As I begin this first blog post, I would like to let you all in on a little of what you can expect from me throughout my first year as a graduate student in Columbia’s Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA Program. Through my blog posts, I will give you the perspective of what it is like to be a Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) student at Columbia, why I chose Columbia, what life in Chicago is like, my daily routine, and any other happenings that may occur along my journey to becoming a Dance Movement Therapist. Today however, I would like to focus on Chicago Summer Dance Festival and why Chicago is such a great place to study in this bourgeoning field.
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One of the greatest things (among many) about having the opportunity to attend Columbia College Chicago is that it is located in the city of Chicago. Why, might you ask, is Chicago such a great place to study Dance Movement Therapy? The answer is easy. Chicago is a city that is culture-rich with dance. The mayor himself, Rahm Emanuel (a former ballet dancer), has even made it a goal for Chicago to be a city world-renowned for dance. Besides having a number of options to consider when deciding where to intern for your second year in the program, Chicago also has quite a few performances and events throughout the course of the year. Specifically, I would like to focus on Chicago Summer Dance, which is currently going on from now until the end of September.
One of my first assignments as a graduate student was to participate in the Chicago Summer Dance program that is currently going on until September. I would highly suggest this festival to anyone who is interested in getting some FREE dance lessons! Besides offering an hour of free entertainment (there are usually concerts following the dance lessons!), Chicago Summer Dance also gives you a taste of many different kinds of dance from Flamenco to Ballroom. The classes take place Thursdays-Saturdays in the evening hours and on Sunday afternoons, with each day offering up a different style of dance to learn. Just recently, I had an opportunity to work with Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, which specializes in the performance of African dance and music.[flickr id=”7867822678″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Learning this particular style of dance was a very freeing experience. I was always very much a technical dancer, so having the opportunity to move freely was really different and enjoyable. Sometimes as a dancer, I feel pressured to get every movement exactly right. The nice thing about this event was that everyone from ages 3 to 70 just enjoyed moving and feeling each movement in their own unique way. For the beginning part of the class, the instructor led us in different steps while we warmed up and became acquainted with the style of dance. The instructor then went on to say that what we had started the class off with was just exercise and next we would dance! As the crowd finished learning the final steps, we were then split down the middle and turned to face each other. Next, both sides of the dance floor connected with each other as we performed the same movements opposite one another. That is the amazing thing about dance. Having the ability to connect and communicate through the sharing of movement. Needless to say, I will definitely be back for more fun while this event continues to run until late September.
I am looking forward to sharing more experiences like this one with all of you as I continue on my journey to becoming a Dance Movement Therapist. I also look forward to hearing any feedback from you about what I blog about! If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to let me know!