When I first started looking at colleges to apply to, I knew that I had to choose an institution that would allow me to continue my dance career in college. At Tufts, I found that opportunity in the Sarabande Dance Ensemble, the only ballet, jazz, and contemporary group on campus. I distinctly remember watching videos of Sarabande’s 2018 fall show while anxiously waiting for my ED acceptance from Tufts. A year later, I found myself watching those same videos in the living room of Weenie, an off-campus house where seven of the sixteen Sarabande members live, in preparation for my very first show.
In the two months after my six and a half-hour audition and subsequent acceptance, I attended six hours of rehearsal a week in preparation for the show we put on at the end of every semester. This particular show, I’ve been told, was the jazziest one the group has ever put on. We named it “Sarabande Presents: After Midnight,” an ode to the sultry, slightly spooky vibe of the dances we were putting together. I learned that the studio environment is different when the dancers are self-choreographing; the choreographers could joke around with us in a more comfortable capacity than the adults at my dance studio back home. We respect each other as fellow dancers and as choreographers. This accepting and loving environment in Jackson Gym resulted in the most positive studio atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. Outside of the dance studio, I was welcomed as a first-year with the utmost love and care. I spent at least one night every weekend at Weenie getting to know my fellow dancers, confiding in them my concerns and fears as a first-semester freshman and having them give me all their tips and tricks to surviving at Tufts. I began to understand that Sarabande isn’t just a dance group—it’s a family, one that I am thankful to be a part of every day and one that will support me throughout my four years at Tufts and for the rest of my life.
After a tech week in which I spent a total of around 20 hours in Cohen Auditorium, I completed my first Sarabande show to raucous applause from a sold-out audience. I had never known love from an audience like that; during one of my dances in which we ventured off the stage into the audience, the deafening roar of approval overshadowed the music. And at the end of the performance, when we gave our final bow, I felt an elation like no other. That moment, surrounded by people who had become some of my closest friends at college, was what I had been imagining one year ago as a scared high school senior dreaming of getting into Tufts. After all that anxiety and hard work, I had ended up exactly where I needed to be.
If you’d like to check out videos of the Sarabande show, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV-lSsvGmBYkJpdPc12ORwQ