When I came to Core Dance as Publications Manager in September 2017, I was immediately drawn to the daily morning classes. The athleticism and process-based approach spoke to me as a mover. As a staff member, I had the opportunity to jump into class a few days a week before sitting down at my desk. I’ve written blog posts regularly about class and rehearsals, and it is one of my favorite parts of my job.
I have recently accepted a position with the University of Rochester. It is a bittersweet transition. I know that everything that I have learned during my time at Core Dance will strengthen me in my future journeys but I am sad to leave. Now, during my last week as Publications Manager, I find myself coming full circle, writing a blog post about an incredible class.
This morning, I was lucky enough to take class with Luke Murphy, the third guest artist of our summer intensive, DIG. Throughout the two and a half hour class, sweat soaked through my clothes, I felt muscles I didn’t know I had, and we all discovered new shapes for our bodies. I loved the structure of the class, bordering on traditional with a warm up, across the floor, and then phrase work, but innovative and challenging in movements. To warm up, we went through different sequences of moving in and out of the ground, shaking different parts of our bodies, and engaging and releasing muscles while staying fluid and grounded. I loved that it was such a long warm-up, and I really enjoyed the balance of strengthening exercises and stretching. As we began moving across the floor, I was warm and ready for whatever Luke threw at us.
Before learning a phrase that combined floorwork with jumps, turns, and shifting weight, we spent time rolling, sliding, and shifting from one side of the room to the other. During one sequence, we slid across the floor on our backs, using solely our core muscles and shoulders to move through space. Luke made it look so fluid, but I found it difficult not to get stuck. It was awesome to watch everyone struggle slightly but then get into the groove of it. We did a lot of over the shoulder rolls, which I loved because being upside down is my favorite thing in the world, but it was a new challenge to do them consistently, while traveling and trying not to get too dizzy. Although I am sure to discover some bruises tomorrow, it was gratifying to use muscles that I don’t usually engage, and move in a completely different way.
Luke focused a lot on the pathways of movements, which I found extremely helpful. Rather than just showing us how the move was supposed to look, he demonstrated where the initiation came from, and how it was meant to flow throughout the body. I often find myself trying to imitate the teacher in class, and it was great to confirm that mimicking is not the same thing as learning. It’s important not to jump into something without learning the process, both to prevent injury and to fully embody the movement. Even though I didn’t fully translate everything seamlessly into my body today, I connected with the mechanics behind each new idea. By the end of the class, I knew more about my own body and it’s incredible ability to create motion.
I have grown so much as a dancer, writer, and individual, since joining the Core Dance team. It’s an incredibly unique environment - a space that encourages creativity in all of its staff and dancers, supports everyone involved, and works tirelessly to create change in the world through the medium of dance. Everyone here has a passion for the art, and it has been an amazing experience to work with so many talented individuals. I will be forever grateful for my time here, and Core Dance will always hold a special place in my heart.
Barbara Branson, Publications Manager, and the People of Core Dance