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Humans We Heart: Dancer Sarah Salim

Sarah wears the Denim Thistle Cami Jumpsuit.

We recently headed down to Nashville to get prepped for a new, extra-special store opening soon (yep, it’s true—stay tuned). During our visit, we couldn’t resist meeting up with a few local creatives in town, like Sarah Salim, a dancer at a nonprofit contemporary dance collective called New Dialect. She filled us in on why she loves living in Music City, what—and who—keeps her inspired, go-to seasonal coffee orders and more.

Hi Sarah! Tell us about yourself. What do you do, where do you live?
Hello! I’m Sarah and I’m a dancer based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Let’s talk go-tos…

Coffee order:

In the winter, a dirty chai with almond milk. In the summer, an iced café miel with almond milk.

Outfit:

Almost all black—I like to keep it simple and timeless.

Album/playlist:

I’ve recently become obsessed with a Canadian band called Men I Trust. And my favorite playlist on Spotify is All Out ’90s. Those were the good old days [laughs].

Neighborhood hangout:

Bastion, in the Wedgewood-Houston area, is my favorite bar. It has beautiful art, specialty cocktails and yummy nachos.

We’d love to know more about your dance background—has it always been a big part of your life?

I’ve been dancing for 20 years, which is so crazy to think about. My mom took me to my first class on a whim—a new studio was opening up and I didn’t like any of the other sports I’d tried. From the moment I tiptoed into that little studio with a beanie baby on my head, I was hooked. Since then I’ve done every type of dance: ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap, lyrical and even African.

Ballet has always been my favorite. I started doing The Nutcracker with the Carolina Ballet as a mouse and then moved on to different roles as I got older. I devoted my whole life to ballet, even graduating high school early so I could keep pushing for my dream.

At 19, I moved to train with the Nashville Ballet. That’s where I met my current director, Banning Bouldin. She opened me up to a whole new world of contemporary dance. It’s been seven delightful years of working with Banning and five seasons with New Dialect.

New Dialect seems like such a unique company. What do you like most about it?
Oh, there are so many things! I’m so impressed by how it brings artists together in a supportive environment and facilitates movement-based research. But the best part is the individual company members. Each person has their own unique story, their own language in their bodies that brings something distinct to the collective. The immense intimacy created from working side by side in a vulnerable way generates a closeness and friendship that’s unparalleled. They’re more than just friends—they’re family.

What an amazing environment! So, what are some of your favorite things to do outside of dance?
I love to travel. I’m always thrilled to experience a culture outside of my comfort zone. I went to Japan for six weeks, and I’ve never been happier. The art, food and history were unlike anything I have ever seen. I hope to visit each state in the United States and eventually spend a year in Australia. Aside from traveling, I love just being with my friends. Whether it’s camping, hiking or sitting in a coffee shop, spending quality time with them is very important.

How do you stay creatively recharged?
Nashville is such a creative city. It’s full of young artists pushing the limits in their fields. There’s always something to see and do. On the first Saturday of the month, Downtown Nashville and the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood host an art crawl that’s so stimulating. Supporting other artists and talking to like-minded individuals is always uplifting. I love art that challenges me to see the world in a different light.

Finally, since this is our Humans We Heart series, is there an inspiring person in your own life you’d like to shout out?
I’d like to make a catch-all shout-out to my close friends. They each have qualities unique to them that I find so inspiring. I feel lucky to be surrounded by supportive people who make me strive to be better myself.

Thanks, Sarah. Get to know more Humans We Heart right here.