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Dominique Neff

2014-15 Experiential

Dominique Neff

Experiential Learning Proposal

Learning Proposal

Performing at The
Fringe
[Street Address] [City], [State] [Postal Code]
Phone: [Your Phone] Fax: [Your Fax] E-Mail: [Your E-Mail]

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

Abstract:
Each August, the largest arts festival in the world takes place in
Edinburgh, Scotland. This festival caters to a diverse groupfrom experts in
their field, to beginners seeking insight and experience, from dance to
acrobatics, music to visual artsthis festival is culturally and artistically diverse.
Over one hundred theaters, spread across the city, act as performance venues.
Performers, including Burklyn Ballet Theatre from Vermont, attend from all over
the world.

For a ballet dancer, most training and performing reach a hiatus


during the summer. In order to stay in the best shape and continue
progressing over these months, it is crucial to attend a summer intensive.
During my six-week stay at Burklyn Ballets summer intensive, I will take
ballet daily for two hours, then either pointe, variations, modern, jazz,
partnering, or character dance for several more hours. In the evenings, we
have rehearsals during which we set excerpts of ballets or original works in
five short days. Typically, summer intensives only allow a dancer one
performance for the entire intensive. Burklyn Ballet Theater is unique in that
dancers perform weekly during the normal program, and every day during
the Edinburgh Connection. Because of the physical limitations of age, dance
as a profession is a fleeting career. Burklyn allows weekly stage time making
it an invaluable opportunityand to get to perform at the Fringe is the
pinnacle of any performance career.
I have attended Burklyn Ballet Theaters summer intensive for several
years now, but have never been able to travel with them to Edinburgh.

This

summer, my goal is to both attend the summer intensive for four weeks, and to
travel with them in order to perform at The Fringe Festival. In total, this will be a
six-week time commitment. During my four weeks at Burklyn Ballet Theater in
Vermont, I will have class for at least 5 hours daily (consisting of ballet,
partnering, pointe, variations, modern, jazz, or improvisation classes). After

Performing at the
Fringe

Dominique Neff

2014-2015

class, I will have rehearsal for 1-4 hours to prepare for Burklyns weekly
performances. Furthermore, I will have rehearsal daily for the ballet that will be
performed in Scotland.

Because I will be attending as a counselor, I will also

have duties daily that pertain to this responsibility. They could be locking up
studios, mentoring younger dancers, assisting with registration and orientation,
making programs, or maintaining the bulletin board.
I am truly honored to be considered a counselor at Burklyn Ballet Theater.
I love being able to share my passion with younger students and the teaching
experience is incomparable. See figure 1 for a sample schedule. Once we arrive
in Scotland, we will be performing daily. When not performing or taking class,
we will have the opportunity to watch others perform and to explore the area.
See figure 2 for an approximate itinerary. Through this experience, I both hope
to advance my technical and artistic abilities and expand my cultural horizons.
As a performer, it is a dream-come-true to share my work at the largest festival
in the world.

As an academic, it is an incredible opportunity to expand my

horizons culturally and intellectually.


Figure 1:
Sample Itinerary (VT)
Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Ballet (2 hr)

Ballet (2 hr)

Ballet (2 hr)

Ballet (2 hr)

Ballet (2 hr)

SHOW

Counseling
(varies)

Pointe (1 hr)

Partnering (1

Pointe (1 hr)

hr)
Modern (1.5

Modern (1.5 hr)

Modern (1.5 hr)

hr)
Rehearsal (2

Rehearsal (2 hr)

Rehearsal (2 hr)

hr)

Partnering (1

Interviews

Counseling

Counseling

hr)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

Modern (1.5

Modern (1.5

Counseling

Counseling

hr)

hr)

(varies)

(varies)

Rehearsal (2

Rehearsal (2

Counseling

Counseling

hr)

hr)

(varies)

(varies)

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

2014-2015

Performing at the
Fringe

Dominique Neff

Figure 2:
Sample Itinerary (Scotland)

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Warm Up

Warm Up

Warm Up Class

Warm Up

Warm Up

Counseling

Counseling

Class (1.5 hr)

Class (1.5 hr)

(1.5 hr)

Class (1.5 hr)

Class (1.5 hr)

(varies)

(varies)

Performance (1

Performance (1

Performance (1

Performance

Performance

Counseling

Counseling

hr)

hr)

hr)

(1 hr)

(1 hr)

(varies)

(varies)

View Other

View Other

View Other

View Other

View Other

Class at

Class at

Performances

Performances

Performances (2

Performances

Performances

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

(2 hr)

(2 hr)

hr)

(2 hr)

(2 hr)

DanceBase (2

DanceBase (2

hr)

hr)

Sight Seeing

Sight Seeing

Sight Seeing

Sight Seeing

Sight Seeing

Sightseeing

Sightseeing

such as

such as Calton

such as Royal

such as The

such as

Exploring

Exploring the

Edinburgh

Hill (3 hr)

Botanical

National

Scottish

Daily Life.

