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Week 1 at Bates

16 Aug

As Colby students, we feel an intense rivalry with Bates. However, the college happens to be home to the world renowned Bates Dance Festival, where I have spent the past week and will spent the next two weeks. The festival is amazing! Each day, I take four classes. My day starts with Modern Technique, taught by Carol Dilley, who is a dance professor at Bates. The class is very technical and structured, which is a great way to prepare my body for the day. Following technique, I take a class called Making Dances I. This is not a traditional composition class, though. It is more about finding our own artistic voices and painting self-portraits through movement. We are also learning new ways to start generating movement. While I enjoy the class, I sometimes find it very frustrating because I come from a conventional dance background and sometimes have trouble thinking outside the box. That being said, the teachers, Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, make these tasks more approachable. In the afternoon, I take Afro-modern, which is a great class that helps me to feel much more grounded in my other classes. I love the earthy movement style and exploring a technique that is basically foreign to me. I end the day with a lecture class called the Business of Dance. This class is extremely interesting and informative-we learn about networking, self-marketing, and the many areas that make up the dance industry. I am starting to learn a lot about myself as an artist and am making new discoveries about how I want to move forward in this field.

Aside from classes, the festival brings in amazing dance companies to perform and give lectures and demonstrations. The festival kicked off with a performance by Nicholas Leichter Dance, a company which fuses modern/contemporary and hip-hop. I absolutely loved the style of the movement, which was paired with the score of the hit musical, “The Wiz.” Another amazing performance I saw was the Zoe/Juniper company, choreographed by Zoe Scofield. The work was absolutely incredible-I don’t think I breathed normally for the entire hour-long piece. The incorporation of multimedia with extremely technical movement was seamless and the technology enhanced the dancing. Zoe explored some really interesting concepts and the movement style was so interesting. Next week, I look forward to seeing David Dorfman’s company perform, as I am a huge fan of his work. Overall, the festival is wonderful so far and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in modern dance!

Enjoy the last of summer!!

-Maddie Kurtz

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Week 1 of Dance Internship

2 Jul

Hi all! Hope your summers are fantastic so far! After my first week of work and my first dance class in 3 weeks, I may be extremely sore, but I had a great week and look forward to learning more. Aside from my 9-5 marketing internship which is four days a week, (and not the most fun) I also have an arts administration internship in New York City with Megan Sprenger, who is not only the head of marketing and PR at New York Live Arts (NYLA), but is also the artistic director of her own company, mvworks. Working for Megan is a wonderful opportunity. The greatest part of the internship is that while I am doing work for mvworks, I am at NYLA observing the inner-workings of a great dance venue. This past week, I had many tasks to complete. My favorite one, though, was the compilation of the annual report for mvworks. This report gives descriptions of all of the company’s projects over the past year in order to show donors that their money is being put to good use. It was really interesting to see how much it costs to run a company-you need funds for travel/transportation, performance venues, lighting, and of course money to pay the dancers. But despite the myriad expenses, as the movement component of my internship, mvworks paid for me to take an open class with one of their dancers, Kendra Portier (remember her?) at Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) last Saturday. Taking this class reminded me of why I was so inspired when Kendra and Ali (who also dances with mvworks) taught the master class up at Colby. Kendra really encourages dancers to push their boundaries. Her class is not only physical, but also thought-provoking. She urges you to think about where movement comes from and why it makes you feel a certain way. The class was two hours, so there was ample time for an extremely thorough warm-up, with opportunities for improvisation weaved throughout. I am personally not the biggest fan of improv only because it feels so foreign to me and I get really self-conscious, so it was really good to be forced out of my comfort zone. Watching the other dancers improvise was really inspirational and gave me tons of ideas. Hopefully, by the time I go up to the Bates Dance Festival at the end of July, I will be more comfortable with improvisation. This is an area that I (and I think many dancers) view as an exercise, as opposed to a form of exploration and a vital part of the creative process. I am really looking forward to continuing with my internship and can’t wait to give you all another update!

Much love and happy dancing!

-Maddie