Dance In The Mix welcomes Jessica Collier as our student guest blogger sharing the thoughts she has been developing during her undergraduate work at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK.
Working with a Mandatory School Fitness Program
One of the many reasons I have found over the years to love my school is its focus on “Whole Person Education, Spirit, Mind, and Body.” Every student is held to high standards as a matter of policy: ORU actually has an attendance policy requiring students to physically attend class lectures, holds chapel twice a week (mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff), and requires all undergraduates to enroll in a physical education course each semester. Not everyone at school appreciates these requirements, but as a fairly motivated collegiate with any measure of school pride and the desire to succeed, I find very little to criticize in these policies.
If anything causes a stir among ORU students, however, it’s certainly the aerobics points/Fitbit/field test system that currently constitutes our physical education program. Many students find the performance standards (rumored on the university grapevine to be as tough as some military qualification scores) to be, at the least, daunting, if not downright impossible. Here’s a short breakdown of what every ORU student is expected to achieve each semester:
Over the years, the dance students at ORU have gotten to discover the best way to adapt to this enforced training, and learn more about movement and our bodies as we engage in non-dance physical education classes. We learn, often through trial and error, how much we ought to push ourselves in relation to our rehearsal load, when an upcoming performance is more important than one or two extra time points, and the wondrous miracle of ice packs. Personally, I’ve come to appreciate the extra gym time since it has, in a sense, forced me to take ownership of actually cross training – and the running has definitely increased my stamina. So until our program gains enough credibility to get some slack on the track when we really need it, I look on the bright side, sprinting across the gym like I’m headed for a quick change.
photo by Nathan Harmon; dancers: Jessica Vokoun & Rachel Bruce Johnson.
PC: Jeanne S. Mam-Luft
It is a simple philosophy here at THE BELL HOUSE; make connections by bringing people together through dance. Art that seeks to defy a fractured view of the world by creating culture that cares for the soul and is concerned with human thriving. For me, it isn’t enough to just make dance for dance’s sake; it is my belief that it is the connective power of people that makes art worth engaging. We do that by taking our interests and talents and challenging the ways we connect them to something tangible in the human experience. It is through these connections and tangibilities that we see the true power of art and dance manifest back to relationships with and through people. In my view, what matters is people; the time and space of making work refract and overlap revealing and creating new possibilities for human connection.