|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Saturday, May 08, 2004 - 08:28 pm: Edit|
Hey there all,
Just looking for schools that have Dance majors or minors, or where I can create one independently.
My list, as it stands includes:
Amherst, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Colby, Reed, Skidmore, Sarah Lawrence, Hampshire, Haverford, Swarthmore, Case Western Reserve, UWashington.
Do you have any more suggestions?
I would prefer a school with less than 5,000 undergraduates (3,000 or less would be ideal).
I'm also looking for a moderate to liberal campus, schools that are need-blind or guarentee to meet need. I'm not too particular about where in the US it is, except that I do not want to go to school in CA (dislike the weather, smog, congestion), sorry.
Thanks for your help. I greatly appreciate it.
|By Iluvtoshop (Iluvtoshop) on Saturday, May 08, 2004 - 08:44 pm: Edit|
Try Smith college and Barnard College they have good dance programs, also muhlenberg and george washington, suny purchase. There are alot of them out there.
|By Mtmommy (Mtmommy) on Saturday, May 08, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit|
What kind of dance are you interested in? The majority of college dance programs are ballet and/or modern based. That means that they favor one or both of these types of dance. They choreograph and perform either classical ballet or, more likely, very abstract and intellectual pieces. These programs are not focused on commercial dancing like jazz and tap. There are only a few programs that seem to prepare students for musical theatre dancing (jazz and tap) which is the foundation of almost all commercial work (i.e. money). If you let me know what you want, I can give you a few program ideas.
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Saturday, May 08, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit|
Williams, Middlebury, Vassar, Dartmouth, Bryn Mawr all have ballet and modern, with varying emphases on each. Princeton is a little bigger than your ideal, but it has a Program in Theater and Dance that offers a dance certificate (same as a minor) and lots of choreography and performing opportunities. Amherst students go to Smith and the rest of the consortium to dance, and they complain re the logistics of that. If dance is your top priority, Barnard is hard to beat.
|By Lauraanne (Lauraanne) on Saturday, May 08, 2004 - 11:46 pm: Edit|
Barnard might be great but not much use to a boy! ;) Maybe Columbia is a possibility with cross-registering?
I was going to suggest Bryn Mawr but checked the profile first!
Not much to add but Reed, Sarah Lawrence and Haverford/Swat are all a lot more liberal than moderate - not sure how big an impact this is going to have on your college choice though.
How rigorous do you want your college experience to be academically - you have some pretty tough colleges on your list but you look pretty good statswise and I imagine that male dance majors are pretty rare which gives you a nice hook.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 07:41 pm: Edit|
I'm actually leaning towards Ballet, but I also like Jazz and Tap. I just want to make sure that there is a dance major or minor at the colleges, or the opportunity to design an individualized major. I am certified to teach Ballroom dance (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Rumba, etc...), and would like to expand my horizons. I've been in several dance musicals and can run the light board, choreograph, etc. My main goal, however, is to study dance, but as an artistic means of communication rather than a means to a career on stage. I eventually want to start a non-profit dance company, studio or camp geared towards helping rural and innercity kids become familiar with dance as a viable art form or activity.
In addition to dance, I also have an interest in Theater, Philosphy, and Sociology; and, I would prefer a relatively rigorous academic atmosphere, although not an overly competative one (more cooperative). I don't mind working hard, but I also don't want an atmosphere where Pre-meds and engineers dominate the academic scene. As for politics on campus, I'm socially liberal but economically conservative, I prefer a more intellectually liberal (like Grinnell) student body, rather than a politically correct one (like Wesleyan).
I am also interested in swimming or rowing as a varsity or club sport, but that is not as important as the ability to dance or be involved in theater within the college community.
As for Williams, their Dance program website does not mention whether or not it has an organized Dance major or minor, so I'm not too sure about it. I'll call the admissions office or department to find out if it offers one.
Hope this is more illuminating.
