Statement about my dance team. Will repay with bboy lessons.

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Statement about my dance team. Will repay with bboy lessons.

Postby bboykaysun » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:11 am

Hi everyone, I'm kindly and humbly asking for any critique and feedback on my personal statement. It's the one I'm using for a more personal aspect of myself instead of the more academically oriented one I wrote first. PM's or replies are fine :)

All feedback is appreciated and thanks in advance! Also please PM if anyone wants to swap (already posted in the swap thread)

Memoirs of a Dancer

I looked across the mirrored dressing room where all fifty members of my dance team were packed. There wasn’t much time left before their very first performance and this was my last chance to talk to them, to ease their nervousness, or just to make any last-minute remarks. As I stood up before my team, I felt 50 pairs of eyes follow me and the chatter die down. I knew how landmark a moment this was for many of them and, as a result, I also knew how easily my words would wash uselessly over that anxiety. Aware of the futility of yet another speech, I took my portable speakers in hand, walked to the center of my team, and imparted to them one last note as their director.

About two years ago, many of my dancers would never have had the opportunity to grace the stage before a 2000 people audience. At the time, UNDERGRAD COLLEGE’s dance community was small and exclusive with tall barriers to entry, surprising for a supposedly non-competitive atmosphere. Mostly due to the dominance of two well-established student dance organizations which primarily accepted members with prior dance experience, the audition process often left behind many who wanted to take their first step in dance. The rejection e-mails would often encourage auditioning the following dance cycle but, without the regular practices and frequent exposure to choreography that a dance team offers, many beginners would not improve enough to stand out at the next auditions. Therein lied the unspoken vicious cycle of the community; you either already knew how to dance before college or you weren’t going to learn.

Now, clearly this was a problem. While the stratification of those with a common passion was objectionable in and of itself, it was the violation of a fundamental and personal tenet of dance which compelled me to action: dance should be liberating in its expression, not limiting in its introduction. A desire to dance is necessarily accompanied by a desire to action. No one is a dancer just in their head, since dance, as art and as expression, necessitates action. For an art which emphasizes expression of action and movement, a system which inherently disempowers impassioned individuals of the opportunity to express that passion is in direct and immediate conflict with its fundamental philosophy.

Knowing many of these beginners and having experienced that frustration ourselves, a few dancer friends and I moved beyond frustration with the dance community and took action to change it. In 2011, XXX Dance was established, a team which focused on providing that crucial yet missing initial opportunity to aspiring dancers, trapped in the loop of audition politics. Since then, I’ve seen our team expand from a single team of beginners to over ten teams accommodating all levels of dance experiences. As a choreographer and director of four consecutive teams, I’ve directed over a hundred fifty beginners, persisted with them through their struggles, and watched proudly as they became fully fledged performers in front of hundreds of people.

Over the past 8 years as a dancer, I’ve been trained and conditioned to express my ideals and convictions through action. Fortunately in the case at UNDERGRAD COLLEGE, I possessed the understanding to recognize and the technical ability to resolve a failure in our dance community. However, frustratingly there have also been too many situations where my present ability was not enough to resolve the injustices before me, most often due to a lack of a formal legal education.

Although many of the people I’ve met at the legal clinic and my workplace were afflicted by a different type of injustice than the dance community, many of their situations elicit similar reactions: the recognition of an unfair condition and the desire to make a difference. As a student clinic caseworker, I’ve received accounts of flagrant landlord abuses where I could only provide basic research services before referring them to an actual lawyer. As an immigration paralegal, I would commit hours of preparation, research, and argumentation to defend a father of three in removal proceedings, none of which would matter without the appearance of a licensed attorney. This professional commodification of action, while understandable, conflicts with my values from my years as a dancer and is what now compels me to empower myself with my legal education in the face of this obstacle.

Back in that pre-performance dressing room with my team waiting on me for a speech, I put down my speakers and just let the music play. For a few minutes, that previously grim dressing room became an open arena of dance, cheers, and expression. That freestyle circle right before my team’s first performance embodied the most important lesson that dance has imparted to me over the years. As an art form, dance teaches us to express our convictions through action and empowerment. As a lawyer, I intend to take those lessons to heart.

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