E+Etv: InFocus Episode 1 with Emily Aalbers

InFocus covers individuals who work hard on and off the clock, individuals who progress through learning and doing, and those individuals who never understood the words, “give up.”This spring marks Emily Aalbers’ last term as a double major at Western Oregon University.  She has put in her hours the last four years and finally she can say good-bye to all-nighters, cheap food and long weekends filled with homework and the nightlife.I was able to meet with Emily on a sunny day at a local Monmouth park and we talked over her senior year and what she has been working on.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrsyA51d08Q&feature=youtu.beCan you tell us about yourself?I’m Emily Aalbers, I’m a senior at Western Oregon University. I’m a dance and psychology major with a French minor.How has your senior year been?Super busy, it has been a lot more of a full schedule than I anticipated. It has been fun, super rewarding. I’ve been doing projects that I’ve been looking forward to since I was a freshman and kind of using everything I’ve learned while being here.What are you currently working on?For my dance major we have to do a senior project. I chose to choreograph a piece for our annual Spring Dance Concert. Which is open to the public and it is a pretty big deal; we get to dance in the theater on campus.  We have costumes designed specifically for our pieces, so in January we held auditions and I was able to view the students that came to the audition. They did a piece of my choreography I prepared ahead a time and showed the music I was going to be using. Then I was able to deliberate with other choreographers to kind of sort out who was going to work with whom. Starting the next week we got to get to work in the studio and it has been a super fun process working with. I have eight dancers, all of them undergraduates and friends of mine, which has been a bonus in the process.How long have you been dancing?I’ve been choreographing since I was little. I started dancing at age five and was collaborating on pieces and working with choreographers, with friends and on my own choreographing, and so coming to college it was really interesting to have formal training because I had sort of just learned by doing and trying. I will never forget what I have learned from not only the professors teaching my composition classes, but also the students I’ve worked with, the fellow student choreographers. We go through an extensive feedback process where we show our work at multiple stages.What have been the highlights?A highlight has been the entire process. I love it so much and it feeds me.  It’s my favorite form of expression. I would rather create a piece to set on phenomenal dancers and put it in their hands and let them take it. Let them go through the creative process of telling my story through someone else as opposed to simply performing in someone’s work or my own work.What is dance to you?Dance to me is a lifestyle. Like I said I have been dancing since I was five and I never stopped. I have been working at this and devoting hours and hours of life to perfecting a technique.  So it’s not only just an activity, an extracurricular, it’s form of art, a form of expression, it’s a form of exercise, it’s a way to make memories and friends and be a part of a community and feel like there is a niche in the world that I fit into. I have gained so many transferable skills from being in dance classes day after day after day. Just the ability like poise and commitment, it takes a lot of jumbling to be able to balance the hours that you need to devote and not to get sucked into it and going crazy and having a life, so tenacity.What is your future plans?What are they? Good question. I want dance to be a part of my life forever. I have a pretty severe back injury that has held me back a little bit and opened my eyes in different ways to use dance and realize a performing artist isn’t necessarily what I want to do. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to do that; I would love to have stage time and an opportunity to be a part of a company and learn from that. I think that is my first step. I can find a place to perform. It’s not concrete, but I would like to keep dance a part of my life. I would like to perform, teach and primarily choreograph.Final words?Dance is an environment of constant learning, a way to better myself, a way to give back to the world and express.