Blog 6

In the next four years, I plan to keep my dance major and really focus and improve my technique and performance quality. There are many aspects of my dancing that could be improved and I know that I have the tools to accomplish this here at SMU. As well, I plan to pursue a minor in fashion media.

After graduation, I will begin the exciting journey of searching for a job performing with a professional company. While I know that this will be difficult and the competition will be fierce, I feel that my four years at SMU will definitely give me the edge I need to succeed in auditions. Being in a competitive program that holds auditions for roles and has a rigorous performance schedule will strongly prepare me for my future. I plan to travel to many cities after graduation to participate in as many auditions as possible and find a job quickly to start my career as a dancer.

I realize that a dancer’s career can end after a very short period of time, so after I dance professionally I hope to work in the dancewear design industry, creating new and better options for classwear for dancers. Because my family is already in the dancewear business, I know that this is a definite option for me and it’s something that I’m really interested in. As well, I have a passion for teaching dance to young students who can’t afford to take dance classes. I would like to someday start an organization that serves this purpose. Through either of these career paths, I would still be heavily involved with dance and would never let that passion sizzle away or burn out. I know that dance will always hold a very special place in my life and I never want to see that change. I’m confident that it will follow me for the rest of my life and that I will end up in a career that deals with dancers on a daily basis.

11/26

I read the article, “Why are ballet costumes so…de-enhancing?” from Dance Magazine, written by Wendy Perron. Perron wrote about many of the ballet costumes, from the past and from today that she believes hides the movement. She believes that each dancer should have their own unique costume and that giving everyone the same costume doesn’t benefit the dance at all, but instead discourages individuality.

I disagree with Perron. While, yes, individuality can be a really good thing in ballet, that’s not exactly a priority. Sometimes the most beautiful part of a dance can be how the dancers act as one and they are all equal and the same. This can be accomplished by giving the dancers the same costumes. It may not be as exciting, but that’s how it’s been done for centuries and I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon. How would swan lake look if each swan had a unique costume? I think that by giving each dancer their individuality through their costume, it just makes things look unorganized and a little chaotic. Individuality should depend on the dancer and how they perform, not by their costume.

11/26

I read the article, “A vacant lot in Phoenix offers refugees a taste of home” by Fernanda Santos for the New York Times. It was about a new plan to allow poor refugees to grow crops on empty plots of land around Phoenix, AZ. Because of the poor economy, many lots that had plans to be constructed on were left untouched, but still were still owned. Many people saw these plots of land as a reminder of the tough times. Because of this, the city has decided to allow plants to be grown on the land to help those in need and boost the local economy.

This was a really cool article to read and proved very interesting! After serving at Minnie’s and teaching the elementary school students, I have gained a new appreciation for community outreach and helping those who need it most. Because of this, I could really relate to the article and thought this was a great idea on the part of the city. It’s good to see some people not be discouraged by the economy and being proactive toward improving the economy and taking the next steps to success for not only Americans, but those who are not citizens living in this country.

11/18

I read the article, “In Charge” by Margaret Willis for Dance Magazine. It was about Tamara Rojo, the Royal Ballet’s prima ballerina who has decided to leave the Royal Ballet to become the artistic director of the English National Ballet. It described her plans for the company and what she plans to bring to the table. It is interesting to hear about someone who has never had any directing experience taking on such a prominent company, especially one that is notorious for a very brutal board who tends to fire people quite liberally. After following Rojo and seeing many videos of her performances, it is really cool to see her diving into something new. While she’ll most definitely still be dancing and could end up performing with the company as well as directing, hopefully she’ll be able to balance both and set priorities to help further the company, especially in today’s economy and the stigma that you have to be rich to see the ballet.

As a dancer, it’s kind of inspiring to see that dancers can sit behind a desk and call the shots in a company. To me, it’s always seemed like the artistic directors of some of these companies were more of an administrative figure, and they weren’t always dancers. This could just be my interpretation, seeing as I’ve never been part of a professional company, but it’s nice to see someone be wearing both a dancer and a boss hat. Although, I’m not entirely convinced that she’s completely prepared and that the idea of dancing and directing is a great one, I’m excited to see where she takes the company. As a dancer, I’m sure she has a very good sense of what will be right for the company and how she can help bring it back to the forefront of English ballet.

11/18

I read the article, “Larry Hagman, the man behind iconic villain J.R. Ewing, dies” from CNN. Hagman died in a hospital in Dallas with all of his family with him, ‘just how he wanted.’ A television star, from the show Dallas, Hagman was a very influential character on the show. He was in the middle of shooting episodes for the newest version of the show, which airs on TNT in January. He was 81 and was struggling with cancer. It was neat to hear about all of the other actors who publicly made statements about Hagman and their experiences with him.

Similar to the acting world, the dance world is very small. Maybe even smaller than the acting world. Everyone seems to know everyone and this brings about a sense of camaraderie with every one. So when there’s a success, it’s a success for everyone, and when there’s a tragedy, it’s one for all people in the industry. Especially when the industry loses a leader, people forget about the fierce competition, the rivalries and the drama, and all come together to celebrate their life and the love that they all have for the art. This article just reminded me of this, and is just one more reason that I love being in a field where everyone can come together and remember why we’re all in the business in the first place.

Minnie’s Food Pantry

1. What did I learn about Minnie’s and the community it serves?

I learned that even in this area, which is so wealthy, there are people who are hungry and who don’t have enough to buy food. I just assumed that since everyone seemed so wealthy, that Minnie’s wouldn’t fill up as much as it did.

 

2. What is unique about Minnie’s Food Pantry?

Minnie’s doesn’t just serve food, they bring people up and make them feel good about themselves while they’re serving.

