Rebecca Pham, T14
May 12, 2014
Dear Duke Dance Program,
This spiel will never do justice to just how much the faculty, staff, and students have impacted me, but I'll try my best. When I was looking at potential universities, I remember avidly stalking the Duke Dance website, reading testimonies, and watching videos. I was impressed, excited, and intimidated. Having barely two years of ballet and modern training under my belt, I wasn't sure if I would be able to meet the expectations and standards of Duke's program. To my pleasant surprise, I felt welcome the instant I stepped into any dance class. Although I was surrounded by individuals who surpassed me in their experience and technical skill, I felt comfortable and supported by both my peers and professors. They encouraged me when I made mistakes and challenged me to improve. Each day, I came back to class with an intense drive to get better.
But, more importantly, is how the dance program shaped me beyond my technical skills. My dance education at Duke has largely contributed to my sense of confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. At Duke, I've been blessed to find a dance education that is therapeutic and empowering. Professors at Duke cultivate movers rather than cut-throat competitors. We learn how dance embodies a way of life and facilitates the understanding of movement. We learn that using our bodies and being comfortable with movement benefits us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So thank you, Duke Dance for helping me feel comfortable in my own body and confident in my dance ability. Thank you for helping me go beyond technique -- to think critically about movement, to understand dance through the lens of academia, to merge dance with other disciplines. Thank you for helping me challenge and question my values, beliefs, and personal goals. Thank you for instilling in me a passion to use dance as a tool to better communities and inspire social change. Because of this program, I have grown as an artist, choreographer, performer, and person. In June, I will head to Boston to attend a doctoral program in physical therapy at MGH Institute of Health Professions. I am excited to pursue a field which uses movement to heal others and I know that my dance education will shape my practice and success as a future therapist.