Pencil Sketch of ‘Michael Jackson’ by Ashish Joseph Carvalho
I wish I was a dancer. Then I could spin and spin without ever getting dizzy. Because when my mum used to spin me on her swivel chair, I’d fall off and she’d tell me if I was a dancer, spinning would be easy. So I would dance, and dance, and learn the music’s rhythm; watch my feet make shapes on the wooden floorboards.
I would shut myself out completely from the world around me, focus on my breathing …on my steady… steady! The steady movement of my body Yes, but, no… I have to make it flow. The pressure is on, from myself, from others to look and move perfectly. Spin faster, jump higher, more flexible, become stronger, be better. But this is not just me… because that is our way: humans with the everlasting desire to become better than they already are So you learn the dance and you repeat repeat but what comes from it is so much more than moving your feet…
Because when the music takes your body and your mind, it brings to life a new story a blank canvas to colour, a resolution to find. So I push through the endless knock-backs and falls learning to find my unique connection with the music. How it makes me feel and move. How it takes over my body, my mind.
How I have the power to project a dream, a feeling through dance, the wonderful power to make others see that dream. I am free I’m limitless . I let go of my mind. I let go of my body. And I finally have a way to show the world answer …that I have finally become myself .… but I still wish, I was a dancer.
I’m a second-year dancer. I started dancing at an very small age of mine. Ever since I was young I always dreamed of attending Juilliard. I attended the summer program and being here and seeing what a day was like the shoes of Juilliard students made me strive to work on my technique and work hard to be able to achieve my goals. Each day I wake up and I go to breakfast and then I’m off to my first academic class in the morning.
In music class, we’re working with rhythm and that’s so important when we’re at the barre or when in the center and being able to really see how your body reacts to that music that you’re hearing. “One and two and one and two and one and two and one and two and….” And after my academic class I go to ballet. I love going to ballet class each morning and tuning instrument.
It is a time to get back to your technique, get back to the barre. The Fundamentals of our day begin at the barre. And plie, and reach.” Yes, we go to ballet class and we do it every day, but you find something new in that ballet class every single day. ♫♫♫ We all come into Juilliard with the basic foundation of ballet and modern, but here it’s really honing in on yourself and the technique and how we can take it from just being a technique to being something that’s ours.
You spend so much time in the studio, thinking about dance talking about dance, and lunchtime great time to just get our minds in a different place and socialize. Each dance class at Juilliard only has 24 dancers so it’s a very tight-knit community and that relationship is so important to take into partnering classes. ♫♫♫ The most important thing in partnering is your connection with your partner. ♫♫♫ And after that partnering class we go into New Dances rehearsal.
New Dances is a great process. Each year we get a new choreographer and it’s so exciting because it’s a new work so it’s being created on myself and my class and it’s something where you never know what the product will actually be, but it’s all about the process. ♫♫♫ We devote our evenings and our free time, lunch blocks, to create and experiment.
Currently, I’m working on a project with my friend Megan, and it’s great to work with her. We feed off each others’ energy and it’s…it’s a process and we go through it together. ♫♫♫ At the end of the day, your body is totally exhausted but your mind is so stimulated with new information and corrections and new choreography and there’s so much going on in our day, it makes me want to strive for more, to be the best dancer I can be.♫♫♫ Before applying to Juilliard, I really was comfortable in the fact that dance is something that I’m able to express something more than I can with words. ♫♫♫
Well, when you’re learning a performing art, the most important thing is learning. So when you are learning it you’re basing your technique on observation ,you observe something you absorb it and you keep it in your system. Now in order to then relay it, or to do so you need to practice that’s why we keep on insisting on do your practice, do your practice it’s important !
Now going to a class and doing a practice session with a group of people to me doesn’t sound very logical when it comes to classical dance form simply because A riyaz or a practice should be between you and your dance. When the two come together. It’s easy to reproduce what you have absorbed. Now I would also insist that practice is something that will pull you in situations that are die hard.
Sometimes when you’re stuck or when you’re crossing a hurdle while you are performing or you fall or you make a mistake if you have practiced you would know how to get out of it! Performing art is very momentarily, it’s something that happens. It’s like a verb, right? So it’s not a piece of painting that you can take home. The process of dance is what you get in return. So if you have done your riyaz or your practice you know how to handle situations? The muscle memory of your brain and your body is going to support you if you’ve done your riyaz.
Once you have control on what your content is going to be, now comes how you can multitask. How can presence of mind and you being in the dance help you to involve others. Who are away or outside of you ,so if you want to absorb people and attract them to yourself as a performing artist have a conversation with them. Don’t you think that when you know your content to the fullest it becomes easier?
So please I would strongly suggest do your practice on a regular basis . As age advances people think oh I’ve done so much of practice when I was young and hours and hours of hard work now that I know the matter I don’t need it anymore. I don’t think that’s logical because with age your muscles are also changing ,your alignment is changing your somatic cells are growing and dying out. They need to learn in a new way Concepts like Pilates and yoga help you to make your muscles supple and get you ready for a performance as a true performing artist Namaskaar !
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