Gaining Experience

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 Erin’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 – Erin at age 19

I just finished my first year at the Ohio State University where I am studying to receive a BFA in Dance. I had a lovely first year. Ohio State has a program that is mixed as physically demanding and academically challenging through the dance field. It is a small program; my year has a class of 17, but the BFAs share space with the MFAs or PhDs in dance. I am very fortunate to gain knowledge from my fellow BFA students, but I am especially grateful for the grad students (MFA and PhD students) who share their experiences with me, as most of them have danced professionally and are now coming back to school. From them I have, time and time again, learned that dance is a versatile and expansive field that can extend into any aspect I choose. I feel stronger as an artist and more experienced as a person having gone through year one of college. But dance, what used to be my hobby, is now my job. That change is striking, as I am now finding that I have both more and less time to extend my passions into other areas of interest (cooking, for example). But I love my job, and I am fortunate to have decided at a young age that dance was something I found worth the commitment. In the coming school year, I will be performing a lot, creating some, and learning more about my field than I’m sure I know exists right now. I can’t wait.

Erin Yen

2014 – Erin at age 18

As of right now, I have just finished a Giordano jazz summer workshop, and in a couple of weeks I will be attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. This fall I will be entering college at Ohio State University as a BFA dance major. My interest in dance as a performing art, as well as a lifestyle choice, continues to drive my work in the field, and I am excited to be moving on to a new chapter in my study of dance.


2013 – Erin at age 17

I just got home from the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and will venture to Cornish College of the Arts’ summer intensive this coming Saturday. Dance is a large part of my life right now as I experiment with what my interests are and how those interests may play out in the future. This coming school year, I will be a senior in high school, so I need to consider possible plans for after high school and how dance can fit into them. After training with SFCD, I feel as if I approach dance with a different perspective and have gained a more effective work ethic. I plan to bring this more refined attitude towards dance and dance training to my studies over the next year. I know I have a lot to learn as far as dance is concerned, but I am willing to get as much as I can out of each lesson because I’d like dance to be a part of my life for a long time. That is where I stand with dance right now.