Midterm review

Here is the link to the midterm review. Please describe how you think you did in the Midterm. How are you progressing in the class? What challenges have you faced and what will you do to overcome/address these obstacles?

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26 thoughts on “Midterm review

  1. Modern dance is a whole new world for me. Watching the recording of the midterm was strange, I’ve never been one to entirely enjoy watching myself move, I’d rather be inside the movement experiencing it for myself. But in terms of adapting to this new style of dance in a classroom setting and learning the fundamentals of the movement, I feel as if I have done a fair job. With an open mind and open body, I have been able to adapt to the various approaches to movement that are specific to modern dance, and cannot wait to delve deeper into the study of the form. Not only is modern a whole new world, it is also a newfound love and I am eager to learn more about it and to continue to test my body and mind in new ways through it. Although I feel as if I have begun to grasp the concepts well, I have still faced challenges as it is new to me. I have discussed some of them in previous blog posts, but most stem from breaking certain aspects of my previous dance training. It is not to say that my training is not important or essential to my dancing, but modern often times works against what I have been taught in that it challenges my barriers that I have erected for myself. My favorite aspect thus far of modern dance movement is release technique and using my weight and gravity and truly feeling those elements working with my body. I have always had personal issues with my size as a dancer in that I am not a small person, not the typical tiny ballerina that I always pictured as perfect in my head. Modern has opened my eyes to the fact that that’s okay! I am me and I take up my own special amount of space and the weight of my bones and muscles can be used to create my own specific recognizable style of movement. Release technique is most definitely top on my list of new things to become obsessed with. Exciting exciting exciting!

  2. Overall I think there is a lot to improve on for myself. More so, because Modern Dance is new to me and my body is still learning it. One thing I noticed while watching the video is that even though at times I felt like I was not doing the right move, I was. Perhaps my body knows more than I do myself. I also realized that I need to extend my body more and immerse myself into every move and make it big even if that means going slow. At times I would find myself going too fast because I was trying to catch up to the rest of the group, when instead I should have been going at my own pace and executing each move. Although I did practice the dance sequences, I would forget some of them during my practices. Yet, I think I had a better grasp on the dance movements than the previous weeks. I think I am always going to be challenged while taking this class, but if I commit myself to practice, I think I’ll be fine. It can at times be difficult to set aside some time to practice because I am so focused on the heavy work of my other classes that I forget to focus on this one. That’s something that I need to improve on. Something that I’ve learned to do in class is finding dance patterns whenever I have trouble remembering a sequence and it has helped me get through. Another challenge that I still struggle with is coordinating my feet and arms/hands, because I don’t know whether to move my hands first or my feet first or simultaneously. One example, would be the end sequence when we jump in 8th counts and then turn, I get confused because I am moving my legs, my arms, and turning my body. With more individual practice I hope to get better.

  3. Watching myself in the midterm was enlightening. Dance is experienced from the inside as well as from the outside. The video helps me to see what is being projected out while as the dancer I am feeling from the inside. I noticed an old habit of mine playing out in this video. The habit is one of not putting enough of myself into my dance when I am somehow not feeling confident either in the space or in myself. I tend to make myself small when I am feeling shy, this plays out by not talking in a group of people I don’t know, or not taking up enough space as a dancer when I am unsure. I think this tendency of mine is precisely why I dance, because if I didn’t I might evaporate into an air-like substance able to observe the world without fully participating in it. I am drawn to people, events, activities, and work that forces me out of the shadow of myself. As I watched myself in the video, I realize that is exactly where I was, in my comfortable, quiet place of dancing for me. Dancing just for the feel of it is perfectly lovely, however, I am a performer and want to strengthen my ability to project, take up space, make mistakes and own them. On the positive, most of the movements were correct, and I appreciated how when my timing changed from my group, I felt back into it and continued. I also appreciated my fluidly of movement. How I will address and improve upon what I saw as my flaws will come from my commitment to push myself out of my comfort zone. No more sleepily moving through combinations, but fully present, all muscles, all senses alert and awake. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow.