As for myslef, I did not think it would be as difficult as it has been to find colleges with a non-consevatory, Dance major or minor at a small school which is more traditional in its approach to dance as a subject or artistic form.
Any leads or info is greatly appreciated and welcome.
Have an awesome day.
|By Topcat0214 (Topcat0214) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:21 pm: Edit|
Did you look at Oberlin? How about Bennington - Martha Graham started there so they should have a great dance dept, and I don't think they have a conservatory.
|By Thedeepblue (Thedeepblue) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:21 pm: Edit|
North Carolina School of the Arts
|By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:22 pm: Edit|
You should look at Connecticut College; it'd be a good one to add to your list.
|By Voigtrob (Voigtrob) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:39 pm: Edit|
Check out Vassar.
I'm looking at my course catalog right now - I count 33 Dance classes, including a wealth of classes in Ballet, Jazz, and all the other things you have described... lots of "Modern" dance classes. Not being a Dancer myself I'm not totally sure, but here's an excerpt from the synopsis of Beginning Modern Dance:
"Class work introduces students to technical concepts involved in training the body to be an articulate, expressive instrument."
Sounds like what you're talking about, hehe.
P.s. I can't tell from the catalog whether or not there is a major - obviously, there is a department. You would have the ability to design your own major, and create a dance major or minor if it doesn't already exist. ;)
Vassar has an AMAZING theater program. Literally there is a show or something to do almost every night, and loads of troupes and such... you'd have absolutely NO trouble getting involved if you wanted. The philosophy and sociology departments are extremely strong as well - Vassar has a rigorous intellectual atmosphere, that is certainly the polar opposite of competative. ;)
It's an academic scene that breeds creativity in all disciplines. (Not to mention I think "intellectually liberal" is the perfect way to describe the student body).
I plan to be a rower at Vassar, most likely. They have strong DIII programs in rowing and swimming. Enough to have a great time and compete at a high level, but the priority is clearly on academics.
Vassar is my school (class of '08 woo), so I'm biased. But I think it really would fit your personality and what you're looking for very well. Do yourself a favor and check it out. ;D
|By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:49 pm: Edit|
Gotta agree with Voigtrob about Vassar: you should definitely put it at the top of your list.
Anyway, you've got a good number of great suggestions to check out -- and to keep you on the road for most of the summer visiting campuses.
|By Voigtrob (Voigtrob) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 09:32 pm: Edit|
Btw, Vassar is 2400 kids and in my case gave fantastic financial aid (they're need-blind and meet 100%).
|By Parentofteen (Parentofteen) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 09:54 pm: Edit|
Duke University currently has a dance minor but is lobbying to offer a dance major next year.
Wake Forest University also has a dance minor.
Both schools are very academically challenging and neither one is very large. Duke has about 6,000 undergrads, and Wake has about 4,000. Both are also need-blind. Duke encourages its students to work with the local disadvantaged community in which it is located. Your desire to teach dance to the underprivileged would surely be plausible and very much supported there. They also sponsor the American Dance Festival on campus each summer and like for their dance students to work with it to earn course credit and experience.
North Carolina School of the Arts is specifically for what its name says. Since you are so academically qualified for a challenging school and are somewhat interested in other areas besides the arts, it may not suit your needs. If you are really dedicated to a career in dance and theatre, however, it may be perfect. It is relatively small and liberal. My daughter studied one summer there in piano and absolutely loved the artsy atmosphere and all the many cultural offerings available for students to attend each week. Winston-Salem (home of NCSA and Wake Forest) is a medium-sized city that offers so much culturally for its residents.
|By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit|
You already got great suggestions. I will add mine (which overlap some others):
**These are based on what you shared about your preferences, but I have not checked on rowing or swimming....
George Washington (might be too big)
Washington University, St. Louis
Go for it!
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 11:17 pm: Edit|
Thank you for all the suggestions...
