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Alex Nowlin 19 ~ Buster Cooper Jazz Scholarship

The Muse Experience

This summer, I fully immersed myself in the commercial dance industry. I went straight to the heart of West Coast dance and stayed in West Hollywood. I interned at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and took classes under the instruction of Muse Dance Company. The highlight of my summer was the summer intensive, titled The Muse Experience, which I attended only by the generous support of the Dance Council.

Via my summer studies, I wanted to have more answers about what steps to take next with my career. After my first year of dancing in college, I was swimming in a pool of many possibilities and uncertainties. Exploring dance as art and as entertainment was my main goal this summer, however, I received much more.

Our main focus throughout the intensive was setting a jazz production for the City of Burbank’s upcoming festival Let’s Move, Burbank!, as a part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. Choreographed by Jessica Starr, this piece is structured as an “Evolution of Dance” with music from the 20s, 70s, 80s, and 2000s and is set to debut in Burbank, CA on October 1, 2011.
One of my greatest practices this summer was valuing each class and trusting the teacher’s individual approach. In fact, these individual approaches helped inform my teaching style. Each of their movement vocabularies also informs my dancing. One of the most motivating teachers was Joe Loera. He recognized my artistic voice, and then encouraged me to let that be enough. One of the most challenging teachers was Jessica Starr, who pushed me to communicate with clarity.

I was also involved in the administration of the intensive. My greatest passion in life is to serve people through the medium and by the talent of dance.  I was able to help people and contribute to the art. I love to make things happen for others.

Mostly, I loved inspiring my fellow participants, particularly the younger students, to dream big! My new friends are all amazing people, which is the single quality that makes them stunning dancers. We definitely fed off of each other throughout the Experience. We pushed each other to conquer our doubts and fears, both as dancers and as humans. They encouraged me to keep my spirit high, even while I am swimming in a pool of uncertainty and possibility (and to focus on the latter half).  I discovered that in order to make things happen for others, I have to make things happen for myself first.

Through helping plan the intensive and being a leader throughout the Experience, I believe all of my studies and experiences right now build my future. One day, I will have my own dance studio—that’s definitely the end goal. Now the in between, who knows! As for now, I am gratefully studying at Southern Methodist University to receive a B.F.A. in Dance Performance, a B.A. in Advertising, and a minor in Education.

I do not know what path is planned for me, but the truth is, I have all the answers I need in this very moment.  The thing I have come to accept is that if we have too tight of a grip on our plans, we do not leave room for the miraculous.

~ Alex Nowlin