Movement: Dance & Travel
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My project focused on three main aspects of my life: my culture, my travels, and my dance world. Bich Minh Nguyen's "Stealing Buddha's Dinner" helped me write about the first - my culture. Nguyen's memoir took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the city I have lived in for over 18 years. Her descriptions of the city - the empire of Meijer stores, the conservativeness of the area, and protruding Christian' ideals - were exactly what I imagined when I thought of Grand Rapids. Along with her descriptions of the city itself, Nguyen effectively explained the feelings of being an outsider in a vastly white community. Her writings helped me with my own writings of my Japanese culture in Grand Rapids. My junior English seminar in the spring of 2009 helped me with the second aspect of my SIP: my travels. From day one, we read and discussed travel and the way that our identity is shaped by it. This class helped to form theoretical and critical analysis of our own cultures. In it, we discussed the arts of the "contact zone" and the theme of travel - how different cultures collide with one another when they travel outside their origin point. Two important authors aided my focus on my third aspect of dance: Gelsey Kirkland and Toni Bentley. Both ballerinas at the prestigious New York City Ballet, their descriptions of movement, music, and the feelings of being a professional dancer showed similarities to my experiences. Although I did not maintain anywhere near the level of ballet that they did, I still related to the basic struggles of a girl growing up in the dance world.