Whether I stay or go, my heart will forever remain…

Talia Mason is co-president of the Teen Exchange, Dance Exchange’s teen company. She reflects on her time as a member of Teen Exchange, and talks about the upcoming Teen Exchange Institute, taking place from July 18-22 at the Dance Exchange.

As summer starts to wind down, the dance community in the DC metro area takes a breather, and teens start looking for things to do.  As the co-president of the Dance Exchange’s youth-led teen company, I can tell you that the Teen Exchange has a lot to offer those who want to explore movement this summer, and throughout the year.  Teen Exchange recently finished a year-long exploration of “Beauty, Light and Shadows”, and premiered three works at Youth Arts Night 2011. Next week, we host our Teen Exchange Institute from 1-5pm each day, where we will explore the theme of “Weathering”. As someone who is on the brink of exiting the Teen Exchange and heading to college, our intensive is a great opportunity for exploring what weathering means to me.

As I have found myself spending more and more time at Dance Exchange, weathering has occurred. I have learned an enormous amount about my capacity to evolve with changes, and to understand that transitions and transformations occur for different reasons.  I’ve seen weathering take place at the Dance Exchange as leadership shifts, programs evolve, and as Cassie Meador takes on her role as Artistic Director.  Shifting foundations were at times unsettling as the co-president of the Teen Exchange, but I never felt short-sighted or anxious in these moments.

Teen Exchange co-president Talia Mason

Personal weathering is also taking effect as I transition to a new life away from Takoma Park. This fall, I will be embarking on a dance-filled adventure at Bates College in Maine.  I hope to use all of the tools I have learned at the Dance Exchange and through the Teen Exchange to make a difference in the community at Bates. I will be organizing site-specific pieces, and using my knowledge of Dance Exchange toolbox techniques with the dance community at Bates on a regular basis.  Though I won’t be rooted in Takoma Park, I am sure that the lessons I learned from Teen Exchange will stay with me as I pursue both dance and psychology in college.

My time at Dance Exchange will culminate in this wonderful Teen Exchange Intensive, and I cannot wait for the opportunity to meet the participants and work on choreographing a site-specific piece. This week will fulfill my needs as a dancer, thinker and writer.  I hope to find myself, and to find my own sense of what weathering means, in public and private places.

With the help of the Dance Exchange and Teen Exchange in particular, I have become a stronger dancer, leader, thinker and activist. Teen Exchange has given me the opportunity to truly become an independent thinker, and because of that, my movement vocabulary, as well as my social media skills have blossomed.

Anyone interested in probing individualized thought and learning about personal and physical weathering, as well as exploring the power of movement should take this opportunity to learn about the Dance Exchange community and youth programming.

Register for the Teen Exchange Intensive here. Registration is still open, and we would love to have you in our presence as we explore internal and external weathering and evolution.

View an excerpt of “Beauty”, choreographed by Talia Mason and Molly Barth of the Teen Exchange from Youth Arts Night 2011.

To learn more about Teen Exchange and youth programs at Dance Exchange, follow us on Twitter @DXyouth, or become a fan on Facebook.

About Guest Blogger

Dance Exchange intern and/or guest blogger.