AGMAzine Spotlight: Kristine Covillo Lynch on Searching for an Identity Beyond “Dancer”

Published March 28, 2022   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

Kristine Covillo Lynch published a personal essay on identity in the fall 2021 issue of AGMAzine. In the essay, she dives into how she “constantly questions” her identity. “Am I still a ‘dancer’ if I’m not performing professionally?” she writes. “Am I okay with going by other monikers now? Could ‘mother,’ ‘teacher,’ ‘choreographer,’ or ‘administrator/director’ be my new appellative? I love all these things, but could these new titles replace my old identity of ‘dancer?’” Also in the essay, she shares information about the company she founded with her husband. We are so happy to share her poignant thoughts once more as part of our AGMAzine Spotlight Series.

I was, and perhaps I still am, a professional dancer in New York. Prior to the pandemic, I took a little break from performing. I have danced professionally on Broadway and in dance companies, working under AGMA contracts with Ballet Hispanico, The Metropolitan Opera, and Houston Grand Opera. I took a pause when I became pregnant with my first child. After my son was born, I contemplated going back to performing, but then quickly had another child. During my pregnancies, I went to graduate school to pursue Nonprofit Management. After graduating though, I once again felt compelled to go back to performing.

Then a global pandemic hit.

I no longer “need” to dance. I have acquired new skills and have enough household savings to survive without performing. But I still want to dance. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why I still feel drawn to it. Is it the attention, joy, or the adrenaline rush of performing? Is it missing the game of auditioning and booking jobs? Or is it because “dancer” has been my identity for nearly my entire life, and I don’t know who I am without it? Probably the latter.

I find myself constantly questioning my identity. Am I still a “dancer” if I’m not performing professionally? Am I okay with going by other monikers now? Could “mother,” “teacher,” “choreographer,” or “administrator/director” be my new appellative? I love all these things, but could these new titles replace my old identity of “dancer?”

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but what I do know about myself is that I can’t sit still. I must always be in forward motion, both literally and figuratively. This need to propel myself forward did not go away when everything shut down during the pandemic. This inner propulsion moved me into teaching dance again, and starting a business for online dance and fitness instructors.

I wanted to help everyday people build their empires without breaking the bank. I also wanted to help my friends who were struggling to manage their children, side hustles, and teaching businesses, all while juggling multiple apps like Google Calendar, SMS, Zoom, and Venmo.

That is why my husband and I created the platform Zipclass together. Zipclass is a web-based platform that allows instructors to schedule, teach, and get paid for their online dance and fitness classes, all from one easy place. It is free to use for instructors (students pay a minimal fee at checkout). It allows all my dancer, singer, yoga, Pilates, and personal trainer friends to connect with their students around the country and monetize their social media followings. Finally, it gives the power back to the teacher. Instead of having studios and gyms dictate when they teach and how much of a cut they receive, my fellow instructors can teach when they want and collect 100% of their earnings.

My title may or may not be “dancer” these days, but I can add “entrepreneur” to the list now.