Every January I find myself in the mood to reflect on what it was I achieved the previous year, and what I want to pursue in the months to come. I do not make a list of resolutions per se, but I brainstorm and plot out how I can put my thoughts into action, and how my growth in months past can help me to be inspired for what is to come.
I am not going to lie…2015 was a bit of a physical and emotional rollercoaster in the beginning, but when I put the things that brought me down on the back burner, I began to focus on the positive elements that could push me forward. So yes, there were a few struggles to overcome, but I also came to realize just how much I really do love to dance, and how many things there are that I can tie into it. I have a new fascination with dance, and it is almost as if I am seeing it in daylight for the first time. (I have always loved dance, but the older I get and the more injuries I deal with, the more I respect the art form. I take more time to appreciate what it has to offer).
In this year, 2016, I have decided that I am on a mission to explore, and on a journey to challenge myself as much as possible. What is the worst that could happen? I might trip or fall along the way, but it is all a part of the process. A new date is on the calendar, and it is offering me a chance to get out and try something different. Why not? I am not going to let the barriers pull me off of the yellow brick road. I do not want to miss out on the green fields. One of my theater dance mentors told me once that she comes up with a word every year, and focuses on that throughout the months while going about daily life, pursuits, and the arts. Last year I chose “conquer,” and it helped me to go after things and take risks. I think I conquered a lot, even though at times it did not feel that way. I followed the will to get out of my head and pursue my hobbies with renewed vigor and fascination.
Now I am smitten, and ready to apply my renewed interest in writing with my dance studies, while also going back to my love of film studies from college. (It is not common knowledge, but I have a certificate in film studies from my university days). It relates to my dancing because it taught me how to focus so intently on the details of what it is I see, and how even the smallest details of every shot are relevant to the whole picture. It taught me to approach things from a different point of view, and connect the dots in what it is I do. This may all seem over-zealous, but a lot can happen in twelve months.
I am on a quest to get out there more in 2016, and made a pact with a friend to come up with our own projects that combine our various interests. Every month we will be recreating a dance number that comes from a musical of the Golden Age of Hollywood, or from a TV special. It will either be a number we have learned in class, something we have learned ourselves, or a combination of the two. Learning how to pick up material from video takes a lot of practice, and it is a great challenge for the mind. Not just in learning the steps, but in also learning it as a mirror image of what is watched on the screen. We want to get in the groove of working together, while also having fun and learning more about what it is we are doing, and how it shaped the way for what it was that inspired our teachers.
My word for 2016 is “EXECUTE.” (Not a deathly definition). I see it as how I am putting the many thoughts of what I am doing with dance into action. My mind is a whirlwind of activity. (I can clearly picture the emotions of “Inside Out” having intense discussions inside my head). I am also determined to apply my writing even more to my dancing. There is so much to study, and I want to learn as much as possible. I am taking the initiative. I have also found that I love the research aspect behind what it is I do, and have decided that later in the year I am going to take a certification course in grant writing. I say “execute!” Next week I am also starting a Business Writing course, and I am looking forward to how I can connect it to my dancing, and how far I can go in my studies.
I think I have some things to fill in the time over the next twelve months. Another thing I truly appreciate is how supportive and encouraging my teachers have been. When I tell them of how I want to change some of the approach of what I am doing, I have received nothing but support to explore and put myself out there. That has been a huge factor in how I see myself moving forward. Nothing will happen if I do not take action. I think the mentoring relationship with teachers is important, but those thoughts are for another day…For now I am getting out of my head, and entering the realm where everything is possible. Let’s dance!
– Anne-Allegra Bennett
Steps Administrative Assistant, Musical Theater dancer