Hi!! I’m Emily and I am a dancer in the second session of SSNYC! I am hoping that this is the first of a few blogs from either myself or one of my fellow dancers over the next four weeks. As my first week comes to an end, I have had some time to reflect on what I have learned this week, which was a lot. However, I believe it is important to tell you that the most amazing thing I have learned and realized this week is just how powerful movement is.
Let me elaborate a little. One thing that I have noticed about myself and my fellow dancers this week is how happy we all are. We are all very different people and dancers with very different training and backgrounds from all over the world (that’s right, I said world) and we all share one very important quality. We love to dance. This alone creates an instant bond and friendship, which is something you want when you have to spend a lot of hours together for four weeks.
This love also helps tie a huge cultural gap. One of my fellow dancers is from Paris!! I think this is just about the coolest thing ever. She and I are doing a duet in our Creative Tool’s class that will be performed at our final showing on August 7th. Though her English is not the best (but it is a lot better than she gives herself credit for), and my French does not extend much past ballet terminology, we have had no problems working and creating with each other. Dance is universal, and when your speaking hits a brick wall, your movement speaks for you. It is truly amazing.
On Tuesday night we all attended a showing of Tap World, a film produced by tap dancer and teacher Chloe Arnold. This movie shares the moving and inspiring stories from tap dancers all over the world. Tap dancing did everything for these people from just helping someone get through a rough day to helping put one kid through college. The pure love and joy on every dancers face when they shared their stories and love of dance was truly amazing. Another example of movement being powerful enough to change lives. I left touched and inspired. The film is playing for another week at East Village Cinema. I really encourage everyone to go see it, or check it out when it hits DVD in the fall.
On Thursday we did an exercise in stillness with Heidi Latsky in our Performance Skills class. You picked six poses: 2 pedestrian, 2 snapshots, and 2 statues. In the exercise you went to a pose with your eyes closed and once you fully reached the pose, you opened your eyes and stayed there for as long as you could. When you felt you needed to move, you closed your eyes and very slowly moved to another pose. We repeated this exercise for about 10 minutes. On Sunday night, Heidi and her company did this exercise in THE MIDDLE OF TIMES SQUARE. Thats right, next to the big jumbo tron that is showing clips of the company every 12 minutes or so. They drew quite a crowd and it was absolutely beautiful to watch. No one was quite sure what they were watching but they were all amazed and touched. This is hopefully happening again in the near future, so keep an eye out for them if you are in Times Square.
On Friday night we had the incredible experience of watching Heidi’s company perform at the Whitney Museum of American Art in celebration of the 25 year anniversary of the passing of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Most of Heidi’s dancers have a disability but all share a love of moving and dancing. I have never been so touched by a performance. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have the perfect ballerina package to be a dancer. There is always somewhere for you to fit in. After the performance we got to listen to a talk back with Heidi and her dancers. It was so inspiring to hear how everyone got involved in the company and hear their stories. I felt particularly inspired by one of the dancers, Alexandria, who is deaf. It was so amazing and fascinating to watch her sign while she danced and then talk about how she connects with other dancers even though she can’t hear the music. Again, MOVEMENT IS POWERFUL!
So after a long first week I can definitely say that I feel inspired and excited for what the next three weeks have in store for us!!
Side note: We all got a nice reminder this week about just how important it is to take care of your body. This is the only one you get. Fill it with healthy food and lots of water. Ice or heat when you need to. And I seriously suggest becoming good friends with a foam roller. Your body will thank you later.
Summer Study NYC Student