounded and well-prepared dance artists for professional performance careers. As a student and in my own career, I have always been drawn to multiple techniques and disciplines. I left home at age 15 to pursue conservatory classical ballet training then followed the path from there. I danced for the oldest American jazz dance company and was fortunate to dance with many modern, postmodern and contemporary artists. In the years of training and performing, the sacrifices were big— especially living far away from my family from a young age. I am forever grateful for my family and all they did to support my dream to become a dancer. There were huge challenges at times; and I suppose the way I overcame them was by learning to ‘remove the doubt’. This is a concept that I try to instill in my students today. It was one of my teachers mantras, and I’ll never forget it. ‘Removing the doubt’ can be applied to just about anything whether it’s going for your dream job or attempting to land a pirouette. One of my greatest joys is witnessing a student experience one of these ‘a-ha’ moments. Circling back to teaching in a triple-track program; I find that the more ‘tools’ a dancer has in their toolbox, the more equipped they are for removing obstacles. It takes a lot of experience to use those tools efficiently. Becoming a dance- artist is about building confidence, self-reliance and the ability to self-refine. Sometimes it requires reinventing the wheel; maybe more than a few times. Eventually, a dancer figures out that it’s about distilling everything down to only what is necessary. Having the knowledge to make choices from multiple angles helps sort out the process.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hiking is a must! It depends on the time of year, but Sabino Canyon, Mt. Lemmon are visitor must-do’s. Raging Sage coffee and homemade scones is a good place to start the day followed by a stroll around University of Arizona campus. The campus holds many events, including concerts by the School of Dance, which are excellent! Biking along the loop is great, too. Tucson Yoga Sol is great for a hot-yoga class. Green Things for all things plants related. Fave food places–Time Market, Trident Grill, Ermanos & Hacienda Del Sol.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without a doubt, my shoutout belongs to my parents, sister and grandmother! My family let me take chances; and by doing so, they taught me what it means to support through both successes and failures.

Instagram: autumnmostofthetime
Linkedin: Autumn Eckman

Image Credits
Brown tank top picture: Andre Yew Dancer with Globe: Carly Vanderheyden