Day in Life of: College Dance Major
September 30, 2020
Hi! I’m Jordan, this year’s Arts Education Intern with The Gabriella Foundation. I am originally from New Jersey but attend college as a dance major in Los Angeles. The plan I had for my four years at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance never included a semester plus of learning remotely. As I look back at videos of my classmates and I sharing the dance studio together – learning, rehearsing, sweating and laughing, growing together, moving together, being there for each other emotionally and physically – I realized we had no clue that our privilege of having the space to move freely, would soon be taken away. I reflect on the countless hours I spent in the dance building. If I wasn’t in the studio, I was rushing to an academic class or back to my dorm after a long day. Oh, how I miss those days!
Now, my days are spent taking class in my bedroom or the kitchen of my apartment. Alternating between academic classes at my desk, propping my camera to achieve the best possible angle to capture all of my body as I dance, moving tables and chairs out of the way to make space, my home has transformed into my classroom, dance studio, and office. While my schedule looks the same as it would if I were attending school in person, it feels very different! Here is what a typical day of my life as a quarantined dance major looks like.
Rise and Shine
After a hopefully restful night of sleep, it is time to start my day. My mornings consist of typical “get ready” activities and breakfast, followed by my first academic class of the day. Each weekday alternates between my Writing and my Biology class. I admit, it can be hard to find the motivation each morning to roll out of bed, especially knowing that I won’t be seeing my friends in person. I will most likely be spending my entire day at home. Remaining grateful, positive, and present allows me to start each day on a good note.
Dance Technique Classes
I make my way downstairs to my kitchen for technique classes. Even online, I am still able to take class in various dance styles. My ballet classes consist of the traditional class structure. We begin with barre exercises (I use a chair as my new trusty barre) followed by center combinations. In Hip Hop we’ve been focusing on locking and soul dances which have been simultaneously super fun and super challenging! Gaga and Contemporary have focused on improvisation techniques that can be transferred to other styles of dance. Pilates is great for extra strengthening and stretching of the body.
Food=Happiness. I like to spend my breaks by taking a breather and fueling myself for the rest of the day with a nutritious lunch. Smoothie bowls are a favorite of mine😋
On most days, lunch is followed by more classes. These include an International and Historical Perspectives on Dance course, a laboratory session for my science class, Colloquium, which is a seminar for dance majors where we discuss topics such as the role of dance artists in society, and a Choreography for the Screen course. My Choreography for the Screen Class has been especially beneficial during this time due to the heavy use of video to share dance. I have been learning how to choreograph pieces specifically for the screen rather than a theater or in-person performance. In order to create a dance film of my own, I’ve been practicing video editing and learning about the process of directing and shooting dance. I’m excited to continue to use these skills beyond the classroom.
Once all of my classes are finished, I am then able to start doing work for my position as an Arts Education Intern. I was extremely excited to start this position. The kindness of everyone at the Everybody Dance! organization has made my experience so fulfilling. My responsibilities as an intern include helping launch the start of online fall classes and working on assignments within a few different areas of the administration team. I’ve also been posting new Tik Tok dance challenge weekly. Be sure to check them out! #EverybodydanceLA
As my days come to an end, I like to catch up on my homework for the week, eat dinner, then wind down. In the business of each day, it is important to still find time for relaxation and rest. Some of my favorite ways to relax are listening to music, talking to friends and family over the phone and watching a good show on Netflix.
Learning remotely can be really difficult at times. Those of you who use ZOOM or any other online video meeting platform know that ZOOM Fatigue really does exist. As a Dance major specifically, remote learning has raised concerns of how my training might be affected, considering that dance heavily involves studio space and physically being with one another. This season of quarantine has made me realize the perseverance and adaptability that dancers and those of many other fields have. When approaching class online, I have been able to focus on the smaller details of dance and life. The limitations of not being in a dance studio encourages me to refine my technique. I have a greater appreciation for clarity and simplicity within dance now that I don’t always have the space to execute the biggest and most expansive movement. I also understand the importance of human connection. Many people have gone through the past few months completely alone, with little to none interaction with others. Although I no longer see my friends in person, to be able to still see their faces every day through the screen and feel a little less by myself is a blessing. By connecting to my passion for dance, and finding beauty in different areas of life, I have been able to connect to joy. Remote learning may not be ideal, but it can still be a time of gratitude and growth.