Like Magic to the Body

Poster for a concert
Purchase Cares: A Benefit Concert for Dancers Responding to AIDS

Last night was a magical experience, so let me try and explain why.  There was a benefit concert held at my college for Dancers Responding to Aids. This concert featured dance pieces, musical performances and collaborations of the different arts; all created specifically for the concert, and to raise money for this cause. Overall, the concert and online fundraising prior to the show raised almost $3,000 for the organization! It is a pretty amazing thing when you realize that you can use your art for a good cause, and help to make a difference. That is one of the many reasons I love what I do.

I had the privilege of performing in a piece alongside my entire Senior dance class of 2016 (which consists of 32 dancers). We realized that it was the first time (and also the last since graduation is in 2 weeks) that we had all actually been able to perform together in the same piece. Although we always have technique classes together throughout the week, performing is just such a different and invigorating experience.

The greatest aspect of it, was that we all felt an incredible supportive and loving energy that was spread across that stage as we performed alongside each other. Every single one of us was smiling at one another and really connecting on stage. That is 32 authentic smiles all in one space at the same time. Now I call that powerful. The energy that was in the theater I can only define as the feeling of magic crackling through the air, into our muscles, and our hearts. I hope the audience was able to feel the magic, but I know that 32 unique and amazing dancers sure did.

I just thought I would share this experience while it is still fresh in my memory.

~Victoria

Dancing with Emotion

Some of the best dance pieces that resonate with audiences, hold an emotional issue at their core. Dancing that has emotion behind it is honest, direct, and endearing. Often, these pieces are inspired by a true story, and allow for a certain story or journey to be recounted without words, in pure movement and expression. Because of this element of honesty and heart-pulling emotional content, an impression is often left for a lengthy period of time. One piece that randomly pops into my head at points over the years since I first saw it, is “Calling You” choreographed by Mia Michaels and danced by Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz. The simplicity of the movement, yet intricate work involving the bench made it very memorable and powerful.  So here is a little Flashback Friday to the year 2006. Check out the piece below:

Such a beautiful yet sad expression of a relationship. The beautiful thing about emotional dance pieces is that every individual who watches the piece will take something different away from it, in how they are able to relate it to their own personal life experiences and feelings. Some audience members get confused by dance pieces if they feel they do not understand what the choreographer is trying to portray, but on the contrary, dance pieces actually leave an open realm for your imagination to wander and observe the work in your own way. So don’t let any dance choreography baffle you. If you think a piece is about astronauts exploring the deep sea, but it was actually inspired by giraffes, don’t feel bad. If that is your interpretation of the work, then it is not wrong! Enjoy the beauty of artistic freedom.

~Victoria

Gratitude

I believe that gratitude is a wonderful thing to feel and to also receive.  It means that there is a give and take involved with another human being. That you are receiving something, but also giving something that allows you to feel grateful in return (or vice versa). This weekend was my Senior Project Dance Concert which involved many different elements working up to it that caused me to feel quite insane a number of times, but the actual concert was such a wonderful experience. The concert included a piece that I choreographed, plus a solo that I danced myself- plus the choreography and solos of four other seniors that I shared the concert with. Having the opportunity to share and present my work and dancing in this manner was such a privilege, and I finished this weekend feeling utterly grateful for the many people in my life, and the gift of dancing that I am able to share with others.

Feeling gratitude in my dancing is not something I have felt quite often. However, as I was dancing my solo for the last time on Saturday evening, that was exactly what I was overcome with. Receiving support from many family members, friends, and classmates was an overwhelming and humbling thing, and my heart was filled with joy to know that my dancing was greeted with support and warmth, allowing me to truly dance from the heart.

So perhaps take a moment to wrap yourself in the feeling of gratitude, and share a little of that feeling with those around you whether through words, actions, or the expressive nature of dancing.

~Victoria

Love is in the Air

You did it. You survived Valentine’s Day. Whether you are single, in a relationship, in a “complicated” relationship, in  a “it’s not yet a relationship” relationship, in a “we are just talking” relationship, or a “I wish I was in a relationship with you, but you don’t know I exist” relationship, you probably thought about a special someone, or a few special someones this past Valentine’s Day.  Past or present, feelings that you have for another human being are sure to show up and remind you that “I am here” on this special day whether you welcome them or not.

But it is okay. These feelings remind is that we are alive, that at some point love will touch us all, and although it is frightening, annoying, and exhilarating all at the same time, it is a beautiful thing. As much as we may want to say sometimes that we don’t need love, or that it doesn’t exist, we all know that is a lie. Even if it is the love you have for your family, your friends, or your pets, love is necessary and assists us all through the hard times in life.

Just as love shown in everyday life, love shown through dance is a beautiful thing. Have you ever danced with your crush or significant other? Wasn’t it nerve-wracking, but magical and super fun all at the same time? I honestly can say that I never have had as much fun as when I was dancing with a guy I had feelings for. As an enthusiast and practitioner of ballroom dancing for many years, I became used to enjoying dancing with anyone. However, when I had the opportunity to dance with someone I viewed at a different level, everything was enhanced by quite a percentage.

Check out this beautiful video that uses dancing as a means to accentuate the love that these couples share towards each other. A clear example of how dance speaks louder than words.

~Victoria

A Physicalized Statement

One of the best ways that dance adds to the world, is by making a statement through movement and physical expression. Word are everywhere, constantly bombarding us on the daily with statements, expectations of right and wrong, and generalized opinions that we are often expected to conform to. Therefore it is often refreshing when an idea or opinion in support of something is expressed through the means of dancing. Not only does dance allow for a new way of expressing something, but it also becomes a more honest assertion as it involves the vulnerability of your whole body, and not just words.

In honor of the Superbowl this past Sunday, dance was used in a major way during the halftime performance by Beyoncé and her backup dancers.  Although the statements that Beyoncé made through this particular performance were quite controversial by different viewers across the country, nobody can deny that a statement was indeed made, and accentuated because of the direction and style of the involved movement within it. The use of formations to create an image, and dressing all of her backup dancers in the same exact costume adds to artistic expression. If you haven’t seen the halftime performance yet, check it out below.

(Start at 7:05 for Beyoncé)

 

What a Rush

We all have a certain something that constantly appeals to us, draws us in, and captures our attention. It could be as simple as a food, a television show, a person, an environment, or a feeling. However, when you find that something that makes you feel more alive than anything else, you’ve got to hold on to it.

Adrenaline. That’s my thing. The adrenaline rush that you get from dancing on a stage, in front of an audience, is like no other feeling. I still remember the first time that I performed a solo on stage by my lonesome. I was literally terrified, but the mixture of nerves and excitement tossed into the recipe of physically being active, produced this otherworldly environment that I was enticed to revisit again and again.

Adrenaline is defined as: a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion. So it turns out, adrenaline is actually the perfect tool to prepare you for a performance, aiding in the ultimate physical activity that your body must exert.

Here’s a visual representation:

aaaaaaaaaa The chemical makeup of adrenaline

The molecular formula for epinephrine is C9H13NO3. C as in Carbon, H as in Hydrogen, and NO as in Nobelium. And there is your brief science lesson for the day.

~Victoria