This semester at Ohio State has been a great learning experience for me so far. I spent the majority of my dance career for the last twelve years training in classical ballet and have had little experience to modern or contemporary dance. That area of dance is pretty much completely new to me. Entering into the year, I was excited and frightened at the same time. Because contemporary dance is so much of a mystery and unexplored territory to me, I was, and still am to some degree, afraid of doing the wrong thing and being judged for it. Often times in class, I look around at the others; some of them seem so at ease with everything that is going on. I think I am most insecure when it comes to doing improv. I had literally zero experience with it before I auditioned for OSU, and I was terrified then. However, the exercises that my morning contemporary teacher, Sofie, has been having us do across the floor lately have been very helpful! I have learned a lot about the different ways that one can move the body and the ways that mine is most comfortable moving. It makes me feel safer because we do the movements, or explorations if you will, in groups across the floor, so I do not feel as if everyone is staring at me.
I am in another contemporary class as well. It is an African fusion class, and I absolutely adore it! It is completely exhausting but very fulfilling. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone mentally and physically. The approach to movement is very different than that of ballet. As in my other classes, it is a constant exploration of me and my body. I learn something new each and every class period. I also enjoy the dynamic of the class very much. My teacher, Abby, also leads us in some improv exercises at the beginning of most classes as well. Thanks to the work we do in her and Sofie’s classes, I think that at the end of the year I will have grown to be much more comfortable improving; it is integrated into so many classes here at OSU.
Ballet comes as a welcome change every Wednesday and Friday. I get to wear shoes! One does not realize it, but not wearing shoes for the majority of one’s classes can be tremendously wearing on the feet. In ballet class, I truly feel most comfortable. It is what I have spent the most time training in; I essentially grew up in ballet and pointe shoes. Ellie, our instructor, is very kind, but demanding. However, she is very approachable and encourages her students to ask questions. Despite my comfort in the field, I still have much to learn. I am so very, very far from perfect — in dance and in all areas of my life.
Overall, with all my classes, my goal is to remain teachable. I came to college to earn a BFA in dance because I know that in order for me to be successful, there is still much I need to learn. The only way for me to gain that knowledge is to stay humble and keep an open mind.
(Photo Credit: Lucretia Diaz)