First impressions

What were your first impressions from our initial two introductory classes? How did you feel before, during, and/or after Thursday’s class? What will you be working on quarter (this could be something technical or purely mental/emotional)?

Here’s a little video of Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen describing what we started to do today on the floor. It is about moving as one continuous unit – initiating from the feet. Enjoy! 

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19 thoughts on “First impressions

  1. Hi there! Well, I have to say, this is very challenging for me! Not a surprise really, I knew that was going to be the case, as I’ve never taken a dancing class in my life. So even the most basic of instincts and techniques are going to seem alien to me. That’s not even counting the fact that I’m also out of shape.

    And you know something? I’m not worried at all.

    I welcome the challenge! If acting has taught me anything, it’s that if I put my mind to something, I can do it. I look forward to working with all of you, and I promise to push myself to my very limits and beyond.

  2. The first day I felt very in line and centered with all the core work that we did. The Thursday class definitely shook me up a little bit because we jumped right into choreography. The class I took last quarter with Ted was a lot more progressive with movement technique and this class just went right into the movement. I have to admit that I did feel a little bit scared coming into such a “fast” pace when I haven’t been dancing this technically in about 3 years. However, I feel that I am really going to be learning my movement capacities and testing myself which I want to do.

  3. Tuesday was a gentle beginning that woke up my core, I’m feeling more centered now, literally! Thursday’s warm-up felt more familiar and I was able to be on my shins and find the positions in a logical progression. My confidence has increased since last quarter, and the constraints of injury have been lifted! The embodiment that I’ve experienced with the Bartenieff fundamentals has helped me to discover a new movement vocabulary that gives me strength and flexibility without hurting myself. But I’m still challenged, and need to increase my upper body strength. I know inversions are coming next in the combination too! The connection between the warm-up and the floor combination is what I need to work on, letting the movement flow organically with less thinking and more intuition.

  4. From this first week of class I have realized that this is going to be totally different from the previous 130 I have taken with Gerald. I was so surprised at the level of our class involvement and the speed at which Gerald was teaching! An amazing surprise, because I didn’t think our class would pick up until the second or third week.

    This quarter I am going to focus on leaving my comfort zone. Gerald said something along the lines of “…if you’re not doing something exciting then I’m not going to watch you…” which provoked me to start stretching and expanding during the movement we learned on Thursday. Very excited to start working this quarter! Even our warm up exercises seem more intense than what I’ve previously experienced and this excites me! Kill us with core! It’s good for us 🙂

    • I totally agree with you Sam! I was also surprise with the speed of class. I was expecting the first three weeks to be more of foundation work and muscle building however, that was not the case. We jumped right into choreography! This quarter will be defiantly one of the most challenging ones. One of my personal objectives for this quarter, is to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin. Its been something I’ve been working for years and I know it hasn’t been easy but never the less, this objective is approachable. I look forward to a great intense quarter!

  5. My initial impressions from our introductory classes were very positive. I saw that one of the main foci revolved around synthesizing movement and mindset, without overly worrying about maintaining the outward appearance of techniques. During the course of Thursday’s class, I felt simultaneously challenged and exhilarated – it’s been a while since I’ve danced and it felt liberating to reconnect with the movement of my body. This quarter, I foresee myself working on resharpening my technical skills, as well as connecting mentally to pieces.

  6. I personally am very excited to be enrolled in the class. Dance to me is an escape from the real world. It is a way to express myself without using words. The first day of class I felt pretty comfortable with the work we did. As we moved to Thursday’s class I felt as though we took this giant leap and there was no turning back. That, however was fine to me because I like a challenge and in order to grow I find that I need to be pushed. Over the course of the next 10 weeks I personally wanna work on the technical side of my dancing. I find that I can easily pick up the steps, but how well I perform them is another question. Overall I can’t wait to move and learn things I have yet to be taught. I am very happy and looking forward to this coming quarter.

  7. Last weeks’ classes made me very excited for the class! I am really enjoying the modern warm ups. I haven’t had warm ups like that in a couple years. It’s invigorating to be back in the mind set in which your mind and body really connect. I like the warm ups because they force me to not only connect my mind with my body, but also to practice controlling my body as a whole and feeling the energy throughout it. As for the choreography, I am so happy with it! I find choreography to be one of the most fun and challenges aspects of dance. I am also looking forward to learning new types of movement and ideas. This quarter I really want sharpen my technique as well as just enjoy myself!

  8. While I am very excited for this class, I am also very nervous. During class, I felt like I was really listening to my body. I suddenly started to feel all the things that rotate in my spine when I just move my legs back and forth. During the dance combos I really started thinking about stretching myself out in opposite directions, and how my body wants to move when my leg is one way and my arm is the other. My goal for this quarter is to practice balance. In class I sometimes feel like I am limited because of my lack of balance. I also hope to be able to use dance as a tool. During Intro to Modern, I had a lot of fun learning how to express myself through dance. In this class, I hope to gain technique, and skills to help me to learn better control of my body.

