Tag Archives: dance

Growing From The Rain: A 2nd Year Grad School Testimonial

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This past semester I was honored to give a talk about passion to a group of undergraduate students at The Ohio State University through an event called “What’s Your Number” hosted by Vanessa Scott. Through this event, I was reminded of how powerful testimonies can be. Sometimes, it is not about preaching what others should do, but just letting others know your story with a hope that someone can be inspired by it. So, I wanted to tell a story from my second year of graduate school with a hope that it empowers someone someday:

Coming into this past Spring semester of 2015 I was really anxious. It’s really nothing new. Every semester since the beginning of my graduate career has been filled with nervousness because of my desire to do well. But, there was definitely something different about this semester in particular.

For one, I was coming back from the toughest semester I’ve had in my graduate career. It was ironic because my schedule for that semester was the most lenient and inviting one that I’ll ever have (a lot of Hiphop and very little ballet… ah yea). I literally was set to have the time of my life. And, I started off right: get up early, work out, take class, teach class, enjoy life, repeat.

Then a day came where I received an email that said I did not pass my first graduate exam– one that was crucial for me to pass in order to stay in the graduate program. Although my heart was struck, I sort of expected the result for numerous reasons including my procrastination with the assignment over the summer. Also, I was given a chance to retake the exam within the next month. So, all things considering, life was still nice. Little did I know that this bump in the road would lead to one of my greatest pits in life.

I tried to continue my 8:30 am-8: 30pm school regiment while getting the exam done- ultimate fail. My schedule was just too busy and taxing. I dropped my morning gym schedule and from that next day forward, my desire to arise every morning dropped with it. Waking up literally became the hardest thing to do. Despite how much sleep I received, I would struggle to gain consciousness because it felt like a brick was sitting in my brain, forcing my eyelids to shut me back into my dream state. The most important exam of my current life was silenced with every press of the snooze button (pathetic, I know). This went on for the greater part of a month. Finally, one week, I was able to muster up the strength to attack the exam full on. I wrote nonstop and asked for the help of peers, colleagues, and family in order to make my exam fail-proof. I turned my second exam in and immediately felt heaviness rise and dissipate from my soul as I felt proud of the work I had done.

A couple weeks later, I found that my pride wasn’t reciprocated as I read another email saying that I had failed again. From what I knew at the time, failing twice meant you would be asked to leave the program. By the grace of God, I was given a third chance to orally defend my exam. However, my spirit was already broken. The thing is I represent a unique demographic as a graduate student in the dance department at OSU. I am the youngest person, the most inexperienced dancer, the sole African-American…and then there’s the whole Hiphop thing. So, to sit there and fail twice in an environment where I already felt alienated (from nobody’s doing, but my own mindset) was hard for me to deal with. I’m not proud to admit that I cracked, but I am glad to say that I was able to still fulfill my responsibilities. Happiness was aloft, however. Positivity within myself or in my relationships was a rare thing to find.

I did end up passing my exam which sent me on Winter break severely wounded but, weirdly, not defeated. I felt invigorated to prove myself and take revenge on all of the things that held me down for 10+ weeks. So, coming full circle back to this Spring semester- I’m nervous. I remember losing sleep on the bus back to Columbus because I was listening to empowering podcasts that would oppose the voice in my head; reminding me of how well I started the semester before, and how poorly it went after that.

My new regiment consisted of an 8 am- 9 pm day at least 4 days-a-week. Most of the day, I was physically exerting myself through dance, working out, or teaching. I took time for myself from 6:30am-7:30am where I made sure to walk around my block, reflect on positive thoughts, pray, go back home, eat breakfast, and listen to an inspiring podcast.

After a week of this regiment, the head-voice told me, “Good job, you did it, but it’s only week one, and you’re tired, how do you think you’re going to do this for 15 weeks?” It just questioned me and questioned me. I did my routine with skepticism, simply waiting for the day where I would retract back to my old ways. Meanwhile, I also felt encouraged by the instant gratification of my regiment. There was something satisfying about feeding myself positivity through multiple modalities like the walking and the listening to inspiring messages. It allowed me to find love in myself, my purpose, and others on a daily basis.

And so, one week turned into two weeks, and weeks turned into a month. And, that voice stayed and questioned, but it started to quiet down. Because a month turned into two months. And, although I did slip up at times to fall victim to the voice questioning my resolve and endurance, I always got back up with a renewed determination. And then… Spring semester ended.

