The first of many “lasts” begins tomorrow. It is my last Brown Bag, the student choreography showcase. I will need to do some research and find out when I took over from Karen Kriete. I have been Artistic Director for at least ten years.
The final performance was today, Friday October 6. At the end, all the students came on stage and gave me a standing ovation.
It took the idea of my retirement from an abstraction to a reality.
Another “ending” – we had our first Dallas audition this past Saturday, October 14. There are a total of four where students come to SMU and hopefully get a sense of what the program is like. There is a short ballet class, a modern segment and then jazz. I give the jazz portion and have been doing Back Beat Boogie for the past two years! I get a chance to share the history of the Savoy Ballroom and the swing era. I thought of doing something else but Back Beat Boogie works really well and we as a faculty get to see what we need to see.
Part of ending my time at SMU is a mini-retrospective of my work as the sum total of the spring Hope concert. The season brochure has a description. This is it – exciting.
It’s the last week of November. I will teach my last Jazz I and Jazz II classes as well as the last Comp I class. I take the last unit of Comp I with The Elements Project. I pair up the students , they choose one of the elements, research source material and pick music, all in the service of their ideas – sources of movement.
Grades have been posted except Comp I. It is always an emotional process. The final grade is a combination of both movement mid-term and final exams, attendance and daily progress. There is also an end of semester essay. Comp I is in three units and our Chair, Brigham Mosley and I average out our grades. We also have to submit an assessment to the University Curriculum, since the course double counts. The Comp I showings were on Friday December 8. It was really great, fine work from all the students. I was very proud of them. That was the last Comp I for me!
Last week we also had three days of student evaluations. Students meet with all their teachers and we assess how their semester went. It is supportive and candid. It is also exhausting but crucial to their journey as a dance major.