By Jillian Callanan
The moment I received the Edward Villela Fellowship, I knew I was in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was just given the opportunity to study dance in Bali, Indonesia.
I cannot say that I knew what to expect when embarking on this winter break mini-term. I knew my journey would be unlike any other I have taken before.
For three weeks, I, along with 14 other Union peers studied Balinese dance, music and the cultural and historical background of this amazing island.
These intensive days of learning gave me a wealth of knowledge equivalent to that of a 10-week course.
Traditional Balinese dance is on the opposite side of the spectrum from what I have been taught and am accustomed to.
The traditional Balinese music, Gamelan, goes hand in hand with the dance. As the dance instructor sings the sounds of the Gamelan when teaching, the music becomes the soul of the dancers’ performances.
This style of teaching and learning was very unfamiliar to me and, at the beginning, a true struggle inhabited my every move.
Days spent learning allowed me to see its effectiveness in connecting all elements of the body with the music.
Bali is truly a treasure of the world, filled with rich culture, Hindu rituals, ceremonies and millions of kind human beings.
The opportunity I had to immerse myself into this unique world is one that I will never forget.
Though it is a place of living very unlike the one that I am used to, Bali taught me far more than I could have ever imagined.
I grew as a dancer but even more so as a person.
Now, I am so much more aware of the world around me, and I learned that exploration is truly key to a fulfilling life.