  4. Modern dance is not a dance that I can learn in three months, and in a class with that many students. Since the beginning I started taking this class I knew it was going to be a challenge and I am trying my best to get these moves, and memorize them. However, I like to be realistic and admit that I don’t enjoy this type of dance and this is largely reflected in the video and my performance as a whole. Looking at the little I could see of me in the video was exactly as I thought I would look like. I looked confused, my body was stiff, and the fact that I didn’t remember parts of the choreographies was also reflected. Another thing was that the movements that I could actually get seem effortless and emotionless. There was no feeling or passion into what I was doing. I could come up with many excuses why this was, but I think that what it is, is that simply these movements are truly a challenge to my body, and my body does not function in this way. The most I can do is try, and keep participating even though many times it feels I’m really doing this just because I have to, than for wanting to. I don’t want to sound negative, but there are things that you are not always going to be good at. I do feel that class has helped me progress in coping with new dance styles, and motivating myself to keep trying. What I will keep doing is participating, and keep trying to at least make the best of the movements that my body can do and remember.

  5. I think it is always interesting to be reminded of what you actually look like in video. Looking at this I notice my tendencies that I generally forget to remind myself. Some of these include moving the head (aka MYFH), controlling my torso, and challenging the qualities I bring to the table. I can see when I am on autopilot within parts of my body which are always more obvious than I realize. The video doesn’t lie. Despite my initial negative feedback, I do feel like I have improved in ways that are more settle to me. I see that I am addressing more the space I am moving in by taking more of it and that I am striving to find the idiosyncrasies within the musicality of the movement. Dance is a body-mind connection and this quarter I have felt that I am challenging my mental approach to movement more so than my technique. I am hoping as I continue that I can bridge the gap better between my mental and physical aspirations by finding a good balance between the two. I know that that is an ongoing struggle with every dancer but I seek to continue focusing on challenging my perspective and my range as a mover through getting out of my comfort zone. Inventing puzzles and challenges in my head and being thrown in new dance forms has helped me in this.

  6. Watching myself dance on video is informative and uncomfortable. I can see myself about to enjoy what I am doing, and then immediately retract any visible signs of happiness for fear of being ridiculed, or embarrassed, etc. I know that would never happen in this class, but it is an automatic response to years of low self-esteem, which I am working on improving. This is also frustrating because I was having so much fun in class that day, but did not see that at all on the video. I’m going to work on expressing how I feel, rather than worrying about how I look. After seeing myself on video I also realized that although I may feel like I’m giving all of my energy during the movement, I could still give more. Sending energy through my feet and hands is something I would really like to work on. I also need to work on releasing my body more by allowing myself to really throw my weight around, and letting go of excess tension. I feel like the tension comes from over thinking while dancing. I’m constantly telling myself what to do next rather than letting my body organically move from one place to the next. Obviously, there is a certain amount/type of thinking involved in dance, but as I did the combination I felt sort of like a programmed robot, which I think translates into the quality of movement I am producing. There were some moments in the combination that I could see myself really investing in the movement, and that made me proud. I’m excited to see what progress I make through the rest of the quarter.

  7. In terms of the midterm, I noticed I felt a lot better about while doing it and feeling/embodying the movement. This was perhaps the first time I let go the most. A small part of me was still a little alert about the moves as well since the camera was recording, but for the most part I felt like I’d really let go. I felt really good about it. So that’s the great news!

    Now that I’ve watched it back, however, I do see and notice the awkward ways in which I sometimes carry out movement. Gerald generally describes it “looking like you’re carrying a dorm fridge on your back.” I notice that instead of really using the floor, sometimes I would get up and go into second position, for example, and I would look really tense and my movement was not as functional as it could’ve been. I feel like it really helps to see that on video because sometimes you can feel you’re doing it or see yourself in the mirror but it’s definitely clearer and more obvious on video.

    In terms of how I’m progressing in the class, I have definitely had my eyes opened to how much more dance is made of. I’ve been used to trying to be very technical, having taken a few ballet classes at OPERS here and there and wrongly assuming that a lot of dance has to look rigid yet graceful like ballet. I love the concept of doing a move and being able to react to it with other parts of your body. I think I am definitely expanding my repertoire of dance, and I’m excited to learn more!

    Challenges I’ve faced have included just letting go and not being overly critical of myself. I consider myself a perfectionist and I feel that in dance classes sometimes I’ve felt bad about not looking like someone else who is really good. Yet, something Gerald said a few weeks ago that really stuck with me was about being the best we can be in our own bodies, and now I not only cherish the differences in my movement but also everyone else’s differences in their movement, and think it’s absolutely wonderful that people can take a move and make it their own. So in a way I’ve also learned dance isn’t so much about trying to look exactly like everyone else you’re dancing with, but more importantly about taking moves and embodying them, and when everyone does that, the end product is so much cooler! While I feel like I’ve overcome that challenge, I think another challenge is looking more organic in my movement, and being functional and not overworking, as I was today for example. To overcome this of course I will take Gerald’s feedback, but also not overthink movements and do what seems most functional; additionally engaging the right body parts and muscles in a way that does not look inauthentic is something I plan to do. It will be a challenge, but I’m excited to take it on!

