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03/16/2013

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Caitlin Rose

There are three aspects of this blog that I connected with specifically. I found the entire blog itself eye-opening and valuable to read. However, there were a few points Beasant III made that touched me on a more personal level. I discovered that I connected to his experience moving to NYC the day before 9/11 and how he dealt with that experience. I have been through quite a few emotionally trying experiences recently, unsure of how to handle those emotions. After reading this post I realize that I need to utilize this artform that I am so passionate about to find a release, or a safe-haven. Dance is where I need to use these emotions to show who I am, how these experiences have changed me, and open up to that vulnerability. I also found his comments on experience insightful. Dancing, gaining experience, it all gives one so much knowledge about the body. I have to not be afraid to dig into that concept on a deeper level and take advantage of that while I can. Stability and ease with my body will come with time, but only it I use that time to its fullest extent. This learning environment that I am fortunate to be in is the best place to do that, and I need to take advantage of that. His comments on networking were also insightful. It's not just about who you talk to, or audition for, but seriously considering what you have to offer as a dancer and an artist. I want to be able to look inside myself and discern what my strengths and weaknesses are. Being able to approach a choreographer, or company director, and sell my positive attributes is a skill I need to prepare for. This blog was great to read in preparation for graduation and the start of auditioning for jobs. I am particularly curious to find out how much free time John Beasant III has for technique. Appearing so busy with teaching, dance making, and projects, do you have any free time for classes? I would also like to know how expensive they are in NYC, and if classes are hard to find. Thanks.

Rein Short

This blog was very inspiring and helpful for I think many emerging dancers, through John Beasant III’s ideas, personal stories, and advice for young dancers. The fact he went in-between schools to receive his BFA was enlightening. It gave the sense that although he switches from different schools you ultimately end up where you should be. I am curious if he ever regrets leaving Teikyo Westmar to attend Stephens College. As I was reading this I came across that John danced with Repertory Dance Theater, I used to dance with a company under a similar name, which inspired me to dive deeper into his resume. Upon some research I found he did do guest work at colleges near by my home in Pennsylvania. It was interesting to see how small the dance world really is, especially when it relates closely back to you. John did also mention this idea of such a tight knit dance community. I thought it was interesting that he did not always receive work from auditions but sometimes through classes or just introducing yourself to someone could open up a door for you. Teachers always speak of these opportunities but it was refreshing to hear a real life example. His helpful advice on everything from how to prepare a class to advice for young dancers answered many questions I and I think people around my age also have. I am curious as to if he would advise dancers to start out in such a large city like NYC. I know many dancers aspire to eventually end up there but is it best to build a strong resume or just dive into what you are passionate about?

Meli'sa Grier

Wow your college experience was a unique path. I don’t how you braved all that just so you could dance? That shows a lot of guts, passion, and commitment. I applaud you on that. It’s nice to know that everyone has their own paths and it doesn’t have to be exactly what you planned as long as it gets you to where you want to be. Even if that means attending an all-girls school, but then again I’m I bet you loved that aspect. It sucks that the department at Stephens College couldn’t equip a better contemporary modern program to prepare you for once you’re out of college. Why did you go in the modern dance world? Do you not like ballet? Is it not your forte? I go to Towson University and I feel that I made the right choice in going there because our faculty has so much to offer us. I feel really lucky to find the best fit for me the first time around! I’m crossing my fingers that nothing bad happens that would cause this part of my life to end anytime soon. Guidance counselors do say that you must go about seeking out the right school for you and you definitely ended up examining other options. I feel like no matter what as a dancer at some point you’ll end up in New York City. Likewise, I remember September 11th, 2001 and that’s extreme that you actually moved to the city the day before to start a new beginning and the next day something so horrific happens. I feel that what happen will always make us think for years to come. Are you married? Have you settled down yet? I know you are happy with your life, but if you had the chance to change it would you? I agree that experience comes with time especially as a dancer. Our technique unfortunately doesn’t just blossom over night, but comes by learning and finding that overall orientation of our bodies. I really did appreciate you talking about how young dancers must take risks and allow for failure because sometimes the pressure to be perfect is really overwhelming. And I have to remind myself to not take everything so literally. In addition to not forgetting why I dance in the first place. I feel that the ones, who are closer to the beginning of their path and closer to giving up, have to keep that reminder of love for dance. They must find that maturity in order for them to beat their obstacles.

