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Student Blog: DANCE NATION: Through My Eyes

My first show for the 2022-2023 school year at UC San Diego was serving as the choreographer and assistant director for Dance Nation by Clare Barron.

Student Blog: DANCE NATION: Through My Eyes My first show for the 2022-2023 school year at UC San Diego was serving as the choreographer and assistant director for Dance Nation by Clare Barron. This show was challenging for me in multiple ways including utilizing the dramaturgy of dance in the context of the show. When I choreographed A Chorus Line, a lot of my focus was on how the choreography looked on stage and what the aesthetic of the stage picture was even if those choices weren't motivated by conversations brought up in tablework and subsequent rehearsals. With this play, I am justifying each step and piece of movement with an element described in the tablework. Even if there are parts that are repetitive or don't look the most polished, I think that serves the story more since the heart of this play is about these adults revisiting their 13-year-old selves to discover something new.

This show is also something I personally resonate with since I grew up as a dancer in that competitive and disciplined environment. So, working on this show was an extremely cathartic and nostalgic experience for me. I felt thrown back to when I was 13 and experiencing everything for the first time. Every grade I got in school and every dance I did felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Looking back on it now I smile and think about the innocence and the optimism I had at that age. That was something I wanted to revisit and embrace through doing this show. A lot of what this show did for me was it gave me permission to tap into that part of myself again.

Ashlee's monologue in the show particularly sticks with me - especially the final line in which Ashlee asks the audience "what am I going to do with all this power?" Throughout the monologue, Ashlee reckons and realizes the potential, beauty, and power that she holds. She's felt that she's had to force herself to deny any feeling of self-confidence or reject any acknowledgment of her talent or beauty. When she's given the space to speak, however, she can shoot for the stars, and seeing her have that monumental realization of her potential creates an extremely powerful and moving moment in the show. I very much related to this in that I've felt many a time that I've had to deny my talents or strengths because I was afraid of how that would affect the way people look at me. What I remembered through working on this show was that I can acknowledge my strengths and talents while still being humble. I am now questioning what I want to do with all my power and my potential and it's encouraging me to hype myself up more and to think about the possibilities for my future in a new way.

I've been planning on working on this show since June of 2021 and I am ecstatic that I finally got to work on it. I think the show really taps into what it's like to be 13 and what it's like to be an unfiltered teenager whose world is just beginning to expand. I always think of it as a time when I asked a lot of questions to myself and paid a lot of attention to how I was feeling and took care of myself when things weren't feeling right. Because of this show, I took care of myself a lot more than I usually do and it reminded me to check in with myself more often and to embrace all that I have to offer the world. I'm very grateful to have worked on this production. Check out the link below for more information on what the production entailed: https://theatre.ucsd.edu/performances-and-events/theatre-performances/dancenation.html


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