  8. Since this class is unlike any class I have ever taken stylistically as well as the way it is being taught, I have definitely struggled with it a bit. It took me longer than usual to grasp the choreography and I found myself using parts of my body that I didn’t know I could move or control. Watching the video, I am proud of myself for picking up the choreography. I was able to perform all the moves fairly accurately and without hesitation. This shows me that my body knew what it was doing although my head was telling me otherwise. I think that goes to show how critical I am of myself as a dancer.

    As I was watching the video, I found myself getting frustrated. I noticed that my body looked fairly stiff and “formulaic” even though it didn’t feel that way when I was dancing. I think my biggest problem is my head tail connection. I need to learn how to release my head and neck and let loose while still maintaining the control and choreography. I have learned from watching the video that I need to not be afraid to loosen up and let go. It is ok to mess up or fall. I am too focused on getting the movement right rather than truly feeling the choreography within my body. I also think I need to learn how to use my plie better.

    I enjoy dancing so much it has become a part of my being and I want people who are watching me to see and feel the way I am feeling when I dance. I don’t want to seem as though I am having a terrible time when in reality it is the exact opposite. Once I learn to get out of my head and take chances with my movement I think I will slowly be able to accomplish this. I will keep practicing and pushing myself in order to accomplish this goal.

  9. Well first and foremost I absolutely hate watching videos of myself dance because I’m way too critical of my own movement. With this aside, I think I did a good job, but there is still a lot of areas where I could improve. I’ve really enjoyed this class over the last few weeks because modern technique is relatively new to me. I’m constantly learning new things not only about the style, but myself as a dancer. As class has progressed I’ve started to feel more comfortable about the technique even though I am still being challenged during each class. I’ve started to gain a greater awareness of my anatomical being and how to use my own body weight and momentum to initiate movement rather that just aimlessly moving my body around. I’ve also gained a greater awareness of gravity and of the ground and how to use both to my advantage. I’ve also realized just how important and complex floor work could be, but this has also made me enjoy it even more.

    I still have a lot of learning and growing to do. Modern dance has taught me that I need to loosen up and become more fluid. I’m having a hard time integrating this fluidity without losing the power and strength behind my movement. I’m still trying to find the right balance between the two. I can also improve on the limits at which my body can reach. For example, in the midterm combination I feel like I could have reached ever farther to the side before rolling to the ground, but something is holding me back. I’m still trying to figure out how to improve this. Most importantly I’ve realized how the mirrors are actually keeping me from dancing at the level I know I can dance at. I’m constantly checking my alignment and the positioning of my body and from watching the video it’s very apparent that this habit is affecting my dancing. The intention of my movement is lost when I break my focus to check what I’m doing in the mirror. Hopefully, now that I have realized that I struggle in these areas I can make some changes and improve them. This only the beginning of my modern dance studies and I can’t wait to keep learning.

  10. After watching the video I definitely think I did better than I thought I did in the moment. But I did realize when I was being recorded, that was the first time I stopped looking around at what other people were doing and just cared about my movements. This is a habit I got into a lot in ballet because if I didn’t memorize a combination completely I was very good at picking it up on the go from watching, I still tend to do it now even if I know the moves, just in case, but also to stay in time with everyone else. Thats why I think I got off tempo from my group in one of the takes, I was too caught up in my own movements.

    Watching yourself dance is always somewhat of an eerie thing, but recently I did something cool with dance and film. I’m in a film production class and I made a video about how I used to dance and made video clips from 4 different times that I danced the same choreography. The first clip was from its rehearsal stages, some parts still un choreographed, the second being the performance, and the last two being me doing the dance now (4 years later). It’s interesting to see how I grew (and fell) as dancer. I remember what feelings I was having in each recording and in my performance take I really remember loosing myself in the dance. That is something that I think is great about filming dance, you may not ever get to experience it like that again, but you have something to remember it by. Here’s a link to my video if you want to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d_IvuP2drU

    I’ve definitely seen myself improving on loosening my body more, like we were talking in class, so many years of technique have been great but now its time to dance as a movement. I need to start trusting my instincts more, similar to the way that I need to stop looking in the mirror or at others. I need to start focusing on the moves and trust that I know them, I’ve got it down, just go with it.

