Moving through difference.

Some say that one of the benchmarks of a ‘good’ dancer is that they can maneuver through various styles of movement, whether it be in class or in performance. In the last four weeks, you have been exposed to many different styles, methods, and ways of thinking about movement and embodiment. Can you express your thoughts on this experience? How have you felt, on a physical level, about these divergent viewpoints of movement? Do they all have a common or shared goal? Perhaps you could pick two examples and compare how learning about these forms felt on your body. Another way you could do this is to explore what you think about dance hybridity (i.e. the blending of contemporary dance and traditional dance).

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22 thoughts on “Moving through difference.

  1. I believe that it is beneficial to learn from as many instructors as possible, be exposed to a wide variety of styles, and challenge the body to continually take on different movement forms. It creates a body capable of adapting more quickly. Over the last four weeks, I greatly enjoyed learning from the four candidates. The last two Tuesday classes stood out to me because I found that I had to approach the movement in a different way than I am used to. The third class taught by Peiling was fast-paced and seemed to require the body to take a more fluid, continuous form. My memorizing abilities were tested during her class. The floor work was intricate, utilizing gravity for momentum. The combo she introduced was both relaxing and physically demanding, which I found to be extremely interesting. Cynthia’s movement, in my opinion, was sharp with quick arm movements and changing directions. I found it difficult to move through the arm and foot motions simultaneously. As the form was based and inspired by traditional Indian dance, her contemporary combination felt foreign to me. I greatly enjoyed the mental exercise I received as I attempted the combination.

  2. Over the past four weeks, we have been exposed to many different dance styles and techniques and I have truly enjoyed this. We learned Indian dance, Chinese dance, and Taiwanese dance, leaving me feeling cultured and more knowledgeable about different styles of dance around the world. I was challenged in ways my body hasn’t been challenged before, but I was also eager to learn something new.
    These dance styles were definitely difficult for me to grasp. I grew up with a contemporary, ballet, and jazz background of dance and my body was not used to moving in the way that these traditional, cultural, style dances demanded. It took extra effort and determination but I was slowly able to catch on, although with much room for improvement. I found that a lot of these styles shared some things in common. They all emphasized the use of the legs and the plie, specifically the Indian and Taiwanese style. I found myself using muscles in my legs that I didn’t know existed. I learned that a simple movement like stomping your foot, was not as simple as it looked. It was also very challenging for me in the Indian dance style to move my legs to one beat but move my arms in another.
    I also noticed the hybridity between the traditional styles and the contemporary blend that the choreographers incorporated. These styles of dance were a lot more sharp and geometric then I am used to, but they incorporated the fluidity and emotional aspect of contemporary dance which I liked. I think that this fusion made it easier for me to adjust to the new style.

  3. It’s always been fascinating to learn different kind of styles of dancing. I like how every one of them is unique and culturally meaningful. In the last four weeks, my body has definitely been challenged by several new moves, especially the dances the potential candidates brought to us. I really enjoyed the circular movement brought by the first candidate. It was something new, a little confusing at first, but easier as I continued doing it. Another challenging movement was Bharatanatyam taught by the second candidate. I have taken a classical Indian dance class before, and I remember the dance as very complex because you have to coordinate your hands and feet. Even though I had learned the dance before, my body still seemed to be challenged by it, in particular the hand gestures. I believe this is the kind of dance that requires years of practice for it to look fully coordinated, including eyes, hands gestures, and feet. My favorite part was learning how these classical dances were combined with modern dance. It was interesting because they blended so well, I couldn’t tell what was modern dance and what was the classical dance. Overall, it was a great experience to learn about other cultural dances.

  4. On a physical level, the divergent viewpoints of movement these past four weeks definitely challenged both my body and mind, which was a wonderful experience overall! While they were all a little bit different, they were all culturally significant and rooted in different traditional types of dance. Even though they were all different from each other even to some extent, I would say they still all had a common or shared goal, which was to challenge us.

