DANCER TO DANCER
Fairul also taught me a short solo. I was
a bit nervous because some of his work
can be very complicated and I didn’t want
to mess it up. At this point in the intensive,
we’re all trying to do things perfectly.
Afterward, my mom and I raced from
Tisch to Penn Station to catch the 5:05 pm
train back to DC. I caught up on homework
and texted my friends about the day.
APRIL 21, 2016
Today we found out that my Auntie Laurentia
passed away from breast cancer. Her funeral
is scheduled this weekend in Houston, TX,
so our weekend plans quickly changed
to accommodate my dad attending the
funeral. My mom will take my little brother
Etienne to his Level 4 Gymnastics State
Championships in Suffolk, VA, and I’ll
travel to NYC by myself. I’ve been traveling
to the city for three years now, so I feel
APRIL 23, 2016
I woke up at 3: 20 am as usual. However,
this time I was completely by myself and
had to get out of the house by 4 am with
everything I needed for the day.
I arrived in NYC 15 minutes late and
then had to wait to catch a taxi. I rushed
into class just in time to finish the plié
We had one-on-one discussions with
our teachers today during lunch. As I
waited, I thought about how to answer
questions like “What did you gain from
this program?” Before I knew it, Fairul was
calling my name. We talked about how important it is to remain humble as a person
and a dancer.
We got out late and I had less than an
hour to get to Penn Station and catch the
train. I called my mom, who was driving
my brother back from his competition.
She said she would bring dinner home for
APRIL 30, 2016
Today was performance day! I had to be at
the studio by 8 am, which meant catching
the 3: 15 am train from DC. Even though
the sky was still dark when I woke up, I
reminded myself to focus on the show.
We arrived in NYC at 6: 40 am and went
to Moonstruck, a diner on Second Avenue,
for breakfast. I was so hungry, my eggs, sausage and tea tasted like the best food in the
world. While we ate, my mom reminded me
to engage with the audience and perform
with distinction and technical accuracy.
We didn’t find out the show order un-
til today, and every group was hoping to
get the coveted spot: performing their
group piece as an opener to the finale,
choreographed by Fairul and Yachao. My
group got the spot!
The dressing room was a mad house as
we prepared for the performance. Everyone
did their hair and makeup, lending each
other extra powder or bobby pins—even
Fairul! We were getting ready to leave it all
on the stage.
Right before showtime, everyone focused
on their own rituals to get the last butterflies
out of their system. I found a quiet corner to
review the dance in my mind—to visually
see every detail I needed to articulate.
After the show, we met up with our families at the reception downstairs. It’s always
such a mix of emotions, but I distracted myself by taking fun pictures with my friends
and asking my teachers for professional
advice. I was happy to say “see you later” to
a few friends, instead of “good-bye.” Now, I
have an understanding of what life may be
like as a dance major at Tisch.
Onstage, after our final performance
With my family
At the end of our performance
for the show!