Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Day in the Life

As I mentioned before, I go to college for dance and my major is dance performance and education. This is a very rigorous and sometimes grueling major because I am dancing everyday Monday through Friday for many hours a day. This is similar to sports and some people can relate to that if you have been in a situation where you have to practice everyday. The difference between going to school for dance and playing sports is that we are dancing all day long, not just for a couple hours in the evenings after class. This type of activity takes a toll on my body and it is very important for me to eat as healthy as possible, exercise outside of dance class (that’s a lot of physical activity!), and get enough sleep. If I do not take care of my body, it will not function for me during my dance classes. After all, my body is my instrument.

I want to describe a typical day as a BFA dance major, in order for more people to understand first hand what the experience is like. On my longest day, I have three classes all involving dance. If I’m not dancing in the studio, I’m most likely in a class learning about dance to enhance my performance. I walk up to the building feeling the hard, concrete steps underneath my feet and my heavy back pack on my back pulling me down. As soon as I step in the building I can smell the aroma of warm food cooking in the café and the cool, leather couches as I finally sit down. I then enter a very small, dim studio where I have a class called Using Information Effectively in Dance. In this class, we learn about the business and marketing aspect of the dance world. This is very important to know if you want to perform or have your own company in the future because these skills will help attract audience members to your shows.

After this class I only have fifteen minutes before my next class so I have to eat lunch, if you could even call it that, as quickly as possible. I hurry up the stairs to the café feeling winded and tired already. I grab something fast like a sandwich and fruit and wait impatiently in the long line. By the time I get downstairs I only have about 5-10 minutes to eat. I scarf everything down and feeling very full, I walk into my composition class. In this class we learn how to choreograph by exploring a variety of movement styles and qualities. This is a course that involves both lecture and physical activity. As I improvise, travelling across the space, I begin to feel my heart rate rise and my forehead damp with sweat. This is the first time I dance all day and for a while, I am having so much fun that I forget that I am becoming tired.

I have one more fifteen minute break, so I rush to pull on my tights for my last class of the day, which is modern. We start by lying on the floor and I let my body weight give into the marley floor. I can hear only the sound of the live accompanist playing drums and bells. The music gives the room a tribal atmosphere. As we begin to travel across the floor, I can feel my energy level rising and falling. My energy is high when it is my turn to move, but it drops when I stop dancing and I am waiting for my turn. Then I move once more and find my energy again! It is a never-ending cycle.

Recently, I have performed a short routine in my ballet class, which is one of my favorite classes this semester. I love the style of ballet because if you do it correctly, you feel light and airy like you are floating on clouds. This particular combination included sweeping movements across the floor and fast, spiralling pirouettes. It begins with a waltz movement and a strong balance in arabesque. Once we are on balance, we are falling off again. The second half of the combination is made up of turning variations and this takes much concentration and control. I love this exercise because there are so many different qualities within the one style.

This is something that I do everyday and I will never get tired of it. There is a lot of hard work that is put into my day at college, but it is all worth it when I start to notice improvements in my dancing and I gain new experiences through practice. I am learning so much about all different aspects of dance and I would not have it any other way.


Jackie said...

Never knew it was this much work! Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Kelsey said...

It is very tiring, but definitely worth it :)