    Specifically, I remember the Bharatanatyam dance style taught by the second candidate. She began with the traditional style. This style was very specific and precise. Later on in the same class, contemporary dance was mixed in with the traditional Bharatanatyam style. This style flowed more and was more similar to what we learn in Gerald’s class, for example. The contemporary/traditional Bharatanatyam style was wonderful because in a way it enhanced my pre-existing knowledge of contemporary dance, in addition to strengthening the traditional style we had just learned earlier in that class. Thus, the dance hybridity did a wonderful job of merging different viewpoints of movement and creating another axis, essentially, on which to experience movement in the body and mind! In other words, it was an excellent hybrid with which to challenge the body with something that was not completely foreign yet still presented new types of moves in terms of texture and style.

    Additionally, I watched the class the third candidate, Peiling, presented as I had been ill that weekend and was still recovering. She taught Taiwanese style dance yet also incorporated some ballet style dance towards the end of her class, and offered movement that was challenging as well. She began her class with a warm up that consisted of breathing, leg swings, and plies. She also incorporated rond de jambs and degages in her warm ups. In the middle of her class she did a combination with lots of floorwork and leg swings, and I noticed she was quite good at answering questions people had. She then did an across the floor exercise that was also challenging, and my peers were told to reverse it to the other side by themselves, further allowing them to be both challenged in the body and mind.

  5. After taking class from four different instructors, whom each taught their specialty style of dance in a unique way, I felt like I had grown as a dancer. In four weeks alone, I was exposed to and challenged by several forms of cultural dance, that were previously completely foreign to me. Of course, one class alone isn’t enough to learn everything there is to know about a style or culture, but after finishing each class, I felt accomplished, enlightened, and eager to explore even more styles. Unfortunately, many dancers (myself included) are used to practicing only a small handful of styles at most. However, there is so, so much we have not done, seen, or even heard of. I think the opportunity of experiencing these new cultural styles (even briefly) was extremely beneficial. Personally, it opened my eyes to the excitement and challenge that comes with being introduced to a new style (and learning of a culture!) It made me want to explore new styles even further (and also inspired me to want to travel as much as I can to be exposed to even more cultural styles). During these classes, at times my body felt uncomfortable doing the movement, but that came as no surprise to me. Of course, being introduced to a foreign style, you can’t expect to be amazing at something your body and mind are unused to. But the uncomfortable nature did not hold me back — I typically like being challenged and trying new things. It’s exciting for me to push myself and see what I’m capable of if I put my mind to it. I think a shared goal of all of the different styles we learned was to FEEL. Sounds kind of ridiculous, but I think that’s what dance is about, regardless of the style. We dance to feel, we dance to express. Although the styles all differed, in each class, I found myself striving for this sense of freedom. Another aspect I really enjoyed about the classes was dance hybridity. I found it awesome that several instructors blended a cultural form of dance with contemporary, ultimately creating a new sub-style. Though I am familiar with contemporary movement, these hybrid dance styles still felt foreign on my body, as they incorporated elements I am not used to. However, I felt a little less pressure doing the contemporary hybrid styles rather than the traditional styles, because there is a little more wiggle room for self expression (and less intense focus on precise hand gestures, for example).

  6. The styles and methods in the class that we have put into to practice, I feel that have challenge my usual forms of style and physical movement. Modern dance movements are not something that my body is used to or my preferred movements, thus, I do feel that the styles we have learn tend to overlap with usual physical movements. Physically my body is constantly feeling challenged by the movements, but I want my body to also get used to that, because I do believe that the more variations your body can do the more flexible you are to any kind of dance you ever encounter. For example, the floor movements that we have learned are a challenge because there is a transition from doing movement standing then going to the floor the continue the choreography. Also, some movements that we do standing are not typical movements, thus I feel that there isn’t really that room to always improvise the choreographies we do. Which requires your mind to constantly be working to remember the movements, and transfer them to your body, and this is the most difficult for me. These movements put your body, and your mind to work because the movements aren’t predictable. For example we could be facing front then suddenly we transition to the side, floor, twist, turn, involve arms and legs simultaneously which challenge yourself to put more into the choreographies. With this stated I believe that as a dancer you have to try and make your body familiar with a variety of movements that are not always going to be your favorite or usual, but are going to make you grow as a dancer.

