The curtain is falling on my time here at Dance Exchange and soon I’ll be flying back down south. It amazes me to think that five months ago I didn’t even know of Dance Exchange. I had never really explored dance beyond the occasional ballet and musical theatre, and my knowledge of contemporary dance was mostly limited to Martha Graham. Now, I find myself in awe of what Dance Exchange does and that I was able to be a part of it for even a short time.
Dance Exchange brings all different types of people – all different ages, all different body types, all levels of experience – and shows them that they have the ability to move and explore and express themselves through dance. I was given the chance to see a rehearsal of The Matter of Origins before the company brought it to Chicago in November. In watching the piece, I saw how dancers are able to use their bodies to tell a story, to express an emotion, and even simply to take your breath away. If you’ve not yet seen The Matter of Origins I suggest you take a look at the video posted here.
I have taken away so much from my time here at Dance Exchange. I have seen how the idea of rest (or unrest) can inspire a work of dance. I have gotten a crash course in dance history, including our own Martha Wittman discussing Doris Humphrey. I have learned how to perfect my Victory Rolls. I have learned a great way to give and receive feedback. I have enjoyed parlor games, Nutcracker stories, and delicious homemade treats. Most importantly, I have come away from my internship with a better sense of dance in today’s world and the idea that there is no exclusivity within dance at Dance Exchange.
I hope that in my time here I have given just as much to Dance Exchange as I have taken. My time here was spent mostly doing the small tasks, sure, but as they say, the devil is in the details. I like to think I contributed not only my skills as an intern, but my humor and upbeat attitude, my budding friendship with American Airlines, my patient mail-searching skills, and, perhaps, a couple sweet treats of my own.
So as I take my final bow, I leave these questions both in my mind and in yours: Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is it about? Why does it matter?