I will check all the schools out. I'm sure that there are also other schools like Vassar which will let me design an individualized major in Dance. But, you'd be surprised how hard it is to find out barring a call to the admissions office or academic department.
There are a few schools which I am interested in even though they do not have an organized major or minor in dance.
To Voigtrob & Collegeparent...
Vassar is definately high on my list; The college website's layout is different than most schools so it's a bit more involved than others. I like what I've seen so far, and if I can design an independent major there, it will be up there with Middlebury, Bowdoin, and Amherst.
As for crew, I would definately like to participate and compete; I believe that most of the colleges I'm looking at are in Division III, which I like, as they do not give out athletic scholarships. Seems better to do that then what Division I does, at least with those who have to play to attend (or continue attending).
To Soozievt and Parentofteen...
Thank you for the suggestions. Goucher, Connecticut, Skidmore, Sarah Lawrence & Bates are on my list. I did not realize that Duke or Wake had a dance minor, but I will look at those also. I have friends that go to Duke and Chapel Hill, so I know I like the area. As for Wake, I've heard some good things about the University so I'm also going to check them out.
Washington University is another good school, but I understand that they do not guarentee to meet need. I've visited a few times and the students seemed friendly. I was surprised by the number of East Coasters on campus, athough that wasn't a bad thing.
I did look at Oberlin and even visited last year. Perhaps it was the weather, but the people I met were a little somber, although the performances I caught there were out of this world.
I do like the North Carolina School of the Arts, but I'm worried that I wounld not be challenged in other areas. I definately want the whole college experience, although the NC school is tempting.
Anyhow, I'll keep checking back here for suggestions. I'll keep you all posted in my search for a college that meets (or exceeds) my requirements. I'll also check out Princeton and Dartmouth, although my stats are just okay for them. I guess you never know, right?
Have a good one.
|By Zcat18 (Zcat18) on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit|
Northwestern has a relatively new but strong dance program. It's within the School of Communication and attracts a lot of musical theater people. You can concentrate in any of several different types of dance, though.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 01:46 pm: Edit|
Kewl...I did not know that. I'll check it out. And, thanks for the heads up.
|By Dimochka (Dimochka) on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:17 pm: Edit|
There is a school (I'll have to check the name) in the midwest that has a ballroom dance major, but, as I'm assuming you know ballroom dance well, it's quite pointless.
I personally don't know why people would go for a dance major. Don't get me wrong, I'm a dancer myself and a few of my close friends are planning to have dance as their career, but I don't see why you would need to take the major in college, I'd just go for performing arts and take some dance classes there.
If you still do want to go for dance, I'd suggest a college in NYC, simply because you can take lessons practically everywhere with the most advanced of teachers.
|By Nickdad (Nickdad) on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 09:44 pm: Edit|
Hi...have you considered Oklahoma City University? It's one of the most respected dance school in the US with a staggering rate of employment by alumni. There were 6 OCU grads in the cast of Broadway's "42nd Street" and they are in almost every major Broadway production. Plus, you have to take demanding liberal arts courses in order to get your degree.
They are openining a fantastic new dance school building in the fall and are currently on tour in the US and China. You might want to check them out at www.youatocu.com.
|By Mtmommy (Mtmommy) on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit|
Oklahoma City University's dance program is specifically for dancers who want to perform; it's probably the last department I'd recommend for somebody who wants to dance only for communicative, aesthetic reasons. The same is true for Point Park. The reason to be for OCU's dept. is to produce dancers who work as dancers. For somebody who wants to be a working dancer (musical theatre, jazz, tap), this is the place to go. For somebody interested in ballet, Arizona State University and U of Utah are good schools, but there are plenty more. Somebody who is interested in dance in an aesthetic, personal, and perhaps intellectual sense and who doesn't have years and years of ballet training would be well-served by one of the literally dozens of departments that specialize in modern dance, one of the best being Fordham which is affiliated with the Alvin Ailey dance company. In fact, most college dance departments specialize in modern, which aside from getting hired by one of the fantastic modern dance companies, is not a commercial dance form. No offense intended, Blaineko, but I don't really understand why someone would want to major in dance if he isn't truly interested in performing because it's a grueling training that wreaks havoc on the body and takes up an extreme amount of time. A dance minor makes more sense as an accompaniment to a major in theatre or philosophy. Tell us more about why you feel it would be advantageous to design your own major or minor. Dance training is not the sort of thing one can dabble in successfully. A solid minor offered by a school with a dance major would provide the best training for a non-performing dancer. The major would assure that the quality of the teaching and the levels available were desirable.
