The Real Struggles of Being a Full-time Dancer

New York Dancer ‘Sai’ Rodboon Opens Up On The Struggles of Being A Fulltime Artist

Dancing as a career is no joke, and she knows best.

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Napat 'Sai' Rodboon is a professional dancer from Thailand and she's about to make dance her bi(o)tch (excuse my French). She has the face of an angel and a body of an Instagram fitness model, what's not to like? She is also incredibly talented.

As she and her sister were both trained in all disciplines of dance, Sai started to dance at the Aree School of Dance Arts, Thailand's leading dance school and continued her education in college at Chulalongkorn University; she graduated from the Department of Dramatic Arts with honors. Sai, as well, was trained and worked alongside Thailand's respected theater director and playwright, Pawit Mahasarinand, the director of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Assoc. Prof. Pornrat Dumrung and Dangkamon Na-pombejra. She then decided, she wanted to continue her education in the arts, so she flew half-way across the world and found herself in New York.

In 2016 she joined the Broadway Dance Center, New York and joined The Ailey School. Sai is now a professional dancer for a Modern dance company; Elisa Monte Dance, New York. She is the full effin package. Did I also mention she is a fabulous photographer? The list goes on and onnnn.



Sai opened up about the struggles of being a dancer and a daughter away from home (and home to her is approximately 8,651 miles away).

Q: How many hours do you practice in a day?

Sai: I rehearse with the company 5 hours a day but it's only 3 days a week. But then when I have days off I go take classes of different dance styles. I try to go learn from different teachers because you can't stop learning.




Q: Ever since moving to America, what do you find different in the dancing world in America compared to your home country, Thailand?

The first thing is that there isn't a conservatory dance school in Thailand. There is no full-time dance school. There's a dance faculty but the intensity is not the same. Most of the time you just go out to dance studios and take more classes wherever you can, whenever you can.

Another thing is that in Thailand, there aren't that many dance companies. Therefore, there aren't that many opportunities. There are some opportunities for commercial dancing but contemporary, modern, ballet, there's no scene yet.

In New York, every [category] dance has its own whole world. If I were to categorize myself as a modern dancer, then there would be no opportunities at all [in Thailand] and that why I had to come across the world to find opportunities here.

Q: Have you dance anywhere besides the US and Thailand?

In college, I went to Singapore and Taiwan that [Chulalongkorn University] did with different universities in Southeast Asia. But I haven't toured, and I would love the opportunity. On top of traveling, I think it's important to share your art with different groups and different cultures. So I think that's on my bucket list, touring as a dancer.

Q: Are there any disadvantages in being an international dancer in America?

Yes and no. I feel like there was a disadvantage but I'm trying to get over that because being from Thailand, we have a different culture. We're not as aggressive, it's frowned upon. So when I got here I didn't want to be in the first row, I didn't really speak up but then I discover that in performing you can't be in the back. You have to show what you have, you have to be hungry and I changed my whole mindset in getting what I really want

My friend told me once, "You're in America and you need to act American" as an international dancer I have to adapt to whatever works here.

Q: What's the hardest part of being a professional dancer?

I think the hardest part is missing home and believing that you're good enough. Sometimes you can get discouraged because it's not a 9-5 job, it's unpredictable and you don't know when your body is going to give out.

But the missing home sucks. I'm half-way around the world and living in New York is exhausting. I'm here alone. I can call my family and tell my mother how my day went but it's different from having your family physically here.

Just remember why you're here, remember that your family is proud of you for being here.



Q: What is something that you think people should know before going into dance as a career?

I feel like you need patience and work hard. A lot a lot of patience and you just have to believe that you can do it because when you start to believe in your abilities then it will just show in whatever form of dance you're doing.

Dance is hard but you find joy in what you're doing. You might hear dancers say stuff like "I'm dying. My body is breaking" but when you see them on stage you see them living their best lives.

We would be on stage and we'd be like "OMG I WAS LIVING"

If you're going to be a dancer, push through your handwork and [have discipline] because there is no other experience that will give you this feeling. Once you're on stage all the tiredness and pain will be worth it.

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11 Things Fastpitch Softball Players Know To Be True

You'll never remember your Facebook password, but you'll remember softball cheers for the rest of your life.
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There comes a time in every little girl's life when she must come to terms with the fact that she will never play Major League Baseball. So, she turns to softball. From tee-ball to coach-pitch to travel ball, to playing on your school team, softball has played a crucial role in your life. It taught you the value of teamwork, the importance of sunscreen, and introduced you to your best friends. For former and current fastpitch players alike, these truths are universal.

