What was the happiest moment of your life so far?
One of the happiest moments in my life was this past may when I performed my senior solo (really a duet) spilt. with one of my best friends and role models, Nicole Patrick (a percussionist) for the School of Music, Theater, and Dance’s commencement ceremony. It was such an honor to be representing my department, and to perform for such a huge, appreciative, and friendly audience! When we finished we were met with a sincere and voluminous applause, overwhelming me with happiness, pride, and pure gratitude!
Who are your parents?
My parent’s names are Susan and Kaya and they are absolutely crazy, in a good way! My mom is from around Boston, Massachusetts and my dad was born in NYC, but grew up in Israel. They both work as psychologists in and out of the office. They constantly psychoanalyze me, my brother, and all of our friends/relatives whatever chance they get!
What are your parents like?
My parents are extremely wacky, hyperactive, funny, smart, adventurous, supportive, loving, and goofy. I have always enjoyed hanging out with them as they enjoy basically all of the same activities as I do. My mom somehow always happens to be wearing the same outfit as me, likes practicing Iyengar yoga, has a knack for picking the most disturbing films for the family to watch together, is much better at picking good books for me to read, and is the best Jacuzzi partner ever! My dad is the type to make sure each experience is the best experience you will ever have in your life, gets hooked on certain words and will not stop repeating them, loves his bike rides, and is a super sweetheart. In essence, they are truly the best!
Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up?
I have one older brother, Geffen. He is only two years older than me, so we have always been very close. We have never been big fighters. However, when Geffen would help me with my math homework and I asked a silly question he was quick to become impatient with me. Even today when I am visiting him in New York and cannot figure out how the subway works, he’ll give me a little snap. But I love him dearly and admire him and the person he has become! He has been a really wonderful big brother.
Did you get into trouble? What was the worst thing you did?
I am a total conflict avoider and have never dealt well with people being angry with me. For this reason, I stayed far away from trouble during my childhood. But, this one time when I was 15 or so, I called my mom “an old wannabe hippie” and that really upset her. Those were some dark times. I don’t know if she has entirely forgiven me, even 7 years later.
Who were your best friends growing up? What were they like?
One of my best friends from elementary school, Hannah, is still my best friend today! We went to the same elementary school, middle school (partially), and high school and have remained super close all through college. She has the best laugh in the country, is super spunky and funky, is a total trendsetter, is an avid rollerblader like myself, and is the best crafter out there! We both went through kind of bratty phases, but boy did she turn out well!
How would you describe a perfect day?
A perfect day for me would begin with banana pancakes and friends. We would then hit the road to go to a national park that is not too many miles away, but is absolutely breathtaking. We would take a long but not too strenuous day hike to a beautiful alpine lake and open up our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to enjoy the view, each other, and this simple but delicious treat. We would spend an hour up there swimming and lounging and then descend. We would then drive home with no traffic and head to the beach for a sunset rollerblade and swim. We would come home and cook some yummy Mexican food together. The day would probably end there because we would all be exhausted and fulfilled.
How would your classmates remember you?
My classmates in high school would probably remember me as the girl who checked over her test answers by holding up the sheet unintentionally allowing everyone to copy her. I had no idea I did this until someone came up to me on the last day of 10th grade and thanked me for helping him pass chemistry. From then on, I checked my answers with my paper down on my desk.
Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Tell me about them.
I had the pleasure of working closely with Bosmat Nossan, first while I was studying abroad in Israel, and then again during my last semester of college. Bosmat is possibly the sweetest, most talented, kindest, and humblest human on this earth. She casually danced for some of the most prestigious companies including Bat Sheva and Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company. As a teacher, she pushed me to find new ranges within my movement in terms of quality, delicacy, and volume. She completely reinvigorated my curiosity as a dancer, mover, and human, inspiring me to dive even deeper into dance and constantly reminding me why I love this art form. I really cannot thank her enough for the support, inspiring instruction, and push she gave me!
What are your best memories of grade school/high school/college? Worst memories?
One of my best memories from college was the creation of the band Gunky Girls And Corporated. One of my best friends, Spencer, and I created this two person band in March 2016. It all began one day when we were in the Catskill Mountains for a residency with an MFA student. Spencer is a Performing Arts Technology student at Michigan and always has different gadgets with him. That day he had a guitar that was out of tune and missing a string, a computer, and two microphones. He said something like, “Lena can you sing and I will play guitar and we will record it?” And I said something like, “sure,” because I pretty much cannot say no to Spencer. Anyways we sang stream of consciousness songs for about 15 minutes and in the process made our first album. If interested, I think it is on bandcamp.com. Anyways, Gunky Girls was a total hit and we have performed on three different occasions. I am really not a good singer at all, and the songs we sing are beyond silly, but it was super fun to play around with our voices and imaginations. Worst memory of college was definitely wintertime. My four years at Michigan taught me that I am not a snow person.