I woke up this morning ready to eat breakfast and go to classes again and was entirely disappointed to realize that I was in my dorm bed back in Rochester again. This weekend was an amazing experience and I wish it has lasted all week.
I learned so much this weekend. I got a good look at what other dance departments (most much larger and older than ours) were doing and what college dance currently looks like outside of our “Rochester bubble.” I realized how different it is from a lot of what the student dance groups here do. In essence, the dance we saw performed that was the most amazing was rooted in technique but went beyond just perfect placement to tell a story, connect individuals, or produce an experience. It is not at all about the best tricks or showing off, but about sharing.
That ties in to something else I loved from this weekend: the idea that we are all members of a greater dance community. There was not that feeling of competition that is present in many places. Instead everyone was so supportive. In class people shared the mirrors and took turns in front. In performances everyone watched respectfully and cheered each other on. My favorite quote was from modern class yesterday afternoon. Kelly, our teacher, said “No one leads, no one follows.” as we concluded class with one last exercise. That will stay with me for a while.
I was so glad to get to take classes in such a range of styles and things that are not offered at UR. As a summary, Friday afternoon I took a class about choreographing on the low level, Saturday I took contemporary jazz, rhythm tap, and repertory and Sunday I took musical theatre and modern. They were all different and though I liked some even more than others, I learned so much in every class.
I know that my style of dancing and choreography as well as how I approach dance in general has evolved since going to ACDFA and I am so grateful. It is by getting out and joining with others who love dance as much as I do that I learn and become inspired the most. I am so excited to try to use this inspiration in my future choreography.
I will conclude this long post with one last thing I am thankful for: to have become close to everyone who went on the trip. I had not met some of the people before we left on Friday and others I did not know well. I deepened so many relationships and feel so much closer to everyone afterward. I am especially happy to have gotten to know Courtney and Missy in a different way and look forward to taking class from them and continuing to communicate about dance with them!
All in all, this weekend was amazing and I can only dream of being able to attend the conference again next year! (fingers crossed!!)