Abigail Farina

John Beasant III used his college years to explore what type of dance training he wanted to receive at the college level. It was interesting to read that he left Teikyo because of the poor ballet training but he eventually decided to return to Teiyko Westmar because of it’s contemporary dance training. While one of the colleges he attended had an exceptional ballet program, his heart did not belong there and he left. It just goes to show that you are never stuck in one place and it reminds me as a dancer to be active. If I am unhappy or dissatisfied with my training, I should look search for a program or class that will meet my needs for whatever training I so desire. It was really neat to read how John was approached after graduating with BFA in dance about attending another college’s MFA program and performing in their dance company. By accepting this offer, he was able to continue his dancing training while having the opportunity to perform and do freelance dance work. I wonder if John, looking back at his decision, would still stick by it, or if he would suggest dancers to audition and join a company right after earning a BFA degree. I was shocked to read that he moved to NYC to be in Doug Varone and Dancers the day after 9-11. It was touching to read how the company director wrote him and all the company members a personal letter letting them know how crucial art-making was especially during such an intense and emotional time. I enjoyed reading that he is still active in dance today and it is reassuring to me that my career in dance can be a long one if I so choose. I think back to what I knew about my body and dancing last year and what I know now and it is crazy what I have discovered in just one year. I am looking forward to reflecting in another ten years and seeing how my experiences shape the type of dancer I will be then. John states that after dancing for so long, he feels more at ease and allows his intuition to take over. Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to not second guess or doubt yourself but time can change how you approach dancing. I was surprised to read that a good amount of his performance opportunities did not come from the traditional audition, but from invitations after people seeing John perform and by him networking. This definitely reinforces how important it is to connect with other artists and be an active member in the dance society.

Alison Ribellino

Through reading this post I am amazed at how much John Beasant III was already able to accomplish in his life. I think that most of us find our college technique classes to be more of a safe haven and an opportunity to really find ourselves. This is a very important aspect I believe during college, but after reading about how he was so proactive about his education and changed schools three times to really get the education he wanted it got me thinking that may be we should not feel so comfortable. When you first begin as a dancer it is most likely that you will be doing freelance work and not land your dream job in a company as your first job. Because of this it may be better if we did not feel so comfortable so that when we transition into the real world we will not be shocked. I find this especially true in when he says that while living and trying to dance in NYC it is not easy on your body or on your mind. Even now as a dancer since I live so close to the city I take a lot of different classes from different teachers and I see how hard and cruel this art form can really be. New York City is an amazing place to learn and grow, but it is also very challenging because their are so many amazing dancers that sometimes you can get lost in the shuffle of it all. I am so inspired by the choreographers and the amount of companies that John Beasant III has had the opportunity to perform with. Performing is such an important part of a dancers life because it gives us the opportunity to fully expose ourselves to our audiences. This is one of the things I miss the most since coming to college because I feel that we learn more about ourselves every time we perform. When it comes to teaching I believe it gives a dancer a new look on themselves. I am in a BFA program with a K-12 certification and I believe that through the action of teaching other movers you learn and grow more as a dancer yourself. This is because when you truly have to break down and explain your movement to other people it allows you to look deeper into your own movement preferences and weakness’s. When I graduate from my undergraduate I was planning on auditioning and taking classes anywhere and everywhere I could in order to join a company. But I wonder if John would recommend that I first get my masters and then begin my auditioning process. In the years to come I hope that I will be able to be as successful as John for the rest of my life. Dancing is a passion that I hope to be able to share with as many people as possible and for as long as possible.

