Wow. I’m halfway there! I have completed as much of my undergraduate degree as I have left. This semester was full, and as I’ve said before, I post when I can and don’t feel bad when I can’t! However because of this, a lot of information is going to be in this blog post. I’ve added three bolded headings to mark the new sections in case you’d like to skip 1 or 2 of them, or only have time to skim.
SPRING SEMESTER ’17: At the beginning of the semester, I had a bit of a scare in my Introduction to Physical Anthropology class. I didn’t have the prerequisite necessary (Biology 101 essentially), but due to my high grade in a previous Anthro department class, I was able to enroll. As the deadline for dropping a class without penalty neared, I was feeling as though the material might genuinely be over my head and that I would be unable to keep up. However after meeting with the teacher, I decided to push through and Google/YouTube/Friend-source to get through. I ended up receiving the highest grade on the final exam, a 102%. Yay for perseverence.
Another one of those GEs was Micro Economics which I voluntarily took a) to counteract the intangible, abstract, and theoretical feminist dance sphere I have chosen to enter into and hope to never leave, and b) at the recommendation of my financial risk analyst father. It was absolutely my biggest academic challenge yet and although I am proud to say I consistently scored 8-10 points better than the average on the midterms, only time will tell if I was able to pull out an A over an A-. I include this detail not in an attempt to toot-toot le horn, but as an opener to explaining a trend I’ve noticed in myself–one I’d like to continue to see going forward. I try very hard and have very high expectations for myself. These are by no means things I plan to critique or change, but there have been moments during this semester that called for a type of mature concession. Economics is not my thing and given how hard I studied (also shout out to Dad for playing teacher/tutor) I will be proud of my A-.
There was a similar moment on my Kinesiology final exam. We were asked to label either muscles, the joint they moved, their primary action, as well as an synergist and antagonist, OR a bone and a bony landmark on it. There were a few questions where I just could not tell what the diagram was pointing to. At first, I got very frustrated and upset at the lack of clarity, but then something else came over me. I realized how much I had studied and the high degree to which I KNEW I knew this material, whether the final was allowing me to show it or not. I got what I supposed to out of the class (anatomical, intrinsic, experiential, and physical knowledge about my body as my expressive tool) and that was incredible! I needed nowhere near an A on the final to receive a A in the class so I calmed down, did my best, and moved on.
I am sitting here writing this in the Orlando Airport, and I can’t help but reflect on all the people who have shaped not only my person but also my trajectory. Some have stayed and some have gone but they’ve all impacted me one way or another. This year in particular, I became so much closer with my peers in my graduating class, and I was actually elected Junior Class Rep! This is a leadership role that I am so excited about. I love my [choose a synonym and insert here: diverse, talented, driven, inspiring, inspired] class and I can’t wait to do what I can to make their time at OSU (and their lives post-grad) better in whatever way I can.
SUMMER PLANS: After a week in the sun, I hit the ground running as my jam-packed summer starts. I am enrolled in a Summer Session class at OSU and it’s my first gender studies/feminism/sexuality related class IN AN ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR. Can you believe I made it that long? Me either. I am taking a 4000 level English class in which “using feminist perspectives, students will learn to analyze literature and other cultural works (film, television, digital media) written by or about women.” I could not be more excited. This class is so closely related to the dramaturgical/analytical work I want to do for choreographers in the future (which I explain in more detail here if you’re asking what in the world I am talking about). I miss writing, and I miss feminism, and I miss writing about feminism! Essentially everything is going to be amazing!!
Not long after that month-long academic engulfment wraps up, I head to NYC for a week to participate in Alexandra Beller’s Summer Intensive. This opportunity initially came out of a suggestion made to me by a PhD student, Benny Simon regarding her dance-directing/dramaturgy related workshop called Mindflock. As I was researching it, I saw that one of Alexandra’s interests was in Laban Movement Analysis and was pretty much sold. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had heard this name in a personal context before, but even pre-academia. I then remembered a conversation that my closest friend in NYC (whose home I would even be most likely staying in for the week), Carley Marholin and I had when we were dancing together in the Steps Repertory Ensemble. Carley (who by the way is killing it as a member of Graham II) had mentioned Alexandra as a dance educator she had at LIU that I would have loved. I trust that woman almost more than myself and knew it was meant to be.
After a short couple weeks that will most likely be filled with packing up my apartment and other mundane adult-life activities, I head to the Library of Congress to do 10 days worth of research with Dr. Harmony Bench. This is a literal dream come true and it still hasn’t hit me that I was one of two undergraduate research assistants chosen to travel and work alongside Dr. Bench. She is probably one of the smartest women I have ever known of in my entire life, and there is a great deal of overlap in our interests regarding identity, bodies, queerness, and performativity (if a junior BFA student can even claim “overlap” with a professor as intelligent, accomplished, and accoladed as Dr. Bench is.)
My summer is cut a little short by an early return to the Dance Department. For 2 weeks before the official school year begins, a small group of my peers and I will continue preparing for a Cunningham MinEvent taking place in October under the direction of Daniel Roberts and Karen Eliot, both former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. It is part of a bigger collaboration with BalletMet in which Minus 16 (Naharin), The Man in Black (Kudelka), and Slingerland Pas de Deux (Forsythe) will also be performed. More information on this show will no doubt be shared by me as the show date approaches, but the official link to the event can be found here.
FALL SEMESTER ’17: As I enter the back half of my undergraduate career, I get to start taking classes that pertain specifically to my interest in Analysis and Dramaturgy. I have a personal record-breaking number of classes and commitments including 18 credit hours (featuring classes such as Intermedia, Script Analysis, and Lighting,) differing degrees of involvement in 3 undergraduate senior projects, 2 MFA Thesis works, 8 hours weekly of Cunningham Repertoire rehearsals, 5-8 hours of paid weekly research, Class Rep responsibilities, and a choreographic work of my own on two BFA students in the class of ’20. It’s gonna be a good one so don’t forget to check back in with me to see if I’m alive how I’m doing!