Posted: April 14, 2014
No one can deny that being a successful university student takes commitment and responsibility. Self-motivation and personal initiative are incredibly important skills to develop in college since there is often less official accountability for getting good grades and getting involved around campus. In the School of Dance, personal responsibility is paramount. In fact, “Intense Dedication” seems like it could be a pre-requisite for the program. Over the last month, GMU’s School of Dance has hosted two major events that would not have been possible without the active involvement of our students and faculty.
As dancers in the School of Dance, most of our time is allotted to our morning technique classes, nightly rehearsals, and academic class responsibilities. Free time is often used to prepare for rehearsal or to get ahead on homework in a general education course.
Needless to say: downtime is rare.
Which is why we look forward to Spring Break as eagerly as every other college student. This year however, our Spring Break offered exciting options to showcase the teachers, students, and facilities of GMU’s School of Dance more than it offered pure relaxation.
George Mason University’s Fairfax campus was chosen to host American College Dance Festival’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. College dancers from Maryland to North Carolina flocked to GMU’s campus to take class, watch performances, and listen to presentations on a variety of dance subjects. GMU dance majors that elected to stay on campus and volunteer at ACDFA for the first five days of vacation got to take class and attend events for free. I took a Bollywood class from our own adjunct professor Lori Clark, yoga classes with JMU and GMU professors, and ballet with a teacher from New York City—who was also serving as a judge for ACDFA’s adjudicated concerts.
Part of the volunteering job I was assigned was to attend to the adjudicators that were brought in to give feedback on dances that schools presented on the Concert Hall stage. Not everyone would be thrilled to spend their Spring Break taking coffee orders and sitting in a dark theater with the judges, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to be in close contact with individuals that have experienced success in the field I myself am pursuing. I was glad for the chance to interact with professional dancers from around the region, not to mention utterly proud of my school’s warm volunteers and beautiful dances.
The latest School of Dance event I was able to volunteer with was our Spring Gala 2014. I was given the opportunity to report backstage at the Center for the Arts, giving a peek at the show’s preparations. The live call was broadcast to a pre-performance reception that included our dean, faculty, and many beloved figures in our dance community. We showed the activity in the wings and in the dressing rooms; I chatted with our dance majors that would be performing later in the evening.
Recognizing that our students would be presenting pieces that were originally made for professional dancers made their performances even more incredible. Their sheer physical ability and performance quality made them fit perfectly up on the Concert Hall stage—the same stage that presented world famous companies like Mark Morris Dance Group and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company just in the last year. The theater was packed both nights and the audiences were attentive and enthusiastic. Just as I felt proud of how welcoming our school was during ACDFA, I was equally content watching the hard work of my classmates pay off during the gala. It is so exciting to be part of a program at George Mason University that is experiencing such growth in notability within the campus community and on the national scale.
Read more posts by Katherine S.
Posted: April 7, 2014, Last Updated: April 1, 2014
As a science major who has a random passion for videography, I run into opportunities to make videos involving unique aspects of campus. In honor of the Student Body Presidential Campaigns taking place this week [vote NOW at getconnected.gmu.edu] my friends went around campus asking Mason students “What Does Mason Mean to You?”
There were many questions we asked ourselves in preparation for this project: Would there be a unified theme? Would people react positively to the question? Would answers vary by group/organization?
Encouragingly, each response was positive and unique without any prompting from the team. In addition, the individuals in the final movie were excited about the reflective question and given the improv/impromptu style of the project, were very forthcoming.
I have edited videos for various offices on campus, including [definitely not limited to] the TEDxGMU conferences, the Office of Student Involvement, Mason Recreation, and the Center for Global Education; these videos range from Mason Day performances to my study abroad and traveling encounters. While each experience challenged me creatively in a different way, this opportunity was the first where I was able to let the creativity rest in my fellow peers and simply capture the brilliance of Mason spirit come to life in each response.
See the video here: Give Meaning to Mason
As the sun comes out, spring fights against mother nature, and the students linger outside to talk, catch up, and enjoy the campus spirit, remember to ask yourselves what Mason means to you and never hesitate to make the change you wish to see on campus.
If you’re bored, check out the rest of my videos: Kathleen’s Channel
Read more posts by Kathleen W.
Posted: April 4, 2014
by Dana Ronan, Guest Blogger
Relay for Life. It’s been plastered all around campus with catchy sayings on cubes, chalk designs around North Plaza, decorations in Southside and superhero flyers in every residence hall. The event itself is a little impossible to miss. But what does all that purple really mean?
Well, Relay for Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. For over 100 years, the American Cancer Society has been raising money in a fight against cancer by funding cancer research, providing services to cancer patients and raising awareness about preventative measures against cancer. More on Relay for Life and the efforts of the American Cancer Society can be found on this website.
At George Mason University, Relay for Life is the largest student run event on campus. And to get rid of a common rumor- Relay is NOT a run! It is a fourteen hour celebration of life and love. The Relay for Life committee has been working since the first week of September to put on this event and now it is almost here! We Relay on April 5th at 4PM in the RAC Gym. We will stay up all night because cancer doesn’t sleep and for one night, neither will we. There are activities including a 75 person dodgeball game, a wing-eating contest, a rave, glow-in-the-dark bowling, human fooseball and so much more. There are live performances (like the Green Machine!), competitions, prizes, food…essentially, a giant sleepover with everything you could want and more. And it’s for a fantastic cause- beating cancer!
This year, our theme is Superheroes vs Villains. The Mason community is playing one giant superhero against the villain that is cancer! We have a goal of raising $110,000 for the American Cancer Society. In 2013 we raised $97,000 so we are optimistic that this is within our means! Over 1,000 people attended the 2013 event and this year we hope more Mason students bring friends, family members, community members and even strangers to join in this enormous Relay.
We hope you will join us for this amazing event. We promise you won’t regret it!! You can sign up online at relayforlife.org/gmu or just come to registration on the day of the event. Join a team, create a team or just come solo to be a part of the movement. Registration is a small $10 fee, and all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society! Opening ceremonies start at 4PM but the event goes until 6AM on Sunday, April 6th, so come and go from the RAC as you please– just don’t lose your Relay wristband! All ages are welcome to join the festivities and we are encouraging teams to bring things for their “homebase” in the Cage Gym like decorations, sleeping bags, picnic blankets, etc! This is one of the biggest events of the Spring semester and captures the Mason spirit beautifully.
Oh! And one last thing. The person who raises the most money for Relay between 3/24/14 and 4/5/14 will win two tickets to DC 101 Kerfuffle! If you like 311, Cage the Elephant, SOJA and other similar artists, get fundraising to win that incentive!
So what are you waiting for? Join us for a one night stand you won’t regret! April 5th in the RAC from 4PM-6AM. Sign up at relayforlife.org/gmu and direct any questions to email@example.com! See you on Saturday Mason!
Read more posts by Kersten Smith