Alyssa Kunkle

I enjoy reading about artists who found a love for dance or even a specific style of dance at a later age. As a person who has been dancing from childhood, it is interesting to see how other people have entered the dance world, a place I always found myself in. I enjoyed the fact that this artist had decided to go to graduate school right after undergraduate, especially because I find myself torn on the idea of going right back into school or taking a break in between. The work that he did after school sounds rather diverse and interesting because he was not tied down to one specific company. On the other hand it sounds as though it may be a little more stressful since you must then always be searching for some sort of income to keep you moving along. I enjoyed the comment made about September 11th, 2001 and that dance was really important to him in this emotional time that almost had him “running for the hills”. This comment hit close to home not specifically at this point in time since as a third grader I had little understanding of the situation, but when other tragedy had struck my life I found that dance was something I could really rely on. I also find that as I spend more and more time in the dance field that I have to dig a little deeper to keep myself engaged and interested in what I am doing. This digging I feel has also propelled my movement into something that I would have never suspected in the beginning. The artist makes quite a few comments about never wanting to stop dancing or performing and I think that is brilliant, I feel as though some artist believe that as they get older teaching is their only option. The want/need to perform is what keeps me going and I never want to lose that. He also mentioned the idea of having a tight knit dance community and really “networking”. I was intrigued that auditions are not always the only way to find work, but there are many ways to open doors to opportunities as well. I enjoyed the artist’s comment about teaching and how “noble” it is, I find this a very excellent way to describe this job. Since, the only way to get more dancers is by teachers their job is brave and to be able to pass the joy they have for dance onto students is an impeccable ability. It is also visible to me just by the way he writes about teaching or preparing to teach that he is truly passionate about passing on information to others. The fact that he fits his movement to whoever is taking his class, but at the same time still challenging them with a very physical dance experience is (to me) the perfect approach to teaching class. The advice that the artist gives is very insightful and will definitely be information I am sure to hold close to me as I further myself into my dance career. The only question I have for this artist would be: “Do you prefer the freelance work or working with a specific person/company better?”

Rachel Bunting

I found John Beasant III’s blog to be practical, down-to-earth, and honest about many issues regarding the life of a teacher and dancer. It seemed that he felt truly blessed and thankful for the opportunities that he has had in the dance world and that was really inspiring- to know just how much joy one can get from this profession. A few remarks in this blog really stuck with me. The first was when Beasant was explaining how his company director, Doug Varone sent each of his company members a personal letter after the tragedy of 9/11 in which the significance of art was verified. Even during a time of sorrow and emotional turmoil, when working in the field of performance and entertainment may seem so trivial, we have to remember that art is really something that brings people together, and that that connectivity can inject happiness and meaning back into people’s lives. It reminded me that openly sharing our emotional experiences through our movement can be almost therapeutic for our viewers, and that being a dancer means allowing others to see inside to your most vulnerable side- somehow that can be very empowering. Something else that really struck me was Beasant’s recollection of dancing in his 40’s. He said “Many of the questions that I might have had earlier in my life, in terms of what specific issues my body may have been experiencing and/or lacking, aren't as present in my mind. I feel more at ease with myself.” This was something that I think pertains to many of us as young dancers. For me at least in class, I have focused so much on what I need to improve on and the limitations that my body has that it is hard to allow myself to be instinctive- and it is not all self- initialized. We’ve wrote about our specific limitations in assignments and exam responses, talked about them in class and conferences, and analyzed both our issues and abilities so much so that it is difficult not to overthink the qualitative aspects of dance that we study in class as well; The amazing master class that we had with Jermaine Spivey opened my eyes to this. His improvisation and movement qualities were so natural and unprovoked that it was almost mesmerizing. He was telling us that sometimes, you have to let go and allow your body to actually do what it wants instead of trying to be so intelligent and precise about everything. I believe that being an intelligent dancer who keeps corrections and improvements constantly swimming through their thoughts will gain great strides in the correct-ness of their technique, but the dancer who lets go and allows their body to go where it wants instinctively and has an ease-of-mind about being who they are will become an original and inspiring talent. As collegiate dancers who are striving for both of these aspects, I believe we need to keep Beasant and Spivey’s suggestions in mind in addition to the technical interpretations that I know we all work so hard on. It took Beasant into his 40’s to discover this, but hopefully we all can learn to equalize both of these ideas before then. My question for Beasant would be, what changed? How exactly did you acquire the confidence to finally be happy with you own individual abilities? Lastly, when Beasant was talking about the ever-present concept of networking within this community, he made a point that was both selfless and confidence-inducing all at once: he said that networking “doesn't have to be a chore if you genuinely think about what contributions you feel that you can bring into an artist's life”. This was a very different point of view for me. At first, I was thinking that trying to make connections with artists that you like was for YOUR OWN benefit- that possibly, through gaining relationships, you may be able to study under or work with someone who inspires you. But in Beasant’s statement, he recognizes that networking with artists can be for THEIR benefit as well- that finding you could be the missing puzzle piece to their vision. Leading into Beasant’s closing remarks, the artists that we fawn over and find so god-like are all only human and it is exciting to think that finding a dancer like myself could make someone’s dreams come to life.

