Ready, Set, Dance: An argument on dance as a sport.

A sport is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” according to
Oxford Languages. Why then, is dance not considered a sport?

Despite the competitive nature of dance and the intense hours of training, dancers still continue to fight for other athletes to take them seriously. Dance may not involve the equipment or team that other sports do, but it requires just as much physical strength, skill and practice.

According to Pointe Magazine, students who wish to become professional dancers train anywhere from 15 to 30 hours a week. Many dancers are even homeschooled in order to prioritize their training. Young girls and boys who hope to join companies give up their lives to the art. Just as many other athletes, the lifespan of a professional dancer is short. Students must dedicate themselves fully to the art at a young age in order to make it in the professional world.

Dancers must also follow a strict exercise and nutrition routine in order to maintain their strength and figure. WorldWide Ballet states that the average American ballerina is anywhere from 5 foot 2 inches to 5 foot 8 inches and weighs 85 to 130 lbs. Despite a society of body positivity and acceptance, ballerinas are still forced into the standard of being thin. Professional dancers have to track their food and weight meticulously in order to maintain their physique.

There are many arguments against dance as a sport, but I’ve never understood why. Maybe one doesn’t understand the rigors of the art until they’ve tore a ligament from a misplacement of weight, or they’ve bandaged their bloody, broken feet. Maybe one will never understand until they’ve pushed themselves on stage to the point of tears but have kept a smile on their face.

I’ve been dancing since I was three years old. In high school, I would have practice with my dance team from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and then would immediately drive to my dance studio for class from 6-10 p.m. I have torn ligaments in both my hip and my knee but performed the next day anyways. I pushed myself physically and mentally for years, leaving by body stiff and sore permanently.

Dance is like any other sport. Some are cut out, and some are not. A dancer must have as much physical strength and dedication as any other athlete, but a dancer performs with grace and beauty. Dance may not look like a sport to the common eye, but if you saw what occurred in front of those floor length mirrors, I’m sure you would change your mind.

Sources: Oxford Languages, Point Magazine, WorldWide Ballet

The Evolution of Jazz: A brief history of the music.

America’s “classical music” is being celebrated all of April during National Jazz Appreciation Month. In light of the celebration, we’re going to take a deeper look at the historical richness of the music.

Jazz uses improvisation to form its unique, rhythmic sound. According to the National Museum of American History, Jazz was developed in the early 20th century, mostly in New Orleans. The diverse population of the city caused different musical traditions to mix together. Jazz was formed from a blend of blues, ragtime, marches and other types of music.

While jazz was mostly listened to when dancing, the style later transformed to sit down and listen to music. Some of the most well-known jazz musicians include Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles, Davis and Charlie Parker.

Jazz has developed into many different styles including swing, cool jazz, traditional jazz, and bebop. Eventually, the music spread from the United States to many different parts of the world and can be found in many nations today.

When I travelled to New Orleans a few years ago, the music was alive and well. There were street performers all over the city, improvising to the feel of the music. Having the experience to stand in the street among thirty people watching a guy and his saxophone was unreal. The city surges with culture and art, making it the perfect home for jazz.

Image Description: (Left) Louis Armstrong was a trumpeter and vocalist and one of the most influential figures in jazz music. Armstrong’s career lasted for five decades throughout different eras of jazz. : (Right) Duke Ellington was an American jazzist, composer and leader of a jazz orchestra. Ellington was also played a significant role in bringing jazz to Europe during his 1933 European tour.

Forever and Always a Potterhead: Why you should reread the series in your 20’s

It’s no secret that Harry Potter will always be one of the most popular middle-grade book series, but what might shock you is how the books get even better as you age.

Growing up, I was obsessed with the Harry Potter movies. I’ve watched all eight movies over 150 times, easily. My best friend and I can recite almost every line. Despite my obsession, I refused to read the books. I tried once in middle school, but ultimately stopped because I was afraid that by reading the books, I would
lose my love for the movies.

The expression that the movie is never as good as the book came about for a reason. As an avid reader and movie-watcher, it’s safe to say that I have almost always
enjoyed the book better than the movie. As a child, I was not willing to give up my love for the movies over the book series.