  7. Over the course of the quarter, under the tutelage of six different instructors, with six uniquely gifted teaching styles, my body has been teased into a deeply foreign, yet paradoxically all-too-familiar place. Admittedly, I have come into class nervous over what new ackward twist I’d find my body in that day. To work through an introductory dance class last quarter, up through six new, equally dynamic dance forms this quarter, all in the span of four months, has swept me off my feet, with a curiosity to learn more about revisiting a sort of ‘flow’ state, Iv’e experienced in other art form, and a few bumps and bruises to boot.

    If one of the benchmark’s of a ‘good’ dancer is that she or he can manuever through various styles of movement (with grace), my body tragically concurs, by the multiple contusions and bumps splayed across–from being a ‘bad’ dancer–my body, from unconscious blunders, disintegrated movement sequences, and simply missing the cues dictated by the choreographer of the day. I now have intimate corporeal-experiencal knowledge of just how hard it is for one to rewire their body to comprehensively locomote within the realm of a new dance system. It is, on a fundamemtal level, similar to learning a new language. Virtually every time I have embarked on expressing new kinesthetic meanings, I have stuttered, yet have stumbled into a new position–physically and mentally–of confidence, power, and pose. While I have myriad things to learn and grow from on this short dance journey, I also have inadvertingly gained a significant level of trust in my body.

    The multi-strain divergent dance pathways taught this quarter, have stretched my body to previously unknown limits. Fumbling foot over foot, through each new instruction, I have gained a great respect for how professors canabalize and hybridize old forms with fresh new design. I have found the seemingly straightforward coordination of my feet to the cadence of a beat, confounded by the complexedly repackaged form, taught to me by six equally gifted dance technicians.

    I think these ‘repackaged’ dance hybrids are great for accelerated learning. The particular viewpoint of Indian dance, taught by the second candidate, provided me a good example of how important, and just how difficult it can be to seamlessly weave the movement–even if they are only subtle and small adjustments–of the dancer’s feet, to match the movement manifested by the hands. The verdict is out on just how well I have assimilated these hybridized, and integrated dance expressions, but I am starting to feel a new receptivity in my body for executing the required tasks. I will need more empirical testing the next couple weeks to see if my sensations measuredly confirm this subjective speculation.

  8. I feel that the mark of a diverse dancer is one who has the ability to try on various dance forms and adapt to the divergent styles with grace and subtlety. I personally love the crossroads of contemporary and traditional dance forms. This is the place I have truly found my voice as a dancer. I did ballet, jazz and tap as a child, but then took a break from dance for some years. When I found dance again it was through folkloric gypsy dance, Turkish and Egyptian mostly, but also some Russian gypsy, through the Baltic areas and even some Flamenco. This style of dance has been co-opted by many Americans to be called Fusion Belly dance and other various names. About 4 years ago I started studying Ballet, Jazz and Modern and playing with the idea of hybridizing the traditional with the contemporary on a personal level through direct study of both styles of dance. I am very excited that others (including our University) are interested in this cross roads that creates transnational dance forms. As an American, it felt weird to just culturally appropriate a dance form because it is “pretty” or because it “feels right” when someone who is actually from that culture has a much different experience with their dance form. But if I can come to these traditional forms with reverence and appreciation, while also coming from a more contemporary structure of dance, perhaps that is a way of honoring a dance form and letting it live on and evolve rather than just co-opting it. I hope that is the case, it is still a really difficult conversation in the dance world. But I hope that by bringing in traditional forms from other cultures not only teaches about a dance form, but also teaches and spreads appreciation for other cultures to bring more of a world citizen approach to dance and art in general. Here’s a link to a great perspective on cultural appropriation vs. appreciation https://www.facebook.com/tamarajueldance/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
    I couldn’t figure out how to have a link directly to it, so it links to my Facebook and it is the top listing on my timeline.

