This was a rather interesting week for me, I have some very strong opinions about The New School. Unfortunately I am transferring next year, I did not enjoy my time here at Lang. I was unsure what I was going to do for this weeks assignment. Thankfully my roommate asked me to go out to dinner with her and my suitemate, they were meeting their entire “design and everyday experience” class at a restaurant uptown and I figured this would be a perfect time to talk to some Parsons students! To be completely honest, I did not think most of their friends were particularly friendly. A few were exceptionally nice but out of the 10 girls that were there maybe four were nice to me. Although this is defintely a generalization I find a lot of girls at Parsons, especially in the Design and Management major are rather snotty. I asked them about what their perception of the typical “Lang” student is. Everyone said “rich hipster” which I thought was really funny because I don’t think I qualify as that at all. A few of them said they find it awkward to be in the lang cafe or in the courtyard at times because they feel like they just don’t fit in properly. I let me know that’s how I feel sometimes with Parsons.
I personally do not get a sense of community being at Lang. I think one big reason for that is because many people come here looking to not have that experience. They much rather just go to class do their work and then go home. In my experience people are generally not very friendly. I think if you really try it is possible to achieve a community feel but its something that you have to go out and get , it doesn’t happen naturally. I have not seen any efforts at attempting to make The New School more of a community, hopefully there are some that I am unaware of! What I always found problematic was the dining halls. Dining halls are something that bring freshman together. I have visited so many of my friends at big universities, everyone goes and has dinner together, you get a huge sense of community. But because of the way the dining halls are set up and where the dorms are this would never happen. I don’t even know most of the kids in my grade because I never see anyone!
I do see NYC as my campus, which was my deciding factor in coming to this school. I selected this school because I had a very close-minded view that to be successful in my major (dance) I had to be in an urban setting. Which I now believe is false. Although I do think I did not make the right decision in coming to this school, I have had an amazing time living in New York City. And I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to live here. I have heard SO many people say, “Well…I don’t really like the school but I love living in New York…” Which I think is ridiculous!! My off-campus experiences are what kept me from being totally miserable this year. And I think because we are all experiencing so much out of school it truly does make our classes more full and lively. I think this school provides us with little of what we truly need, and even those things that they do provide us with we have to really go out and seek. This week was particularly fitting for me because it is not only my last week in this class but at this school. I am very excited for what lies ahead for me, but I will always carry with me the valuable information that I have learned at this school. Off to University of Arizona I go!!
For my second extra credit assignment I decided to write about a community that is very close to my heart. I chose to do my friends. This may seem like a broad topic but infact my friends are probably the most important community in my life. I’ve had the same group of friends since I was in elementary school. Theres 9 of us, there was 8 until the beginning of senior year when we unexpectally gained a new memeber to our group. Theres me, Caitlin, Amanda, Annabelle, Leanne, Dana, Mary, Lisa, and Alyssa. Aside from my immediate family they are the most important people in the world to me. Our bond is so unique and strong. We have had our fair share of fights, but we always know no matter what we will be there for each other. In my high school there are many different cliques. They changed from time to time people getting in fights with each other cause people to switch groups. My group of friends was the only one that stayed the same. I have really never felt more comfortable with anyone else. It definitely is a mini community. We have a place where we always meet, its called Bagel Boys. Its the local cafe in our town, they have the best snickerdoodle ice coffees. When we are on school breaks or during the summer we have breakfast together almost every day of the week. We meet here often to talk. We have a regular table that we sit at, John the owner, always makes sure its empty for us. This is a popular hang out for kids in our town. Each group of friends has their own table. It’s nice now that I am in college when I come home I always know I will see some of my graduating class if I just go to Bagel Boys. Each group of friends has a group of girls and a group of guys. My guy friends are all the guys on the ice hockey team. (Our hockey team is #1 in NY State something we are very proud of.) Each group of friends has their own community. At times the groups mix, which can also be fun because for the most part everyone gets a long.
The term clique was never a negative one for most of us during high school. Everyone seemed just to fit perfectly into one somehow. The article I picked is called, “Stereotyping: Cliques.” The first sentence says, “Under the strictest definition cliques are a small group of friends with common interests.” Which is exactly what I would define the cliques at my school. People from other cliques are friends with each other and we all hang out but everyone has their core group of friends.
My friends and I at senior prom!
