Campus Confidential: Things I Wish Iâ€™d Known Before I Started College
As a senior in college, I know how overwhelming the transition from high school to college can be. I had a tough time adjusting to college life, and as a result my freshman year was not as fun as I had hoped. Here are a few things I wish I’d known before I started college:
- Dorm life is difficult. I lived on an all-freshman floor my first year at school. I was the only dance major there, and it was hard because my schedule totally conflicted with those of my non-dance friends. My dance classes started at 9am each morning, but most of my peers were able to sleep in before heading to classes in the afternoon. In an effort to make friends, I put my social life in front of my dance, and soon it became routine. I would often stay up with my friends playing video games and watching movies. I hardly got any sleep. In fact, I was so tired that I would often skip class. It was only after my grades dropped that I realized I had to make a change. The following year, I decided to live in a different dorm than my friends so I wouldn’t have any distractions. Today, I live off campus and I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I finally live in an environment of my own making where I can stay organized and focused.
- Beware of eating out too often. As a dancer, trying to eat a nutritious diet was hard due to the amount of unhealthy options at my fingertips at school. The campus cafeteria did not have the healthiest selections, and eventually I found myself ordering takeout almost every other night. Before long, I had gained over 20 pounds! I no longer fit into any of my tights or leotards and I wore sweats and baggy shirts to class to hide my figure. I finally decided if I didn’t change my habits, I would continue being unhappy. I started hitting up the school gym, doing yoga, and buying my own food from a local grocery store. With time, discipline, and motivation, I was able to create a healthy new me, and in doing so I felt even more empowered.
- Try to stand out. I felt invisible during my first year as a member of my school’s dance department. I was so focused on my social life and embarrassed by my out-of-control eating habits that I made it a point to do my best to fly under the radar with my professors and choreographers. As a result, I wasn’t cast in any dance show for the entire year. My disconnection with the department made me kind of an outcast. Things only started to change a few semesters later when I started reaching out to the other dancers in my classes and talking to my professors. After that, I started getting cast in shows and began to feel like I belonged.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.
The coolest place she's ever performed:
I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!
Something she's constantly working on:
My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'
My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.