City.

Gardens (3 hr)

Museum (3 hr)

Gallery of

Castle (3 hr)

Modern Art (3
hr)
Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

Counseling

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

(varies)

Learning Outcomes:
Acquires or further develops competencies within a particular creative
domain:
This summer, I intend to work specifically on the eye-catching side of
ballet technique. I am drawing near job auditions and it is crucial that I

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

stand out in a crowd. By the end of the summer, my goal is to have higher
extensions (lifting the leg to the front, side, and back). Extension, it is
theorized, comes from three different factors: alignment, strength, and
flexibility. I will be getting corrections daily, and will also ask my teachers to
watch specifically for my alignment in extension and for other tips and
techniques for achieving the high legs for which every dancer strives.
Standing out in a crowd is not all about tricks, however. In fact, much
of what makes people stand out is their performance ability. This summer, I
will also be working towards being a better performer at all times. I would
be able to learn, not just from my own performing experience which I would
have weekly at Burklyn Ballet Theater and daily at The Fringe, but also from
that of performers from all over the world. I would learn from their
successes and mistakes technically and artistically, and, from their dancing,
will find out more about their culture and experiences.
Dance is not an isolated art form; it was created and evolves in a
societal context. At Burklyn Ballet, we have the opportunity to perform
under the coaching of teachers from all over the country and the world.
They are able to bring new perspectives in their coaching and teaching and
new artistic challenges to the dancers. I will be taking class from these
professionals for upwards of 5 hours daily. I look forward to exploring the
way that ballet technique is employed cross-culturally. What themes are
similar? What sets each diverse group apart? What can I recognize culturally
and socially in their dance?
Through these classes, I will receive coaching in my technique.
Furthermore, I will have rehearsals for pieces that they set each evening for
2-4 hours. This will not only challenge me technically, but also artistically to
meet the demands of world-renowned professionals. As the saying goes,
practice makes perfect. This is a phenomenal opportunity to hone my craft
and perfect my technique both physically and artistically. The sheer amount

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

of hours spent being surrounded by dance will allow me the time and focus
that I need to increase my competencies within my domainthat is, dance.
Possess a well-developed awareness of theories and methods in the
field:
Through this experience, I will be able to reignite an inspiration for
dance. Furthermore, I will be taking class from famous former professional
dancerspeople that danced in New York City Ballet with Baryshnikov or in
The Royal Ballet along side Margot Fonteyn. Needless to say, they have
astronomical amounts of wisdom to share, both in terms of the history of
dance and relevant corrections.
Simply having new teachers perspectives can result in finding a new
correction that your every-day teachers might have missed. In dance, a
quarter inch correction of alignment can change your entire technique.
Placing your weight slightly farther in one direction can make the difference
between a double and quadruple pirouette. One finger can distort a whole
line. Hence, gaining insight from an outsiders perspective is incredibly
necessary to take your technique to the next level of professionalism. Dance
teachers, furthermore, do not just teach the same theories that theyve been
teaching for fifty years; rather, they are constantly exposed to new theories
and methods from all over the country and world that improve dance
technique. Gaining access to these cutting edge ideas is crucial to having
competitive technique. By taking class from such astounding professionals
for upwards of 5 hours daily, I will be exposed to their theories on dance as
a technique. They will give me corrections daily and I will be able to apply
those corrections with their guidance. For example, I have had trouble
spotting in the past (that is, a whipping head motion utilized in turns). I
was able to improve my spot after getting a correction last year to lower my
chin until it was parallel with the ground. This was instrumental in my

