General Skills (ATS GS) in Michigan, April 2013 – How does one truly explain an intensive workshop experience? If you’ve ever signed up for any sort of intensive conference or class or workshop or retreat, you have some understanding how difficult it can be to describe such an intense experience these events can be. Also, each experience is radically personal by nature. Although you may share some group memories, the nature of being human includes experiencing things uniquely and differently from anyone else.
Before I flew to my GS intensive workshop, I’d heard others describe the fantastic friendships they’d made in that short week of non-stop learning and dancing. I just never expected to return home almost incapable of telling others how amazing the experience was for me. First, by pure luck, I ended up with the most perfect roommates in the world for me. Though we were certainly different types of people, Jennifer and Grace and I were matched fantastically for shared evening space, planning, chatting, debriefing, laughing, and some minor mischief (see our pictures in India, Russia, or Vegas). We literally giggled ourselves to sleep twice.
Then in the actual dance room itself, I found myself making friends with just the folks in my proximity: Both the dancers who happened to stand in the same part of the room every day, and the women I shared drills with in our assigned quartets. Then there were the hotel friendships made over breakfast, in the hot tub, and going out for dinner some evenings. And just sharing the experience of the instruction and drills, stories and lectures, shopping and celebratory photos — this made our graduating class uniquely united in the shared bond.
On a personal note, I’m quite pleased with my preparedness going into GS: I feel that I’d been dancing sufficient hours and days per week that I could keep up with the regimen; I’d studied specific fundamentals and variations in enough classes and workshops to manage the amount of material on our four-day syllabus; I’d danced with enough variety of flavors that I could handle the variations in the instruction and in my fellow dancer formations; and I’d been learning so much about HOW to learn from various classroom, workshop, and performance settings that I was prepared to set my own ego aside as much as possible and be open to the type and content of instruction provided. I took extensive notes and have a plan mapped out for my personal study and review of the notes. And I have some long-range plans for the next 1-2 years for my continued study and preparation for the next courses I want to take (Teacher Training).
I miss my fellow dancers so much, even though I’m so remarkably blessed to have a rich dance environment here in Southern CA. There are so many class opportunities, instructors, fellow classmates, and performances that I really won’t have that much time to pine for my Michigan GS experience later. But there is a richness to the tapestry of memories in my head now that I hope will become a treasure I can share with all the dancers I have yet to spend time with over the years to come.
I hope this just starts to describe the thankfulness that I feel as I think of this past week. I’m truly enriched and changed by the entire event.
I have more to talk about Intentional Communities, but I’ll save that for later.
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Today’s Blessing That I’m Thankful For: Carolena and Megha. The 31 other dancers with whom I shared General Skills, including but not limited to: Jennifer and Grace (my roomies); Jennifer and Sara and Erika (my quartet); Misha and Lynn and Vida (my dinner & hot tub partners and future lottery winners); Beth and Suzie and Michael, Joan and Mary and Karen and Lori and Deenya and Natalia and Maria, plus Stacy, Shifty, Calliope, Red, Manda, Meera, Dana, Krista, Sakeena, Farah, Ginger, Christine, and I think I’m missing one name (argh!) and finally, Krisztina, our hostess.