As I traveled on my morning route for the last school day, I couldn’t help but to cry and yell out in victory! For the first time in my life, with and through God, I feel like I gave my full self from start to finish. I trudged, and I pushed through the tiredness and the exhaustion. I barely missed any classes. I fought through any and all injuries. I performed numerous times. I choreographed even more times for works inside and outside of the department. I gave speeches. I taught great classes. I went above and beyond anything I’ve ever done and set myself up for greater things to come. When I fell, I got back up. And now, I sit here knowing that my best was given, and I am proud.

As I’m writing, I look upon my bookshelf and see 30+ cards and notes with lovely words of encouragement and thanks from wonderful people who I’ve had the pleasure of working with throughout the semester. I am so thankful for the things God has done, and the people God has put in my life, in order to push me another day, day-after-day. And even though that doubtful voice still lingers in my head, I lean back in faith knowing that if I beat it once, I’ll do it again.

And so, I end my rant with a bible verse that I depended on through the latter part of this semester. It gave me this image that God is behind me to support, in front of me to lead, and on each side of me to hold my hands every time I decide to take another step in my path of purpose, “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40: 31.

Peace.

The Technical Dancer: Perception of Beauty through the World of Dance

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After a few years of teaching Hiphop dance, I’ve come to realize how complex the form is. I constantly push myself to find creative ways to break down the fundamentals of Hiphop dance, and I can tell you that transferring the basics to the average student is a difficult thing to do. I’ve found that there are many complicated body patterns within something even as “simple” as grooving to music!

I’ve gathered a new appreciation for all of the dope Hiphop dancers who haven’t had a day of formal training in their lives, yet contain this kinesthetic awareness that allows them to move with such virtuosity! From bboying, to popping, to waacking and more…Hiphop dance is tough! There are so many subtle nuances within each style that these dancers constantly train to maintain and improve. There is a word that people use in ballet and contemporary to describe the execution of fundamentals within their own dance forms…technique.

Yet, I rarely hear the word technique used to describe Hiphop dance. Instead, I hear quotes like, “[We’re] putting together the sort of untrained world of Hiphop with the formally trained…”- Nigel Lythgoe (Director of the television series: So You Think You Can Dance).

Thinking this may just be one person’s bias, I did a little research. First, I typed in “Dance Technique” in google and received these images…
"Technique"

Mostly all of them were in sync with Nigel’s description: long legs and arms, lean bodies, straight lines, pointed feet, flexible muscles, etc. You may think I’m generalizing, but seriously, look for yourself in the pages of google and see what you find. In the same SYTYCD interview, Nigel is asked, “How long does it take for you to tell that this person is great [at dance], or this person is not very good?” and he responds with, “You can basically tell very very quickly…you notice that legs aren’t straight or toes aren’t pointed or the lack of technique is noticed pretty soon.” So, in educating the masses of America (and the world!) about dance, certain leaders– and I would argue many leaders– of the community are instilling an idea of beauty through movement based off of euro-centric ideals. All that is to say, apparently, we Hiphop dancers are untrained, and without technique…ouch.

Yet, that very thought was what I based my value as a dancer on in the beginning of my career. Training within academia, I constantly take classes with bodies that do not look like my own; and, therefore, it is hard not feel frustration at the fact that I am a muscle-bound, flat-footed mover. I have injured myself trying to force myself into splits, faced embarrassment as teachers tried to get me to do something that my body literally won’t do, and wreathed in frustration because, no matter my efforts, I felt as though I was not living up to the idea of a technical, beautiful, mover.

So, this got me thinking…if a Hiphop dancer does not have technique, then what do we have? I did a little more research and typed in, “the antonym of technique”:

Ignorant. Impotence. Inability. Incompetence. Ineptitude. Lack.

…………yea.

In the movie Malcolm X (1992), there is a scene where Malcolm’s mentor in jail is showing Malcolm the definition of black and white in the dictionary during the 1960’s. The definition of “white” had words such as innocent, pure, and harmless while “black” had words like forbidding, foul, wicked and others that exuded negativity and evil. Now, maybe I’m reaching too far…but maybe I’m just connecting dots…why are dance genres that derive from European’s sense of beauty the ones that get the claim of being professional, scholarly, and specialized (synonyms of technical)?

