By Jackie Weber
“Under” the Weather
We recently were graced with the presence of a wonderful choreographer and dancer, Sarah Gamblin, who came to set “Under” a work she choreographed at Texas Women’s University, which will be performed in our annual Fall Dance Concert. I was lucky enough to be casted along with seven other very talented women. The rehearsals were long, and challenging- involving various partnering, a lot of focus on momentum, and the catching and sharing of weight, combined with this idea of truly throwing yourself and expending a vast amount of energy all at once. It was tough, but beyond rewarding. Sarah gave us incredible advice and particularly encouraging motivation. I recall her yelling “YES BITCHES!” as we were moving across the floor. That was greatly appreciated. Future teachers take note, use of profanity as encouragement works in certain instances.
Along with the energy, focus, and lunch that each dancer brought to the rehearsal, we also brought disease, illness, hands covered in germs. Needless to say, we all became infected and the following Monday, everyone and their mother was either suffering from the flu, lack of sleep, or a minor concussion. I’m just going to come out and say it- there was a demon within our dance department and it was out to have us all dead by the end of the month. Well I have one thing to say to this demon- you cannot, and will not keep us down. As dancers of The University of South Florida, we are well equipped to overcome and sort of illness, or knock to the head. We are Hulk strong, without the green skin and ripped shirt.
I’ll tell you what; I was personally victimized by this demon in the form of the flu. And sure it kept me from going to class on Tuesday and ruining my perfect attendance streak, but it did not keep me from attending Senior Seminar the next day and completely disrupting the entire class. Sorry Ying, I’m taking this moment to formally apologize for my laughter during your class time.
I would also like to take this moment to acknowledge the strength and tenacity of my two friends Madison and Laura, who both suffered from concussions this week. Concussions they received in the midst of rehearsals. Dance is really hard you guys. A particular shout out to Madison McGrew who took an exam amidst a concussion, and successfully avoided gluten in her Jamba Juice. Always aware and forever intelligent, even if her brain was sort of swollen. These are the kinds of people that should be leading our country, I’m just saying.
I’m not exactly sure what this article is meat to be about, I’ll just come right out and say it. But I think what I’m trying to get at it is that the dance department at my university never ceases to amaze me. I’m surrounded by hard working individuals that seem to care far more about the work they’re making and responsible for than the state of their bodies. That sounds extremely terrible once I’ve typed it out, but it really is true. There’s a huge emphasis on ethic here. And regardless of the state of mind someone is in, the seriousness of an illness they may have, it’s pretty unanimous that if there is work to be done or rehearsal to be had, you can bet that a USF dancer is definitely in attendance.
I sometimes feel that I am not up to the caliber of the artists that surround me, that it’s almost blasphemous to group myself with this collective of people. To all the dancers within the department, I wish you a huge congratulation. Because Week 5 has been completed and we are officially one third of the way through with this semester. Is that a scary thought? It certainly scares me, because the past five weeks have gone by quicker than I could have ever imagined, and I know that they’ll only continue to seem faster as the days pass on. I’m redundant when I say that I’m more than thrilled to be a part of this department, but it truly cannot be said enough. The dancers around here kill it mentally, physically, and artistically. So to that demon that plagued our fifth week, consider yourself exorcized and unwelcome within our studios.