Forum: Every ounce of effort is worth it

As a dance major at The University of Texas I am often asked what it’s like and what we do all day. My reply is never a short one because nothing dance majors do can be abbreviated in one sentence. In order to graduate on time, our major requires a specific course plan that includes a minimum of sixteen hours per semester. 

One of our classes is called projects in dance performance and repertory, which ties into our dance company, Dance Repertory Theater. Every semester we hire guest choreographers to come and set a dance work on DRT. If you are cast in one of the guest works you must attend rehearsals outside of class. A normal class day for us starts early so we can take our academic classes before the dance day starts.

For dance majors, there is no such thing as being able to schedule no classes for Fridays. Outside rehearsals for guest works go from 6:00-9:00PM every weekday and then usually 12:00-4:00 or 5:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Closer to a show, we begin technical rehearsals. These rehearsals are to practice each piece on stage with the lighting, music, costumes and staging. Technical rehearsals are also exhausting as they extend to the weekends, where we’ll be in the theater for roughly 10 hours each day. 

Despite all of this many of us can’t imagine being in any other major. In my time here I’ve been a part of three shows: Fall for Dance, Move!, and Ears, Eyes, and Feet and I can say that every extra hour of rehearsal and every extra ounce of energy I have that I put into this is worth it. Not only worth it for the opportunity to perform but also the opportunity to change someone’s life. We are currently in rehearsal for Alex Ketley’s work, Poem, which will be featured in this year’s Fall for Dance. While the dance is extremely difficult and the rehearsals have been hard, every single person involved in the making of this work has learned and grown not only as a student or a dancer but as a person as well.  In the end, what dance majors do isn’t about the final product, but the work and time and effort that went in to get there; and this process is what we hope to show our audiences and fellow students here at The University of Texas. 

Camille Collins is a dance junior.