Thursday, 19 June 2014

The END: Back Home

So it has been twenty-five days since I returned to England and left all I had discovered in the States. It has already begun to feel like the months of heavy snow and endless days in the dance studio were a distant dream. Life feels very different back home. It also feels very strange that those familiar streets and buildings I walked past everyday are now so physically far away. 

I often find myself lost in daydreams of my memories from Goucher College, replaying and pausing them like stills from old films. The walk to my dance classes, the spot at the top of the library by the large windows overlooking the woods, the sound of the wind and the soft crunch of the snow under my feet after a snow storm. I miss my friends a lot and my teachers, my classes, and the comforting feeling that absolutely no one in that country knew me from home. As bizarre as it sounds, there was something strangely wonderful about not recognising or being recognised by a single person in America. I had the opportunity to completely reinvent myself. I could be the stronger, braver, more confident person I had always hoped I would eventually be. (But, unfortunately, I found that the friends I made actually liked my nervous English humour and awkwardness. So that sort of backfired.)

In addition, when I first arrived in America, I experienced severe culture-shock; no one understood my sarcasm, people were too friendly (but anything is too friendly compared to people in London, so that says absolutely nothing) and the portions of food were enormous. So when I returned to England I experienced further culture-shock after having comfortably adapted to these changes in America. Why are people so miserable in England? Why are the portions of food so small? Why do we drink so heavily so often? And why is it so cold? All the time? It took me a long while to firstly shift the jet lag, and then come to terms with the fact that Goucher and America were over and I had to come back to my old life and carry on where I left off. Once I had accepted that Goucher was simply a five month learning experience and a remarkable opportunity to explore and expand my dance skills, I could return to the things I had been pursuing in England. I'm now assisting and teaching in dance classes at my old upper school and have successfully applied for a site specific dance project in London at the Siobhan Davies Studios. My experiences at Goucher helped me secure these opportunities and I am excited to take all I have learnt to London next month.

Goucher taught me a huge amount about myself as a dancer and as a person. My time there provided me with an inclination towards dance criticism and writing, as well as helping me discover a satisfaction with dance improvisation and choreography. I want to make dances and I want to write about them. Making and writing about dances helps me unlock more about myself and more about my art form. However, as well as the skill-related discoveries, I also learnt that there is a lot more to being a successful dancer than just 'working hard'. A glowing fire needs to ignite within you and drive you in every class, every rehearsal and every performance. If there is no burning desire behind your need to dance, you simply won't. A similar concept can be applied to writing: every essay, review or post needs a certain amount of fire behind it. Find what irks you, excites you or utterly bores you, dig into it, lay it out flat and completely take it apart, leave nothing untouched. We only breathe through this one life alone, so do what you love till its death and don't walk away from it half finished. Above all, breathe and think deeply, live fully and dance (or write) until it absolutely kills you.

Final Intermediate Modern class with Linda Garofalo outside

Listening to: 
KT Tunstall - Through The Dark
Henry Green - Electric Feel Kygo Remix MGMT Cover 
René Aubry - La Grande Cascade