  11. While having to watch yourself on video is just such a mini nightmare, I did find the experience incredibly informative! I remember during the filming, I was really nervous and had all this anxious energy–which was so opposite to how I had felt in all of our classes before the midterm. And then while watching the video, I really saw all that nervousness and tension manifested in a way that made my movements appear unfocused and lacking the intention I would have liked presented. In my mind, the movement all originated from my hands and feet, and I had such a loose spine and neck that I looked incredibly floppy and uncentered.

    And, I really think I could only see that in the video because of the completely contrasted experience I felt on Tuesday. Last class, I felt a definite shift in the way my body moved. By extending my focus to a 360° perspective, I found myself engaging my whole body with both a fluid and strengthened intention. I felt my body’s ability to move in all the three planes and how the blending of those planes creates a dynamic and investigative range of motion. I felt like the movement created an expansion of energy, but not one that originated in the extremities (ex. Kicking your legs higher, extending your hands to their fullest reach). Instead, I felt energy resonating from my core, my smooth muscles and the interaction between the muscles and bones and then moving out to my whole body in a comprehensive and unified way.

    I think interacting with that whole body connection will help my improv my technique. I want to engage with all of my body in all movement, and feel how I can exist as one functioning whole with vast potentiality for range of motion. My goals are to connect more with my breath, and have that innate rhythm deeply inform my movement. This class has been such an invaluable resource in challenging my movement habits! I’m pumped!

  12. After doing the midterm I will be honest and say I felt quite terrible about my performance. I entered class prepared with a confident mindset ready for the task. However, I realized then I was uncomfortable with the idea of being recorded. It’s not that I was opposed to the idea; rather, it was uncomfortable for me because I had never taken a final in this manner before. As we started with our final I found myself nervous and second guessing myself. Although we were told this was for observational purposes only, for some odd reason I couldn’t separate the idea of reflection from examination. And so after leaving class the day of the final I felt as if I had done everything incorrectly. I stumbled and forgot steps. I was either ahead of the combination or behind. I just felt like everything I performed was a mess.
    However, I then looked at myself in the recordings and I didn’t look as bad as I thought I did. What I came to learn was that all of my “mistakes” were actually very minor motions I couldn’t keep my body from doing. I lost my balance several times. I also used the opposite arm or leg a couple of times. Yet because my body was familiar with the movement it kind of just figured everything out on its own. I didn’t have to do much except keep going. The phrase trust your body is one I often hear and although I witnessed this through a recording, having the ability to actually see what that can look like, really helped me grasp a better understanding of what trusting ones body means. Something I also noticed from the recording is that I am not exerting as much energy as I think I am. When I saw myself I was surprised at how low my energy was in the motions. Truthfully, I always felt like I was performing the sequence to the fullest of my capabilities, but after looking at myself, I know that I definitely need to work on engaging my body as a whole and less as sectioned parts.
    As a result of my findings, for the rest of the quarter I will be working on loosening up, as well as staying present with the motions when in the horizontal plane. I’ve noticed my energy level is higher when on the ground or when standing. It is the middle plane where my energy disappears. The middle plane is where I stop engaging my body. To strengthen this area I plan to just learn to be ok with loosing my balance and allow my self to fall sometimes. I’ve observed that I always stop where I feel I’m loosing balance or where I am about to fall. This is because I dislike the feeling of not having control. So, I guess the way I will be strengthening this weakness is by allowing myself to actually fail more often (or continue with the movement whatever it maybe, however it may turn out) so that I actually have something to work with instead of nothing (which is what happens when I stop movement).

  13. This class has been a challenge so far. After watching the video, I realized that I am a better dancer than I give myself credit for but there is definitely more that I can do to improve. I was able to learn the choreography in order to keep up with everyone else in my group and I am slowly getting more confident in myself so that I don’t feel the need to watch others in the mirror, rather I can focus on myself as a dancer. But, it was clear that I was going into “autopilot” just like how we discussed in class. I moved my arms the way we were instructed and followed the tempo but I looked as if I was dancing in a box. I am very used to competition dance where I have to move exactly like everyone else around me but this class has taught me that I have so much more freedom with the movements and within my body. With only 5-6 people per group, there was so much space to use and I could have extended my arms and legs farther or taken larger steps. What was most noticeable for me was where my head and eyes were going. There was a stiffness in my neck, probably from being in that autopilot state, and that stiffness extended through the rest of my body. I definitely looked like a rolling dorm fridge and I think that comes from holding tension in my torso and shoulders/neck. For the rest of the quarter, I want to focus on being more aware of my body and surroundings, rather than just going through the movements. I think that will help take away that tension in my body to move freely but also with some level of control.

