While 2017 was a year of transitions: Moving from GA to TN to London, UK, being a full time employee to a student, and joining a brand new company; 2018 offered me something brand new: ADVENTURE!
I traveled to 7 different countries, learned how to say ‘thank you’ in 5 different languages. (German, Finnish, Portuguese, Italian, & Greek). I wrote an entire 26-page dissertation on how the African fundamentals in American jazz dance are influencing contemporary dance and contemporary dance performance. (Insert the reason why you haven’t seen a blog post in months). I danced in over 20 shows across Europe while extending my resume (CV, as they call it here). I made new friends that are from all parts of the world. I learned so much about myself and how to navigate the world around me! I had the best year of my life! Here are some of the highlights from my 2018…
To be honest, I didn’t do much in January. It was dark by 3pm, it was cold, and EDGE was working with Athina Valha.
Okay well February was more exciting, not only because I turned 27, but I had the opportunity to have a free personal photo shoot as well as one for EDGE promotional material, traveled to Oxford, UK with some of my friends, explored the Black Cultural Archives (the national heritage centre for African and Caribbean people in Britain) saw my first snow fall in London, and completed 2 of the remaining 3 works. (Ethics by Athina Valha & Twenty First Sensory by Philippe Blanchard)
Here is where things pick up a bit. In March, EDGE got down right busy-ish. We completed the final work, Evaporated People by Tamsin Fitzgerald, went to MOVE IT (basically The Pulse convention but 1000% more intense), performed for the first time in London/internationally, and did an exchange with MAP Dance from the University of Chichester. All while living in a snow plagued and freezing cold London.
I finally got international in April when traveling with EDGE to Austria. It was the greenest place I’ve ever come across and I know I’ve said that before, but honest to goodness it was amazing and warm! We also went to Scotland, which was not as green or as warm, but it was beautiful in its own right. I also spent most of the month exploring London and the area surrounding me.
Now May was the beginning of so much traveling! From performing in Finland (another beautiful place with amazing food), to a cute little town in Switzerland, and attending the Royal Wedding in Windsor. I was even able to find a live stream of my little cousin’s high school graduation in GA.
June was a mixture of being a tourist and a tour guide. With EDGE I traveled to Hexham, Exeter, & Canterbury, while personally I got to show my mother around my new home. I performed 8 times during June, with 5 of those performances taking place over 6 days in London.
With July came the longest adventure I’d been looking forward to since learning I’d been accepted into EDGE, the week long stay in Portugal. Honestly, I think that trip reignited my love for dance. Of course I will always love dance, but being surrounded by the next generation of dancers and seeing how hard they worked and pushed was so inspiring. After Portugal came a “working vacation” in the south of Italy, where we performed, taught, and spent some time by the beautiful Gulf of Naples.
After all the travel and craziness of touring, August was when I finally found a moment to stop while almost burning to death thanks to the record breaking hot summer of London. Did you know that most flats in London are not equipped with central air conditioning? The only way to successfully vent the room is to open a window or open a window and buy a fan. I actually don’t think it would have been that bad if the sun didn’t beam through my windonw from 7am to 6pm causing my room to be even warmer.
Finding a way to escape the London heat, September brought traveling and performance opportunities. I spent two weeks with friends in Greece and Italy, then came back to London to meet up with an entirely new dance family. It was an amazing month of laughs with new friends in new advutures. September was also the calm before the storm.
October, November, & December
These months were absolutely insane and extremely stressful! I spent these 3 months writing that dissertation and finishing all my requirements for my Master of Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance. Honestly, I don’t think it has sank in that it is actually over. I really did it and I came away from the entire experience with a better understanding of dance, the world, and myself.
As with all things, 2018 has come to an end and I am now looking at 2019 with wide eyes and excitement. I do not have a plan, I do not know what is going to happen next, but what I do know is that I am ready for whatever is in store for me.
Photo by Matea Photography at ADX2018 (@feeltherhythmpro)