  9. It has been a great privilege to learn from many talented and unique dancers over the past four weeks. I am mostly a jazz dancer and my body and mind were definitely challenged while learning the different styles of dance. For example, the last style of Indian dance was very particular about hand and finger placements which is not something I usually think about when I dance. It really challenged me to learn the movements quickly in order to keep up with the class and be able to change my finger positions and move the rest of my body simultaneously. Even learning the traditional Chinese dance style that included softer circular movements was difficult. It required a certain level of control to move my arms, legs, and back in different circles and I definitely felt my muscles working to keep up with the fast paced class.

    I definitely agree with the idea that a “good” dancer is one who can maneuver through many styles. It takes great skill to not only be able to quickly learn choreography but also to execute the dance with precision even when the movements are not what you are used to. It allows the dancer to really feel a connection to the style and quickly improve, rather than spend time trying to learn the choreography.

  10. The last four weeks have been incredibly engaging, challenging and investigative. I appreciated the opportunity to experience so many different cultural styles and being pushed to adjust my dancing style to experience the different techniques. I think that developing and being introduced to different styles is essential to having a comprehensive appreciation of dance as a universal and specified artistic form. To me, dance is natural and inherent in the body–and to see that universal tendency cultivated and specified so differently across different cultures and eras is fantastic! I think a “good dancer” would have an appreciation and curiosity to explore those different styles.
    Across the different forms, I could see the common goal of using dance technique as a tool to communicate larger societal messages or share cultural ideas. Different hand gestures had different specific meanings; portions of the class demonstrated culturally specific rhythm patterns that connected to how that society structured dance. In all the classes, I noticed that movement never occurred randomly, or just as a sequence of steps. All of the classes were infused with cultural knowledge, and challenged the dancers to not just move in the space but also to imbue the cultural knowledge that was being demonstrated by the instructors.
    What an informative and thought provoking couple of weeks! I can’t wait to see which of these qualified and talented candidates are chosen!

  11. I think that while each style that we have been dancing has been somewhat similar, the thought process is much different. I feel like in certain techniques I feel like i am moving more from my heads, head, or feet. These past four weeks have been amazing learning different styles from around the world, and its interesting to see what parts of the body are highly emphasized or thought about more. Of course I still believe that the core of dance basics is there for each style. In all types of dance, you must remain strong and graceful in some balance, and once the move are memorized you just need to feel it and dance. I also loved how many of the instructors throughout these past few weeks have been teaching us about the cultures that influence the dance moves. This definitely makes you think more about how to interpret different styles.

    I do think that a good dancer should be able to move throughout different styles. Yes it is impressive if you are superior in one technique but once you can gain a greater understanding for different moves you really do grow. My favorite dance styles have been the ones that fuze together different techniques, this creates a completely individual style and is more interesting to watch.

  12. Learning the styles and methods of four different dance instructors was definitely an overwhelming experience for me. It wasn’t overwhelming in a negative way. Actually, during these learning processes I was able to learn a lot about my body and its capabilities. During our session with Peiling for instance, although her combinations were difficult for me to remember, I realized that I was learning it a lot faster than I usually learn combinations because of how quickly we were moving forward. The speed of Peiling’s instruction left me with absolutely no time to process and think or be hesitant about anything. At first it was really overwhelming because I was left with no choice but to just move and do it. However, I quickly learned that I actually did a lot better in a faster setting because I didn’t have time to think. There was no need to remind myself about corrections. These happened quite nicely on their own. Now when we were taught Kathak by Cynthia, I was also overwhelmed, but I think this feeling came from my inexperience with this particular genre of dance. With Peiling, we were learning modern dance combinations, so I at least had some of the motions of the combination in my body already. With Kathak I had no foundation to come back to. I was learning it for the first time with Cynthia. As we progressed with the class, we also incorporated the element of singing. Singing isn’t something that I typically experience with dance. However, because we added the component, it actually put a lot more pressure on me than I expected. This genre of dance is a very complex one that incorporates the use of coordination of all limbs, and adding the vocal element really confused all of my senses.

