One semester down and I cannot believe that at this point in my life, I am over half-way finished with my college career. Of all the semesters so far, this has – to my surprise – been the busiest. Challenging me physically, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually, I have found myself riding the “wave” and “rollercoaster” that is Junior Year as a Dance Major here at Ohio State. However, above all, the last weeks of this semester have left me to realize how at home I am in this Department and how right everything feels that I am doing.
If you were to ask any of my friends to describe my current state, they would probably offer you either two of the names which I have been given: “UDA Paige” and/or “Pure Barre Paige.” First off, the incredible title that is also follow-able on Instagram: @uda_paige. This year, I have used “free time” (which I pretend to have) to take advantage of new opportunities with Universal Dance Association and Varsity Brands. As a result, I have participated in a marketing photo shoot in Memphis, choreographed for an incredibly hard-working team in Erie, PA, worked and ran social media accounts for the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, and have become a certified judge, among so many other opportunities and experiences. I am absolutely in love with my job and humbled by the experiences that have been thrown my way as part of my position. Being Staff at Universal Dance Association has allowed me to combine my loves of performance, education, and choreography into one, challenging me to apply my new dance knowledge to a part of the competition world which I grew up in.
Pure Barre Paige, on the other hand, would be a result of my new-found love for this exercise phenomenon. With no more required lifting, I wanted to find a work-out plan that would not only make me feel healthy and strong, but would work as perfect cross-training with my major. In this search, I found Pure Barre. Taking classes as many times a week as possible, and often waking up with the sun to do so, I have become so much stronger – mentally and physically. I can feel the results of such exercise when I am walking across campus and while engaging in the increased amount of rehearsals that I have been blessed to be a part of this semester. However, the most incredible part of this new pastime has been the fact that I have been working out with no intention of losing weight or counting calories – a stark difference from my past habits. Rather, my goal is to become stronger in a way that benefits my profession and will set me up for success in the future.
Speaking of rehearsals, this semester has been full to the brim with new works and I am feeling so inspired to have worked with/be working with so many incredible minds. Speaking first of the Department, I was humbly casted in Crystal Michelle Perkins’ first work here in the Department, “The Difficulties of Flying.” This work, performed in our
Faculty Concert, challenged me physically, mentally, and spiritually, introducing me to new movement vocabulary, new perspectives, and an incredible group of new minds that were an absolute joy to work with. Of all rehearsal processes that I have been a part of here at OSU, I can surely say that this has been one of the best, most positive, and most inspirational experiences I have yet to engage in. In addition to this piece, I was double casted to perform Daniel Roberts’ “REVERB” in this concert as well – a fabulous opportunity to bring this vibrant piece from Dance Denmark to a concert stage. With bright colored leggings, our quartet took the stage each night with joy and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to share this piece that brought so much happiness to my heart with my Department family. With all four Faculty Concert Performances SOLD OUT, the show was surely a hit and left me feeling incredibly full each night. In fact, it was one of those moments where I left the stage feeling and knowing that I am doing what I am supposed to be in this world. For a short recap of this incredible show, feel free to peruse this wonderfully written post by graduate student Fenella Kennedy.
Rehearsals continued, however, as I also became a part of the Dance Connection family this semester – a student organization dedicated to bringing dancers together and sharing dance with the community. In addition to performing in four pieces choreographed by my peers, I had the opportunity to choreograph a tap piece to none other than Michael Jackson’s “Working Day and Night.” Bringing tap back into my life made my heart happy and the cast of dancers that I was blessed enough to work with made this process so incredibly positive. From start to finish, I felt at home with these dancers and while performing my piece on stage, I couldn’t help but smile. Whenever the video is made available, I will be sure to post it on this blog – excited to share with all! I am feeling so blessed to have found a home in this student organization and cannot wait to see what this new chapter of my life brings.
Furthermore, I am currently in rehearsals for Winter Concert, Senior Concert, and a few outside-of-Department works, keeping the dance flowing and my mind constantly working. With such a busy schedule, one may think that I would burn out quickly. However, in my college career, I have never felt so vibrant or so “right” with myself. I am humbled, honored, and feeling so blessed to be working with so many inspiration minds and cannot imagine my life any other way. While running from rehearsal to rehearsal, I am not exhausted (though, in all honesty, my body does feel the work). Rather, I am energized by these new opportunities and cannot wait to perform in the upcoming shows next semester.
Aside from performing, I am still teaching at The Dance Extension Project in Dublin and constantly searching for new opportunities to work in the Dance Education field. From SuperHero Hip Hop to Teen Jazz to Hip Hop classes of all levels, I have found a home at this studio and I am so thankful to be teaching such wonderful and kind hearts. It has been a joy being able to teach regularly this year and grow closer to my students in the process. With recital season around the corner, I am already getting excited to see the incredible things that will be accomplished by these nuggets. Additionally, I am thankful for the chance to grow closer to my fellow faculty through teaching more often and have greatly enjoyed the family dynamic that the studio has gained this year.
Lastly, I am still a member of Zeta Tau Alpha and have loved being able to be a bit more active this semester than in the past – though I admit that with so many rehearsals, performances, and work, there is still so much that I wish I could have been a part of. However, my job kicks in next semester as we begin to prepare for Variety Show 2018. I cannot wait to choreograph this new routine and have so many ideas brewing – not to mention the fact that I have an increased amount of chapter interest after our team placed 2nd in last year’s competition (#gozeta). I am truly blessed to be able to share my passion with my sisters and thankful for the opportunity to combine my interests into this project each year.
With that all being said, the whirlwind of the first semester is probably quite clear. Though stressful from time to time, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I cannot wait to see what the next semester (and the new year) holds! Stay tuned!