I stayed true to this until my freshman year of college. I received the book collection as a graduation gift and finally convinced myself that it was time to read the books. Waiting to read the books until my 20s was one of the best decisions I could have made.

As an adult, I was able to enjoy and appreciate the books so much more than I would have as a child. J.K. Rowling implores techniques that would have been easily overlooked, and I found it fascinating to compare the books to the movies.

The “Sorcerer’s Stone” starts off slow. I hate to admit it, but I almost didn’t like it because the language seemed simple and boring. It was only as I read the rest of the collection did, I realize that the language, tone and sentence structure of each book matures as Harry does. As Harry enters a new year of school, the readings become more and more complex. The middle grade books transform into young adult novels as Harry matures from a young boy into a man.

After reading the collection for the first time, I appreciated the movies even more. I thought it was incredible how much information that they were able to include in each movie. Yes, there was plenty that was still missing, but they did have to fit an entire school year in about two hours of film for each movie.

The one drawback to my technique was not being able to imagine the characters on my own. With the famous Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, it was hard to reimagine the characters as anyone else. In my opinion, the best part about reading a book is letting the characters come to life in your mind. Despite
this tiny flaw, I wouldn’t have read the books a moment sooner.

You might be thinking that Harry Potter is for kids and that you shouldn’t reread the books as an adult, but Harry Potter has taught me more about loyalty, sacrifice
and bravery than any other book I’ve ever read. Pick up the first book again. I promise you that you are never too old to be transported into the Wizarding World.

Five Things to Know About Weight Loss: The most common weight loss myths debunked.

In today’s society, everyone nitpicks their bodies, comparing themselves to Instagram influencers or the people they see on TV. We follow countless diets and run for miles on the treadmill, but don’t see long-term success. What if I told you that weight loss is not as complicated as you think? Here are 5 facts about weight loss that I wish I knew when I started my fitness journey.

One, the most important factor in weight loss is being in a caloric deficit. This means that you are eating less calories than you a burning. Everybody burns a different number of calories depending on height, weight, age, activity level, etc. The easiest way to calculate how many calories you need to lose weight, without seeing a registered dietitian or a nutritionist, is to use an online calorie calculator. There are plenty out there, but the one that I have used is at gainsbybrains.com I think this calculator is great because it gives you macros as well!

Two, weight loss takes a lot longer than you think. On average, a person can lose between 0.5 to 2lbs per week. The longer that you are on your weight loss journey, the harder it is to lose weight, especially when your goal changes from losing ‘weight’ to losing ‘fat.’ This topic may be a little too complicated to explain in this short article so bottom line: stop expecting immediate results. Prioritize progress over perfection and one day, you will look back and be thankful for the journey.

Three, don’t give 100% on week one. In order to lose weight, you need to be exerting more energy than you are consuming. Overtime, our bodies adjust to our caloric deficits and then we need to lower our intake and up our activity levels even more. If you run two miles on the treadmill and drop your calories to 1,200 on the first day, in a few months, where else are you going to go? Start in a small deficit and slowly increase your activity level in order to continue weight loss when you have hit a plateau.

Four, no one food will make you fat or skinny. As mentioned above, being in a caloric deficit is the most important factor in weight loss. Cutting carbs or fried food is not a guarantee that you will lose weight. Instead of making yourself miserable, try to eat foods that make you feel good and make you happy. Eating an unsustainable diet will only make it harder to maintain.

Five, don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. What might work for your favorite fitness influencer might not work for you and that’s okay. Stop comparing your chapter one to someone else’s chapter ten. You do not know how long they have been on their own fitness journey: it could be five years or ten. You will have days where you can see results and you will have days where you feel like you are back at square one. Take it one day at a time and you will achieve your goals!

Did “Music” Miss the Beat?: A look at Sia’s 2021 movie.

As National Autism Awareness month begins, “Music” is still facing criticism from the public. The controversial musical, starring Maddie Ziegler, Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr. was
rereleased in the United States on Feb. 10 after the outrage of viewers due to restraint scenes.

