Today was the last day of my training in the Musical Theater program at UCLA. We still have an audition technique class, but as far as breaking you down and building you up - my classes in 1350, 2330, and 101 have come to an end.
I don’t really know what this feeling is. I cried a good amount today in my last jazz class. I feel many things: helpless, lost, excited, nervous, anxious, ready, etc. As I was holding hands with my sweaty MTs after another invigorating class from Chryssie, it really sank into me. This is my family. These are the people I love unconditionally.
As I was laying on the floor of 1350 doing professor evaluations in my ballet class on Tuesday, I realized how okay I was literally laying belly down on a floor that I have watched all of my classmates spit on when we have to get a better grip in our character shoes. And you know what? I just didn’t care.
I’ve realized that I used to have a ton of walls up coming to college. They eventually broke down, but there are walls up now that seem beneficial. Tact, self respect, emotional conservatism. These are things that are important when it comes to being a sane and loving human being. But outside of myself and in my creative work, walls have come down. I am no longer afraid of how I look when I’m acting. I’m not afraid of what they’re going to think of me if I don’t get a triple pirouette today. I feel so liberated. And I owe it to my class. I love each of them.
To all of the professors I’ve had the pleasure of loving and working with in the acting, singing, dancing, or voice and speech studio classes. Nicholas Gunn, Dan Belzer, Jeremy Mann, Mary Jo Duprey, Linda Kerns, Monica Payne, Natsuo Tomita, Jane Lanier, Chryssie Whitehead, Peggy Hickey, Lee Martino, Rodger Castellano, Cheryl Baxter-Ratliff, Alexis Carra, Jean-Luis Rodrigue, Marilyn Fox, April Shawhan, Mel Shapiro, Mark Bennett, Joe Olivieri, Adele Cabot, and Paul Wagar. I just cant believe how perfectly the fusion of these curriculums allowed me to explore my artistry.
I realized that if I can get just a fraction of the fearlessness I developed these three years in the safe spaces with these people into the audition room, I will feel invincible.
I am enough. Open heart. Open hands.
A pastor at my church once asked us to lay our hands open in our laps. He wisely noted, “notice how your fingers curl in even when they are relaxed open?” He explained this as our innately flawed nature - that we cannot release control over everything.
Today in Chryssie’s class, she asked us to do the same thing. To clench a fist that represented how hard we hold onto our careers. When we released it, my hand was (as my pastor predicted) slightly curled. It took extra tension to open it flat.
I hope (but doubt) that by the end of spring quarter, my hand will release. That my fear will subside and that I will release my path to God. That I will release the control I have over everything and will live the life I am meant to lead. I am so excited to see where that goes. I am so nervous to graduate, but I think I will be ready.