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

growth as a dancer because, though I had probably had the same issue for
five years, I had never received that correction before. Through exposure to
one teachers theory on the technique of spotting, I was able to change the
way that I pirouette and now am able to attain three instead of two turns.
Demonstrates/takes appropriate risk in successfully completing
project (going beyond original parameters of assignment, introducing
new materials and forms, tackling controversial topics, advocating
unpopular ideas or solutions, etc.)
While in Scotland, I not only plan on performing at The Fringe, but
also exploring more local dance. Edinburg DanceBase, a hub for dance
teachers in Edinburgh, offers classes from famous European instructors. I
will be taking master-classes from Edinburg DanceBase on the weekends
while in Scotland. By taking classes from European teachers, I will have a
better idea of where I will study abroad. Furthermore, it will expose me to
company dancers, repertoire, and instructors from significant companies
abroad. It will open my mind to the new experience of dancing in Europe
and allow me to further understand the ways that European dance differs
from American dance. Traveling to Edinburgh will allow me the opportunity
to explore European dance first hand. It will expose me to new theories and
styles and hopefully will allow me to make an educated decision as to where
I will study abroad next year.
Taking class outside of the Fringe is not a requirement or even a
suggestion put out by Burklyn Ballet Theater. Although I know that they will
support and assist me in this venture, they assume that the hours each day
that we already dance will be enough. Although I will be nervous to take
class in a new country, from a completely strange teacher, I hope that it will
make me more comfortable in this new territory so that by the time I study
abroad, I will be more confident in my choices and more aware of the culture
of dance in Europe. Not only will I understand what techniques I can relate

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

to and enjoy learning, but I can also have a greater understanding of which
techniques I disagree with. Both will allow me valuable insight into which
companies, and countries, I would want to study with.

Connection to Goals and Academic Theories:


A. Personal, Academic, and Professional Goals:
As previously stated, this experience is invaluable for my training and
artistry. Without this, I would only perform four times a year. I believe in the
saying practice makes perfect.

While dancers can practice performing in

class, it really is not the same. Through the four weeks in Vermont and two
in Edinburgh, I will have added fourteen performances! Professional dancers
take class as maintenance, but their true job is to perform.

I intend to

increase my marketability by adding this experience to my resume.


Performing abroad (and at the largest performing festival in the world) will
create a memorable resume and further amplify my probability of getting
into a company.
I believe that it is crucial to my academic career to gain an
international perspective. Although we have a show every morning, we have
the remainder of the day to explore the city and other artists and performers
from around the world. On top of broadening my horizons, this experience
will also encourage me to become a more holistically open minded person.
Gaining new experiences and perspectives, collaborating with others to
create and perform, and seeing new people and places will all be extremely
significant, not just in my academic career, but into my future and the
contributions I make in my life. I strive not just to understand myself, but
also to understand the world and people around me. In order to do this, I

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

find it crucial to experience diverse situations and people, and to push


myself beyond my comfort zone.
B. Connection to Academic Theories
Dance is every bit as rich in history as Scotland. This summer, I want
to continue my studies of dance history by reading the books, Ballet and
Modern Dance: A Concise History, by Jack Anderson and Scottish Ballet: 40
Years, by Mary Brennan.
Anderson details the rise of dance through early European court life,
its eventual debut in America, and its morph to modernism. I hope to focus
especially on the cultural context in Scotland and America that impacted the
evolution of dance in these locales. I already understand that dance did not
arise in a vacuum. Rather, it occurred in congruence with a social climate
and historical events. I am interested to learn about what socially and
historically brought the European origins of ballet to the United States as
well as how they morphed into modern dance.
Europe is not one uniform country. Each individual country has its
own culture and its own history. Because I will be traveling to and dancing in
Scotland, I would like to learn more about their specific dance culture. A
leading dance critic, Mary Brennan, wrote a detailed review of the Scottish
ballet in the last forty years. I hope that by reading Scottish Ballet: 40 Years,
I will have a more accurate insight into Scottish dances more contemporary
changes and growths. Furthermore, by beginning this country specific
research, I will start on a tangent that will lead me to research more dance as
it pertains to nationalities and hopefully give me a solid and informed idea of
where I would like to study abroad.

Initiative, Independence, and/or Creativity:

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

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This program is prestigious, but to be considered for a counselors


position is even more challenging. I auditioned, applied, and interviewed for
both acceptance into the program and to be a counselor.

