Growing my Movement Vocabulary


I’ve noticed that each new technique that I learn impacts my movement style in a different way.

This is my fourth project with YDT, and I have found each experience to be influential in how I approach dance, movement, expression, and performance. When I first joined YDT, my personal dance style was limited to movements remembered from my formal dance education which ended when I was 13. My first year, our choreographers from Alvin Ailey – Renee and Matthew – brought expression, embodiment, and confidence into my dance. My second year, Lee and Saar showed me how to loosen my movements and find release in pushing through discomfort with the Gaga technique. My third year, Amanda, Courtney and Love from Urban Bush Women taught me how to listen deeply to music and how to bring myself fully into any piece that I perform. When I improvise, I find aspects of these three years coming into everything that I do. The openness of my chest, the fluidity of my spine, and the musicality of my movements all come from what I’ve learned with YDT.

Now that we are working within the Paul Taylor style, I am again finding my movement vocabulary shifting. Certain aspects of the style sit comfortably within my existing abilities. The S-shaped arms that we practice during class, the angular counterbalance of hips and legs in several Party Mix poses, the use of the sternum to both draw and direct attention. Many aspects of the style are still difficult for me. The jump sequences that I am learning for Party Mix, the smooth steps and turns across the floor, even the back and shoulder strength required to finish the full port de bras during warm ups. I embrace the challenges, and I can already feel growth in my technique from the few rehearsals we’ve had this semester. Paul Taylor shapes and styles are already entering my default movement vocabulary, and I’m excited to see how I continue to grow and develop over the course of this project.