Meet Dylan D. (Grade 10) who has always had a passion and love for dance and was able to incorporate that into her personal project to help her achieve the challenging “540 Jump.”
How did you choose your topic?
Going into my Personal Project, I always knew that dance needed to be a part of it. I was told by many Grade 11 students to choose a topic that you aren’t passionate about so you don’t lose interest in it, but I knew that for me, I needed to be passionate about my topic. I had wanted to learn this trick for a long time but lacked to motivation and time to do so. By choosing this as my topic, it helped motivate me and force me to put the time and effort in.
Walk me through the process: How did you get started? What did you do along the way?
I started on my action plan and the first thing I started researching was safety. Safety was very important to me as I knew I was preparing for competition season and didn’t want to let my team, teachers, or parents down. I learned different ways to stretch and warm up my body so that I wouldn’t hurt myself. To learn the trick, I just went for it. I started with mats underneath me but quickly discovered that the mats were more of a hindrance and found it easier without them. Each time I attempted the 540 Jump, I found that it got a little bit easier until one day, I just landed it. I still remember landing it for the first time, I looked at my sister and asked her, “Did I do it? Was that right? Was that it?” I couldn’t believe that I had done it.
What are some of the more interesting discoveries you made while working on your project? What’s something interesting you learned about yourself along the way?
I learned a lot about dynamic and static stretching and how a lot of dance teachers have their dancers warm up sitting in a specific stretch but the stretches that actually warm up your body are ones where you are constantly moving. I am glad that I learned this now as this will help me with injury prevention and would benefit me if I were to ever become a dance teacher.
It’s not that I don’t believe in myself, but I also don’t have full confidence in my abilities all the time. I didn’t want to hype myself up too much to the point where I thought that it would be so easy. I knew I had to put the work in and implement things that I had learned from others.
What was the highlight of your personal project? What’s next?
The highlight was landing the 540 Jump and I am excited that my dance teachers might be able to add the trick to some of my routines next year, once I have it a bit cleaner. I would definitely use this format again to help me learn more tricks and add to my repertoire. Briar Nolet, a Canadian Dancer who was on World of Dance, who I follow has inspired me to learn some of the tricks that I have seen her do. She makes her tricks look flawless and easy and that is something that I aspire to do.
What does International Dance Day mean to you?
A celebration of movement from all people, not just competitive or showcase dancers, because anyone can dance. Some dances are as simple as bopping your head and others are as intricate as moving your entire body in ways you didn’t think you can.
How has dance helped you while managing your workload here at Meadowridge?
When I get stressed out at school, my dance studio is my outlet. It’s the place where I can forget all about my issues and where I can just dance. That feeling is so freeing and being surrounded by people who also have this passion feels so nice. I feel fortunate that I have been able to incorporate dance into many of my school assignments. Recently in PE, during our Movement unit, I was able to choreograph my own routine. I created my planning (Criteria B) and planned out all the moves along with the lyrics and counts. I am also doing a project about my origin story in L&L and dance will absolutely be a big part of it.
Any tips for students who will be doing their Personal Projects next year?
The personal project was honestly not as stressful as I thought it would be. I wouldn’t want students to get too worked up about it. If you do something you are passionate about and love, then it doesn’t feel like work at all. I did my action plan first thing to get it out of the way and some of my sessions were close together which helped make it more consistent and frequent.