Many people before me have said this, but with this post I’m just here to repeat it: Hiphop dance, as well as every other dance genre that derives from the African tradition, is a technical form. I’m sick and tired of leaders in the industry inferring that the movement that I identify with is inferior to any other. Technical ideas such as groundedness, broken lines, SWAG, isolations, undulations, release, flexed feet, and many more all have value and are technicalities in dance that many “technical dancers” don’t have.

So, to end, I just encourage you to question anyone who talks about a mover having or not having technique. Maybe it won’t do a thing, but I believe that the more we question, the more we become aware, and the less conventions will exist that separate the value of peoples in our nation and in our world.

Hiphop Lesson #1: Empower Yourself while Encouraging Your Community

Ain’t a way around it no more, I am the greatest
A lotta niggas sat on the throne, I am the latest
I am the bravest, go toe to toe with the giants

I ain’t afraid of you niggas, I’ll end up fading you niggas

We all kings
Kings of ourselves first and foremost
While the people debate who’s the king of this rap game
Here comes lil’ ol’ Jermaine
With every ounce of strength in his veins
To snatch the crown from whoever y’all think has it
But rather than place it on his head as soon as he grabs it
Poof, boom, paow, it’s like magic
With a flash and a BANG the crown disintegrates
And falls to the Earth from which it came
It’s done

Ain’t gonna be no more kings” J. Cole Fire Squad, Forest Hills Drive

Maaaaan, I’m fascinated by Hiphop! Over this past week I shared a lecture from Youtube by KRS-One called “40 Years of Hiphop” with my dance classes at The Ohio State University (Buckeyes National Champs say what!?) in order to get them exploring the question of “What is Hiphop?”

In pondering the question myself, I have gained insight to a powerful characteristic of the culture. Hiphop culture contains a paradox that emphasizes self-empowerment and peer-encouragement simultaneously through the form of art and competition. In other words, Hiphop allows the opportunity for an individual to be confident enough to claim that they are the best while also being selfless enough to claim that their peers are the best as well.

This brings up the question of, what is it to be the best? I would say that to be THE best means to be YOUR best. Hiphop culture in the form of bboying, emceeing, djayin, and graffiti writing offers an artistic format in which individuals are encouraged to show their best selves. Speaking from personal experience, whenever I am dancing within a battle, I am going out with the mindset that I am the best dancer out there! Nobody can touch me- I am better than you, you, you, and you! Before you claim me as being pretentious, let me remind you that I desire for my competition to show me their dance with the same mentality!

Why you may ask? Because ultimately, I am Hiphop, and Hiphop is me. But Hiphop is not just me, it is also anyone else who claims that they’re Hiphop. So, therefore, by both of us expressing our best selves through dance, Hiphop is at its best. If both my competition and I consider each other as whack, we ultimately devalue ourselves, and therefore, Hiphop. However, if both my competition and I find empowerment in being our best self, while encouraging the other to be their best self, we both leave as individuals with more value than when we came into the space.

When you look at the quote above, you see this same paradox in the rap element. J. Cole released his album a few months ago and with that release, claims that he is the greatest emcee alive! If you’re agreeing or disagreeing with that statement, you’re missing the point. Now I have to admit, I cannot claim that J. Cole is doing anything more than simply laying out some hot, yet narcissistic lyrics; however, for the sake of this post, lets say he is being intentional. Now J. Cole, being Hiphop and having a Hiphop mindset, is the greatest because he said so! As a fellow Hiphop artist, I say that he is right. Not necessarily because I believe J. Cole’s talent beats all others, but because I believe he, through his album, is contributing his best self to the Hiphop collective.

Hiphop is not the only culture that shares this mindset. As a Christian, I know that Christianity also contributes to this idea of being your best while encouraging others’ to be theirs in order to fulfill the body of Christ. The thing that fascinates me about this concept in regards to Hiphop is people’s perception of the culture. I am generalizing when I say this, but I do not believe many people think that Hiphop culture touches upon anything deeper than money, women, materialistic pleasures, drugs, guns, and partying (Thanks mainstream media!!!). Yet, Hiphop’s foundation also lies in the concept of power to the individual and responsibility to one’s community, amongst many other things. So what is Hiphop? Hopefully, you’ve gathered that it is deeper and more complex than you ever imagined!