|By Cama (Cama) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 09:39 am: Edit|
I've heard SUNY Purchase is one of the best in the country for dance.
|By Michael1104 (Michael1104) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:21 am: Edit|
The Juilliard School....good luck getting in...8% acceptance rate LOL
|By Nickdad (Nickdad) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 12:19 pm: Edit|
Funny..I thought dancers wanted to work. Guess I was wrong.
|By Mtmommy (Mtmommy) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit|
Silly you! LOL
Seriously, Blaineko's idea about a dance camp for innercity kids is great. To be fair to the kids, Blaineko needs great dance training, even if he doesn't plan to perform himself. OCU wouldn't be too happy with that, UNLESS Blaineko wanted to take them up on their dance management major which focuses on business and techie work, in addition to dance training itself. In that case, it might be a perfect fit in terms of dance (I don't know about crew!).
|By Norcalmom (Norcalmom) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit|
From the Performing Arts Major College Guide:
Most Highly Recommended for Dance
California Institute of the Arts
Hartford Ballet/Univ. of Hartford/Hartt School
Indiana University (ballet)
London Contemporary Dance School
National Ballet School of Canada
New World School of the Arts
North Carolina School of the Arts
Southern Methodist U
University of Utah (modern)
Cal State U. Long Beach
Case Western (modern)
Colorado College (modern)
Cornish College of the Arts
George Washington U.
Hunter College of CUNY
Ohio University, Athens
St. Olaf (liturgical dance)
San Diego State
San Francisco State
U. of Akron
UC Santa Barbara
U. of Cincinnati
U. of Hawaii, both at Honolulu and Manoa
U. of Maryland, College Park
U. of Massachusetts, Amherst
U. of Michigan
U. of Minnesota
U. of New Mexico
U. of Texas
U. of Washington
You would need to check with each school to see what their emphasis is.
I'm in CA, so the ones I know about are SF State, UCLA, Cal Arts and Long Beach State. If you are interested in those, I would be happy to share what info I have.
|By Bjturlington (Bjturlington) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:06 pm: Edit|
Thank you everyone for helping me find schools that have Dance programs. I can see I'll have to spend this coming weekend looking at the websites!
I know it's unusual to major in Dance, but I plan to go to grad school for a Master's in Non-profit or Public Administration, although that is a few years off. For the moment, I'd like to become more familiar with the different kinds of dance out there, so I'm not boxed in, when I'm working with kids.
I'll be busy looking at all the suggestions. I'm glad I got an early start. I cannot imagine if I had started looking in late Summer/early Fall.
Have a good day.
|By Taxguy (Taxguy) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:47 pm: Edit|
Check out Towson University in Maryland. This is a state university in Maryaland. It specializes in performing arts, art, business,communications and education. It is very reasonable, and has small classes with very accessible faculty. It is a real gem in Maryland that not many people are aware of but is slowly gaining a national reputation for it quality.My son goes there and loves it. Good sports and campus life too. Check it out.
|By Idontknow (Idontknow) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 05:26 pm: Edit|
University of the Arts has a great dance program, Point Park University in Pittsburgh as well and Tisch
|By Skulkarni1 (Skulkarni1) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 04:44 am: Edit|
btw, blaineko, i think your idea of creating a dance program for innercity kids is great! No joke, it shows your creative side and the fact that you care.....it's really cool!
