Student Blog: Our first Ritual Embrace

May 3, 2016

By Celine Kiner

“This is the last time we’ll be dancing together just us, as an entire class,” Jordan told the cypher on Friday night as we gathered before our final performance. “So make sure to be really present.”

Nods of agreement circled the stage, and an aura of support filled the air before we broke to begin the performance. I’m not sure if something in Jordan’s words registered extremely well or if our year of hard work had simply culminated in the evening’s program, but our collective energy has never been more in tune. Dancers came offstage smiling after each piece, smiling ear to ear at each other before running back on for bows. Those waiting in the wings for the next piece focused their energy on the dancers onstage, whispering an encouraging “yes!” each time a difficult movement succeeded.

Whispering, that is, until Ritual Embrace. Choreographed by d. Sabela Grimes, our beloved hip hop professor, this piece was the only original work we performed, and consequently was the work that showed our individuality the most. And every time somebody onstage showed off this individuality, our extreme vocal affirmation followed–we yelled for each other, for our pride in our program and in our classmates and in our faculty. The energy level that night had already surpassed anything I had ever felt, but it skyrocketed during this piece. My vocal affirmations became involuntary as I stood in awe of my classmates–my family–onstage. We performed not as a class but as a unit, and it was clear that our bond would only get stronger in the years to come.

As the year wraps up, we keep asking each other how we’ll survive being apart for the summer. This question still goes unanswered; a transition from eight-hour days together to none at all is bound to be difficult. But we’re already more than prepared to meet again in the fall and experience our brand new building with the next class of freshmen, when we’ll have to figure out how to make the New Movement even newer.