This week is an extra credit assignment, but it is a fun one for me to talk about. I chose Rave as Community. When I thought of this I was very excited to talk about it. The wikipedia definition of rave is “ A rave, rave dance, or rave party (from the verb :to rave) is a frenzied or boisterous party, originating mostly from acid house music parties, that typically features electronic music and light or laser shows.] At these parties people dance and socialize to dance music played by disc jockeys (colloquially called DJs) and occasionally live performances.” Although at times when people who don’t know much about raves think about them they associate them with drugs. And yes it is no secret that many ravers do do drugs, but some like myself don’t! I love raves because of the music, the outfits, and the people I get to meet! Ravers are some of the friendliest people ever. Getting to dress up in cool colorful outfits and dance to your favorite music all day is pretty fun. Last year Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC made its first appearance in NY. Of course my friends and I went and it was SO much fun! It is a big music festival that lasts two days from 12-12. There are carnival rides along with everyone’s favortie DJs.
In a few weeks EDC is back in NY, I can’t wait! I have all my outfits ready and I’m counting down the days. The rave community is so big it’s insane. You literally are dancing to your favorite music for hours and its so fun because everyone else there is enjoying it as much as you are. I’ve made so many friends at raves. I’ve bonded with other people over rave clothing and where to buy the best stuff, what music festivals are the best to go to and so much more! The rave scene may be confusing to some people, I know I’ve tried to get my mom to understand it so many times and I fail every attempt. It’s something that you really have to experience to understand, it definitely is not for everyone but the people who love it really do love it. Like me! I picked an article called “What is Rave Culture?” Which I thought was very fitting because I feel like many people have that question. My answer is that Rave Culture is awesome and everyone should try it!!
This week was definitely one of my favorties. We got to pick which community we were going to explore. I naturally chose, dance as community. This is one that is probably most important to me. I selected this community because dance is such a huge part of my life, and all the other dancers are what helps make dance a community. I definitely had my own dance community at home with my dance studio, and there is definitely a competition dance community. Everyone knows everyone in the competition circuit. You know all of the good dancers in your area and even the country. And thanks to youtube there are countless hours and hours of competition dances. I can literally watch five hours of dances online. As I got older I started taking more and more classes in NYC. I noticed that most of the dancers knew each other and even the teachers, mostly everyone seemed so comfortable in class, I was the nervous 15 year old standing in the back corner. Now that I actually live here I feel more apart of this community as ever. I buy a ten class card at Broadway dance Center every three or four weeks, I take as many classes as my schedule and financial situation allow me to. I have been coming to BDC since before I moved here so I am very comfortable there. I have my own locker, I know many of the teachers and the students. So in the hopes of changing it up a bit I decided for this week I was going to take class at the Peridance Capezio center downtown on 13th street. BDC is in Hells Kitchen so it is a very different feel up there. I generally perfer the uptown dance scene as opposed to the downtown. I purposely took a class that is also taught at BDC by the same teacher, Brice Moussett. I wanted to see if it was any different. To my surprise it was different! The warmup was different, and the combination we learned was very different from what we usually do at BDC. The dancers here are very different than at BDC, they just dance a different way.
I chose an article from a website called danceusa.org. This article discusses the census report of dancers in New York City. I found it interesting because it concluded that NYC had the largest dance community in the country. A few interesting fact from the page:
190 dance-making entities have annual budgets of over $25,000 with the remainder (the vast majority) having budgets below $25,000.
Those with budgets under $25,000 are composed of soloists, culturally-specific groups, sacred/liturgical groups, hip-hop groups, pick-up companies, and others.
With 15 entities at over $1 million and 18 entities between $500,000 and $999,999, NYC has more large dance companies than any other city in America by a considerable margin.
370 entities report cumulative budgets of $178,180,200.
It is statistically reasonable to report that the estimated number of dancers in NYC is between 4,000 and 5,000.
A total of 314 entities reported 3,781 performances in NYC with estimated audiences 1,317,700.
On tour audiences were reported as a total of 1,136,300.
Skill sharing as community! An interesting idea not something that I would usually associate with community, but the more I learned about it I saw how it definitely can have a community sense. I chose to take a jewelry making class. It was at Art Lab in Staten Island. I was a little nervous about this because although I am artistically inclined in the performing arts, I am not the best fine artist. I was hoping that taking a class with other beginners would help me out. Unfortunately it did not, I was absolutely terrible at jewelry making. We were making earrings and a necklace, and I epically failed. It is definitely not something that I would ever want to try again. I did not really find that there was a community feel. No one really seemed to know each other and everyone else also seemed pretty new to this. But everyone else was much better at it than I was. I think what drives this community is the end product and not the social interaction. Everyone just seemed really focused on making the jewelry and not really making friends with each other.
