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Majoring in Dance — Fall Update

by Maxine Patronik

in community

I’ve been dancing with the Lines BFA Program at Dominican University of California for about four months now (as a dance major), and it’s hard to believe a whole semester has flown by. I’ve learned so much already, and I thought I’d share some of that with you.

This is the incredible view we get from our bus ride from the LINES center in the city back to Dominican in Marin (across the bridge).

This is the incredible view we get from our bus ride from the LINES Center (in the city) back to Dominican in Marin (across the bridge).

Curious what my schedule’s like? Well whenever I’m not in classes, I’m pretty much rehearsing, sleeping, or eating! Here’s a typical day’s schedule for me:

7am – 9am – Wake up, eat breakfast. Depending on the day of the week, we either take a bus downtown to LINES Dance Center for classes or we walk to Marin Ballet (the studio).

9am – 10:45am – Ballet class, with optional barre or center en pointe on certain days.

11am – 12:30pm – Horton technique class. Again, this isn’t everyday, so some of the other classes we’ve had include: Percussion, Alexander technique, and Limón technique. In about a week this is replaced by rehearsals on some days.

12:30pm – 1pm – Lunch!

1pm – 2:30pm — GYROTONIC® class. This whole system is really interesting, and is an amazing form of cross training for dancers. We only have this class on the days we are in San Francisco, since all the equipment is in the studio there.

3pm – 7pm – Academic classes, including History, Math, and English.

6pm or 7pm – Dinner!

6pm-11pm – Homework, some days rehearsal, getting ready for the next day.

 

Marin beachOne of the most memorable things we’ve done so far is take class from Alonzo King, the founder and director of LINES Ballet. “Alonzo week,” as we call it, was early this year, only the third week into the program, so as freshmen we were thrown in immediately.

It was such an amazing experience! His classes are incredibly challenging; they are both physically demanding and mentally exhausting. By the end of each class we had with him (as freshmen we only had 2), I couldn’t tell if my body or mind was more tired. Alonzo challenged us with each little movement we did, making us think about the detail of what you’re doing as well as the intention behind it. You can’t simply do a tendu without it meaning something or it affecting the space around you. He gave so many metaphors to help us understand how to move our bodies, and it was such an interesting and new way of thinking about dance.

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Each semester, we also have a showcase (either fall or spring), which happened for us this past November. The rehearsal process was very interesting, especially considering we only had about three weeks to learn our piece. Each class performs their own piece, so as freshman we learned about a twelve minute piece. Since the theme for the showcase was literature, our piece had to do with Dante’s Inferno.

It was a really great first semester, and although finals weren’t very fun, I’m looking forward to going back for spring semester. We’ve got 3 upcoming shows, including senior projects and a spring showcase, so it will definitely be a busy one!

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