Everything is Happening All at the Same Time - A Memoir
Well, we’re officially halfway through. There comes a point in the semester when I look at the syllabus and realize that all of a sudden the workload ahead no longer inspires fear into my heart. It’s a good feeling. In addition to that, the November Choreographic Workshop performances have just wrapped up. It’s the second workshop of the year and it’s completion generally signifies a number of things.
1. You’re almost there.
2. Hang on tight.
3. You’re gonna make it. (Probably)
Aside from being done with workshop, we’re also in the home stretch of Choreocomp. Choreocomp (which is short for Choreographers & Composers) is a program that involves 1st & 2nd year dancers who work together with 3rd year composers to create an entirely original work. New Choreography, new composition, new piece. Oftentimes in dance the choreographers work to music which has already been written, which creates an interesting dynamic because it means that you’re layering your own art on top of another piece of art which was created without any reference to your own intention. Therefore this process of working hand in hand with a composer to write music specifically suited for your choreography is a rare and valuable one. As fun as it’s been, I suppose all good things must eventually come to an end, as we are now in our last two weeks of rehearsals before we go onstage. Our costumes are undergoing final touches, we have tech rehearsals next weekend, and then that’s it! It’s been a wonderful process, and I can’t wait to see what the final product looks like onstage.
Academically, things are an absolute party right now. Essays on essays on essays with the occasional oral presentation thrown in just for good measure. All of it due within the next 4 days. It’s a… thrilling experience to say the least. The good news is that I’m being given the chance to write about things that I really care about such as dance history, art & aesthetics, and choreographers. I count my blessings with this in mind. Additionally, the professors are really wonderful at understanding our schedules and working with us to make sure that we’re successful with meeting our deadlines.
Lastly, we’re also now halfway through rehearsals for New Dances. New Dances is our biggest performance of the 1st semester, with the school commissioning four professional choreographers to come in and choreograph on each of the classes. We work for 9 hours a week over the course of 3 months to create a new piece for the entire class. This year’s choreographic process has been particularly interesting for our class. Our choreographer has been working with the idea of ambience, and how that translates into movement. The idea being that instead of movement being an external thing, we can make it something which originates from an internal place and then only portrays itself externally. (Though it does not exist externally.) Think inside out as opposed to outside in. It’s definitely a challenging process, but overall it’s definitely been very educational for all of us.
So sure, it’s a hectic time of year right now. But truth be told, it’s never not a hectic time around here, it’s part of what keeps life so interesting around this place! Things only ever oscillate between varying degrees of festivity. Festive, very festive, extra festive, super festive, and the limited edition hyper festive deluxe™. (Which is specially reserved for the end of December when you’ve got a full time performance schedule, final essays, final exams, regular classes, and holiday shenanigans all happening at the same time.) I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Juilliard Dance 2020