Happy Autumn From The Big Apple!
For this week’s blog, I wanted to write about why fall is my favorite season, at least here in New York. Aside from the conventional joys of fall, I enjoy this time of year at Juilliard because it is full of personal reflection, artistic research, and new discoveries about myself.
When I first moved here, I had a skewed perception of seasons in general. Coming from San Francisco, where the climate is foggy and windy year-round, I was shocked by the routine of weather on the East Coast. The first time I ever visited New York was for the Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive. I can still sense the hot blanket of air, the rumbling AC’s, and the damp smell of concrete from summer. It evokes strong feelings of nostalgia and excitement for me. Every August when I return to Juilliard and that unforgettable summer heat, I feel like a wide-eyed 15-year-old again, even this year as I turn 21.
However, by September New Yorkers seem to grow weary of the relentless heat, sweat, and high electricity bills. So when autumn creeps into the city, it feels like a fresh new energy. Most obviously, there are the changing leaves, which light up the otherwise gray urban landscape with vibrant hues of yellow, green, red, and brown. The humidity dissipates, leaving behind a crisp, sweet-smelling air. On clear autumn days, the sun’s rays flood the environment more intensely than any other time of year. As school starts up again, people on the street begin to walk faster and more briskly. And of course, New Yorkers are all waiting for October to whip out the chicest section of their wardrobe. I'm always excited to see fall fashion—patterned coats, colorful scarves, and funky hats. The sidewalks of Manhattan may as well be a runway!
Another aspect of the season that excites me undeniably is Halloween. The holiday has transformed from a giddy, sugar-driven escapade around my local neighborhood to a funky celebration of our creative, fashionable, and inclusive community. Dressing up for dance class on Halloween has always been a major project for my class; we always do a group costume!
For me, autumn signifies a settling back into my life at Juilliard, a regaining of perspective. Especially this semester, as I begin to make a plan for life beyond graduation, many daunting questions enter my mind: Where do I see myself living? Who do I want to work with? What kind of dancer to I see myself as? My time at Juilliard has been a vastly eclectic experience, giving me insight into so many different genres within the larger field of the performing arts, and I have enjoyed soaking in all of it. But the more I reflect on these questions, the more I realize that I can’t be every kind of dancer. I have to be true to my core identity, find a place in the world where my art is both valued and celebrated. It is the simple but difficult lesson of knowing what keeps your spirit fed, and differentiating that from the kind of life or career that seems ideal, but might not be for you.
Gradually, I am learning more and more about my authentic desires for future, sifting through expectations and pressures from the outside world. Much like the trees that shed their leaves, I too am shedding the excess stress from my life, only moving forward with the gems of discovery that are most integral to me.
Thank you, New York autumn. You have been a joy to live through. Your serenity will keep me grounded as the chaotic whirlwind of the Holidays fast approaches!
College applications for fall 2020 are now open.