 

3. What type of awareness would I like to raise in regard to Minnie’s Food Pantry?

That there are hungry people here. Most people, like me, don’t realize that there’s hunger so close to home.

 

4. What have I learned about poverty and hunger in North Dallas?

I’ve learned that even though there is a lot of wealth, there is still poverty. There is poverty everywhere and there is always something that people can do to help that.

 

5. Why was this engagement important?

This was important because it help us to be aware of what is really going on around here. At SMU, we’re stuck in this happy bubble where everyone is happily situated and we’re just surrounded by wealth pretty much all of the time. So, it’s really good for us to be able to see “the real world”.

 

6. How can I use what I’ve learned through volunteering at the Food Bank to serve my art?

I think just being aware and seeing struggle can help any artist really hone in on who they are and what they want to portray through their art.

 

7. What is the message I’d like to send out?

I would like to send the message that this is going on and that the people who are better off, especially in an area like this one, need to come out and help those who need it. While there are volunteers, there should be so many more. There is so much wealth that could be shared and people don’t understand that. As well, many just don’t want to put in the time to help out, and this is a mentality that needs to be changed.

 

8. How can dance be a vehicle to catalyze social-justice and social change?

Dance is becoming an art form that is coming back into popularity in pop culture, and we can see this as an advantage to get our ideas out to people. Anything from creating a dance about these issues to donating a portion of the ticket sales could be used in dance, and I think it’s something that many companies should look into.

11/11

I read the article, “Drink Soda, Lose Weight?” from Pointe Magazine, written by Jennifer Stahl. It was about a new Pepsi product that will soon be released called Pepsi Special. This new soda will “block fat” and help consumers lose weight by the use of a fiber that moves through your system so quickly that it goes right through you before the body has any time to absorb it.

While this concept seems really great and will definitely attract customers, it’s not good for the body. It may seem like it’s okay and that whatever happens will be worth the weight loss, but that’s entirely not the case. As a dancer, it’s difficult to be satisfied with your body and many go to harsh tactics to lose weight. I can see many dancers choosing this option because they will still get the energy benefits of the soda, but without the consequence of possible weight gain.

The article strongly advised dancers not to fall into the trap of this soda and to stick to full, healthy meals that were actually beneficial to one’s diet. It was really refreshing to see a dancer telling other dancers that a full meal with all different kinds of food groups is the smart way to being healthy and losing weight instead of giving some weird weight loss tips that seem really shady.

11/11

I read the article, “FDA Investigates Deaths Preliminarily Linked to Energy Shots” from CNN. It described some of the cases that were being investigated by the FDA that were adverse cases that were caused by 5 Hour Energy shots. It was eye opening to me to see how much caffeine is actually in those tiny little bottles. There are 207 milligrams of caffeine in just one shot, according to the article, this is similar to a 16 ounce cup of Starbucks Coffee. But, most people don’t just stop with one shot.

Not being much of a caffeine consumer, it’s hard to imagine how much this actually is, but also how one person could consume that much of it in one sitting! I know many dancers who rely on 5 Hour Energy’s to get them through the day and now I’m worried about them. Deaths are occurring because of these shots, and I know people who are most likely abusing the shots. I don’t really know what kind of effect these shots have on people’s days in regards to the amount of energy they have, but I do know that caffeine is addicting and it’s something that people begin to rely on, which could lead to  overconsumption of the product, and I guess death in some cases. I think I’ll stick to my non-caffeine diet!

11/5

I read the article, “The Element of Surprise” from Pointe Magazine. It was about dancer, Navarra Novy-Williams, who currently dances with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. The article sparked my interest because she, like myself, is a very versatile dancer who has trained and is very experienced in many styles of dance. It was interesting to read about her dance history and what she has done in the professional world. She has danced in both classical and contemporary companies, which is something that I would like to do as well. Also, I’ve been looking at Cedar Lake as an option for me when I graduate college, so it was cool to read about a member of the company.

I loved that she dances Gaga style. It’s funny because I just took my first Gaga class this Friday and loved it! It’s so unique and personal and is so different from our usual training so it felt really good on my body.

As a dancer, this boosted my confidence a little. I feel like most dancers are put into a category of what kind of dancer they are. A ballerina, a jazz dancer, a tapper, etc. But, she has done it all! And that’s what I’m looked toward in my future. I don’t want to be known as just a ballet dancer, I want to be a dancer that can do any style you ask her to do. And it’s nice to see that it is actually possible.

11/5

I read the article, “The Million Puppet March: Fighting for Public Broadcasting, with Felt and Fur” from the Washington Post. It was about the march that occurred this weekend in support of the Public Broadcasting companies that Mitt Romney claimed he would end if elected president. Around 600 people attended the rally from all over with puppets in hand to show their support for Sesame Street, one of the many programs that would be cut. PBS and NPR are two of the most prominent broadcasting companies that would end, and are home to some very popular programs. But, Sesame Street is by far the most popular. And after more than 40 years on the air, it could be coming to a close.

It’s weird to imagine a world without all of our friends on the street. Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster. Or what about the muppets? They had their beginnings on public broadcasting as well. No Kermit or Miss Piggy? I can’t even imagine! It’s really sad to think that these companies who have done so well in the past could be ending in just a few months. It’s also sad to see that this is where the economy has come to.

But, I can definitely relate to the cuts. As an artist, we see more and more cuts to arts programs every year. And it’s not just arts programs in schools, it’s performing companies, museums, and individual artists. We were one of the first to suffer cuts, and they haven’t stopped growing. I just can’t wait for the day when these programs are appreciated for the value that they provide and when they aren’t the first to go. And that’s something that I want to work toward when I enter the workforce. But, for now, I’m forced to sit here and watch it happen. Budget cuts are rough, and maybe this is what we need for people to realize that the government is cutting the wrong programs.