In partnership with Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers, the Inspire Internship program placed six young people with the Dance Exchange for a six-week summer internship to learn skills in collaboration, community engagement and art-making, and social media. Jasmine writes about her experience as an intern in the following post:
My name is Jasmine and I’m an Inspire Intern at the Dance Exchange. This summer, during the Inspire Internship program at Dance Exchange, I learned that dance can have many different purposes. Music videos use dance for the purpose of entertainment. Workout videos use dance for the purpose of exercise. Dance Exchange uses dance to express creativity and feeling, and incorporates the people present or environment in which they’re dancing into the dances they make.
Many teens spent their summers washing cars, mowing lawns and babysitting. I got to do something I love: dance! During my internship, I stepped out on different stages with new peers and new forms of dance. We learned many different dance techniques and tools that none of us have ever used before. Techniques like “Sculpting” (using your partner’s body as clay and using your own body to sculpt the clay) gave me a different view of body shapes, body language and details. I used to have a bad habit of slouching, but watching the body be molded into new shapes through sculpting helped me realize that I should sit up straight.
Two weeks ago, all of the Inspire Interns participated in the community forum “The Gazebo Park Action Event”, where we performed at the Gazebo Park in downtown Takoma Park, and created a dance with Takoma Park business-owners and residents. Community Engagement was on my list of “Never Done Before”, but I can now add it to my list of “Experiences Completed”! I had fun helping to facilitate the event with my peers and contributing to the final product.
Now that the summer is ending, most of the interns will be sculpting their hands into a waving position as they say goodbye to our Dance Exchange friends for now. I’m so interested in Dance Exchange’s work that I can’t walk away: I will be back this fall to use the social media, art, and community art-making skills I learned in my internship as a member of the Teen Exchange!
If you are a child or teen interested in using dance for fun and to connect to your community, join us this year as a member of the Youth Exchange or Teen Exchange! Contact Wayles Haynes, Youth Programming Coordinator for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.