  13. In my life as a dancer, I have never been exposed to the variety of styles of dance that I have been exposed to in the past few weeks in this class. The opportunity alone to take class from so many different individual artists has been phenomenal, even more so that it has been in so many different forms from cultures outside of the Western world. Having been trained under the Western dance episteme, exposures to movement outside of that felt (for lack of a better word) foreign in my body and mind. Dance to me is just as much mental engagement as it is physical engagement, and the loss of the mental aspect is when dance becomes sport instead of art. (Tangent alert). More so than ever were my mind and body simultaneously challenged in adapting to new movement concepts and forms; each style embodied its own unique standpoint in approaching movement and to say that each one was not a new challenge for me would be a lie. Each class seemingly began with an introduction to the traditional form which was, in my opinion necessary in understanding and appreciating the roots of the dance, and then the class would steadily develop into a more contemporary and personal approach to those traditional forms. In each class, I felt the mental and physical engagement really clicking together that often times escapes me in a rehearsal setting like that of Random With A Purpose that has been my medium as of recently, as it is show week. It is far too easy to slip away from the art and into auto pilot in rehearsal dancing movement that has been engrained in my body for months now; but with these fresh exposures to new ways of thinking about and practicing dance, I am aware of my tendency and have been working to engage that newness, so to speak, in movement that is far from new to me.

  14. Learning these Eastern dance forms over the past four weeks has taught me a lot about one of the greatest challenges of being a well versed dancer: adaptability. It takes a certain amount of “undoing” our somewhat ingrained and habituated past to accept something completely new. For me, I really enjoyed the challenge. It snapped me into conscious action as I found myself a beginner all over again. I noticed I wasn’t really quick to pick up the choreography as I hoped and that quickly snapped me out of whatever autopilot state of movement learning I was in. It seems that unconsciousness found in life and in dance is not discovered until something else confronts it and challenges it. That is why I liked learning from these new prospective instructors. It was taking these first steps into a culture and a way of moving which felt, more often than not, contrary to what I knew thus far. I particularly liked learning Kathak and Bharatanatyam as they were the most challenging for me. The coordination through the extremities of the limbs and the musicality of it felt like a rewiring of my brain. I absolutely loved it. When it came to the modern-traditional hybridization of the dances I noticed I had an easier time and probably enjoyed it more only because I could relate to it more easily. I wasn’t sure if that was necessarily a good thing for the sake of cultural preservation but then I considered the aspects of translation. Translators of languages and of dance have to lose a little bit of the integrity of the message in order to make the listener understand. In learning movement I find it most beneficial and memorable when it becomes personal. In that respect it seems beneficial to thread traditional forms with modern to allow for a personal narrative to occur within these defined cultural boundaries. Ultimately it is a give and take experience and it nonetheless causes the critical thought making process of dance I love.

  15. These last four weeks have been extremely enlightening as a dancer. I’ve been inspired to find out more about these various cultures after getting a very basic level introduction to their traditional dance forms. I feel like as dancers we sometimes forget genres of dance other than the basic modern, contemporary, jazz, lyrical etc. exist, so it was nice to be exposed to such interesting and new movement. I had a hard time with some of the more traditional movements we were introduced to, but once they were integrated or infused within a familiar style such as modern or contemporary it became much easier for me to wrap my mind around the movement. Our third instructor, Peiling did the best job at this in my opinion. I really enjoyed her across the floor into her short combination at the end. It was technically challenging and fast paced, so you didn’t have time to think about what you were doing you just did it. These are the kinds of dance classes I enjoy the most.

    The most important thing I learned from this new movement was that I neglected to shoot my energy out through all my limbs, especially my fingers. Most of these cultural styles focused on precise hand placements and reaches. I really had to consciously think about where and what my hands/fingers were doing, while my lower body was doing something else. This was a nice reminder that dance is a full body experience and to not forget about any body part while you’re moving. Ever since I realized this, I’ve tried to actively focus on shooting out my energy out through each limb.

    Overall, I’m extremely pleased by how much I’ve learned from these guest instructors. It has allowed me to be more open and excited to trying new styles. As a dancer, you are only limiting yourself by being afraid of straying from your comfort zone.