The movie’s biggest critique focuses on Ziegler’s character, Music. The film focuses on the life of an autistic girl and her older sister who has to learn to care for her. While Ziegler’s character is never verbalized as atypical, Music is portrayed through many of the stereotypical tics and triggers. Sia claims that the movie was intended to bring atypical representation to film; however, many viewers argue that Sia missed the mark.

According to Variety, after the movie was rereleased, Hannah Marshall created a petition against the film with over 17,000 signatures. Marshall released a statement as to why the film should be “canceled.” “It is extremely offensive to myself and other autistic individuals,” Marshall said. “Sia has shown no remorse for her inaccurate and hurtful betrayal of the community.”

On the other hand, the artist has also received a tremendous amount of support. The National Council for Serve Autism released a letter from Yuval Levental. The letter was titled: “Thank You for Representing a Girl with Severe Autism.”

Despite the movie’s criticism, I would give it five stars. My cousin has severe autism, demonstrating the behaviors that Ziegler portrayed. While not all people on the spectrum demonstrate these behaviors, some do. I think it is important to acknowledge those with severe autism, while also acknowledging that Ziegler does not portray the entire autistic community.

Rolling Stone was not impressed by the singer’s director debut, stating that “Ziegler herself seems to treat the condition as an extension for her dancing, so that her physical tics and facial expressions come off as choreographed physical mimicry rather than a characteristic of autism, or a person.”

I personally disagree entirely. As someone who has experienced these tics and facial expressions from a loved one, I didn’t think Ziegler could have acted a more accurate representation. Her performance did not seem choreographed or mimicked in the slightest. Throughout the entire film, all I could think was how accurate a depiction it was of my cousin.

This to say, I have never been diagnosed with the condition and cannot speak on the behalf of the autistic community. There are clear reasons why some members were offended by Sia’s directorial decisions; however, there is a saying among the community that fits well here. The saying is if you’ve met one autistic person, you have met one autistic person. Whether you support or criticize the film, it is important to remember that Ziegler’s representation in the film does not speak to the behavior and characteristics of the entire community.

Sources: Variety, Rolling Stone

Finding the Words: A look at Eastern University’s black- out poetry contest.

Blackout poetry stems from found poetry in which the artist blacks out words, usually with a black marker, in other forms of art. This could be newspapers, magazines, books or any other writing. By blacking out words, a redacted poem is formed.

When thinking of poetry, this typically isn’t the first type of poem that comes to mind. According to the Offbeat Poet, blackout poetry or redacted poetry was invented in the 18th century but was only made popular recently by Austin Kleon’s “Newspaper Blackout.”

Blackout poetry is not only a fun way to create new works of art, it is also very relaxing. In the spring of 2019, I attended a blackout poetry meeting with Inklings Literary Magazine. I took a page from an old newspaper and used black paint, covering words to give light to others. When I was finished, I wrote a poem.

I’ve never been good at writing poetry. I don’t really understand meter or iambic pentameter, but with redacted poetry, I didn’t really need to. I created a poem that I was proud, even if it wasn’t a great piece of work. It allowed me to express pent up emotions that I couldn’t find the words for.

From March 29 to April 18, the Warner Memorial Library and Inklings will be co-sponsoring a blackout poetry contest for students to partake in. This virtual contest has a QR code that can be scanned for students to submit their blackout poems.

The library has a number of books available for students to use to create their poems as well as crayons, markers, pastels, colored pencils, glue and scissors. This is not only a fun, new event for Eastern students, it is also a great way to relieve the stress of this semester and year.

Students can go to the library for more information or send an email to inklings@eastern.edu.

The Art of Taking a Breath: What it means to find the peaceful moments amidst the chaos.

The Enneagram Institute defines type ones as being “well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic.” This trend may seem overdone and tired, but this definition fits me better than my favorite t-shirt.

When I got to college, I felt lost and out of control. So, I started organizing my days down to the minute. I planned out everything. I could tell you my schedule down to the second: what time I got up, finished at the gym, ate lunch, did homework, read, and went to sleep. I had every moment of my life planned. If it wasn’t in the schedule, it couldn’t happen.

