Posted: March 2, 2014, Last Updated: March 1, 2014
But oh, the memories dance continues to generate for me! If memories are all dance leaves behind, I have recently amassed some exceptional ones. This weekend I encountered the global modern dance scene without leaving the D.C.-Metro area. I was able to see performances by two vastly different international dance companies, experience distinct styles of dance education, and mingle with local patrons of the arts at an elegant on-campus soiree. All of this in forty-eight hours, most occurring within an eight-minute stroll from my living room!
Saturday was a day of Mark Morris. (For those unfamiliar with this quintessential modern dance personality, Morris is an established choreographer that looks to music for inspiration for his wide range of dances. This makes for incredibly rhythmic, intricate dances that are speckled with humor, frankness, and daring. He also loves scarves.) In the morning, I took a class from one of his notable dancers who has been a fixture in the company for years. Her class explored shape and dynamics, focusing on precision in movement and counts. I was grateful for the strict teaching; it reminded me how satisfying clarity and specificity in dancing can be.
Check out the Mark Morris Dance Group. Most of the pieces they danced on the CFA stage are highlighted in this video clip.
On Saturday evening I helped with a School of Dance benefit reception held in one of our expansive, airy studios. It was set up like a ritzy lounge—with mood lighting, smooth jazz, and charming guests in attendance. The event was a precursor to Mark Morris Dance Group’s performance at the Center for the Arts. Dan Joyce, a professor in the School of Dance, interviewed two of GMU’s alumni that now perform with Mark Morris. The exceptional success of our alums with a world-renowned company of that caliber speaks to the effective preparation and well-rounded education that GMU and the School of Dance offers.
The following day I was able to take class in a dance style called “Gaga” that was founded by an Israeli dancer. (Before you start thinking I was dancing in a plastic egg wearing a meat dress, please understand that it is entirely unrelated to the pop star Lady Gaga!!) Sunday was my first experience with Gaga/people, an approachable class everyone—not just dancers—that is more meditative improvisation than strict “right-and-wrong” technique class. The teacher was co-director of Leesaar, a dance company originally based out of Tel Aviv. She pushed her participants to be present in their own bodies, embracing their natural movement without personal judgment. I loved being one in a range of individuals finding ease and comfort through dance.
I was so intrigued by my experience in class that I decided to attend the company’s performance later in the afternoon. Although there were overwhelming and shocking moments in the show like with most boundary-pushing dances, it was completely intriguing and interesting. It did not instruct what to feel, what to think, or how to view the dance. I got wrapped up in the zealous movement and the numerous changes in music and mood, not always sure of what was going to happen, but eager to see what came next.
My aim is to never feel regret when I think back to the performing arts opportunities I get during my time at Mason. I want to take every class I can, watch every performance that I can fit in my schedule. If I can experience something new and different by spending my Sunday afternoon in a theater, why would I pass that up? Studying dance does not guarantee a profitable outcome or steady job after graduation, but there is nothing I would rather spend these four critical years of my life investigating. The skills I gain from being a dance major—be it dependability, organization, responsibility, collaboration, communication—will be invaluable in whatever I find myself pursuing in the future. I know that by taking advantage of these opportunities at my fingertips on campus and in D.C,. I’m creating memories that will last long after convocation.
Read more posts by Katherine S.
Posted: March 1, 2014
TED talks are branded as “ideas worth spreading,” featuring research from amazing professionals to even brilliant children from around the world, speaking about challenging ideas or new creations. TED talks are so widespread that smaller institutions, like universities, sponsor TEDx events.
Well, Mason is one of those institutions. Even better is that a group of students founded it and continue to run the event, three years coming this April [see what we do!].
It was March of 2011, my freshman year, when I was contacted through a friend who knew a certain to-be founder/producer, Joe Renaud [currently a PhD physics student at Mason] who was interested in bringing his love of TED to Mason and the NOVA community. The event is now so successful, growing and expanding each year, [I think our epicly bold TED letters help] that the Provost Office, OSCAR and Mason TV take large roles in sponsoring, supporting, and editing the talks for Youtube.
You may be wondering, “well, how popular are the TEDxGMU events?” To give you perspective, this year the annual spring event [tickets on sale now!] will be at the beautiful Hylton Performing Arts Center, Congressman Connolly spoke our first year, President Cabrera and Provost Sterns introduced the event last year, and just one of our talks by Mason Professor Randy Gabel has over 18,300 views on Youtube!
Behind the esteem of TED, however, is a humble handful of students who put in the effort to get the word about all that TEDxGMU does, like host smaller semester talks introduced by Mason students doing research here! The team is always looking for day-of volunteers, members looking to help plan our semester events, and students who want to present their research, too!
One thing that I love to see from behind-the-scenes (I started as Chief of Filmography and now I’m Director of Events Media) is the growing face of TEDxGMU, because with each year come new volunteers, new speakers, new ideas, new research, serving to complement the founding team and work already established.
Cheers fellow Patriots!
Read more posts by Kathleen W.