|By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 04:55 am: Edit|
Just apply ED to Vassar.
|By Doctorjohn (Doctorjohn) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 07:31 am: Edit|
Otterbein College has a Dance Minor, designed for students who want to major in another area but still train as dancers. Students dance five days/week--MWF 9:30-11, TR 9-11--and touch four techniques weekly. Typical rotation is 2 days of ballet, 1 of modern, 1 of jazz, and 1 of tap or MT styles, all taught by specialists. Three levels are offered, so dancers are with others of same ability in each technique. Dance minors are majoring in Life Science, Business Administration, Nursing, Music, Broadcasting, Art, Sports Medicine, Early Childhood Education, Biochemistry and Psychology.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 03:51 pm: Edit|
You'd be surprised how many people think it's odd. Some of my teachers have even suggested I consider being a professional (e.g. lawyer, business person, doctor). Huh????? They think I would better serve people that way. Don't get me wrong, I respect most of my teachers but it shocked me to hear their suggestions.
You and Voigtrob must be friends. I'm seriously looking at Vassar. I'll probably ED somewhere, but finances unfortunately come into play, so it isn't guarenteed.
Have a awesome weekend. I'll be looking at all your suggestions; For me it's work, but fun.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit|
Sorry to bjturlington...
He must have signed on before me...
I didn't check before sending one of my posts.
Funny, but he is also interested in theater/dance.
He looked at Vassar and a few others on my list, although he applied to different schools than I would. He's going to Grinnell in Iowa. A great school, but no dance program.
I definately think the world is alot smaller now after meeting Rob. He's pretty kewl. It's ironic that I was visiting Vancouver and using the same library computer.
Have a great weekend.
|By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 04:49 pm: Edit|
You and Voigtrob must be friends. I'm seriously looking at Vassar. I'll probably ED somewhere, but finances unfortunately come into play, so it isn't guarenteed.
No, I don't know him, but I know Vassar is an awesome school. Some of my friends are going there and he'll meet them. As far as finances, Vassar's financial aid is excellent.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 02:23 pm: Edit|
Hey, I know what you mean about Vassar. It's an awesome school. I'm encouraged by what I've learned and I know I'll apply. It's just figuring out if I'm going to ED.
Other schools that have impressed me (besides those on my original list) include:
Any thoughts on these?
Have a great day.
|By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 03:51 pm: Edit|
The only one of those I've visited is Princeton and I liked the campus and I think the academics are probably amazing. It's a bit conservative for me: I'm very liberal, and I wanted a liberal, progressive school.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 10:20 pm: Edit|
I also like Princeton, but I'm a little concerned by the amount of work that so many people say is required. Don't get me wrong, I do like challenging courses but don't want to be overwhelmed. Otherwise, it is a great school.
I'd definately feel more at ease at a smaller school, but I'm not sure Princeton would be much different than the larger LACs. I'm also very liberal, though I have some conservative thoughts about the economy (I'm a Pisces, go figure) from time to time.
I'm also looking at Yale (per my brother's and his wife's recommendation, although they went to the grad school of architecture). I've been on Yale's campus quite a few times and I am impressed by the numerous programs (academic and otherwise). I'm a little concerned about New Haven, but my brother has restored a few larger homes in the city and remains an ardent New Haven supporter.
Have a great day.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Friday, May 21, 2004 - 02:27 pm: Edit|
Hey there everyone...
Although this is about college search and selection, I was wondering if you could critique an essay. I'm not sure whether to keep the prologue and epilogue, or whether the essay itself is too long.
I did post this draft in the college admissions board also, for discussion. My concern is that I have been out of school for 2 years, making my writing a little rusty.
Thank you in advance. I am indebted to you.
