Dance Intensive Diaries / by Valerie Green

Dance Intensive Diaries

By Sarah Awad


Day 1: Finding it Again

A recreational dancer and insecure about my age, I entered Green Space excited, but also a

touch apprehensive. This was quickly alleviated by Valerie’s immediate trust in us. Day 1 was

set up in a way that effortlessly shook out the nerves, thoroughly established the context of

movement, and clearly set up the expectations for the cohort. I appreciated her want to

understand me further, and she treated me like a “real dancer;” the freedom she gave me to

express my creativity through our choreography exercises and in collaboration on the final

performance piece were vulnerable but incredibly important experiences for me. It gave me the

confidence to step up and speak up more so in our collaborator throughout the week.

Day 2: Yin and Yang

Back-to-back Ballet Barre and Modern Dance Technique really pushed me to harmonize with

my biomechanics and really challenged my understanding of all the nuances of foundational

movement. I loved feeling the opposition between both practices, and I think it is important and

powerful to be reminded of our body’s versatility and ability to flow through different languages

of movement; it was a very important challenge for me. A former ballet dancer, it was both

nostalgic and joyful to return to the barre after so long, and I plan on reintroducing it to my

personal practice.

Day 3: Digging Deep

Really feeling the aftermath of barre today, but any soreness was dissipated by Hanna’s

beautiful and poignant modern technique class. I always struggled with the direct connection

between how I feel in the act of dance, and what I visibly convey in my face and body- I could

be totally immersed in the world of the performance, yet my natural stoicism is the only

“emotion” that reads. Hanna was so kind, and I was eager to open up to her. Her class helped

me further access the emotional sweet spot necessary for my choreographed phrase.

Day 4: Tough Mudder

The day of reckoning; I felt like my insides were sun-burned, the pores of my brain closed up.

Barre was a blur and taking in the technique phrases in both classes was proving impossible. I

started to fall into myself, and began to question if I could successfully perform our final piece.

This lack of confidence felt strange for once, and I knew something in me had changed- I have

grown nonetheless.

Day 5: Settling into Place

Choreography refinement and critiques with Jonathon were the hands that pulled me out of the

hole I dug Wednesday. Spending time working on my own phrase allowed me to tap into those

day-before feelings in a more productive way, and with Jonathon’s guidance and Hanna’s class

on the brain, I could feel myself clearing a wall, and that gave me the energy to really fight

through our rehearsal and get it right.

Day 6: Restored and Rehearsed

Yoga was much needed, and its results were clear in my confidence and ability to loosen up

during our final rehearsal. Pre-performance jitters were manageable, and I couldn’t wait until

tomorrow. A well balanced day for body and mind.

Day 7: Showtime and Final Reflections

Our last day went by fast! Modern dance technique class in the morning felt fully integrated,

and I was thrilled with my performance in our dress rehearsal. Getting ready for the

performance was a bit emotional for me- my goal of returning to performing was happening, and

I could feel all I learned in the week flowing through me. I felt new.

Later that day, I came across a paper where I had written down goals for myself this year, so

this week was punctuated with crossing off “perform again.” The whole week was amazing, and

I returned to my nine-to-five sad that it was over, but feeling uplifted.