If I’m being completely honest, taking a Byrnes Seminar was just crossing a requirement off the Honors Program checklist for me. But when I was doing my schedule planning last semester in preparation for this one, I decided to opt for one of the seminars which wasn’t related to my major. (Just as a side note: I am a Journalism and Media Studies major and as I was looking through the seminars, I noticed a lot of them were more science related, especially the ones that were left by the time I got to choose classes.)
I am taking a lot of writing courses this semester and I wasn’t particularly interested in taking a more technical seminar so I decided to take Dance Improv! I’ve always loved dancing and have taken classical Indian dance classes for most of my life, basically until I came to college. I have thought about taking a dance class here at Rutgers but I didn’t want to feel too much pressure or put too much pressure on my body, as I have had two pretty serious knee injuries in the past.
Taking this seminar seemed like the perfect match, but I was a little nervous as it was improv which I’ve never even attempted. I am helplessly attached to choreography and way too comfortable knowing exactly what’s going to happen next (in every part of my life). But taking this class allowed me to challenge myself and it was totally worth it. The class was more focused on movement and the properties that create improv than actually dancing, so not much prior experience was required. We learned about the history of improv, certain techniques which we later put into practice, and the social movement “Don’t You Feel It Too?”, which uses dance as a social justice tool. Also, we got to go to the Joyce Theatre for free and see an amazing performance titled “To Create a World” (and it was my first time seeing contemporary dance live!)
Even though I’m taking 14 credits this semester, which is relatively light, I felt like this class was a much-needed break from all the writing and reading I do every day. I also really enjoyed dancing with all the people in my class and venturing out of my comfort zone.
I completely recommend taking this course, or another Byrnes Seminar. It was low pressure and fun. I’m definitely going to miss it for the rest of the semester! :’)