  14. Watching myself, or anyone, dance on a recording will never be as fulfilling as experiencing it in person. With that said, I was honestly pleasantly surprised with how I performed in the recording. Having a mirror will only do so much in terms of monitoring yourself, so the recording gave me much more realistic perspective on how well I’m doing and where I can improve. What surprised me the most was that the movements in which I felt the most unsure about, whether it was because I couldn’t monitor myself in the mirror or because they didn’t feel quite comfortable enough, turned out to be the movements I danced through the most. On the other hand, some of the movements that felt simpler to me, were the ones I felt I could be pushing myself more in. This just proves that I can’t let myself get too comfortable even if it’s with a combination we’ve been practicing for weeks. One big note I’d give myself is to focus more on releasing the upper half of my body. My head and torso are still working too hard to stay upright when I need them to relax. Realistically, I know part of this has to do with my feet slipping too much on the floor. It’s hard to let my weight go and take more risks when I barely feel grounded when I’m simply standing. While the slippery floor will always be an issue, I know that I can still focus on my torso more, which will at least yield some improvement. Overall, I’ll continue to push myself and try not to depend on the mirror as my only source of providing feedback on my work.

  15. I’m really proud of the progress that I’ve made in modern dance; with that being said, I was cringing throughout my parts of the video. Perhaps it’s the fact that no one is naturally incredibly comfortable with watching themselves through a video, or my lack of technical training, but there was something that didn’t quite come through from what I was feeling, through the camera. In the moment, I really felt the piece. After not being able to participate in the class 3 consecutive times, coming back on the day of the midterm left me worried, but I felt like I understood the movements, and in retrospect, I was a lot less lost than I had believed I was. *Note: I’ll write more in a bit, I just need to find the right words…

  16. I don’t really like critiquing myself because I feel like I can be a bit too critical of myself, but I want to say that I did okay, although I feel like I could have done better. From what it looked like in the video, It seemed like I was holding myself back a lot from really going full out, and it also looked like I was off count a little bit, I was a bit behind at least by a second or so. I believe I memorized the movements well, but there were some parts that looked like I was having trouble with and was following everyone else and that is probably why it looked like I was falling behind.

    One of the challenges that I faced in this class that I really struggle with is doubt and how to overcome that doubt. I sometimes doubt my abilities and think to myself that I am not really that great of a dancer whenever I make a mistake or mess up. This often holds me back from really doing my best, but I hope to address this by telling myself more that I am not perfect and that I am still training my body to move in a way that is different than running a mile, doing push ups or sit ups, or lifting weights. Also, fear is another thing that I struggled with because I felt that I never went out with a lot more energy because I was afraid of what might happen to me if I damaged my knee or another part of my body, and I hope to address this by learning to let go of that fear and not worry so much of what happens in the future, but to just live in the present moment through movement.

  17. In an expression of brutal honesty, I feel that I did horrible on the midterm dance exam. Watching myself perform was a painstaking task. I cringed when I observed several missed steps of the dance sequence. My performance mishaps were not a product of laziness or neglect, but mostly from a failure to fully assimilate the kinesthetic chain of coordination. I still cannot comprehend how to incorporate my whole body into the required choreographed manuevers.

    Even with a sub-par performance on the midterm, I am, perhaps unjustifiably, confident that I will learn to embody enough of the dynamically connected kinesthetic chains of movement to integrate the required sequences of the class. I am simultaneously deconditioning a deeply ingrained habitus I developed from over a decade of combat sport practice, in the field of boxing and mixed martial arts, while orienting myself to the holistic body operations of this class. I find humor in the fact that I am not able to fully articulate the movements in the safe and welcoming environment of the class, knowing what I am capable of executing under the heavy duress of an opponent’s attack, in the arena of combat sports.

    And yet, I see a glimmer of hope in the progress I have made thus far. My battle-torn body, as painful it felt the first month of instruction during our floor exercises, has lossened and limbered up enough to perform the floor work with relative fluency. Beyond analytical thinking, I have observed an increase in my body’s functional range, under the somatic principles applied through instruction. Specifically, the practice of propioceptive neuromuscular facilitation has taught me how to more intuitively harmonize my muscles with my mind , while steering my vessel through space. Inadvertingly, I have learned to move more gracefully through space, rhythmically working with, instead of wading through the great equalizing force of gravity.