I’ve always been an overachiever. I liked to be doing the most and doing it the best. This obsession with a plan morphed into
staying ahead of the plan. I started doing the most to prepare for my future. I began working two jobs over the summers, saving up as much money as possible. Fun, who needs that?

I had no time to take care of myself. I overworked myself to the point of tears. Despite the various mental breakdowns, I never slowed down.

This semester, I decided to work online from home. I was only taking four classes and working for the Writing Center, Dance Department, the Waltonian, and a serving job on the weekends. But that wasn’t enough. Oh, no. I needed to add another serving job into the mix.

I maintained such high standards for myself that I wouldn’t let myself fail. I needed to work and save up as much as possible. I needed to be ready for post-graduation. I needed to be busy all the time. I needed to prove to everyone, and myself, that I really could do it all.

The issue with this was, I didn’t have time to breathe. This week alone I am working three doubles and two night shifts, not to mention every other commitment I signed myself on to. I felt like I had to keep adding on responsibilities in order to prepare myself for my future. I was looking so far ahead that I couldn’t see the present. I couldn’t see today.

That’s when it hit me, I will never get this day back. I will never get the same opportunity to enjoy being 21, spend time with
my family and friends and just be a college student. I was so focused on being perfect that I couldn’t see everything that I was missing right in front of me.

I’m tired of saying no to plans with friends. I’m tired of feeling rushed. I’m tired of not being able to catch my breath. While I’m still working on enjoying every little moment, I’ve decided
that I am just going to be present with each day, in each moment, and with myself.

It feels like just yesterday that I was starting my first classes as a freshman and now, I’m graduating this May. While I was busy and dedicated and prepared, I missed those moments of my college experience, the ones that I would tell my kids about. I’m not going to regret the choices I’ve made, instead, I’m going to learn from them. I’m going to learn what it truly means to stop and to just breathe.

The Most Influential Women in Dance History: An opinion piece on the two most influential women in the world of dance.

Martha Graham is a name that radiates legacy in the dance world, even to this day. Despite the many influential women in dance, Graham will always be the most prominent in my eyes.

Graham was announced “Dancer of the Century” by TIME magazine and a female “Icon of the Century” by People magazine. The dancer and choreographer revolutionized an art form all her own by creating the bridge between ballet and modern dance. According to the Martha Graham website, Graham’s “innovative physical vocabulary has irrevocably influenced dance worldwide.”

Graham founded her dance company and school in Manhattan, eventually creating the foundation of her technique, as Graham said, to “increase the emotional activity of the dancer’s body.” She transformed modern dance into sharp, direct, angular and jagged movements. To this day, Graham’s style is an inspiration to dancers and choreographers throughout the world. One can only truly understand the impact of Graham once they have danced her movements or have seen them performed.

Graham’s technique is so influential to me because it brings such fond memories of my mother, the second influential woman that I would like to mention in this article. My mom has been dancing ever since she was a little girl. In her adult years, she became a professional dancer, dancing in multiple companies and travelling around the United States.

She was a very accomplished dancer and choreographer in New York, but gave up that life to raise my sister and I. Despite this, she never gave up her love for the art. She inspired my sister and I’s love for dance. While Rehoboth Beach, Delaware doesn’t provide her with the same opportunities as New York did, she created a path for herself, inspiring many young girls along the way.

As a dance teacher, she taught us a variety of Graham’s techniques. She taught us how to contract and move in the depths of the human emotion, just as Graham intended. While my mother may not be one of the greatest influences in dance history, she has been so impactful to me and my love for the art.

Women’s history month is not only about the big names and influences that change everyone, but the less notable women that may change only one life. I know that my mother could have been tremendously successful if she continued her journey as a dancer and choreographer, but instead, she chose a different path. She chose a path as a mother. She chose a path with me in it. For that, I will be forever inspired by her courage and strength. She has showed me what it means to sacrifice what you love, but to always find a way to keep dancing.