Random Thoughts: Art & The Incident
Splotches of luminous color filled my vision as I stood nose-to-canvas on that long forgotten day in high school. I inhaled the oily scent of paste mixed with paint-thinner while light from a nearby window struck the vibrant pastel hues, suffusing them with life. I was strangely unmoved by the artwork, except for a vague sense of disconnectedness that licked at my mind. I studied the extravagantly wispy and bulbous brushstrokes hoping to hear the painting murmur its secrets or direct me to a plausible interpretation. But, the artistic piece remained unremittingly silent and mockingly cheerful.
I spun on my heels and made a beeline for the door, knowing that the weekend beckoned. I buried the questions I had about the painting for the more immediate pleasures of a teenage life, fueled as it was by athletic competitions, church activities and movie dates. I did not understand the post-impressionist painting that sat on the easel, nor would I, until much later. It was only after The Incident that I began to see...
I regained consciousness just in time to catch the twinkling stars that blanketed the night sky, as I felt warm earth pressing into my back. How did I get here, I wondered, while I struggled to my feet. I shook my head vigorously from side-to-side as a sharp, searing pain raced up my arms and throughout my torso, while I brushed the clumps of grass and dirt from my jeans. I vaguely registered the fading foot-falls pounding against concrete pavers in the courtyard as I listened to the tempo of my racing pulse. Something was off-kilter. I attempted to pinpoint what that was, while I tried to fathom how I ended up shivering in front of my dorm before dawn.
The clouds of confusion were lifted as snippets of memory were patched together in the weeks following The Incident. I had unceremoniously become a crime statistic by someone elseís hands, and I struggled to make sense of it. I should have been safer. I should have been more aware. I should have fought harder. Then, maybe, I would not have been mugged but 50 feet from my residence hall during my first term at college. All I could think about was how I let it happen. I needed to get order back and find some answers.
Although the attack itself left me with bruises and a few broken bones, the sensation of helplessness and lack of confidence brought on by the mugging elbowed me into a bit of chaos; it was more spiritual hurt than physical pain, but I had been unequivocally altered. I began looking over my shoulder and avoiding my peers as I tried to keep upright while my world tilted on its axis. I remained superficially stoic and steadfastly gregarious, at least with my friends and professors, but it was only behind the safety of my dorm room door that I could breathe easy and let my guard down. I remained active in the college community despite my fear and insecurity. But, my behavior was, in the end, false bravado--a caricature, if you will, of the person I was before the assault. It was meant to show others how unaffected I was by the mugging. An alternate reality is what I would call it, where my unwavering belief in the static quality of being rather than the fluid nature of life created a kind of disconnectedness between how I felt and behaved. I had mistakenly thought I was tough, that I could handle anything. I was wrong.
After The Incident, my carefully crafted ideas faltered and casual personality hid for a while as I sought answers. It was a lonely search. I scrambled to find meaning in daily rituals and experiences, while I wondered why the universe chose to gift me with such an unfortunate situation. I was numb and aimless, like a wandering spirit without a resting place. Many people, including my physician, assured me that things were fine. But, I knew, even then, it was unlike me to be anything but optimistic or positive.
My world was slowly becoming an odd place. I was counseled to drop courses, one-by-one, that would penalize me for missing a week of classes during my hospital stay, or those that would adversely affect my grades due to a few schedule and necessary physical therapy appointments. It seemed like a punishment, rather than a way to regain stability. While physically healed, I had become emotionally jaded. I began distrusting the motives of strangers and quickly adopted the Darwinian idea of survival of the fittest. Only the strong would survive, and I wanted to be left standing. I would do whatever was necessary to ensure it. Thus, after much personal reflection and discussion, as well as the urging of my parents, I returned home searching for solace. I was privately skeptical about moving back to Hawaii and yet attracted to its familiarity.