Jessica P.

John Beasant III truly is an inspiration to those who want to pursue dance as a career. Since he started his career in musical theater and then made the transition into modern dance, he began his formal training a bit later than the average dancer. For me training began around the age of 4 and I believe the average ages to begin dance classes are around 5-7 years old. He was already starting at a disadvantage, but that didn't seem to faze him at all. He was extremely diligent when it came down to being invested in his craft and finding places to train and grow as a performer. Beasant literally went from school to school due to several different circumstances and decisions, but he was focused. Many people who would encounter so many trials would have called it quits, but it is obvious that he is completely invested in his growing artistry.
Something else that really caught my attention was the fact that he went to graduate school right after undergraduate school. I know that having an education is very important and so is gaining experience by diving directly into the dance world. I know as a current student whose discipline is dance, I often wonder what step I will take after I graduate with my BFA in Dance/Performing Arts. This definitely gives me an example of someone who went down this particular route and made it work.
I can relate to how he feels when you experience that natural "high". There is a true sense of fulfillment when you are able to hold a position and live in it forever, but still find those moments to simply "be". There comes a time when you need to breathe and rest. Now the resting concept is pretty hard for me because I am always in a state of acting and reacting. Reading this gave me a better understanding of how to adjust myself and make some different choices regarding that in particular.
What was the most intriguing was the concept of net working. All dancers are aware of what it means to network, but don't always know how to go about it. Now I truly understand what all of my professors mean when they say "Every class is an audition." You have absolutely no idea what connections can be established if someone were to peek into a dance class. Every moment when the dance floor is beneath your feet is an opportunity that has become open to you. To be invited to auditions and/ or be recognized through work that you have done is amazing. The dance world may be small in comparison to everything else, but it is definitely thriving. There are really endless possibilities in this complex world of dance.

Shaela Davis

I really connected to this blog post in a variety of ways. It's almost as if it was tailor-made to fit my situation. I appreciated how he had to go to different universities and extra schooling to really establish what he wanted to do with dance. In my case, I know I'm going to have to stay in school longer then I want to, but it allows for more exploration within a safe environment. You always hear about dancers moving to New York and having "perfect endings," but I appreciated how "real" Beasant was about moving there. He moved there the day before September 11th. This was probably a challenge for him, and on some level affected his dancing. He says that dancers have to be willing to work to get the most out of the city. Beasant thought about giving up, but he stuck it out, and now look how successful he is. I would love to move to New York to further my dance career but I always have so much self doubt. Reading this blog is furthering my understanding that the city may be difficult but it's all what you make of it. His philosophy on teaching is really intriguing, and makes a lot of sense. Teaching doesn't help you develop just as a teacher, but as an exploring artist. I want to use his philosophy of teaching to develop my teaching styles and my artistry. He talks about finding the fun in networking. I know that networking has a major role in the dance field but the idea really scares me. I'm always worried that I'm not going to give a good impression. How do I get over this fear? This blog was very informative and opened my eyes to many possibilities. I think I agreed with everything that was said in this post.

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