Post-Hurricane PTSD Is Affecting My Dancing
I haven't been able to sleep, eat or dance as usual since Hurricane Maria destroyed my home in Puerto Rico while I was visiting from school. My family was able to fly back to stay with my mother's relatives in Florida, although the BFA program I attend is unfortunately in another state. I can't stop crying or thinking about our house collapsing around us. I also feel badly that I can't help my friends. Why am I so weak?
—Carla, New York, NY
Your inability to function "as usual" has nothing to do with being weak. You've experienced a terrifying event where you lost your family home and could have lost your life. Even stoic dancers often have reactions to trauma, including shock, fear, nervousness, anger and guilt. These feelings usually go away within a month of the event that triggered them. However, if you are still experiencing severe anxiety and find it difficult to function, you may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD may include reliving the ordeal through flashbacks or nightmares; avoiding feelings or situations that remind you of the event; increasing irritability or being easily startled; and having negative thoughts and feelings. You can get support by using your school's counseling services, which are likely included with your tuition. You might also consider taking a leave of absence to be with your family. Treatment for PTSD typically involves therapy, medication or both to improve daily functioning by helping you cope with the event. Once you feel better, you should be able to immerse yourself in dance again.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.
Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.
On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.
SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.