Starting my dance solo — by Isabel

This Friday night, I was so excited to begin learning my dance solo. Together my teacher and I picked and edited a song: Manhattan by Sara Bareilles. This song is about the meaning of a place changing at different points of a relationship and I am beginning to study the lyrics to be able to relate better to the song. It was a great experience to be one on one with my dance teacher. She had an idea of choreography going in but we experimented with some parts and worked together to find what felt and looked best on me.

The first time she had me dance on my own was a little bit scary. This was partly because I saw some friends of mine peeking through the window of the studio. But it is also interesting because in class when we do combinations it is always in groups and no matter how well I think I know the movement myself, I always subconsciously match myself with the people around me. I left out a lot of details but my teacher was so sweet in reassuring me. The more I did it, the more natural it became but I still have over half to learn. I will have to put a lot of time and effort into mastering this dance and I look forward to cleaning it and getting it engrained in my body.

It is difficult to count this dance because it is in six instead of eight, which is what dancers are used to. Also because it is a lyrical piece, a lot of the movement comes with the words she sings and cannot be fully timed out. I will try to listen to my song as much as possible and memorize exactly how she sings the song. The lyrics to my edited version are below:Image

You can have Manhattan

I know it’s for the best

I’ll gather up the avenues

And leave them on your doorstep

And I’ll tip toe away

So you won’t have to say

You heard me leave

You can have Manhattan

The one we used to share

The one where we were laughing

And drunk on just being there

Hang on to the reverie

Could you do that for me?

Cause I’m just too sad to

You can have Manhattan

Cause I can’t have you

And so it goes

One foot after the other

Til black and white begin to color in

And I know

That holding us in place

Is simply fear of what’s already changed


You can have Manhattan

Cause I can’t have you

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