  16. There is something special about being challenged. Our brains become wholly engaged in one goal as we accept and begin to conquer something we have never done before. It tests our working memory, awareness, and concentration. When we are well practiced, or have mastered a skill, we often become complacent. When we are challenged, the ego and autopilot get washed away as we enter a new space of unfamiliarity and discomfort.

    I get bored easily, and fast. Regular academic classes illuminate this aspect of my personality. Dance classes have always done a better job at keeping my attention. However, when I do not feel challenged, my mind wanders off into space or I begin to check the time and count the minutes.

    The four guest choreographers/teachers never lost my interest. There was always something to work on, think about, and feel. The styles were new on my body so I had to be wholly present in order to pick up the choreography. I experienced intense feelings of humility. Each week I was pushed back into a space of gratefulness. Its easy to forget that there is so much more to learn and so many ways of moving our bodies to express ourselves as humans. Each class, I would become overwhelmed with emotion. This could be because of my gratefulness but I think it had something to do with a connection to history. Though my ancestors were not represented in the styles, at times, I truly felt like I was dancing in a long lost time as my ancestors. Cultural appreciation became a newfound concept to me through these classes. I have never appreciated culture so deeply as I have when I do it through movement. This happened especially when we were doing contemporary versions of the styles which seems a little counterintuitive considering this could be considered “stealing” or “appropriation.” However, whether it was the extensive intros of the traditional styles, or the loving/appreciating energy in the air, I was learning about other cultures in a healthy and whole way. It had never felt so guiltless. I loved these classes so much. Through this experience, I have found that dance is one of the best ways to learn about culture.

  17. Each dance class was so different to me, not just by style but also by teacher. I think I felt the most comfortable and confident with the third dance teacher (I cant remember her name I am so sorry!!). I really enjoyed the fast paced nature of the class, it made it feel as though we weren’t working with something completely unfamiliar, it was simply put: new dance choreography to work on. I think as opposed to the last instructor (again can’t remember her name, so sorry again!!) where it felt like a much longer class where we absorbed a lot of information and a lot of new choreography. I think the fourth teacher did a good job at giving us a good amount of background while keeping us in tune with the unfamiliar style of dance.
    So for both dance teachers, I enjoyed both of their classes greatly, however I think the third teacher was more of a dance teacher and the fourth to be a dance teacher who also could teach a cultural class.
    Throughout each class I approach it as though I know nothing of the style. I think this ends up working against me though because it is almost as if I know nothing about dance. While I may not be at a “jedi”* level of dance, it is not my first time in a dance studio, and I think there is a way to improve as a dance as a whole if you approach the class with an attitude of feeling competent, knowing that the past experience you have can and will transfer over into a new style when faced with it.
    *also sorry about the Star Wars reference I couldn’t think of another way to phrase this

  18. Growing up as a dancer I have found it extremely important to be constantly trying new styles of dance and taking on the challenges that each style poses. When I began dancing, I was strictly a classical ballet dancer. I took ballet 6 days a week at a studio that focused solely on ballet dance and technique. Though I loved everything about this style I felt that I needed to spread my horizons and experience other styles of dance. By the time I was 11 I was dancing 7 days a week taking classes in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, modern, lyrical, and contemporary. While my love for ballet was still strong, I began to fall in love with each style I tried. As I grew older I realized that pushing myself to train in a all different styles of dance was overall beneficial to my growth as an advanced dancer. Each style pushed me harder than the last, while still connecting back to my technical ballet roots. This transition wasn’t easy to say the least, but with more and more practice I felt myself begin to ease away from my stiff ballet movement into the freer movements of the other styles. Now, having delved into styles from all around the world, I feel that I have grown even more as a dancer. It is so important to broaden the spectrum of dance training in order to become a well-rounded dancer. Not only experiencing different styles of dance but also taking from a myriad of instructors helps make a well-rounded dancer.

