Choreographer Angela Trimbur offers tips for how to designate a personal creative space within your home.
When dancer-actress-choreographer-writer Angela Trimbur moved out of her “pastel floral grandma vibes” Los Angeles apartment to a stark loft in Brooklyn a few years ago, she decided to overhaul her interior aesthetic: “I wanted black, shiny, sexy mirrors, very ’80s—that loft space from Flashdance, which is one of my favorite movies, is what I was trying to call in.” Trimbur had a few requirements to make that happen: The space needed to be a true loft with a wall of windows and hardwood floors, it had to be on the top floor so there wouldn’t be footsteps above her, and Trimbur wanted a tin tile ceiling (to satisfy the overall vintage mood she was going for). Having those parameters narrowed down her search but “it had to be everything on my list,” she says.
Trimbur eventually found her spot in the historically industrial neighborhood of Bushwick—and, before she moved across the country, got rid of almost everything at an estate sale with the intention of starting her New York City chapter with a clean slate. The decision to leave her former spacious and affordable multiple-bedroom home with a garage wasn’t so out of left field. After surviving breast cancer in 2019 and healing alone during the pandemic, Trimbur says she “didn’t want to see anything that reminded me of the past or of that time. It was kind of an emotional shedding.” She had also adopted a kind of existential mindset of how she’d live life if “I only had two years left, which is not a dark thought, I swear,” she says, “but if I knew I was not going to be around in two years, would I have held onto my rent control place in LA or would I do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is move to New York, be a dance teacher, and don’t carry anything with me?”
A lifelong dancer, Trimbur’s goal with her Brooklyn space was always to have it be half dance studio. In a city infamous for its cramped apartments with limited square footage, Trimbur intentionally pared back on decor and furniture in order to designate a large area next to the windows as her dance zone, where she could let her body take up as much space as possible. The compromise is that Trimbur’s space isn’t conducive to hosting a large gathering but that was never part of her New York City life plan anyway. “As a choreographer, it’s so much better not to have to pay for another space to work, so that trickled down the logic of it,” she says. “Do I really need the perfect setup for five people to come over three times a year? It’s my home; it’s my playground. It’s less about this perfect cookie-cutter hosting energy and more about the dance studio I could use every single day.”
Depending on what your creative or personal endeavors are—whether it’s for dance, a photo studio, a home gym, or for making art—the first step is to clear an appropriately sized area of your home. For Trimbur, she knew the dance space would be next to the windows so she intentionally mounted mirrors on one wall at the far end of her apartment. On the wall opposite the mirrors, Trimbur placed a piano and installed a ballet barre, which she uses for stretching. Her small vintage desk is under the windows.
See the full story on Dwell.com: How One Renter Turned Her Loft Apartment Into an ’80s Dance Studio