Friday, January 22, 2016

My APAP Experience

My APAP experience was truly amazing. I have been to New York several times, but I had never done anything like this. When we first arrived at the hotel, I could not believe that I would be spending a weekend there. Not only was the hotel one of the biggest and nicest places I’ve seen, but there were showcases going on all around the hotel. Because we arrived late, we only saw a couple showcases Friday night, but it increased my excitement for the days to come. We had an early start on Saturday in order to maximize the number of showcases we saw. I went with Mr. Cahoon, the Director of Cultural Programming, to the New York City Center. Sitting no more than ten feet from the dancers, we saw several companies perform. I saw Kate Weare Dance Company, Ballet Memphis, Koresh Dance Company, and many more. The amount of talent each company had was incredible. I got to practice forming a strong opinion about companies I watched. It can be a difficult thing to critique companies that are all very good. I had to find reasons that made certain companies stick out. This skill was improved in myself because I had to think about a lot of factors to help suggest possibilities to bring to Pinkerton.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
We had great seats!
Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to see the award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. This was the very first play I had ever seen and it thoroughly impressed me. The set design was intricate, innovative and well used. There was no lack of character development and the performance was spectacular. After the play ended, we went to dinner and discussed our day so far. One thing that made this experience especially enjoyable was that I was surrounded by people who understand and love the performing arts as much as I do. We discussed showcases in depth and I was constantly learning from what others had to say. Even though we all watched the same play, we all had different ideas to point out about it.  

That night we split up again. Mr. Cahoon and I covered dance, and other members of the delegation covered music and theater. I went to the Ailey Studios where a crowd was gathered outside the studio window trying to watch the performance while standing in the cold. I realized how special this opportunity was when I got to pass the crowd of people outside and actually enter the studio to watch the showcases. I saw ODC Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Company, and Rioult Dance Company. ODC stood out to me because they had a clean and entertaining performance. Keeping ourselves busy, we went back to the hotel and saw a hip-hop performance by SonKiss'd Dance Theater. This energized me for the rest of the night after a modern-filled day. We headed back to the New York City Center as soon as that performance finished, to see Lula Washington Dance Company. When this was over, we walked back to the hotel where we saw Tap Kids and PUSH physical theater. The day had gone by so fast and I saw more companies than I could ever imagine. 

SonKiss'd Dance Theatre had so much energy.
On Sunday, I saw my last two companies of this trip, Jose Limon and Jody Sperling Dance Company at the New York City Center. Jody’s company was particularly unique because they surrounded their performance off the costumes they wore. Sunday was a day of meeting agents. Some agents in the EXPO hall were like vultures. We tried not to make eye contact with people in the booths to avoid being dragged over to them. However, some agents were polite and only approached you if they felt you were interested in their booth. I got to sit down with three other delegation members and meet an agent to talk about a potential workshop and performance at Pinkerton. This was a new experience for me and it was interesting to see the business side of the conference that was heavily about watching performances and critique. 

Sadly, Sunday evening we returned home. I am extremely grateful for this amazing opportunity. I saw numerous performances, learned about the arts from my fellow attendees, and got to experience much more than I thought one weekend would allow. This trip was one I will never forget.     

Julia Sylvain, Class of 2018

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