This week marked the completion of my first week at Florida State University. It is a top notch school with one of the most competitive and selective dance programs in the state of Florida; not to mention the only place in Florida where you can find a MFA in dance. I’m not a dance major there yet. I still have to audition in November to join up although I am already involved in several dance pieces set to be performed this December during their “Days of Dance” show. I have my foot in the door and I am slowly meeting everyone to make a smoother transition to the program if I’m brought onboard.
Being in Montgomery hall where all the dancers take class is almost like reaching the final destination in a long pilgrimage. The studios, the hallways, the architecture; they all take my breath away. I can’t help but giggle on the inside to know that I am so close to achieving what I’ve worked so hard to get to.
This week was very inspiring at times and also very depressing at times. I know that since graduating from Santa Fe last fall, I haven’t had the constant and intense ballet and modern training that I need to be at the top of my game. Never was that more apparent than at my first ballet class in Montgomery hall. I struggled. My mind knew what needed to be done but my body refused to do it without complaint, sometimes not even at all. I never felt so much like a number in a sea of people before. That was a dark day for me. The next day proved to be the complete opposite as I returned to Montgomery to audition for Days of Dance. While I was still lost in ballet, I took front and center for the modern and jazz combinations. I made quite an impression, but more importantly, I had fun. It felt so good to get back into my element and really just take the floor with total abandon. The end result is that I may be onstage for 3 different works this semester!
Time spent on campus when I wasn’t dancing was also equally inspiring. If you have never taken time to see FSU, it is an amazing campus to see. The architecture, the sculptures, and the landscaping all come together to offer so many wonderful and unique sceneries as you wander through. There is a little something for everybody there and I’ve quickly found many different groups of dancers and lovers of art and culture. In short, it has been a perfect fit for me.
Not everything is perfect though. Money is still tight. Transportation is tough to manage. My apartment complex is home to many noises and distractions. I don’t know the town well enough to find a job teaching- this means no creative outlet and no income; a double whammy. And I still need to find a place to slim down and tone up my ballet. I’m trying to take everything in stride. Every new challenge that presents itself is just another trophy that I can claim when I finally get to where I want to be.
That brings me to my last point. Where do I want to be? Well, it only took a decade out of high school to figure out what I want to do with my life and how I’m going to accomplish it but I got it now. The plan, if I can achieve it, is to continue my hip hop training on the side and get a Master’s degree in dance. This way, I can start teaching at the collegiate level and hopefully find someplace that will pay for my PHD thesis in cultural studies. When the dust finally settles, I’d like to be teaching dance at the same college where I can lecture on the culture and art of hip hop as it has developed in the last 30-40 years. I am currently taking art history classes to beef up my vocabulary in identifying art through the ages. Hopefully, this will give me a back door to the cultural studies thesis that I hope will get me to a doctorate.
That’s it. Those are my hope and dreams. This semester they have never felt closer to coming true. Only time will tell if I make it. In the meantime, I’m having a great time living in the moment- living in the now- and being inspired by my situation which is artistic in its own uniqueness.