Day in the Life: Freshman Year
June 30, 2020
Entering my first semester here at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, I expected a pretty busy schedule in the best way. It sure did deliver! As a dance major, I was so excited to merge both my academics and dance throughout the day. I wanted to connect my academic interests with my dance education. This is a day in my life as as freshman at USC Kaufman!
In my first semester freshman year, I would wake up bright and early around 7:00 a.m., and start my day. After brushing my teeth, doing my hair and getting dressed, I would grab breakfast at the dining hall. I’d then head over to the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center (KDC), zooming through campus on my beloved scooter.
Every other day I went to the USC Fitness Center before heading to class. While at the center, I did cardio and strength exercises, which serve as cross-training with my dance training. After leaving the USC Fitness Center, I made my way to KDC to stretch and prepare for my first technique class of the day, ballet. After a challenging yet uplifting ballet class, I would either take contemporary with Professor Patrick Corbin (twice a week), hip-hop with Professor d. Sabela grimes (twice a week), or classical partnering with Professor Bruce McCormick (on Fridays).
Contemporary focuses on the foundational aspects and techniques of one of the most innovative voices in modern dance, Paul Taylor. Hip-hop hones in on the use of fundamental isolations, or as Professor G. calls them, the funkamental isos. In addition to dance techniques, we focus on community building in the cypher, and exercise respect, encouragement and appreciation for our classmates. Classical Partnering is a Friday morning special. In this class, we practice aspects of partnering such as strength and trust through various exercises in the center. Freshman year, we take all our dance classes as a cohort. Starting the day taking class with my beloved classmates never fails to inspire and motivate me.
Lunch or General Education Seminar
After Dance Technique, I would head to my academic class for the day. In my first semester, this included a GESM class or General Education Seminar. My GESM was Media and Social Change, which included conversations about today’s media and how it affects society as a whole. Being offered a course that reflects the overall community of USC as well as the world around us was very beneficial. It opened my eyes to popular culture and various social issues. I connected this knowledge to my dance training in many ways, and I owe a lot of my awareness regarding the media to this course. While I had a shorter lunch break twice a week, I had a two hour lunch break on the days I didn’t have my GESM. This was a good time to eat, work on assignments, meet with professors, or chat with friends.
After leaving my GESM in the Annenberg Building, I often stopped at the Coffee Bean at the School of Cinematic Arts. After this quick afternoon pick me up, I would return to KDC and attend either Improvisation and Composition with Professor Thomas McManus (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) or Repertory and Performance (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). Repertory and Performance is led by a variety of professors, depending on the repertory we are assigned for that semester. The mix of repertory broadened my horizons in the dance world and continues to inform my understanding of the many stylistic nuances of dance. Improvisation and Composition, also known as Improv and Comp, explores many different ways of moving, and touches upon the many codified improvisation technologies of William Forsythe. We study many improvisation techniques that are applicable to personal growth in terms of body and mind.
During my first semester, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I would join Professor Marisa Hentis in Conditioning for Dancers, a class on how to train the body in relation to dance. This class focuses on anatomy and kinesiology, which is very beneficial. In this class, we learned exercises and techniques to prepare and train our bodies in dance specific ways. In my second semester, instead of Conditioning for Dancers, I took Dance Science which is more focused on body makeup and the functions of each bone and muscle. Yes, every single one! These classes work together to help us dancers better understand our bodies. They have made a huge impact on my cohort when it comes to injury prevention and body awareness. The better you know your body, the better you can use it!
I sometimes had additional courses in the evenings. In my first semester of freshman year, I had World Perspectives on Dance Performance on Monday nights. Professor Alison D’Amato taught this class. We learned about many historical dance forms across the globe. We covered everything from Folklorico to Capoeira, and all the way back to the beginnings of ballet. They brought in expert instructors to teach classes on whatever dance style we were currently studying. This was helpful to embody what we were learning. Those classes hold some of my favorite freshman year memories! On other days of the week, I took an additional elective dance class. In my case, it was a performance lab centered around Forsythe repertory.
On my nights off, I would head to the USC Village and get dinner with friends. Following dinner, I would begin my assigned work for the night. I researched topics that we talked about in class either in KDC’s Collaborative Space for BFA students or one of my friend’s rooms. After homework, I would scoot back to my dorm, Parkside Arts and Humanities. Upon arriving home I would continue my school work and chat with my roommate and classmate, Jenna Meilman (BFA ’23). This was always a fantastic way to end the day, usually laughing together from across the room. After unwinding, I would go to sleep with gratitude for the day that had just passed, and growing excitement for the following day!
By Lauren Brophy (BFA ’23)