Although I did not have a community experience I definitely think the DIY community does bring people together. I am not really involved in any DIY community but my roommate is a Parsons student and really loves the DIY community. Her and some of her friends who she has class with are always cutting up their clothes and making them into new things, they love to stud shorts and jackets. They watch countless hours of youtube videos together trying to figure out how to accomplish new things. Unfortunately I do not think I have a DIY talent, but who knows maybe I’ll learn one soon!
Art as community was another fun week for me! My mom works at an ancient Japanese art Gallery uptown. It’s called Sholten Japanese art. It is a private gallery, you are only allowed up by appointment, and to even get an appointment you have to be pretty important. Two weeks ago it happened to be Asia Week here in NYC. This is where all the asian art gallerys in the city, private and public are open to everybody. A lot of art work is sold during this time, it is a very important week. I had the pleasure of helping out a press party at the gallery my mom works at. I am not here very often, so I take every opportunity I have. It is very interesting to her people’s conversations when they are discussing Japanese art, it often sounds like they are speaking a different language (and they sometimes literally are). It can be very confusing if you are not educated on the subject. I like to think of myself as a very artistic person, I enjoy all different kinds of arts and try to experience them as much as possible. Japanese art is something I do not usually experience, so being in the gallery for a few hours, listening to different presentations on different pieces of art was interesting for me. I like to look at myself as both a creator and a consumer of the arts. I definitely enjoy making art in the form of dance, it is my one true love and my favorite thing in the entire world. Although I absolutely adore the way I feel while I’m performing one of my favorite things since I was kid was when you would come out of the dressing room after the show into the lobby with all the crowds of audience members. I always loved how happy everyone seemed, I liked the way I made other people feel with the way I danced. I also love consuming art as well. I can watch dance performances for hours and hours, I used to go and watch dance competitions even when I wasn’t competing and I could sit there forever. I am definitely a film geek as well I have seen a ridiculous amount of movies and I have the utmost respect for actors.
I 100 percent believe that artists help make New York City what it is today. Artists are everywhere you go! I’ve met so many people here who are trying to make it as dancers, actors, poets, painters, etc. the list goes on and on! And even people who maybe don’t have art as their main focus, it is still something they are passionate about and have some sort of background in. All of the artistic and creative people in this city help make it so unique.
Spirituality as community was an interesting week for me. My spiritual gathering was a different experience. I grew up not going to church, my parents never forced any beliefs on me, they kind of just let me figure it out. Which now that I am older and can understand it more I am very thankful for that. I defintely do not know for sure what my spiritual beliefs are yet, I’m still figuring that out. I know I do not identify as anything right now. I am not really a believer in christiantiy, although I have always admired churches very much. My grandparents work at their local church where I was baptized and where my parents were married. It’s very beautiful and I have always liked how for some reason I feel very calm when I am there.
My trip this week kind of just fell in place, it was not planned at all. When I was a sophomore in high school on March 30th, 2010 two of my friends were killed in a car accident on a rainy Tuesday morning. They hydroplaned and head on collided with a truck. After this horrific event everyone in my town all of sudden became very religious and spiritual. Mostly because its scary to think of what would happen if you weren’t constantly saying, its okay “ they’re in a better place now.” Which I do 100 percent believe. A few of my friends who happened to be home for the weekend came into the city to visit me. It happened to be the three year anniversary of their death. Three years doesn’t really sound that long, but to us it feels like its been ten years without them, but at the same time its gone by so fast. It’s hard to describe. It also never gets easier. We were walking down fifth avenue and eventually came up on St. Patricks cathedral. It only seemed fitting that we go on. I was truly astonished by the cathedral’s beauty, it was absolutely gorgeous. We picked a phew in the back to sit down on, thankfully there were not a lot of people there. We sat in silence for about ten minutes, until one of us starting crying softly, which of course prompted us all to start crying. But to my surprise, the crying did not last very long, I felt so soothed by the cathedral. I don’t know what it was about it but it just made me feel ok. We talked for a few hours about them, about how different our lives are, how we grew up just a little faster than most kids our age. It’s still sad to talk about , to think about, but for those few hours we were so happy when we talked about them, we laughed and we cried but mostly we just celebrated their amazing lives that were cut entirely too short.
Although I am not catholic, I have returned to the cathedral a few times after this. I like the way it makes me feel. The only community I feel apart of when I am there is the one with myself. My spiritual community, which I guess it pretty important. This was definitely not familiar to me, I’ve only been in a church a handful of times in my life. And unfortunately most of those times were for funerals. But this time wasn’t sad, it was so happy and fulfilling.