So I leave in 8 days. It still seems like it is 2/16, the day I applied to the American Dance Festival. I am beyond excited. I was just looking at classes and making a potential schedule and I wish I was leaving tomorrow! I get to take modern classes that are Tharp based, I get a TWO HOUR ballet class!!!!! and really interesting panel discussions with a woman that specializes in neuroscience and anatomy in terms of dancers. This really is my dream come true and exactly what I need right now, to not only give me the information I have been craving since I graduated 8 months ago, but also help me get an idea of what I really want to be doing next.
I definitely did not feel ready to leave school when I did. Certain aspects I was ready to get away from, but overall, I knew and still know I have so much left to learn. I think that is why it was so frustrating to graduate. I never really get upset anymore unless I am missing out on a chance to learn more or better myself.
I am hoping to take the education I received at Columbia to present myself as a Dance Professional since that is the program I chose to participate in. I have no idea if there will be anyone else in my program as young as me, but I also recognize that age doesn’t mean anything. I may find that I have learned just as much from school as some people that just had life experience. I am also hoping to find that my degree means something; that I didn’t just spend $80,000 to have a piece of paper, but rather to have an invaluable experience. Certain experiences I have had, especially since graduating, have led me to believe that despite my more than adequate education, the fact that I do not dance in a company leaves me “unmarketable” and/or “non-professional.” The bottom line is: I am an artist. I am not just a performer, teacher or choreographer; I take the tools that those experiences have given me and I use movement to create and filter and materialize my thoughts and views for anyone willing to watch and listen. For me, I don’t care if I am dancer number 6 in the back. I don’t care if I’m the principal dancer (ok, well that would be awesome)…my point is, if I am an artist, I don’t think I belong under someone else’s thumb. What successful artists have done that? Yes, you need to study, perform, experiment, etc with others, but eventually you have to break away from the mold. I am just doing that a little earlier and a bit smarter than some.
And I guess I have to ask, what makes a “professional” anyway?