On the Garden Isle, I soon found myself unabashedly chortling at Momís wacky ways and ostentatious personal style, while my sister doggedly asked for my opinion about every subject under the Hawaiian sun. Not to be outdone, my friends cajoled me back to the theater when all I wanted was to burrow under the blankets, as Dad handed me a toolbox along with a laundry-list of pet projects whenever he spotted me with nothing to do. I flung myself into restoring a rusted-out í67 Chevy Camaro and volunteered in my community. I was gently nudged to get mad, be happy, laugh heartily, and enjoy myself for a time. These simple occurrences and unexpected pleasures slowly soothed my soul, ultimately righting my world. I became aware that my loved-ones had reorganized their time so I could find a foothold. They changed, so I could.
This encouragement coupled with satisfying work at the Childrenís Discovery Museum willed the Aloha back. It happened, though I resisted at first. I wanted to stay in my self-created box, but my community would not stand for it. I was drawn out by those who had needs that were greater than mine. I organized canned-food collections and began mentoring kids. I got involved with fund raising for Wilcox Hospital, and even choreographed routines for community theater programs. Without quite realizing it, I started morphing into someone new as I discarded those unnecessary and protective paradigms that had once comforted me by its sheer safety and which had cosigned me to a life half-lived. Change came only when I began reaching out to others. It meant shifting my personal perceptions, and also demanded that I remain open-minded and unguarded even when I wanted to play it safe. It turns out, the assault had affected me more than I had thought, and it was time to move on.
Though I am not through living, I have learned a simple truth. Change confronts each of us, as competing interests tug at our minds and hearts. By ignoring this, our humanistic need to transform ourselves, we are destined to a rigid and colorless existence. Yes, we would be safe from harm; but, unmoved or untouched by the leisurely ebb and eternal flow of living that is a part of our nature. We are defined not only by our successes but also our missteps. I am chagrined to admit it, but I almost failed to appreciate this bit of wisdom until I was able to reflect on my past experiences. All those years ago, what seemed like an end was in fact a beginning.
The languid vibrations of life now radiate uninhibitedly from the post-impressionistic work of art that dresses-up one of the stark living room walls in my apartment. It is the same painting that I had once turned away from long ago. Although, it now speaks to me freely as I take-in its soothing color pallet after an arduous day at work, while my mind wanders ahead of itself, I am still awed. The artistic creation insists quietly that a person or a work of art, in the grand scheme of things, is made-up of universal emotions and particular parts which result in a coalesced whole that often transcends those pieces.
I am impressed by what the artwork reveals and comforted by its message. Like pointillist paintings by Signac and Seurat where balance and point-of view determine how coherent or incomprehensible a particular creation can be, at my core, I am still myself but better defined by reflection, distance, and perspective. As I stand before the painting and watch the delicately colored canvas shimmer and glow in the beams of afternoon sunlight, I can discern that a dark event, such as the mugging at college, is given context by the creation of more positive life experiences--the healing nature of emotional expression, the honesty required of self-scrutiny, and the care of loved-ones.
Light trumps dark. Positives outweigh negatives. By moving a few steps backward to see the whole picture, I can now view and comprehend those dots of color on canvas and enjoy the resultant scene. The work of art thus transcends its hued blobs to craft a telling picture. There is a sense of wholeness and purpose to the painting which was inaccessible to me in high school or immediately after The Incident, but is obvious today. Life like art, when view in balance, can define a beautiful but imperfect picture and give itself scope, purpose, and definition.
Have an awesome day & thanks again.
|By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Friday, May 21, 2004 - 08:46 pm: Edit|
Here's the rewrite...
Random Thoughts: The Incident & Art
I regained consciousness in time to catch stars blanketing the night sky, as warm earth pressed into my back. How did I get here, I wondered, while struggling to my feet. I shook my head vigorously from side-to-side as a sharp, searing pain raced throughout my torso. Something was off-kilter. I attempted to pinpoint what that was, while shivering before my residence hall, but it all remained fuzzy.