Counselors

positions are reserved for either professional dancers or those pursuing a


degree in dance; they are not only used for lead roles in the performances,
but also as inspiration and informational hubs for the students of Burklyn
Ballet Theater. I feel honored that I was selected again for both this program
and to travel with them to perform at The Fringe.
While in Scotland, on the weekends that we have off, I will take
classes at the Edinburg DanceBase, a hub which brings in instructors from
many different companies and countries. This will not only allow me to be
exposed to new theories, styles, and repertoire, but it will also give me the
opportunity to make connections to study and co-op abroad in the coming
year.
Furthermore, I plan to continue my blog with pictures, videos, and
information about my studies in Europe (unorthodoxdancer.blogspot.com). I
come from a small city in West Virginia, and was the first to ever leave my
studio to pursue dance. Now, several younger girls want to do the same. I
would love to continue to inspire them by making the world of dance a little
less daunting. If I can document my personal experiences in Scotland, they
will see that dancing in the US and abroad are both attainable feats.
Burklyn Ballet has re-inspired my dancing countless times.

I truly

believe that the program is important. While I am in Vermont for four weeks
before Scotland, I will be making a promotional video for Burklyn Ballet
Theater. I have been exploring the realm of inspirational dance video in the
past year and also have been working with stop-motion production. I hope
to use these multimedia outlets to meld two art forms together.

With an

effective video, the public will see that Burklyn Ballet Theater not only

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

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teaches technique and performance, but also focuses on professionalism and


decency. There are very clear guidelines set from the first day to be kind to
yourself and others, to only make commitments that you can keep, and to
address issues before they are too big to solve. I believe these values are
too few and far between in the dance world. Hopefully, with this video, more
students will come to Burklyn Ballet Theater and be affected both as dancers
and as people, as I have been.

Reflection:
As I previously stated, I will be continuing a blog that I began last year to
document my experience as a dancer who didnt have the proper start.
Through this blog, I will be able to share the promotional video I make for
Burklyn Ballet Theater, as well as other pictures, videos, and writings from
my experience at the Fringe. I am excited to explore how dance around the
world differs and correlates, but also to explore how my dancing and
academic life has evolved, grown, and changed over the summer. I will have
a hybrid dance/travel blog to document both my discoveries as a dancer and a
person. Below is a list of questions that will help me in my reflection:
1. What makes that performer stand out? How can I implement that in my
own dancing?
2. What alignment changes are they employing that makes their extension
higher?

3. What themes are similar in the dance from different countries? What
sets each diverse group apart? What can I recognize culturally and
socially in their dance?
4. What new theories and corrections have I been exposed to?
5. How are different teachers techniques effective?

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Fringe

Dominique Neff

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6. How did the style of dance change with teachers from different countries?
7. How did pushing myself beyond my comfort zone enhance my dancing?
How did it enhance my cultural perspective?
8. Why was performing abroad at The Fringe crucial to my development as a
person and a dancer?
9. How will I apply these new global perspectives on dance to my life at
home?
10. What countries style stood out to me?

Which country would I like to

study abroad in?


11. What connections have I made? How can I maintain these connections
and friendships to expand my global net and continue professional
relationships abroad?

Dissemination:
My blog is in the public domain, and the link is shared, via newsletter,
with everyone who attends Burklyn Ballet Theater.

Furthermore, if they

choose to do so, Burklyn Ballet Theater will use my promotional video on


their website.

On top of these two outlets for my discovery, I will give a

lecture and master class to the pre-professional students at my home studio,


both to explore the new material I will learn and to present dance abroad as
a viable option for their continued education.

Project Advisor:
Andre Megerdichian
Title: Assistant Professor of Dance
Office: 3723 Corbett Center Perform Arts
Tel: 513-556-2700
Email: andre.megerdichian@uc.edu

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Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

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Andre Megerdician is a professor in the dance department. On top of having


professional performing experience in renowned companies such as Jose
Limn Dance Company and Dance Kaleidoscope, Andre has taught at many
universities as well as abroad at the Duncan Center Conservatory in Prague
Czech. He will be a valuable insight into European dance and daily life.

Budget:
Flight (Huntington, WV to Johnson, VT average of three major airlines:
$465.20
Tuition (4 weeks at Burklyn Ballet Theater): $0, work-study.
Flight (Burlington, VT to Edinburgh, Scotland), housing, and board during
The Fringe Festival (Estimated from Burklyn Ballet 2013): $4,950
Total: $ 5,415.20

2014-2015

Dominique Neff

Performing at the
Fringe

Thank you for your


consideration!

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