  19. Certainly, being exposed to a variety of dance forms is essential to being an adaptable dancer, to becoming more than just a one trick pony. Additionally, it’s easy to get caught up in the number of western dance styles, but actively reaching out to other foreign forms allows dancers to ready themselves for unfamiliar physical challenges, as well as prepares the soul for cultural/worldly experiences. There’s something about putting the body in another time through movement that’s so beautiful to feel. It’s definitely more relatable than a history textbook or any lecture I could hear. Storytelling gestures tend to feel natural for me (doing/undoing?), taking me back to the days when I did nihonbuyo and hula; but when learning the Bharatanatyam it was more than just a notion, especially when we thanked the ground and space. I felt very in tune with both the dance and its cultural significance just by the movement.
    Peiling’s choreography almost gave me a completely opposite effect, but not in a bad way at all. Simply, instead of trying to “undo”, I was just utterly mentally engaged with the movements, trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. Instead of just droning on through the movement, I was taking the reins in, guns ablaze.
    When it came down to the hybrid movements, it sort of boggled my mind. Meshing the two forms, the traditional and modern didn’t fall into my body as naturally as I thought it was. Maybe it loses a bit of the traditional dance’s integrity for me, but then again, it creates a beautifully different dance altogether, and from it, a sense of cultural appreciation.

  20. I certainly agree that training in several different types of dance forms a more balanced and versatile dancer. Studying different techniques forces you to think about your body from several different perspectives. What I think is most important is that it keeps dancers from forming bad habits and shortcuts as a result from moving in only one way for years. This confines the dancer, preventing her from reaching her full potential. Variety is incredibly important; someone who goes to the gym should work on several different parts of herself, rather than only exercising her biceps day after day and nothing else. That’s just ridiculous. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to learn a technique I’m unfamiliar in because that’s what leads me to become a more balanced dancer. I enjoyed all four classes from the dance professor candidates, although they were all very different. In terms of these differences, Anusha taught Bharatanatyam, a technique I was completely unfamiliar with. It felt foreign and quite awkward on my body. However, it forced me to work my brain so much more to simply remember these completely new movements. This kept me incredibly engaged through the whole class and by the end of it, I felt so accomplished and successful. On the other hand, Peiling’s class was full of technique that I had worked with before. I didn’t struggle so much with learning the steps and they all felt so much more natural and organic, which felt a lot better on my body. It’s difficult to compare the classes in terms of which was best because they were all so different, but gaining from such different techniques is definitely what is most important.

  21. Being exposed to so many different styles and methods in such a short amount of time has helped me become better at adapting. It was very difficult and took some getting used to, but was quite a good experience. Once I stopped trying to make every movement technically perfect and instead focused on the experience, I began to do better. Not only was I enjoying myself more, I also felt more connected to the movements. It was also good to experience so many different movement styles because it allowed different parts of my body to get a workout. I felt that most of of these divergent viewpoints of movement focused on making the movement the most natural and as easy as possible. For example, when learning spirals, I found that although the movements were difficult and took a lot of work, they felt very natural. The flow between them was easy for me to understand and once I got the hang of the movements they felt good to do. Similarly, the floor work exercises had a flow to them once I got them down. It took quite a while and was so different from all other dance forms that I did, but once it clicked, thing were great. I finally got how to shift my weight and use the natural rhythm of my movements to make the choreography easier. Doing so helped me loosen up and enjoy myself.

  22. I think dance is a good example of kinetic intelligence. Certain styles come more naturally to some than others. Certain bodies have an easier time working in certain styles. All in all, I believe that all dance is equal and a dedicated dancer should never look down at another style or discredit another dancer because each style is so different. There can be a lot of politics in dance that discourages branching out of your styles, but I think movement is movement and we all have to start somewhere in terms of gaining skill and technique. I loved learning all the different styles from the various visiting artist and getting a feel of how cultural dance is being modernized. I started dancing through traditional Chinese fan and ribbon dancing as a young child, but eventually dropped it because I wanted to focus on western styles. I regret it to this day, especially I have not been able to find traditional dance instructors to continue the art.
 Dancing traditional styles have the same core technique, but the technique is placed in a very different pattern. For example, in the Indian style dance we had to use a lot of stomps. These reminded me a lot of tendus and frappes, yet the body and foot positioning was completely different. I loved how the modern style still felt so similar because it serves the same purpose of breaking down the traditional technique to a more free moving experience.

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