In the next few weeks, snippets of memory were patched together, and my confusion lifted. I had become a crime statistic. And, I struggled to make sense of it. I should have been more aware; I should have fought harder. Then, maybe, I would not have been mugged during my first term at college. Although the assault left me with bruises and broken bones, the sense of helplessness brought on by it was what caused chaos; it was spiritual hurt rather than physical pain that did it. I began looking over my shoulders, avoided my peers, and remained superficially gregarious at least with my friends. I smiled, I mingled, and laughed at all the right times, and kept active in my college community despite my insecurity. I just never let my guard down. My behavior was false bravado--a caricature of who I was before the attack. I would call it an alternate reality, where my belief in the static quality of being rather than the fluid nature of life created disconnectedness. I thought I was tough; but, I was wrong.
After The Incident, I sought a way to cope. I scrambled to find meaning in daily rituals and experiences, but was gifted with odd behavior instead. Classmates pointed and whispered when I entered a room, friends altered their speech when I joined a conversation, and I was counseled to drop courses, one-by-one, which penalized me for missing classes during my hospital stay or those that would affect my grades due to physical therapy appointments. It seemed like punishment, rather than a way to normality. While I quickly healed physically, I had become jaded. I felt only distance, a void. I began distrusting peopleís motives and ran on my survival instincts. Thus, after personal reflection and the urging of my parents, I returned to Hawaii looking for solace. Privately skeptical about moving back home, I was still attracted to its familiarity.
Once there, I soon found myself begin to relax. I learned to chuckle again by watching Joee, my parents Poodle, wheedle table scraps from the dinner table. I was bemused by Momís wacky ways and ostentatious outfits, and baffled by my sisterís dogged interest in my opinions about everything under the Hawaiian sun. Not to be outdone, my friends dragged me back to the theater hoping to snap me out of my funk, and my mentors visited often; and Dad, ever practical, handed me a toolbox with a list of projects whenever he saw I was idle, although I think it was so that he could get out of doing it himself.
While at home, I also flung myself into restoring a í67 Camaro and volunteered in my community. I had wanted to stay inside myself, but my family and community would not stand for it. I was drawn out by those who had needs that were greater than mine, and slowly became interested in what was taking place around me. I started mentoring neighborhood kids, and got involved with childrenís community theater. After a few months of this, I was gently nudged to get mad, laugh unabashedly, and enjoy myself. Without quite realizing it, I started to morph into someone new as I discarded those self-protective behaviors that once comforted me. It meant shifting personal perceptions, and demanded I remain open-minded and unguarded. Eventually, food started tasting better and music sounded richer. Work felt good, and sleep more peaceful. These simple pleasures began soothing my hurt, and made me aware that my loved-ones had reorganized their lives so I could find a foothold. They changed, so I could. Though I had resisted at first, this kind of encouragement willed the Aloha back, and forced me to acknowledge that it could only have happened by embracing others.
We need to remember that we are defined not only by our successes but also our missteps, and how we respond to them. Change, it seems, is meant to confront us in big and small ways, to keep us off balance so that we may search for meaning and perspective, much like modern art sometimes does for its audience. Every time I see a new piece of artwork, I am reminded of this realization, whether a gallery piece or Crayola sketch. I am comforted by their messages, no matter the Period or the Medium. Like pointillist paintings by Signac and Seurat where balance and point-of view determine comprehensibility, I can discern that a dark event, such as the mugging, is given relief by more enlightening experiences--the nature of emotional expression, honest self-reflection, and the support of loved-ones. By learning to move a few steps backward when viewing an oil painting in its entirety, I can now comprehend and enjoy the resultant composition, which transcends individual brushstrokes. There is a sense of integrity to artwork that was not accessible to me following the mugging, but is obvious today. Art like life, when seen as a whole, can define a beautiful but imperfect picture and give itself scope, purpose, and definition.
It's alot shorter, but I'm too close to the writing. I need a critiques, especially if I'm going to apply to the LACs.
I definatelt want to knock this out over the weekend, since I have like 50 supplements and apps to do.
Anyhow, thank you for your time.
Have a good weekend.
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