It’s last Wednesday, and Souper #3, choreographer Tara Olson decides she will come to L.A. for a lovely day of frolicking around Downtown and meeting me for dinner in Los Feliz. We hit up some fantastic mediterrenean food at Desert Rose and caught each other up on our daily personal lives of dance (her), and wedding planning, (me). Actually, to be completely honest, it was more like wedding planning and marriage counseling advice, hardly dance talk. Haha. So what if it’s the only thing I can talk about!! It’s consuming my life!!
When I first asked Tara if she would be featured on DS (Donut Soup, duh), her initial response was, “Am I ready to be a Souper?” I then asked again, knowing she was ready, and the next email exclaimed, “Sweet. Let’s get soupy.” A perfect acknowledgement to my pleading. Ah-ha. I win.
I suppose it might make more sense if you would watch her video first, and then read? I’m not sure. What I am sure of, is that Mrs. Olson is no simple blonde. She’s got more layers than Rachel Greens hair-do in 1997. Her stories are endless, her battles are long and deep and her talent…well. Now her talent is pure excellence.
Tara is the dance coach/choreographer for the Newport Harbor High School Dance Team. Every year, she has a different team to master, and every Spring her and her mom (NHHS Dance Director) put on a huge dance show called “Arreis,” to showcase all the dancers from every class, JV and Varsity team. “Arreis” is actually “Sierra” spelled backwards and is named after their 4 year old dance angel who was put to rest forever by a wretched car that crashed into a pre-school yard. Talk about inspiration. I’ve been to “Arreis” for the past few years, and every year seems to out due the previous. It’s as if the showcase is Tara’s life, and you can read how she’s been feeling just by watching her choreography. When asked about it, she says she “puts life experiences into dances. I think I’m good at that.” Uhhh, YEAH. Tara explains, “You can be extreme with choreography. If you teach the right people how to do it…you design something with your vision. But with dancers, you’re putting your vision in someone else’s hands. A really good dancer can make a choreographed piece look really good [or bad]. I have to let my creative control go. I have to trust them to perform and react.”
For more than a decade, Tara has been battling an extreme case of anxiety disorder. Since I’ve known her, she’s been up and down with health, in and out of numerous doctors offices and heard a record amount of diagnosis’ that just don’t seem to fix the problem. Even after all her attacks, she praises her family for giving her unconditional support and has stayed durably faithful to her life in Christianity. Tara speaks fluently about her amazing husband Greg, and says, “at this point in my life, I would rather spend time with my family that with anyone else. My best friends are my family members. We have something special and we understand how rare it is. We support each other.” She also easily shares her faith and how it has helped her get to where she is now.
In fact, as Tara was waiting for me to arrive home from work last Wednesday, she grabbed a coffee and sat on an empty bench on Sunset Blvd. Feeling a little out of place and uncomfortable, she pulled out her Bible to pass some time. Minutes later, a young lady walks up to her and begins her conversation with Tara, “Hi. I noticed you were reading your Bible…” Tara tells me this story with joy in her voice and explains how crazy it was that no matter how awkward or uneasy she felt, God had a way of showing her that she wasn’t alone. The girl was a dancer, from UCLA, and was just taking part in a Bible Study inside the coffee shop. I mean…c’mon. Coincidence? I think not.
Tara’s consistent work ethic has won her choreography awards from numerous competitions, and tremendous recognition at University Invitationals. She teaches master dance classes in studios and high schools across Orange County where the room instantly becomes packed with dancers who are thirsting to learn. I like to think of her as an OC celeb in her own industry. After all, she did say she would be a judge on So You Think You Can Dance….helllloooo Hollywood!!
(Is it just me? Or is Mary Murphy cross-eyed in this pic?)
Watch Taras YouTube video below…I cry everytime!! Frick!! BTW, when this dance was unveiled at the 2009 Arreis show, not only was everyone boo-hoo-ing like children, but a audience member had told Tara in private that he was suicidal, and he realized that after seeing Fix You, he needed to check himself into rehab. HI. Positive feedback anyone??
Watch the magic:
DS random questions:
1. Fave movie to quote: “(Laughs) Goldmember. Are you kidding?! It’s ALWAYS Goldmember! There’s more characters. You can do Fat Bastard, Austin Powers, Foxy Cleopatra, Dr. Evil, Scotty Evil…sooo funny…and because Goldmember is my brother. Its disgusting…hes always stretching.” HAHAHAHAH!!!
2. Something you do that bugs you: “I talk louder than I need to. I’m passionate about everything I say! I say things not thinking it’s a big deal, and then everyone will have a reaction to where they’re shocked. I’ve been learning social queues from Reese [my sister].” I love this part of Tara. We’re both pretty blunt!
3. Who’s on speed dial: “I have a $30 Go phone. I don’t have that.” Baaahaha! This is why I call Greg when I need to get a hold of her.
4. Special talent: “I can do the splits. On a surfboard.” Annnnnd there’s a framed picture in her parents house to prove it. Wish I had it.
5. What is misery: “Hmmm. I know. Oh gosh. Wow. Seperation from God is misery to me. A second back to where I was when the anxiety creeps up on me and I don’t know when it’s gonna end. Could be 24 hours or 24 months. Thinking what am I gonna do to get out of this one…when your’e brain splits out of reality…” I think she nailed it.
6. I can’t help but laugh when: “(Bursts out in laughter) Oh my gosh!! When people fall!! Why can’t I control myself when somebody has an embarrassing natural wipe out?! When they eat crap, it just absolutely kills me.” She laughed for minutes even after she was done answering this question. I was dying just watching her.
7. Fears: “That my health problems will never be figured out…not knowing that my baby isn’t cute.” Classic Tara Olson answer. Part serious, part hilarious. Both equally and totally honest.
8. First thing that comes to mind with the word TWITTER: “Ew. (Laughs) Everything I hate about Facebook is twitter. The constant ‘wanna know what I’m doing now.’ I will not be joining twitter.” WELL! I guess she won’t know when I’m tweeting super cool and totally entertaining things then. I mean, hellooo, I have SOOO many celeb sightings she should know about…
9. Know any random facts: “Wanna know something crazy? OK. I know this because I was trying to prove my science teacher wrong. The astrolopethecus apherensis—a form of pygme chimpanzee—aka ‘Lucy,’ the missing link–was actually an incomplete skeleton and not an early form of mankind. Not a reliable source for that argument.” The argument of evolution. And seriously. SERIOUSLY. When she said “astrolopethecus apherensis,” I nearly choked on my fudgesicle.
10. Fave donut: “Crumb.” By far the shortest and quickest answer she gave me all night.