The idea of dance has always been interesting and a mystery to me. When I was younger, I used to participate in Indian dance performances for birthday parties, weddings and/or anniversaries. I was fairly decent and I remember that it gave me a sense of freedom. I loved to dance. It was a way of expressing my uniqueness. However, things changed, life moved on and the stress of it all hid those feelings for another lifetime. They remained hidden for the past four years here at UCR until now, my senior year. Now was the only time in my college career that I had time for anything other than major related, science-y courses. I was excited to take a class that didn’t involve four hour laboratory times or quizzes every week. I wanted to take a class that made me feel free. That’s when I remembered how dance made me feel when I was younger and Dance 005 seemed like the perfect fit.
In the short time that I have been able to take this course, I have learned quite a lot about my body’s capabilities. Usually, when I do something physical, whether it be sports or working out at the gym, I push myself hard. With dance, I felt as if I needed to take my time, and let my gracefullness take the lead. I wanted to accomplish a different side of me. I wanted to allow myself to do something that I wasn’t necessarily used to. I felt as if my strengths were mainly the numbered combinations that we learned in class. I do well with order, direction and a planned out routine. However, on the other hand, when we would practice improvisation, I found harder to relax and “go with the flow.” I realized that I don’t work well with spontaneous, no rule moments. I still struggle with that part of the class and I believe it isn’t something that can be taken care of with one course. I also enrolled in a dance of Mexico course and I enjoy noticing the differences between modern dance and cultural dance.
Viewing the live performance by Paradigm put many things in perspective. My view on dance expanded with every dance performed that night. It was interesting to see the different outlooks on the idea of dance as a whole. It can be theatrical, comedic, sad, happy, etc. It all depends on how the emotions are absorbed by the audience as a result of the performers. Writing the reflection paper on the performance helped me understand the real meaning of it all. It made me take the time to recall reactions and go into depth about how the idea of modern dance came about. Dance, to me, meant structure but walking out of the theater that night shook that assumption to its core. I learned that the modern dance movement based works upon experience, using their bodies to express emotions using many gestures. It seemed like each dance was a type of impulse control. Each performer was allowed to express any feeling that came to them within boundaries. And the boundaries were what made up the show and made it enjoyable for the audience.
One idea of dance that stuck with me was when we performed our pathway dances. I think that was also my favorite part of this class so far. I enjoyed watching each dance with and without music. The music made each dance come alive in some way. I also liked the fact that the musician matched the dance with a separate tone that allowed for comedic relief during what could have possibly been a boring, simple routine. The way he described music adding to dance as a sort of parallel was also quite interesting. I don’t think I have ever heard music and art spoken in that way. This class gives an insight into a different, calmer than my usual workload, form of expression.
Another idea of dance that I can take away from this course is whenever we added pedestrian movements into our dances. I loved that we could incorporate anything and everything we do in life to dance. For instance, I just recently started going to the cardio kickboxing class at the rec center. And I remember I added some of the moves I learned from that class into this class by adding a little flare and art value to them. It just goes to show that anything can be art by tweaking something just a smidge.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking this class. To be brief, it was entertaining, interesting, and I can actually say I know something about the art of dance and not just how to dance. I think it’s important to have knowledge about everything in this world. No need to be an expert on the matter but a little taste of different culture never hurt anyone. And I believe that this class gives a small slice of a worldwide tradition of dance.
Courtney from Study Moose
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