    My intention is offered in full force to apprehend and apply the Barteneiff fundamentals, PNF, and other somatic principles required to develop the skills one needs to demonstrate modern dance proficiency. My lack of exposure still remains a handicap for me. The instruction under the four candidates with varying disciplines outside of our class, coupled with a 20-hour work week, full-time school, and social-relational obligations, have made it difficult for me to clearly display grace, coordination, and precision in my performance. I do not assert this fact as an excuse for my performance, but rather an honest evaluation for why I haven’t conducted my movements in a more satisfactorally fashion.

    I must continually grind forward to reach a relatively satisfactory state of performance. Again, my heart is fully engaged every time I step onto the dance floor, I forecast that my technical abilities will follow. Repetition is the best teacher, as many a practitioner have said. The consistent exposure to the material for the remaining three weeks, diligent study and practice of the techniques, in and outside of class, tied to my deep desire to embody a 360-degree holistic-functioning dancing body, will be just enough I postulate, to demonstrate my best–at this juncture–movement potential. I have only scratched the service of what it means to move with grace, strength, and elegance. I am humbled–especially after the midterm–by this dancing experience, and hungry to learn more.

  18. When watching the midterm video, I was reminded about how unfairly I judge myself. When doing the midterm, I was very conscious of all my mistakes and felt that they were very evident. However, watching the video helped me realize that I did alright. My mistakes were not too evident and I recovered fairly well.
    It has been challenging modern dance because I do not have much background in the form. Most of my background is in ballet and thus trying to let go of some of the rigidity that has been ingrained is difficult. I often find myself being overly critical of my movements but I need to remind myself that I am still learning. Another thing I will be working on is not being so harsh on myself with how I look. Dancing comes with it’s own set of image issues for me which make things hard. I just need to remember the things I like about dance again.

  19. I was enjoying myself during the midterm dance review. I could see myself smiling in the video and this, above all, reminds me why I dance. It just makes me happy. Even when I completely fell out of the attitude dip turn in the beginning of the video, I still crack a smile. I am always excited by a challenge. The attitude turn with an intricate arm pattern does not come easy to me and so I especially looked forward to attempting that part. It is not all fun and games, however. I noticed certain aspects of the dancing that did not please me. My ribs seem to stick out like a sore thumb for much of the combination, as if they are placed on shelf. This continues to be an issue for me because I believe that it suggests I am not able to retain fluidity in my torso while holding a strong trunk at the same time. I seem to resort to “sucking it in” and “sticking it out” when in motion. On a lighter note, I have also noted that I am using my head more as a fifth limb than ever before. As this was a goal at the beginning of this class, it pleases me to increase its mobility. Instead of maintaining a stiff neck which elongates through to the top of my crown, my head was moving with the motions of the rest of the body. The head-to-tail explanation has helped me to connect and utilize my cranium, instead of neglecting it. Overall, I was able to complete the combination fluidly and without questioning the next move, but I believe that it could have been performed with a little more zest. In the future, I hope to explore movement, question the natural patterns of my body, and to push myself to do what is uncomfortable.

  20. I have a love hate relationship with the aesthetics of dance. I was trained to pay attention to the aesthetics more than anything. The bigger the mirror, the better. But I was always one to shy away from looking at myself. I am very critical, and though this has made me a technically better dancer, it has also affected me negatively in terms of body image. I love my body because it enables me to do what I love and express myself, but we are taught in American culture, as well as in classical dance training, that there is such thing as perfection, and that we must attempt to accomplish it. When I figured out for myself that this was in fact NOT TRUE AT ALL, I stopped being so critical and started to let myself do what I wanted to do all along, what brought me to dance in the first place, to feel.

    This is my problem with the video. I remember doing this choreography and feeling grounded and light and powerful all at the same time. I went into an authentic expression mode that has taken me a while to find let alone figure out how to get there. I was taking risks and listening to my body. I remember feeling like the video was going to be as “perfect” as it felt. Well… NOPE. I suddenly became fascinated with the contradiction of the aesthetic vs internal. Ive watched myself dance on video plenty of times and I’ve always gotten sad or angry but this time I pushed all of that aside and thought to myself, is dance for the audience or for the dancer? Ive always thought of it as both with a leaning towards the audience. But wow… it is also very much for the artist herself. This uproots the question, is dance an aesthetic art, or something very different, or both? The uniqueness of dance has always been apparent to me. I typically describe it as “both an art and an athletic.” But I’ve never questioned how the athleticism plays into the form of art that it is. Dance is so special… no art or athletic can be paralleled to it.