1. The rays of a thousand suns couldn't even out your tan lines.

Tan arms and a V-neck tan line is the unofficial uniform of the softball player. Years after you stop playing softball, at 2 p.m. on the second Monday of every month when the sun is shining through your bathroom window at a 90-degree angle, you'll swear you can still see the slightest hint of a racerback tan line between your shoulders. Good luck finding a flattering sundress!

2. Pitchers are a different breed of human.

It's a tale as old as time: You saw that the pitchers got to skip all of the intense drills at practice so they can go off to the side with the catcher to chat and have a catch for an hour and you said, "I gotta get in on that." So, your dad paid for your pitching lessons, you mimicked Jennie Finch as best as you could, and three years later, you're contemplating changing your name just to forget about that time you spent as a pitcher. Successful pitchers must have no other interests, future career goals, or a family who loves them because pitching just destroys everything you believe in. If you do survive being a pitcher, congratulations, because you are now fully equipped with nerves of steel that will allow you to conquer the worst that life has to throw at you.

3. An 8 a.m. game on Sunday means you had a really bad Saturday.

Where is the most tranquil and somber place that people often go to on Sunday mornings to reflect on their wrongdoings? No, not church. It's the softball field. When you have to be at the field before the sun, you start thinking irrationally, like "Maybe if I used the Demarini instead of the Stealth in the third inning of the second game yesterday we would've only lost by six runs instead of seven which would have put us in the winner's bracket!" Have fun running a lap for every error you made the day before.

4. If the other team is wearing shorts, you know you're going to win.

There's just so much leg! Shorts and softball go together like ketchup and strawberry jelly, as in, that's what your knees are going to look like if you even attempt to slide wearing a pair of shorts. Don't even get me started on the tan line from mid thigh to mid shin. You know the one. This is the big leagues, ladies, put on some pants.

5. If you aren't dirty after a game, you didn't play hard enough.

If you don't come home from a tournament, look in the mirror, and go, "Wow I got a good tan today!" only to take a shower and find out that it was all just dirt, then you probably missed that slide sign from the third base coach when you were rounding second.

6. Cheers are a necessary evil.

Cheering in softball is like having a dead-end job that you hate; it's unfulfilling, robs you of your dignity, and tires you out, but you have to do it anyway. You'll never remember your Facebook password, your parents' anniversary, or that you left your laundry in the washer, but you'll remember softball cheers for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you fall into the water and bump your little head like that damn froggy.

7. Pre-wrap is a hot commodity in the dugout.

"I'll trade you a bag of Ranch sunflower seeds for your light blue pre wrap."

"No way, I had to get my mom to drive me to three different Sports Authority's last night just to find this color!"

8. You may get along with other teams between games, but they are not your friends on the field.

It's perfectly normal to meet another player in line for the bathroom at a tournament, compliment her on her cheetah print hair ribbon, and then trash talk her on the field half an hour later. You can make it up to her by giving her a high five and a poignant smile in the handshake line after the game.

9. If you get hit by a pitch and there aren't lace marks in your skin, it's really just a waste of time.

You love being able to showcase your bruises at school on Monday when all of your non-softball friends ask, "Does it hurt to get hit with a fastball?" and you can coolly and calmly answer, "Nah." Bruises up your street cred, and lace marks are just bonus points. So, when you don't have any stitching embedded in your skin, you wish you could just have the chance to bat. Take your base.

10. When the bat meets the ball juuuuuust right, it is the most powerful feeling in the world.

Your dad was right when he told you to keep your head down when you swing. You always thought that the "sweet spot" of the bat was just a myth until you hit your first home run. The rush of adrenaline will make you feel so powerful that you'll try to see if you can pick up a car in the parking lot with your bare hands after the game, but you still can't.

11. You will always consider your team to be your best friends.

After spending every weekend together, you and your team create a bond so close that it borders on uncomfortable. You may take out your frustrations on each other from time to time like when someone steps on the freshly chalked line before the game, or when you all fight over the ball with the best, most prominent laces for your warm up toss. But at the end of the day, your team will always be the biggest bunch of weirdos you know, and that is irreplaceable.

Cover Image Credit: Art Mad

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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