I wish there were a word for the feeling you get when you suddenly feel at home in a place you’ve never been. Sadly, I cannot find the word for it in my vocabulary, and there doesn’t seem to be a word for it in another language either. I suppose the answer to my predicament it that it is a quite arcane sensation- one that can’t really be put into words unless felt. Regardless of the unfortunate lack of language, this is the only way I can relate the feeling of being at Trinity Laban for the last six weeks. Dance spaces are easily associated with the movement memories made there, and the memories made with the humans with whom you made these discoveries.
This is our sixth and final week at The Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and the second week of our amazing summer intensive. This experience is unique because we take almost half a quarter of dance classes, jam-packed into two weeks. It truly is an intense experience as we get home just in time to go to bed early enough to get enough rest for the next day.
It was really rough dancing through an eight hour day after the weekend following the first round of an exhausting week. Thankfully, it can be easier to muster up the energy to be a full-bodied dancer when you are able to dance all day rather than being stuck in a desk, confined to the limits of auditory learning.
The Wayne McGregor Company contemporary class I have in the afternoon, for example, is very focused on technique and developing skill, but it is also emphasized that it is important to let go of inhibitions and DANCE in order to make the most of class time and feel satisfied after an hour and a half.
I have yet another opportunity to grow in a unique way in contact improvisation during session 4. Contact improv is about responding to movement cues and information from the other dancers. It forces you to simply go with the flow rather than overthinking what is happening. It is a very natural way to explore movement.
I’m beginning to come to the realization that many of the familiar places I have come to know in this country, I will soon have to leave. Just as there is much to be learned in every dance class I take, there is much to be learned from this experience as a whole- about myself, culture, my passions, and about others.
This week was long and exhausting, but more than that: empowering. Being a dancer is unique because your attendance requires a special type of attention. Because dancing is a mind, body, and spirit experience, both focus and active presence are needed to get the most out of class. It would be much easier if we could sit in desks and zone out during lectures, but for our active and hungry-for-discovery minds, it would be far less meaningful and satisfying.
I suppose this sensation of feeling very much at home in a place that is unfamiliar stems from feeling at home within oneself- a sensation that, for me, can only be created by dancing.