    As far as my midterm grade goes, I think I am learning as much as I can and constantly growing as a mover and what more could I want from a class like this? I am feeling the tiny movements as well as big movements for the first time and even though I am not able to see it in the video, feeling these small movements and thinking about dance in a new way is a whole lot of progress for me personally. I will continue to explore the duality of aesthetic vs kinesthetic aspects of movement in this class. If I were to critique myself on technique, I would tell myself that I’m doing a great job of letting go of my lower body but not as much with my upper. I gotta let my shoulders and neck go more! (and turn my f***ing head).

  21. Upon further introspection, perhaps my largest problem with me during the midterm was my use of “shortcuts” as Gerald likes to call them. Specifically evident during the floor work, I found I wasn’t able to gather enough speed so I wouldn’t trace my arm all the way through, or fall into my greater trochanters. I believe this problem maybe stems from trying to get the general movements instead of the purpose of the choreography, the motion in its entirety. Getting too caught up in my head is another part of this problem. My focus tends to be internalized when it comes to modern dance. Why? I’m not too sure. But it was clear throughout the video that I wasn’t thinking about the intention of movement, but a self conscious interpretation of the movement within my body (which didn’t work out as well as I hoped it would, based on the footage). Albeit the last phrase that we added on, all of my tension was held in my shoulders and core. The last phrase seemed to allow everyone to add on their little pizzaz which allowed my inner musical theatre to blossom; but is this a case of doing and undoing? Was I only comfortable because I grew up on musical theatre and it naturally settled into my body? I’m sure. For the rest of the quarter, I hope I can exude this “comfortable” energy through my modern movements, and present the intention of motion and mentality that it deserves.

  22. While I was actually dancing throughout the class I was feeling really good about how I was performing the movement, but once the camera came out I felt much more aware of my mistakes and much worse about them. I definitely agree with Addie in that with watching recorded dance takes away the aspect of how fulfilling it can be to watch live dance and actually dance. Typically I am mortified at watching videos of myself dancing, I hate that I don’t MMFH and it looks as though my counts are always off. But while watching the video and remembering how I thought I messed up completely the video showed I didn’t actually do that!! So that was pretty exciting for myself. I still stand by the whole I need to move my flipping head. I would much rather go on my own pace with the movement rather than someone elses, but I think there is a time for coordinating between your group.
    I think the movements were instilled and on that part of the performance I feel okay, but I think there is a still an overall goal of showing the emotional and continuous flow that is lacking in my dance. I think that mainly comes from a drop in energy or excitement maybe when I am doing the dance as a performance. I would love it if my love for dance would show while I am actually dancing rather than what looks to be a little zombie doing the dance for me. I think this can be avoided if I am able to work on taking up even more space with the movement and expand my personal kinsophere. As a smaller person I think I get used to fitting in these smaller spaces and when its time to dance I forget to expand as far as I can go. I think the way I combat this challenge is by becoming more mindful with the movements and taking them apart to individually see how I can make them more refined.
    I can’t even imagine what I looked like at the beginning of the quarter working with this combination, but I think it would be interesting to see how I have progressed and become more comfortable and pointed with the movement.

  23. I feel as though I am progressing as a dancer, yet I can very clearly see what my comfort zone is. I see myself trying to break these old habits, yet I am dissatisfied with how I was interpreting the choreography. I am very comfortable in ballet and incorporating graceful intentions into my movement. I think my strengths include my strong will to power through moves and muscle my way past choreography, but that means I am losing so much of the movement in the possess. Ironically, I think the parts where I am the most uncomfortable are where I am excelling at the most. The parts where I really like the movements are where I am falling into my old habits and not embracing the choreography. Instead I am just doing old movements from memory just because it feels comfortable. I think my intentions and energy is flowing through the right places, even if I think I should have more emphasis on getting my legs straight and point my toes. I think I focus too much on my height and start to become disconnected with the bottom half of my body. My weaknesses include not finishing the full movement, muscling through parts (i/e dorm fridge down stairs), and not dancing with my peers. I hope to start dancing more in my environment and less in my head.

