An Enhanced Understanding

Each summer for the past three years, I have asked a group of young dancers where they are with dance. I leave the question open-ended in order for them to answer however it resonates personally. My goal is to create a yearly check-in by which to chart how these young women grow through dance.

Below are Nina’s shifting perspectives over the past three years. I eagerly await what direction her path will lead in future years and what role dance will play. – Emmaly Wiederholt

2015 – Nina at age 16

Right now dance is a way for me to connect to and experience the things I learn at school. I have found that the classes at school I was taking this year (psychology, physics, pre-calculus, philosophy and a few others) were all talking about different sides of one story — how things work. In dance, I was able to physically experience some of the concepts I was thinking about in school, which enhanced my understanding of them. Dance right now is my thinking space.


2014 – Nina at age 15

I am in my second week of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Program. I picked this program because of its focus on the individual and I wanted to learn more about myself as a creative dancer and as a technical dancer.

Right now, dance is a vehicle for me to explore many different aspects of life: work ethic, mental growth, physical strength and political boundaries (we are taking a class called Critical Perspectives on Dance, which explores a political and social side of dance).

I am also trying to understand more of what type of dancer I am and what styles, aesthetics and movement I am drawn to. I have an idea of what styles I like but I am trying to figure out how to incorporate them in my development as a dancer.


2013 – Nina at age 14

-I’m at a point where I’m learning what I know and don’t know; and what I can and can’t do. I plan to build on from there.

-When I know what I am incapable of, I can learn to be capable.

-Dance is my energy and motivational source.

-Dance is my base of anatomical understanding.

-Dance is a second “home base”; it is very comfortable to me, and I am comfortable to it.

-When I forget everything else, I remember what dance is.

-I am trying to figure out how move without overusing my body, and how to use it properly

-In places, I am fine-tuning old techniques; at the same time I learning the bigger picture of new ones