The Challenge of Discovery
Safe to say, this year has been full of rewarding challenged. Some more difficult to overcome than others, but in the end I have always been rewarded for my efforts in overcoming the difficulties presented to me. Among the challenges I’ve faced this year I can count an incredibly busy and varied schedule, completely new dance techniques to learn, new methodologies to incorporate, a new city to get accustomed to, and more. Yet out of all of these challenges, there is one other which sets itself apart from the rest. I would have to say that so far this year, my greatest challenge has been to develop a choreographic voice for myself.
The ironic part is that I never actually thought that this would be a challenge that I would encounter this year. I came in with what was a very clear idea of what I wanted out of my work, and immediately set about to realize that idea. However, as time went on I looked around myself a realized just how much more there was to the dance world that I hadn’t seen before. In addition to this, getting a chance to see the creations of my peers also gave me an entirely new perspective on what a dance could be. I realized that it was time to reassess some of my ideals.
I started to going to see more downtown contemporary dance. Shows given to small audiences, things that were out of the mainstream. I read the books of dance creators who I had never heard of, and threw myself head on into movement styles to which I had no previous exposure. All of this has had the effect of dramatically changing my choreographic style and process, and my work in assimilating all of this new information that I’ve been exposed to this year can be clearly seen in the pieces that I’ve made so far throughout my time here. But there is more to do.
The reason I name developing my choreographic voice as my biggest challenge is because it is a challenge that I may never truly overcome. There is a very good chance that I may spend my whole life searching for something that I may never find. (While hopefully creating some beautiful pieces of work along the way.) For the first time in my life, I feel that I no longer know what is up and what is down. I realize though that in this sort of endless liminal space that I currently inhabit I have the chance to discover something new about myself, something which may serve me in my goals to a higher degree than that which serves me now. What that thing is I don't yet know, but I work every day towards it’s discovery. What I can say is that I consider myself blessed to attend an institution which encourages and supports the sort of journey that I am now on. The opportunity I have here is precious and rare, and I am incredibly thankful to have it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to learn and grow as much as I can, and with any luck I’ll have something beautiful left behind when all is said and done.
Juilliard Dance 2020