The Mental Dance Class: 5 Tips 4 the Heady Dancer

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Over the past few days I have been listening to a podcast series called “The Overwhelmed Brain” by Paul Colaianni. The episodes consist of interviews that discuss ways in which people develop their minds in order to achieve their definition of success. I found the podcast in a general attempt to find multiple sources that could counter-act the crippling, negative, voices that run through my mind on a daily basis, cuz, ya know, one person can only take but so much after a while before it’s just time to be like, SHUT UP! (If only it were that easy!)

Anyways, as I’ve journeyed through the podcast, this idea of control keeps coming up within the interviews. All of these successful people keep mentioning how we need to control our feelings rather than having our feelings control us. And when they say control, what I think they mean is to control your negative thoughts and beat-them-up with positive ones; therefore, not allowing your negative thoughts to overwhelm what your meant to do, whether that be a daily agenda or your life’s purpose.

So I got to thinking about how, like life, dancers allow themselves to get taken out of a positive class experience because their thoughts just get in the way… I don’t know about y’all, but there are plenty of times when I’m giving that full effort, and then the burden of the world just hits me as I can’t accomplish something the way I want to accomplish it…

Messing up the Hiphop combo, like the very beginning of the combo, like within the first 12-counts, so that for the next minute you’re screwing it ALL up! And then, it’s always perfect when that happens after you just got chosen to be in the select group of 3 cuz you was JUST killin’ it the whole class!

…fail.

For those of us who get wrapped up in the thoughts of our mind a little too much, here are some things that I’ve gathered over the past few days that might help:

1. Prepare

If you know that you’re a person who has a tendency to get down on yourself in class, recognize that fact before you arrive at the door, and then leave it there as you walk in. Whether it’s bumping to your favorite songs, listening to a positive speaker, looking at an inspiring quote, speaking with a friend, or whatever, find your own way to get yourself positive and mentally ready for class before you even enter the space.

2. Talk to Yourself…Out Loud

This sounds kind of weird, but in this dope book called the bible it says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Meaning, the words that come out of your mouth are insanely influential, especially to yourself. Even if you don’t believe in scripture, there are studies (that you can find yourself cuz I don’t feel like looking them up, but there HAS to be studies)…nah there may not be studies, but there are intelligent people (i.e: Tony Robbins in The Edge) who say that speaking out loud an incantation is like listening to the hook of a song– it gets stuck in your brain. So, therefore, all the negativity doesn’t have room to reside in the space between your ears.

3. Smile, Holler, Clap, Support

One of the main things that I have been hearing in the podcast is that your posture and your expressions are indicative of your mood. If you are sulking and look like you ’bout to hit someone cuz you didn’t hit that triple-pirouette for the fourth time in-a-row, then it’s pretty obvious you’re mental state is getting down on yourself. In opposition, smiling, applauding, hollering at someone in support (at least in a Hiphop class, I ain’t ever seen no Ballet class where people are yelling at each other, but by all means try it!) are all conventions that make it hard for negative thoughts to take you down.

4. Go with a Friend

This is probably one of the most obvious, and commonly used, methods to create a positive class experience (until that friend start killin it and you getting all jealous cuz you messing up). But seriously, having someone there who cares about you beyond your abilities in class is probably one of the most powerful tools to foster a positive mindset. We all know that being in a room with plenty of talented people can be intimidating, so having someone you can ask a million questions to, joke with, support, and show love to, can be a crucial remedy to those negative thoughts that ruin the way in which you experience class.

5. Be Thankful
(That you’re not as bad as the person next to you……..I’m playing!)

You can look at this as an internal-external process too, but I’m specifically referring to showing thanks. After each class, go up to the teacher/choreographer and just thank them for their effort, time, and instruction. As humans, we’re all about connecting with one another, and making others feel good simply makes us feel good. So, no matter what kind of class it was for you personally, end it on a good note by being grateful because honestly, it is a blessing to have the money to take class and the health to dance, amongst plenty of other things.

I encourage you to think of plenty other ways to create a positive learning environment for yourself in class, but I hope at least one of these tips prove to be a good starting point for you. Thanks for reading, blessings!

MFA Project: Episode 1: Pilot

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Over the holidays I’ve been processing about my MFA project that I have to create in order to, for a lack of better words, establish my legitimacy as a graduate student in dance at The Ohio State University and show how artfully intellectual I am which I’m clearly doing by writing this long-behind sentence…

I’ve recently had to write a third-draft, five-page proposal for my committee to look over, and hopefully approve. Now if you know me, you know that I am not a writer. I don’t like it, never have. However, since I love Hiphop and want to make a case for how important it is to academia and American culture, I have found that I must painfully accept this art-form, and all its wrath, if I’m going to convince the academic gurus of how the dance-form-from-the-streets is legitimate in the institution.

