by Audrey Zaferos
I loved taking class, and I got a lot out of it despite my fears, but I never truly let myself go...until the day when I did. The day that I stood in the front row, unafraid of corrections or judgement, throwing myself so fully into the combination that I was almost brought to tears just from how good it felt to finally give myself over, totally and completely, to the dance. And that was the night that I came back to my apartment and started looking for a song to choreograph to for OnStage Season 4. I never thought I would choreograph ever again after college, but something about that night made me itch to put my own work out there again, and see what would happen.
When I started choreographing my piece, ‘Time’, I tried to capture some of that feeling of completely giving myself over to the music and the movement. Most of my choreography was done without a mirror so that I could move by feel and not nit pick my every position. I have to admit, with every new piece of the dance I taught, there was always a slight terror of “Is this actually going to look as good in real life as it feels?” Or, “Are my dancers going to hate me because I’m teaching them this insane choreography that felt really good when I wasn’t doing it full out in my living room?” Luckily, my dancers are not only fantastic at the technical and emotional aspects of the piece, but they are also patient with my somewhat haphazard teaching style (choreographing by feel doesn’t exactly lend itself to having counts...) and with each passing rehearsal I have become more and more confident that I am creating a really beautiful piece. That confidence is also combined with a little bit of amazement, since in the back of my mind I am still that girl in the back of the room, the one who isn’t that confident in choreographing, and when I watch my piece I still almost have to pinch myself when I remember that I made it up.
It’s pretty incredible to be a part of such a supportive group of dancers as OnStage, a group that really focuses on the pursuit of the passion of dance and not who can do the most turns or kick the highest. Watching all of the pieces perform for the first time at the showing a few weeks ago, the overwhelming feeling was one of community and love based around dance - whether it be gritty hip hop, ridiculously fun Bollywood, or technical contemporary. Everyone who is dancing this season is putting themselves out there - for many of us, maybe long after we thought our dance performance careers were over - and every single one of us should be proud for taking that risk. So when you step on stage on December 1, let it all go. Perform for yourself - for the dancer you were, the dancer you are, and the dancer that you will always be.
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