The summer before my senior year of high school I was thinking of how dance would continue, or not continue, to be a part of my future. I had to start applying for college and higher education dance programs in the fall and it was an important question to ask. I had just completed two summer dance intensives, and I felt properly equipped to analyze my options. I began by imagining myself in a college dance program, getting technical training every day and being a part of a community committed specifically to dance. Then I imagined myself in a science lab (I did and still do very much enjoy other forms of academia) where I was among students doing lab work. Both images were plausible scenarios, but I found that nothing could challenge my mental physical and spiritual self more than choosing to become a dance major.
I dance because it is an art form that will never be perfect. It will continue to be intellectually stimulating, physically challenging, and call into question our understanding of ourselves in space for as long as people continue to move. I see dance as a constant exploration. In addition to the discovery of movement that happens in dancers’ relations to themselves and others, there is a connection in how these discoveries affect a dancer’s daily activities. In this way, the practice of dance creates a way of perceiving the world. Dancers are smart creatures. We must have a good understanding of material space as well as a grasp for the mental space each of us needs in order to create. We adapt to others, in a choreographic sense along with shifting our specific movement qualities to mesh well with others’ in collaboration. We understand time and its value in the creative process, and therefore we know how to manage it effectively. And we must take a holistic approach in our view of the world so as to create art that is relevant to the public.
This holistic worldview and heightened ability to adapt allows dancers to never get bored in their art. There will always be a new approach, or a different take on how something could be done, and thus dance can continue to be a surprise to even a seasoned professional. The ability to continue in a never-ending exploration is a reason why I dance. Dance keeps me aware that there is much that I still need to learn, and it opens up the mind to see what was never there before. It is a pathway to understanding things that are greater than the individual because dancers must work to create material that is relevant to themselves while connecting their movement to people in a broader spectrum. So while I dance for myself, to explore movement and learn about culture through a dancer lens, I also dance to share my discoveries with others. Because dance is an art meant to be viewed, I like to share my journey as I experiment within it. As a dancer I not only get to approach situations with the mental-physical intellect gained through dancing, but I am lucky to get to share these experiences with others through my art.