Source: Martha Graham Website

Creating Her Own Path: A feature on Eastern’s first theatre graduate.

Abigail Pardocchi, a senior Theatre major, will be the first to graduate Eastern University in the newly developed major. The aspiring actress has fought long and hard to be the first theatre graduate from the university and plans on chasing her dreams after graduation this May.

Pardocchi found her love for theatre when she was eight years old. She started her training at Clear Space Theatre Company, located in Rehoboth Beach, Del. in various after school programs and summer intensives. From there, the actress only grew, performing in a variety of high school productions.

At Eastern, Pardocchi has performed in four productions including “Into the Woods,” “Antigone,” “Let Our Voices Rise,” and the upcoming, “Tartuffe in Quarantine.” In addition to these productions, she has also performed in a variety of concerts for the Dance Department as well.

In the summer of 2019, Pardocchi landed her first lead in “Happy Days the Musical,” the musical version of the popular 1970’s sitcom, starring as Pinky. The actress has continued her work with the theater company and recently performed as Rachel in “Exit Laughing,” a comedy about making the most out of our lives.

After talking to Pardocchi on her experience at the university, she explains her feelings on being Eastern’s experimental student. “It’s been a very difficult process, especially because I started as an individualized major,” Pardocchi said. “It is still difficult even with an official major, but it’s been very rewarding to help build and create a program. I’m not only the first theatre major, but I also did a lot of the research that went to the board in consideration for the establishment of the major.”

As a theatre major, Pardocchi explains that students are required to participate in four shows, either on stage or off, throughout their undergraduate studies for practicum credits. In addition to this, the major also has core classes and electives that students have to take, just as any other department. “I still have required classes to take like any other major would, the Theatre Department is just more creative about it,” Pardocchi said.

Pardocchi illustrates the personalized attention that she received at Eastern University being the first Theatre major. “You wouldn’t get as much one on one time with professors at a bigger and more competitive program,” Pardocchi said. “I received a lot of individualized help from this program. That being said, I also only worked with a few professors, limiting the type of experiences and lessons that I was learning.”

While the future may be fuzzy, Pardocchi is hopeful for the opportunities and work ahead. “I know it will be difficult and hard work, but I’m really passionate about acting and I will do whatever it takes to follow my dream.”

Arts Online and In Quarantine: A look at virtual art events for the spring season.

As we approach a year of COVID-19 and quarantine, it has become more and more difficult to find ways to keep ourselves entertained; however, many businesses and organizations have adapted to virtual platforms.

This time in the semester, students are probably itching to get out and do something, but don’t worry, I have a few virtual suggestions to keep your sanity! Here is a list of arts events that are new and exciting!

The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater is rich in history with a variety of performing companies, dance education opportunities and community outreach programs. One of their core values is to showcase African-American heritage and culture.

Google Arts and Culture features a wide range of exhibits from over 2000 museums. From anywhere in the world, people can see the Easter Island Moai, explore deep sea museums from around the world, and see street art from all over. Not only does the site feature exhibits and art, it also provides interactive opportunities for visitors such as creating your own opera at home and solving artistic jigsaw puzzles. Google Arts and Culture has art and objects for everyone to enjoy, no matter your interests.

Smaller museums have also opened their virtual doors to keep the inspiration and art alive. The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County have created engaging experiences for people of all ages. Check out virtual tours of the Armory Art Center, Boynton Beach Art in Public Places, Flagler Museum, and Norton Museum of Art.

If museums aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of sites to check out. The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater recently launched #AileyAllAccess, providing a wide range of content such as digital dance tutorials and performances.

The National Theater brings shows to screens by creating The National Theater at Home. The YouTube page uploads full-length productions every Thursday at 7 p.m., keeping audiences entertained from their couches instead of theatre seats.

Despite the limitations of the coronavirus, museums, artists and performers are able to share their art to a larger audience from different parts of the world. While I only give a few examples in this article, there are plenty of online events and a good portion of them are free. Grab your laptop and start searching!

Sources: Google Arts and Culture, GlobeNewswire, CNN