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Foundation by Joseph Schloss

So there are two problems with me and this monstrous obstacle called my MFA proposal. One, I am way too heady for my own good. Every time I want to make a statement, I contradict myself ten-times over until I find myself, an hour later, with a digital blank page and the blink-blink of the cursor staring at me. Two, as if being heady isn’t enough, the documentation of Hiphop dance is, to say the least, scarce. The one book that I have found and read that delves deeply into the physicality and culture of Hiphop dance is a book called, “Foundation” by Joseph Schloss (It’s actually pretty dope so if you’re into the bboying scene you should check it out).  But ultimately, the field could use some more writers, not named Quilan Arnold, who are into the Hiphop dance scene.

Electric Boogaloos: (Left to Right) Mr. Wiggles, Popping Pete, Boogaloo Sam, Skeet, Suga Pop
Electric Boogaloos: (Left to Right) Mr. Wiggles, Popping Pete, Boogaloo Sam, Skeet, Suga Pop

Although there isn’t much written documentation, there are a few OG’s (Original Gangster’s… slang for old heads, also known as founders if we were speaking formally) in the game who are talking about Hiphop dance history and culture through video mediums such as Youtube (which is nice because I’d rather listen than read for my research). But, these OG’s are getting interviewed informally by students who have a thirsty knowledge for Hiphop dance. I, who have been in the game for all but five years, have to formally write a paper for faculty in an academic setting. No offense to the OG’s, but they can talk to me when they have to start defining terms and what-not (Which hopefully happens because I want to talk to founding Hiphop dancers as a part of my project! #swag).

Anyways, so after all of the thinking, stating, contradicting, and frustration, something like this has conjured up: “The evolution of Hiphop dance learning styles has fostered a culture within the academic and professional environments that marginalizes the importance of sharing knowledge through improvisational movement; thus, the essence of Hiphop dance, in expression of individuality, has deteriorated as the form has transferred from the streets to the studio.”

I’ll get into that statement in the next post… #cliffhanger #youwasntready

Shout out to my pops @ haroldarnold.com. He’s helped me so much in this whole process and he, along with the rest of my family, is such a big reason for the blessings I am living in today. Love you!

Moment of Silent Screams [Video]


I am in the midst of creating a stage concert work called “From Within. And Back Again” that focuses on conventions in life that help to spark ones soul. Whether it be an overwhelming joy, anger, or sorrow, there are moments in life where our spirits feel as though they want to burst beyond our physical bodies. During these moments, I experience the limits of my flesh-self while simultaneously feeling the existential and boundless nature of my inner being. For me, it’s quite an amazing phenomenon that brings up many questions, and therefore, pushes me to make a dance about it.

Out of this larger work spawns “Moment of Silent Screams” as the recent emphasis on the injustices of police brutality have created a restlessness within my soul. This video is a result of my observations over the past month mixed with my desire to something. This is how I raise my voice in disgust against the systematic injustices that have been going on in our country.

I hope you empathize with the words, the movement, and/or the music that creates this work and it inspires you to have a conversation about these issues with others in your community. Blessings.

The V-Spot: Lightness in Hiphop Dance

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As I have worked on my composition skills in the graduate level, I have had moments where I realize I am uncomfortable as I move- but I’m never uncomfortable when I’m moving…unless…unless I feel a sense of vulnerability. That feeling creeps and consumes my soul in few instances: when I am ill-prepared to present, performing to no music, or…wait for it…dancing with my arms above my head. What?! Craziness right?

I don’t know. Both arms in the air, fully giving yourself to whatever comes, that is a scary feeling. I tremble at the thought. There is something about realizing you have nothing to hide behind while a multitude of people are staring at you, expecting from you. A part of it is a personal vendetta; however, I feel as though a part of it is the Hiphop culture I look up to so much.