  9. I took this class two years ago with a different teacher but it is a completely different experience this time around. After over a year without dancing, I felt an awkward stiffness that was both physical and mental. I had a harder time remembering choreography which I know is something that I want to work on. Confidence in body movement and understanding that everyone learns differently is something else I will be focusing on this quarter. I don’t want to mentally block myself from learning about the movements our bodies can achieve.
    I found Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen’s video about moving the body as one unit extremely interesting. Just focusing on the simple movements or interactions between muscles can be eye-opening. In class, leading with the toes when doing twists stretched my body in a completely different way which actually helped to relax my muscles. I also generally have a lot of anxiety so to be able to clear my mind of everything else except the smallest of movements felt freeing. After the class, I felt overall relaxed which really helped me to focus on details in general. I’m looking forward to a whole quarter of this!

  10. I feel like I am learning how to dance all over again; like I am learning how to dance for the first time. I knew this was going to be challenging and that is why I took Gerald’s class again and I was right! It is a challenge. After what I wrote for the first week of class, speaking of last week’s (the second week) I feel even farther behind. I am not quite sure why I can’t connect. I can see myself in the movement, but my body is not taking me there. I am not sure if it is my bad memory or if it is just difficult steps I am not capable of yet, but I feel like a newbie and I guess no matter how many dance classes one has taken, you are still a newbie when stepping out of your comfort zone. I’m happy I am being taken into an uncomfortable and challenging place with my practice and I look forward to shaking off the stuffy ballet moves to zip up some new skin in modern moves. I am feeling like my memory game needs to step up fast if I am going to get there though. 🙂

  11. If this week taught me anything it’s that things can always change. While I felt enormously uncomfortable last week, this week I felt as though I understood and did well with the material. It’s funny how things can change within the course of a day. I know that there will probably be more classes where I feel unsure and unsatisfied with myself, but this week felt much better then the one previous. I have to keep reminding myself that this is all a practice, and it’s OK to struggle. Plus, this week proved that with time, everything gets a little bit easier. And that’s what I’m here for. To get a little better every day and become more and more comfortable with myself. I wish I had more to comment on with the physicality of my body, but for now the mental aspects of my movement are so overwhelming that they start to override everything else.

  12. I love to dance. I have never really considered myself a dancer because I am not a professional. I dance for fun. To me dancing is a way to activate other parts of your brain and body that you might not otherwise actively use every day. That is why when Gerald first asked why we decided to take this class, I declared that it was better than sitting in class for a lecture. I have been meaning to take the intermediate modern dance course since I first took the introductory course back in the fall of 2013. The quarter after I took Ballet History to learn more about dance and was pleasantly surprised that there was a studio component. So I am very excited to be back in the studio again. During class I could recognize and remember what I learned in the intro class. One thing is for sure, I most definitely am out of shape. Trying to hold a normal plank is doable, but when Gerald decided to get fancy and do a side plank and circle I was struggling to keep up. That is okay though because I know I will get better and better by the end of this course. My goal this quarter is to become more actively aware of my movement. I want to get in tune with how my body moves. More importantly I want to know just go through the moves but perform the action of the moves. I need to get out of my head and mot compare myself to everyone around me. If I focus of myself I will be able to perform better.

  13. The first two classes made me very sore. I woke up and was aware of different muscles in my body. During the classes, I felt like there were parts of my body that had been awakened. I always focus too much on the performance, but during these classes I felt more of a focus on the movements.

  14. The first days class felt so grounding, with the yoga stretches. There was a lot of specific body isolations that connected the body and mind awareness. I enjoy the core workouts and back roll/cat warm ups. The second class was fast paced and made me worried that I did not have the skills, despite a gymnastics, dance, choreography background. Memory is a challenge for me and I want to work on hearing the music more this quarter. I want to hear the counts and connect my dance to the music. It’s awesome to have live music in class. After class I always feel so alive with energy and happiness.

  15. Before Thursday I felt excited about the class; I had taken intro to modern dance last winter quarter, and while by no means do I consider myself a dancer, it was a very freeing experience just to be dancing and moving my body in new ways. I also felt a bit of anxious anticipation about the class, as I said, I am not a dancer and I have always been uncoordinated and not very in tune with my body. After Thursday’s class I still felt a little intimidated, but I also felt really determined to just do my best. This quarter I will be working on acknowledging when I am doing my best and not comparing myself to others in the class so that I can stop overthinking when I move and be more focused on the way the movement should feel and where it comes from.

  16. Learning these particular movements this day was very interesting at first it felt like a good stretch but the next day I was very soar. The next go around I realized how much pressure I was actually putting on my bottom half so I withdrew some of that pressure and allowed some of it to depend on my upper body. Overall this movement was very help for my back especially .

  17. Just after the first day of class, I can already tell that I am going to thoroughly enjoy dancing this quarter. After taking Choreography last quarter, I feel as though I have gotten a very good idea of college dance. Having grown up in studios and at dance competitions, the environment of this class is definitely more conducive to both learning and growing as a dancer. Being able to explore my body in movement while also maintaining my technical training is such a privilege. And on top of it, having live music accompaniment takes my dance experience to a whole other more mature level. One of the main things I love about the class is the range of levels of the dancers. There is no competition amongst us for we are all here to learn and grow together. It is a really great feeling to be able to turn to a fellow dancer and ask for help without feeling self conscious, and it is an even better feeling to be the person that others turn to in times of need during class. All together, this class is the exact environment I, as a dancer striving to reach a new levels on both a physical and emotional level, want to be in. I am excited to see where the quarter takes me!

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