  24. Modern dance is one dance form I feel that I haven’t been given much opportunity to experience. In the competition dance world, modern dance is more like contemporary than the modern dance we have been practicing this quarter, and to be honest, this true modern dance is so much better. It has always been so strange to watch a recording of myself dancing because I either look a lot better than the actual dancing felt, or I look a lot worse than the dancing felt. Surprisingly, this recording seemed to match the feeling I felt when I was dancing. It is such a breath of fresh air to be dancing in an environment where I am allowed to make mistakes and where it is conducive to learning and growth. Thinking about where I was at the beginning of the quarter, so caught up in my head thinking about the choreography and the “correct” way to execute it, I feel that I have grown so much, straying away from thinking about wrong and right and settling into just feeling good. Watching this recording really shows me that I felt good while dancing, that I’ve made significant progress. Of course there is always more for me to work on, and I am hoping that I continue to let go and take risks as the quarter goes on, but I definitely see and feel major improvements in myself just from this one recording. The disconnect between my body and my mind has allowed me to take risks that I may have not taken before for fear of doing the choreography “wrong” even if it felt right. There is no benefit in being a safe dancer, but by pushing myself to my limits, taking risks in class everyday, and letting my body lead with my mind behind, I think that I can get closer to being the dancer I am meant to be.

  25. Thinking back to the day we performed our midterm, I was not feeling good at all. I was sick with a nasty sinus infection, and I came into class feeling cloudy and horrible. However, as cliche as it sounds, I felt SO much better soon after I started to get my body moving. It’s so true that sulking in a sickness mentally is definitely half (or more) of the degree of shittiness you feel. Once I begun dancing, my physical state improved with a shift of my mental concentration. I felt better because I began to focus my attention on the ability to control my body’s movement rather than pointlessly focusing my attention on the sinus/throat pain I had no control over.

    Though in the moment I felt well doing the movement, watching myself later I find myself being a quite the critic. I have a love/hate relationship with watching myself dance on video. Hate for the obvious reasons – I pick out flaws and discover I maybe didn’t look as good as I felt. But I love watching because I learn. I learn what I need to improve upon. I also am made aware of things I HAVE improved upon and it feels great to see physical growth.

    I think I did a fair job for the most part. One thing that’s bugging me: I still need to work on breaking my dependency with my reflection. This class has immensely helped me with this already, but as I grew up being taught that physical aesthetic is the most important factor of dance, its a hard habit to crack. The video showed me that even though my focus on the mirror is less direct than it has been in the past, there is still a slight dependency there. I use it as a crutch. A crutch that I totally don’t need! Being even slightly concentrated on the mirror is SO limiting to my movement. I feel like disconnecting myself from it would allow me to FEEL my body so much more, allowing me to reach my full potential. I need to MOVE MY HEAD and neck more and let loose. That would be the biggest critique I have for myself!

    Overall, this class has helped me grow. I can now safely say that modern dance is my favorite style. I find myself understanding the concepts more and more and I can’t wait to grow even further. Now that I’m in this class, I am finally allowed to make mistakes and focus on the feeling rather than just the aesthetic. I need to take advantage of that. Now is the time to take more risks and break some rules 🙂 Isn’t that what modern is all about?

  26. Here is the link to the midterm review. Please describe how you think you did in the Midterm. How are you progressing in the class? What challenges have you faced and what will you do to overcome/address these obstacles?

    How I think I did? Well I think I am tired. As I watched myself I could see my exhaustion. I have some fairly major challenges in life I am faced with currently. This month our home flooded and so we’ve been living temporarily in a studio looking for a new home. The flood also caused a burst of black mold to grow which has been causing severe reactions in me and the babe, keeping him up all night coughing/ while I’m experiencing major headaches, fatigue and spaciness. This is not something I enjoy talking about nor am I making excuses. However since we are analyzing ourselves, it is a factor I can not ignore and I can see it entirely. I can see it in my movement, my expression, my lack of enthusiasm. Dance is embodiment. My dance seems drooping, empty, drained. I think I am worn. As far as how I did, considering, I think I did ok. The other factor is the fact that I was in limited space and had quite a few distractions! But given the facts I feel fairly proud of how much I overcome to simply do a dance. Prior to this class I have not done any consistent dance training in about 5 years therefor I am not surprised that I am having difficulty picking up the choreography. That being said, I am pleased with my progression in the class. I feel I am getting back in my body so to speak. My posture/ my lack of core awareness is my biggest challenge, and the most recent exploration has been profound in bringing this back! Strangely enough being an actress and performer, I do not enjoy dancing to entertainment. Unless its Jazz and I am a character, modern dance is really a personal thing for me. It is similar to my yoga practice. I do it for therapy. I think I must work to over come this idea that I am some how not and never going to be a good dancer. I see what others process and I judge myself too harshly, thinking I do not have that…I will always work on overcoming this negative habit. It is merely a mental construct that will only hold me back.
    Cool assignment, thanks.

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