Posted: February 19, 2014
By Caroline Davis, Assistant Director of Admissions
Studying abroad was one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences I had in college – I spent a summer in London, and as an English major, there was nothing better! If I could recommend ONE thing, and only one thing, to take advantage of when you’re in school, it would be to go abroad. Whether you’re away for a year, a semester, or just a week or two, you won’t regret packing up and heading somewhere entirely new.
Mason has one of the largest study abroad programs, and because many of the programs are offered at university tuition costs, it’s an affordable option. Program length varies, too, so you can easily fit study abroad into your busy schedule.
This week on the blog, I wanted to share some study abroad insights from Achim Loch in Mason’s study abroad office, the Center for Global Education. Read on to discover what it means to study abroad, and why you should do it!
P.S. Be sure to stop by the Study Abroad Fair & Social TODAY from 4pm-6pm in the Johnson Center West Lounge!
Guest post by Achim Loch, Center for Global Education
1. There are over 90 study abroad programs with the Center for Global Education (CGE)
No matter where you want to go, there are tons of options available to you at Mason – short term programs during the winter break and summer term: Semester and year-long exchanges, intensive language courses, internships, a semester in Florence and an honors semester in Oxford. In addition to existing partnerships, students can research their own destinations and participate in any accredited program. Study abroad will help you grow personally and professionally.
2. Programs range from one week to a full academic year
Enjoy a summer or a whole semester, two weeks over winter break, or a full academic year.
3. Create a life-long love affair with another country
Going abroad is not just an experience for a little while. It will influence you for the rest of your studies, if not for the rest of your life – I myself fell in love with a woman who I now call my wife (I tied the knot with a dictionary as one of my professors used to say). You learn to know this strange country, its language, its people, its customs, its peculiarities. Once you come back, you start looking for traces of your experience abroad. Interestingly enough, it is a phenomenon that I observed others do, that is those who have recently returned from abroad. You start watching telenovelas, you try to track down music in Japanese, you find yourself in the international aisle of a major supermarket looking for baked beans and kimchi. On the other hand, you begin to appreciate the comforts of your home after an exciting odyssey through South East Asia or the wild maze of islands making up the Philippines. You might even venture to new markets and discover new foods, like these two worthy gentlemen in China:
Street Food in China [Summer 2013 Chinese Language Study in Beijing]
4. There is no better time to study abroad than during your undergrad career
Being an undergrad is the best time to pack your bags for an exciting study abroad experience. At no other time in your life will you be able to visit another country in such a unique way for an extended period of time. Fill up your winter break or consider an international summer school session in the UK, continental Europe, or in South Africa. Delving into a long term, that is a semester or year-long, experience will be seen as a luxury once you join the workforce. A mere 10 days or 12 days of vacation time a year will not allow you to get to know another culture in a hands-on way. Now is the time. Stand out in the crowd of your fellow undergraduates and join a program that will change your view on life, and most of all, yourself!
The story does not end here. Grad students will also find opportunities to study abroad with CGE. Quite a few programs tailored to the non-traditional student population; hence not only traditional semester options are solely available. A short term winter break program might just be the right investment to bridge the gap between two semesters! Study abroad fits into everyone’s schedule.
5. Freshman Options
Starting in the summer? Can’t wait to take in your college experience to the fullest? Why wait? You can sign up for your first study abroad experience as soon as you arrive at Mason. Our winter programs offer three credits in a variety of subjects – not just languages! You can earn credit in humanities and the sciences.
6. An internship can enrich your career and expand your network
Eventually you will seek employment in the corporate world. Why not earn actual work experience abroad and get credit for it? Make your resume stand out from others and explore new regions of the world while doing an internship in Shanghai, Buenos Aires, or London – to name a few. Connecting to new cultures and expanding your network is the first step of getting on with your future career!
7. Study abroad is affordable, graduate faster!
Costs for studying abroad vary, yet studying abroad can be a money saver. It might not seem like it at first glance, but the following example from an out-of-state student at Mason nicely demonstrates how effective planning can enrich your experience, save you money, and help you graduate faster:
Example: Out-of-state student costs from 2011/12
There are plenty of options to finance your study abroad experience. All programs offer academic credit and, therefore, financial aid can be applied to most of them. In addition, a wide range of scholarships are available for study abroad, such as CGE’s Global Perspectives Scholarship for short term programs or for the Boren Scholarship:
[from the GMU Newsdesk]
Undergrad Receives Boren Scholarship to Study in China
8. Studying abroad is not just for the liberal arts
While the majority of CGE’s study abroad programs cater to the liberal arts, quite a few programs offer credit for business and economics or for the sciences. Short term faculty-led programs in South America and Africa, internships in Brazil, and a range of semester options offer a chance for Mason students to earn credit in their desired field.
9. Health and safety
All CGE students attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation on campus. Students are briefed on safety and health issues, meet fellow program participants, an their Mason faculty prior to departure.
Have we whetted your appetite? Then come see us on campus. We are located in the Johnson Center in Room 235. The Center for Global Education is open during regular office hours Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. We are also hosting our Study Abroad Fair and Social today, Wednesday, February 19, from 4pm-6pm in the Johnson Center West Lounge.
Internet Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
Center for Global Education
Read more posts by Caroline Davis