This article originally appeared in the March Journal. Writer Noah Wang—a fourth-year dancer who’s weathering the crisis with his family in San Francisco, cooking, playing games, going on walks, playing music, and leaning on each other through the hardship of it all—sent this update.
By Noah Wang and Libby Faber
Since this article was written, COVID-19 has uprooted all of our lives and this year’s Senior Production dance concerts, which would have taken place April 24-26, were canceled along with the rest of this season’s performance. While the Juilliard Dance class of 2020 mourns this unique loss, there is so much we have already created together and are grateful for. Our photo book, which is mentioned below, for example, will still be for sale once Juilliard resumes its in-person schedule. We hope that even without a show, our legacy of individuality, community, and inclusion is felt in the Juilliard community for years to come. Performances come and go, but the value of this process, Senior Production, remains.
March 2020—In September, our teacher and mentor Risa Steinberg stood at the front of our classroom and told us, “This year contains an ending for all of you, but it also contains many new beginnings.” This year she has been guiding us through a class called Senior Production, which essentially teaches us to turn our artistic endeavors into marketable, financially sustainable products. We go through the steps of advertising, producing, and fundraising for our culminating performance in April (also called Senior Production), which is a six-show series consisting of original works choreographed by a handful of senior dancers that takes place in the Willson Theater. The remaining seniors as well as the third-year dancers perform these works. It is a magnificent creative project that allows us soon-to-be graduates to leave our legacy within the Juilliard community. But we had to answer some questions. How would we raise the money? And how should we engage with our community—both inside and outside of Juilliard—to receive both emotional and financial support?
In past years, the seniors made a calendar to raise money for Senior Production. But when we put our creative strength together this fall, we decided to produce a photo book because we felt that it would be artistic, timeless, and personal to our vision. The book includes original poetry, prose, illustrations, and photographs—all by our classmates. We sincerely hope that people will enjoy these things as much as we loved creating them.
These products are not only for fundraising; they’re also a manifestation of our collective growth. When looking back on the thrilling journey through Juilliard that we have taken together, we feel so proud of, thankful for, and amazed at the family we have become. The wonderful thing about the Juilliard dance program is that it is a shared experience. As we change, struggle, evolve, and learn, we all witness each other in turn. By senior year, we have developed a profound admiration for each other as dancers and as people. We hope to take the love we have fostered together, and cast it out into Juilliard and beyond.
If you would like to support the senior dancers by buying a copy of the Senior Production photo book, please email [email protected].