Hiphop dance was birthed out of the ghetto. It started out as an escape from drugs, violence, gangs and an oppressed lifestyle. The aggression and anger that stemmed from these aspects of urban life within the Bronx, New York were positively directed through this art form. That is to say, the emotional connotations that came with living life in the urban community became ingrained within the essence of Hiphop dance from its birth. Breakers would battle each other instead of shooting each other; yet, while moving to the breakbeat, these dancers would attack each other with the same magnitude of emotion that they would have if they were in a gang drive by…

…and so the lineage has been passed down. Within many styles of Hiphop there maintains a through line of an aggressive, yet cool, nature; displaying strong and direct movement with play between timing and flow. All of which resembles the nuances an urban youth must maintain to survive within the ghettos during the beginnings of the Hiphop era. The moment one displayed an accepting effort quality (light, sustained, indirect, and free) in life was the moment they decided to give up living. Therefore, emotions like vulnerability did not have much acceptance within the overall Hiphop community, including the dance.

I feel as though there is a cultural connotation in regards to the resistance against having both arms in the air while dancing in a typical Hiphop aesthetic and exuding Laban’s accepting effort qualities. I feel weak, naked, and transparent- diminishing my ability to feel confident and “swagged out” like Hiphop has taught me to be. I question whether I have seen anyone breakthrough this conflict that I personally struggle with, and what mindset they are in to accomplish that defiance. I wonder if styles like voguing and whacking would allow me to be more comfortable, and why that may be. Many questions to continue to explore- perfect reason to be in graduate school.

“All In My Head” Choreography (Artist: Tori Kelly)

Hey y’all!

So this is my last video of the semester, I feel like it has been an amazing journey at OSU so far and I wanted to cap it off by going back to what I love to naturally do choreographically- create videos that highlight the dance using my own movement voice.

This small work was simply inspired by Tori Kelly’s voice and power within her music. From the moment I heard it, I knew I would eventually make something up to it. It’s funny because just a few years ago, Adele had just come out, and I remember my frustration because I felt like I was not versatile enough as a dancer to do justice to her songs. Now, I believe that I can dance and choreograph to anything my imagination desires, which is perfect timing considering I am exploring my choreographic voice at school. So this work is a testament to the hard work, love, and support that has nourished my growth and brought me to this point!

I hope you all enjoy and take in the beauty that is this song. Blessings.

“Like” and “Ballet” Can Go In the Same Sentence?!

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Throughout the first three of five years I have been dancing, nobody could convince that I would remotely enjoy ballet. From the form-fitting tights that showed too much information to the stiff torsos that meandered around the stage, everything about the form disgusted my Hiphop being. I could not wrap my head around how anyone could dance to slow music played by the piano…where are my drums!? Straight legs and pointed feet, I laugh at the thought! Nobody is going to catch me looking like I got a stick up my butt! It did not help that my resistance to ballet went beyond Hiphop. My peers within my undergraduate dance program at Penn State (dirty hippy modern dancers as they liked to call themselves) even despised the possibility of going back to that-which-shall-not-be-named. However, after constant discovery of limitations in my dancing, and hearing many words of wisdom from professional dancers, I decided that my senior year would be dedicated to practicing the bunhead movement.

My senior year of ballet was amazing. I had a wonderful teacher (Spence Ford shoutout!!) and great talent surrounding me through the musical theater department. Although I was improving, and had found peace with ballet, nobody would ever hear me say I liked the thing. I was enjoying the fact that there is a lot of right or wrong within the form. There is not as much room for conceptualization and abstraction. My analytical mind was satisfied that there was a goal to accomplish, and there were specific ways to obtain that goal. Despite that fact, I still was having a hard time dancing! I felt stiff: constantly trying to scoop my stomach, press my sternum in, stand straight, etc, etc.

And then my first course of ballet at The Ohio State University happened… I transferred a level down right after that catastrophe of a class was over. The course was actually amazing, it was just that I could not keep up for the life of me. But, I made a promise to myself that I will survive and thrive in Karen Eliot’s ballet class before my tenure is done at OSU (it’s documented now, so I guess I have to actually do it).

In stepping a level down, I never thought I would enter one of the best dance classes I have ever taken- yes, I said it- A BALLET CLASS WAS ONE OF THE BEST I HAVE EVER TAKEN! Throughout this 2013 Fall semester, I have battled my way through to the point where I now feel like I can dance to some good, soft, balletic music. There were growing pains, but an encouraging instructor (Maria Glimscher shoutout!!), a great cohort of classmates, and an open mind allowed for me to find a deep satisfaction within the beauty of the form. I still cannot get my leg above 90, or turn even two or three times without stumbling, and Lord knows petit allegro has me looking like a fish out of water; however, I can express who I am through ballet movement, and I feel as though that is a breakthrough that will go down as an ultimate highlight of my OSU dance career once I graduate.