Every year, dance department students complete a self evaluation in the fall semester. This provides us with a chance to reflect on our progress, to put into words what we are trying to do with our movement, to identify areas we would like to improve. It is more important, perhaps, in that we are supposed to write how we are trying to improve specific things.
Topics we are asked to write on (in a few sentences for each section) include: technique, musicality, strength, flexibility, professionalism, and long-/short-term goals. (There are more… it’s fairly comprehensive.) I would not say that anyone particularly enjoys writing her self-assessment, but as a tool to focus our training, it is superb. I like to write mine early in the year: That way it is more of a plan of attack than a reflection on what areas I have concentrated my efforts. We turn our self-assessments in during our ballet technique final exam in the fall.
The faculty members, bless their hearts, read every single self-assessment. I think there are over one hundred students in the dance department this year. That’s a heck of a lot of assessing. This week, every student gets a fifteen minute appointment to meet with all the faculty at once. Faculty members provide feedback on our self-assessments, our classwork, and our performances. Even though the experience is slightly terrifying — have you ever been the focus of an entire department’s faculty all at once? — it’s good to get feedback.
I thought this year’s meeting was the most helpful one I’ve received: They talked about my classwork, performance, and what I wrote on my assessment, but they also introduced a topic in a way I had not thought of before.
The other plus side of assessment week? The first four days see almost all our dance classes canceled. (Since the faculty meets with students all day, every day. It’s a grueling schedule.) I have much more free time than usual this week.
Of course, I just came from production/performance week for Midwinter Dance Festival, which means I have not done any meaningful amount of homework or housework or general life-organizing in a while. This week is shaping up to be busier than I thought it would be. (Though I should have know better.)
On the plus side again, I’m almost done with Moby Dick!