make me a STAR

I have litrally completed 3 semesters (halfway done!!) of graduate school; I’m not sure if I even know what that means. A year and a half ago when I decided to pursue my MFA in Choreography and Performance, I had NO idea what I was actually getting myself into, and how could I? I knew that I had just graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Communications, and that there weren’t any big-time corporations knocking on my door begging me to work for their PR departments, so I really had nothing to lose…enter Upstate NY dance department.

In some ways I wish I had received a “survival guide” for my first year as a dance major in higher education; I said it before and I’ll say it again, I REALLY had no idea what I was getting myself into. I tend to have a timid personality that slowly develops over time, and I have never been overly competitive, or maybe I’ve just never been outwardly competitive; either way, the name of the game in any dance department is to stand out and be a shining star.

My initial question once I had unpacked my bags was, where to even start? The ten of us first-years spent our beginning semester walking the hallways following each other around like little ducks lost without their mother. I pretended like I knew what was up, even though I spent most my time crying inside wondering:

How was I ever going to make a successful career out of painting the earth with my body?!?!?!

And then out of nowhere the dance-gods blessed me with a man that we’ll call Tellysaurus. Tellysaurus is a NY based dancer/choreographer who was hired in for the second semester of my first year to teach an open modern technique class, Rep and Lit, and a recreational hip-hop workshop that lasted throughout the semester

**Please note that hip-hop is like the black sheep as far as the world of concert dance is concerned.**

For me, an undercover hip-hop dancer, having the opportunity to get down right after ballet class was almost more than I could handle. I volunteered to be his assistant for the workshops, even before anyone knew of my love for Britney Spears or her backup dancers, and thus my niche was born. I was now known as the girl who could pop and lock almost as well as she could plie and ronds de jambe, who even saw this coming?! The rest of my first year flew by, as I was on a driven mission to leave my mark on the community of concert dance. I WAS FINALLY STANDING OUT, AND PEOPLE WERE NOTICING!

Flash forward to now, and I am closer and closer to becoming the Britney Spears of concert dance with each passing day. Sorry I’m not sorry, I’m here to create entertaining art.

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4 thoughts on “make me a STAR

  1. Sarah says:

    I think it’s not really needed to be a shinning star within the school but encouraged to let your light shine to it’s capacity; in a way never challenged to do so in the past. Does that make sense?

    • nichekaplan4 says:

      Totally!!! While I think that reaching your own capacity as a person is the ultimate goal, in such a competitive field where your success depends on not only what makes you unique but also who you know, it’s that much more important to be recognized within the school that’s eventually going to be sending you off to the big leagues. But you’re absolutely right, none of that recognition will even occur without that person first achieving their personal best. Shine on!!!

      • Sometimes success happens without knowing anyone, or those you know are unknown where you need to shine. Sometimes shining small is bigger than shinning large.
        What if what makes you special in the real world doesn’t shine bright in school world….And school is a place to find parts of yourself and not shine as a star but part of the whole? A place to fill in gaps.
        What if you don’t shine in school? Do you think you won’t shine in the real world?
        I have never shined in school. But in the real world I made a difference without people to help me. And I shined.
        You shine because you make a difference not because of those you know. People offer paths, but paths can find you on their own. You always know the people you know, wether you shined with them or not. Everyone sees something different in a person. They see what they want to see or have experienced. So I guess making sure everyone has seen how you work and shine is efficient…..
        To make a difference with your gift, that is the ultimate goal for me. If you make a difference, you will shine, too. And that is inspiration. Don’t you think?
        Maybe to make some differences you need to shine big……
        But when I look back, those who shined in school, and got somewhere big, (I mean really big); have not shined in a way that really made a difference; just made them famous. They have experienced much, but only in the world where they are big stars, and nothing else. It’s the ones that didn’t always shine who have made the most impact, seen more, done more, inspired more and lived more. Shining is best when it makes a difference. I suppose we all have different ways to make a difference. Some large and some small…..Just always shine your way. Make sure you know what your way is. And you can do it. Beautiful sparkly one.

  2. T. Tremaine says:

    Hey! I really enjoyed reading this!! This is like a breath of fresh air in a room full of stuffy dancers who take themselves too seriously. It’s good to know you can be passionate about the craft but also remember to appreciate the joy it brings us! Keep it up!

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