by Skye Bork
As the dancers began moving and the music’s first notes rang clear, I realized just how much I missed the stage. Used to performing monthly during high school, spending my first semester of college only in the studio has been a new, though not unwelcome experience. I have been able to spend more time working on my technique as well as pursuing new passions, but watching Columbia University and Barnard College dancers perform at the New York Live Arts performance venue during the department’s fall showcase was a wonderful reminder of how special it is to be on stage.
A four program bill, the evening encompassed classical, contemporary, and modern works. Classical works reminded me of winter afternoons spent rehearsing for The Nutcracker, dancing roles from Clara to a dancing mushroom, while modern pieces reminded me of long days at the studio spent rehearsing solos for competitions. Watching my classmates made me reminisce on my show-time rituals, like calming pre-performance jitters with a pump-up playlist, frantically making quick changes, and cast huddles and cheers moments before the curtains opened. As the lights came up on the first piece, all of these moments rushed back to me.
Arriving at college, it is easy to forget old passions in pursuit of new experiences and opportunities. After all, what is college for, if not for broadening your horizons and taking advantage of everything and anything? But, while it is indeed important to discover new things about yourself, high school passions existed for a reason, and college can be a wonderful time to rediscover why. Spending time away from the theater has reminded me why I love to dance. I love to perform for an audience, basking in the playful back and forth between dancer and observer. I love dedicating hours to a piece and seeing my hard work pay off on the stage. I love that dance offers me another language, another way to communicate thoughts and emotions that cannot be relayed through words. I love pushing myself to my limits, reveling in the wonder and strength that is the human body.
For myself, as for many freshmen, this semester has not only been a wonderful time for exploration, but also for rediscovering the passions that have shaped and defined me up until now. Though I have enjoyed spending time working at the ballet barre, I cannot wait to step back on stage next semester!