Riding the Wave

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 11.15.05 AMFor the past two years, I have taken various Composition courses here at OSU. I have created short studies, though I have critiqued such works to all end and have left myself feeling lost as a creator. Regardless of reasoning for my feelings, I felt as though my studies were to be “precious” – that interesting word that I still do not have a clear definition for. My perfectionist mindset got the best of me and I started to question my choices in ways that somewhat prevented growth. I enrolled in Special Topics class in the hopes of combatting this mindset and becoming more comfortable in my choreographer skin – in addition to the fact that I missed learning from and being inspired by Eddie Taketa on a weekly basis.           

When choosing focus areas last semester, I decided upon Education and Composition. Over the past two years, I have really discovered my passion for Education and how it grows me as both an artist and a person. This being said, I wanted to take more time learning about and developing a pedagogy that would benefit my future students – as well as those who I teach now. However, with choosing a Composition focus, my process was a little bit different. As someone who currently choreographs for various studios and teams, I never really have felt comfortable in naming myself as a “choreographer.” I felt as though I had so much more to learn and that my composition skills were simply not enough to classify under this term. In declaring a Composition focus, my goal was (and is) to learn as much as possible and expand my choreographer’s toolbox in a way that can be applied to both concert and studio dance.

For the past two years, I have taken various Composition courses here at OSU. I have created short studies, though I have critiqued such works to all end and have left myself feeling lost as a creator. Regardless of reasoning for my feelings, I felt as though my studies were to be “precious” – that interesting word that I still do not have a clear definition for. My perfectionist mindset got the best of me and I started to question my choices in ways that somewhat prevented growth. I enrolled in Special Topics class in the hopes of combatting this mindset and becoming more comfortable in my choreographer skin – in addition to the fact that I missed learning from and being inspired by Eddie Taketa on a weekly basis.

With no intention of brown-nosing, I can honestly say that this course has been one of the most inspirational and positive experiences of my college career, thus far. In the safe and accepting environment that Eddie and my peers created in each studio, I felt comfortable acting on instinct and simply creating – no boundaries, no judgments, just movement and expression. With the new tools and games that I was introduced to, I found myself engaging in new movement vocabulary that seemed genuine, reactionary, and authentic, differing largely from the movement that I had created in past Composition courses. With each class, I found myself challenged intellectually, physically, artistically, and spiritually. Often, I left the studio still pondering our conversations as I drove on the highway headed to teach at my studio job.

What did you see?

            What is” precious”?

            Don’t plan, let it happen.

            What is “normal”?

            How do you “share” work, rather than “show” it?

These questions are only some of the many thoughts that I left this course pondering, and still find myself thinking about even as the semester has come to a close. However, it is the experience of the course and these present thoughts that remain in my mind as I reflect. In past courses, I have left the semester thinking only of my final project – putting so much pressure on this one study that I disregard growth that occurred or my process of getting there. This semester has been different, as I leave thinking of the experience I had while learning from and being inspired by all of those that I was able to share Studio 250 with every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 – 5:00 PM.

As I “rode the wave” of Special Topics Comp, I entertained new thoughts and perspectives. I found myself surrounded by beautiful minds and engaged in conversations that I still revisit, especially as I consider my goals for my Senior Project over this Winter Break. From “Suggestions” to “What Comes Next?” my tool box for composing new material has grown immensely and has turned from judging my initial movements and choices to acting on and reacting to instinct as both an artist and human. This course became a safe environment to try new things, voice frustrations and concerns, and work with those around me in a collaborative and positive way that benefitted the class as a whole. Until this semester, I have never considered a comp class to have a family dynamic. Rather, I have been afraid of my peers’ judgments and criticisms. However, the positive vibes received from our sharings are something that cannot be topped in my mind and I am thankful to have received so much love and constructive feedback throughout the course – from start to finish.

With no pushing, I feel that this class has helped me to feel comfortable in my own skin, as both a performer and choreographer. It is a new feeling, and I think that there are more emotions left to be described yet I do not have the right words. I do, however, know that I am leaving this semester feeling “full” – something that is a feeling that lacks definition but makes ultimate sense to me. This class reminded me of the true reason that I chose a Composition focus: because I genuinely love being inspired by others and inspiring as well. Through discussion, movement, and trial and error, this course inspired me from the first week up until the last – and I am absolutely confident that this is a result of the incredible mind, heart, and soul that is Eddie Taketa.

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