What’s On Top?

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For a majority of our UBW classes, Amanda, Courtney, or Love would ask our circle of dancers, “What’s on top?” In the moment, it was many things. That problem set that I started too late in the week (again) and would have to stay up late to finish. The meetings I had to plan or the emails I had to write. The soreness in my shoulder. Or the person who was being unresponsive and dismissive for a reason I couldn’t target. In the first minutes of class, that question absolved all of my worries. As we went around the circle, all of my fellow dancers were honest and candid. We released our worries into the space and promised ourselves that we would dedicate the next three hours to the art, one that was healing and therapeutic. It was in these moments that I realized that YDT and UBW were more than just dance classes. In the middle of my stressful/busy routine that is Yale, these classes cleared my mind and centered my focus on something greater than the minutia of everyday life. It brought me back to the beginning. The beginning of class also signified a type of check-in. Amanda pushed us to be honest about what were feeling. It was okay if we weren’t in a great mood. Or if we were sleep deprived or tired. In many ways, those negative feeling became fuel for a more productive and inspiring class. That despite the things we carried into the studio, we were capable of placing them aside and putting our best selves into the movement. This was just one of the lessons I learned, and I am very grateful for developing the ability to acknowledge what is one top.