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A Day in the Life

Lauren Canty

Lauren Canty, a senior majoring in literature with a dance minor, took her first dance class when she was just five years old. She hasn’t stopped dancing since.

Canty says that American University has provided her with remarkable opportunities to grow as an artist and performer. “I have learned to trust myself and my abilities,” she says. “Even after rehearsing for months in a dance studio, sometimes when you first get on stage, you feel self doubt. But my professors and fellow dancers believed in me, and it helped me to believe in myself.”

7:00 a.m.: I wake up and get ready for the day, packing my backpack with my laptop, lunch, and a change of clothes for dance class.

8:15 a.m.: Take the Metro downtown for my internship with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (scheduled to open in 2016). Ultimately I want to pursue a master’s degree in museum studies, so hands-on experience is an important way to prepare for that—and hopefully for future employment with the Smithsonian.

9:30 a.m.: At my internship, sometimes I visit the warehouses to see and work with museum objects—they can be as small as a jewelry box or as large as a house. I am excited to see them all on display when the museum opens.

1:30 p.m.: I leave the office and take the metro back to campus.

2:15 p.m.:I quickly change into clothing much more suitable for dance class: leggings, t-shirt, and jazz shoes.

2:35 p.m.: I have intermediate jazz class with Sandra Atkinson, an instructor in the Department of Performing Arts. We are exploring different styles of dance within the genre of jazz dance. This week we are working on Afro-Jazz dance, which combines classic jazz techniques with the energy and power of many West African dance styles.

4:00 p.m.: I stop by Terrace Dining Room on campus to eat and study.

5:30 p.m.: I am back in the Katzen Arts Center for an AU Dance Company rehearsal. We are diligently preparing for our Spring Dance Concert, practicing Melanie George’s piece Jazz Is..., Helanius Wilkins’s Show/Time, and Teena Marie Custer’s Feels Like Right. There is such a great range of styles in this year’s concert. With the inclusion of jazz, modern, and hip- hop dance, we are really proving that we are well-rounded and versatile dancers.

8:30 p.m.: My rehearsal for my piece Undercurrent. I first choreographed this dance for Choreolab, AU’s student choreography program and showcase. My piece was chosen to be in the Spring Dance Concert, so I am taking the semester to edit and polish the dance. I have a great cast, and I am grateful for the opportunity to show my work alongside my professors’ work in performance.

10:30 p.m.: I arrive at my apartment and have a quick snack, then study and do homework for classes tomorrow.

1:00 a.m.: I finally go to bed after a long day!